Learning Styles: Curriculum Considerations

download.jpgImagine this for a moment…You have a friend recommend a curriculum that her son loves and you purchase it only to use it and discover your son doesn’t like it. This has certainly happened to me! You might feel like a failure, thinking it must be you. However, consider the possibility that your student has a different learning style than your friend’s child who recommended the curriculum. “What is a learning style?” you ask. It is an individual’s unique approach to learning based on strengths, weaknesses, and preferences.

There are four major types of learning styles:

  • Visual (learn through seeing and prefer pictures, images, and writing)
  • Auditory (learn through hearing, both words and music)
  • Tactile (learn through touch)
  • Kinesthetic (learn through doing and moving)

There are also additional learning styles that are important to remember and these are:

  • Logical (prefer using logic, reasoning and systems)
  • Social (prefer to learn in groups or with other people)
  • Solitary (prefer to work alone, use self-study)

You probably can identify what type of style your daughter prefers by the above descriptions. If not, observe her learning a new concept and which way the material is presented to see what works best for her. Everyone has a mix of these learning styles and different styles can be used at different times.

More Questions to Ask when thinking of curriculum. Each publishing company or program has a link to it; just click on the underlined words.

  • Is my child a visual learner? Picking a curriculum that is colorful and has pictures, charts and diagrams are beneficial to this type of learner. (ABeka, Horizon, and Bob Jones are traditional textbooks that are colorful, particularly in the younger grades. You can also use trade books such as Usborne or Dorling Kindersley or the library for your studies.
  • Is my child an auditory learner?  Many curriculums now have audio files to accompany their books such as Apologia Science  and Story of the World. But, Sonlight is best known for all of the Read-Aloud books that are the foundation of their program. Other curriculums that offer books to be read aloud are Memoria Press, and Five in a Row.
  • Is my child a tactile learner? Unit studies with activities are beneficial and curriculum such as My Father’s World and Heart of Dakota each are unit-based curricula.


Does this curriculum fit the learning style of my student? Above all, that would be the question I would ask when choosing a curriculum. Because no matter how much I liked unit studies, if my son didn’t like them, then he was not all that engaged in what we were doing.

If you absolutely cannot abide the type of curriculum that best works for your daughter or son, then consider adding the type s/he enjoys once in a while. For instance, you dislike reading fiction books aloud. Pick one book that you think you could like and either read it aloud OR get an audio version of the book. 🙂  Who knows, perhaps the learning style will grow on you!



Epic: An eBook Library

This looks amazing! Epic is an electronic library that has a collection of over 20,000 titles for children from preschool through age 12. In addition to the books, children can watch educational videos and listen to audio books.

The price is reasonable at $4.99 per month, less than the cost of a book. You can also have up to four reader profiles on one account and use multiple devices. If you are not sure the reading  level of the book there are also Lexile levels listed for most titles. Book suggestions for your reader are made and the more your child reads, the more refined the suggestions will become.

Here are just some of the books that your reader can enjoy. Note that there are both fiction and nonfiction titles from which to choose. For more details, CLICK HERE 

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Happy Mother’s Day!


I know this is a day late since I post on Mondays, but I wanted to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and celebrate you! You don’t get enough recognition by being a homeschool mom, but I realize all the hard work you do and I applaud you! Thank you for all that you do for your husband and your children.

When you began embarking on the homeschool journey I bet you didn’t realize how involved it was going to be; I know I didn’t! You are invaluable to your family. Even though many of you do not bring home a paycheck, you are saving your family so much money. Let me take the time to point out a all of the jobs you do each day when in school and each of these salaries. (These are not random numbers; I looked them up on indeed.com)

Principal: Execute the daily schedule for your school and your student(s). Oversee the behavior of the student body and teachers. (Oh, that’s you! lol) Communicate with the superintendent, oversee daily operation of school Salary: $72,000

Curriculum director: Research, determine educational philosophy; Research, purchase, borrow, swap, trade textbooks, unit studies, videos, online programs and games, and educational apps Salary: $50,000

Teacher: Prepare lessons, teach subjects, encourage and discipline students, grade papers Salary: $50,000

Administrative Assistant: Answer phone calls, organize office Salary: $20,000

Lunchroom Cook and Staff: Plan, prepare, serve meals; clean up lunchroom Salary: $36,000

Nurse: See to the wellbeing of all the student body and staff (If you get sick, there are usually no subs for the day!), health counseling Salary: $37,000

Janitor: Clean and sanitize school, maintain school grounds Salary: $30,000

Guidance Counselor: Help student with course selections, career planning, graduation, assist with college applications, coordinate graduation ceremony Salary: $50,000

Athletic Director and Coach: Schedule games, transport students to and from practices and events, fundraising  Salary: $52,000

Bus Driver: Transport students to and from school (lol) and extra curricular events Salary: $33,000

Grand Total of combined salaries: $415,000! You are worth every penny and if I had it to give you, I would. 🙂 Thank you for working tirelessly and may times without any acknowledgement. You are a tremendous mother and your children are blessed to have you as their mom.



I realize it can be a big scary step to do a portfolio review. Here are some comments from the families whose student’s work I reviewed and hope this will help reassure you that you can do this!  🙂

Thank you so much for the helpful tips and suggestions!  I appreciate your mentoring and look forward to seeing you again next year. 🙂 ~ AA

Thanks Lisa. Always great to visit with you and gain from your many years of homeschooling and teaching. You are a blessing to many.  ~AMG

Thank you so much for everything! I left feeling so encouraged! I really appreciate your positive feedback and suggestions for next year. ~EM

Oh, you facilitated that so well you made it easy, Lisa.  Thank you!  ~EA

Lisa, Thank you! I appreciate your assessment and advice. ~MS

Your thoughts and understanding are so appreciated as I am navigating these high school years. It is very valuable to know someone who has been there, done that. ~ SE

Lisa, thank you for your continued support. I thank God that my friend suggested I meet with you. Have a wonderful summer and I’ll see you next end of school year! ~ SG

Thank you for ministering to our family in this way–you mean much more to me than the required formality of getting their portfolios assessed! – MS

We are grateful for your encouragement and input in the past during our portfolio reviews. – ER

 I have been going to Lisa for portfolio reviews for the past 10 years and I look forward to my appointment every year.  Her kind heart and helpfulness always make our time a joy, and I know I can count on her to answer questions and provide resources if I need help.  I always leave feeling encouraged.

Even though her own sons have graduated, Lisa continues to offer reviews and support.  She does it because she enjoys it and she truly wants to help the homeschool community.  I tell her every year that she has to keep doing portfolio reviews until my son graduates! 🙂  – SC

If only you knew what a blessing your note was with the suggestions!!!!!!! I have been struggling so bad trying to research and figure out what to use!!! I just can’t that you enough for the personal touch and suggestions.  I truly truly needed the help!! Thank you for being such a blessing to so many of us that feel lost and sometimes just clueless,. lol I truly appreciate it. ~MW

Thank you so much, Lisa!  I appreciated your words….they touched my heart and made me smile as we prepare to begin this school year.  Thank YOU for all of your support and encouragement, wisdom and guidance on our homeschooling journey! ~ AL

Thank you for meeting with me.  I was very nervous about it, and was worried I wouldn’t have everything I needed.  You made me feel a lot calmer and much more positive about homeschooling.  I really like having more control over my daughter’s education and I think we did more at home for her age then they do in the classroom.~JO

Each time I walk away from your house I am so over the moon thrilled, uplifted and blessed with how much you offer us!!  I couldn’t ask for a better guide and mentor through our homeschooling years.  Thank you so much!! ~CP

I love how God puts certain people in our life that make a profound difference. You are one of those ladies for me. You are a source of great strength for me. You have made a big impact in our homeschool because of your encouraging words & support. Thank you for everything you do to support homeschoolers.  We couldn’t do it without strong women like you. I am blessed! ~ CK

Thank you very much for meeting with me to do my child’s first portfolio review. I sincerely appreciate you taking the time. Thank you! And thank you for the math suggestions. I can’t wait to try them! ~SB

Lisa, my husband and I spoke this afternoon, and we are very thankful for you, and will definitely be using your services again next year. ~SG

Thank you for all of your input.  You have been a valuable resource over the years. ~TK

Our first portfolio review was this past year. Mrs. McAfee was so helpful. Before our scheduled meeting she emailed me to see if I had any specific questions.  I found her to be very knowledgeable and objective about curricula and other homeschool topics.  Not only is Mrs. McAfee thorough, but she is also easy to talk with, kind and friendly.  I would highly recommend her to other homeschool moms and families, especially those who are newer like myself.  I think her advice as well as her experience and warm personality make her an excellent choice.  Thank you, Mrs. McAfee! ~R

I love sitting down with Lisa for our portfolio review for several reasons. As I gather everything to prepare, I always realize that we’ve done so much more than I thought. I enjoy Lisa’s feedback and excellent suggestions. I also use it as a way to encourage my children to do their best because they often get very lazy mid-year, with us doing our reviews earlier each year, I’m able to use someone else’s eyes as motivation to kick it up a bit. Looking forward to a visit soon! ~ MLR

Thank you again for meeting with me for the end of the year review.  It’s always such a great way to review what the kids have accomplished, and I greatly appreciate your feedback on our progress. ~KK

We are on our fourth year for portfolio reviews with Lisa.  My first commendation would be that she is a Christian, who loves the Lord. She also has complete knowledge of homeschool rules, regulations, requirements, as well as many links to helpful information. Lisa possesses excellent communication skills that help you know all the why’s, what’s and when’s. In addition to performing a complete portfolio she offers excellent and useful suggestions. Lastly, but certainly not least, Lisa is very caring. Which is something all of us need as we homeschool our children. She truly is a blessing. ~ PM

Thanks for a delightful evening; I really enjoyed the portfolio assessment and I left feeling so encouraged. ~MS

 Thank you so so much. You have been such a leader and blessing to my family and me. Thank you for your guidance and love for children and their education as well. Hope you have a wonderful year. Thank you again for everything. ~AC

I love portfolio reviews with Lisa because they are a joy! Instead of feeling stressed or burdened by the appointment or dealing with testing, I look forward to my end of year review. It’s nice to be able to discuss successes and get ideas and resources for any problem areas. ~SC

Although I was initially terrified about the portfolio review process, I now look forward to meeting with you and looking over all that we accomplished (both in the classroom and out)! I appreciate your suggestions and encouragement. ~ML

Mrs. McAfee, I was very apprehensive and nervous last year about my very first portfolio review. Quiet honestly, if it would not have been for your blog, I would not have known where to even begin. Your blog gave me step-by-step instructions of what was needed and how to put everything together. Then the meeting with you was exactly what you said it would be, one hour of review of what my son had learned over the last year. His high points, his low points and if he improved after he hit those low points. You are an amazing source of information and I feel so blessed that God has placed you in not only my life but also as a tutor in my son’s life. What a wonderful impact you are having on us both!! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us and helping us from start to finish. 🙂 God bless you!  ~SS

Thank you Lisa for the advice, suggestions, and encouragement. ~BL

I so appreciate the time you take for each child’s review. I enjoy the assessment process a lot more than a standardized test. All children learn differently and learn at different paces. We all know that a standardized test is not a true indication of how much a children knows. Thank you for continuing to give me great ideas to this veteran homeschooling mom. ~ TK

Last year was my first year to have a portfolio review. It was a wonderful experience. It is always a joy to sit with Lisa and visit. She is kind and generous with the time she shares with you. I left the meeting with many ideas to help make the next year better. Lisa recommended many books and activities that we are using this year. I look forward to doing reviews with her again this year. ~SW

Lisa, I appreciate your thorough review and all the feedback with ideas and support you gave us.  I look forward to our next review with you! ~AA

Free Pizza Reading Program



Pizza Hut offers a reading incentive program called Book It  for students in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade. You set a monthly reading goal for your student and once they have achieved it, you reward them with a free one-topping personal pan pizza. How awesome is that? I did this with my sons and all of us looked forward to the end of the month so that we could cash in our yummy reward. While receiving a personal pizza is terrific, how can you use this incentive program to its fullest?

Set an attainable goal for your son or daughter. Make it within reach, but not too easy. After all, it is a reading incentive program. 🙂 If your student is not reading yet, then it is fine to read to them.

Narrate the plot. Students who not writing proficiently or give you the littlest written work that is required, will enjoy telling you what the book they have read was all about.

Write a summary of the book. What better way to incorporate reading and writing skills than to have your daughter write a short summary of the book. This causes students to think about what has been read and find the best way to write a synopsis. If she has never written a summary before have her answer the 5 W’s and 1 H. (who, what, when, where, why, and how). The summary should be no longer than a page, and more likely two to three paragraphs, depending upon the length of the book.

Act out a favorite scene from the book. If your son can’t sit still while telling you about the book, then let him recreate a scene. This can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish.

Draw a picture of the main characters or a favorite part of the book. These pictures can be kept and made into a book. After the program has finished, add that to your portfolio review for the year. 🙂

Important note: Registration for the upcoming school year is currently taking place. It is not a program that is open year round.