Saturday, March 10, 2012

How to help a visual learner

When it comes to learning new things I have always been a visual spatial learner. Visual learners typically like to read. They tend to need complete quiet to study, likes colors and fashion, benefit from pictures,charts and diagrams, plus have an avid awareness of the artistic beauty of the physical environment, visual media, or art. I didn't realize this though until I started to teach my own children and became aware of different learning styles. In a typical classrom setting I always did best sitting as close to the front as I could. Yes, in college I was the geeky kid sitting right in front of the teacher. Looking back it was my way of keeping myself from becoming distracted by things going on around me. If someone tells me something and I do not write it down it is likely to go in one ear and out the other no matter how hard I try. Instead if I see it in writing and combine that with typing or writing it is likely to stay in my memory. So throwing in a bit of kinesthetic learning in addition to visual learning is my style of learning.

My son with Prader-will syndrome/autism seems to need an equal mix of visual/auditory/kinesthetic to learn best. Depending on the subject he will need one more than the other. To understand math concepts he has to see it with manipulatives because if you just try to explain it to him it doesn't sink in. If I'm teaching him to memorize something though, I've noticed that he pays better attention if he is standing or moving around. If he was required to sit at a desk for hours it would not work at all. The boy loves to move! Z~girl is highly visual like me and requires complete quiet when she is concentrating. Here are some ideas to help visual learners.

~Draw maps of events in history or draw out a picture of the scientific process.

~Make outlines of the information that needs to be learned.

~Take notes and make lists of importan information.

~Educational videos- We use this a lot! It's so easy to find videos that go along with what the child is learning to back up the information in their heads.

~Copy work/drawing- Sometimes I have the children do copywork that normally goes along with our history and above it they draw a picture that goes along with what they wrote.

~Use dry erase boards with colored markers.

~Use flashcards to help memorize math facts.

~Incorprate art into learning projects!

~One of our favorites is using Lego! The possibilities are endless.

~Provide visual activities such as maps, puzzles, models, matching activities, computers and word searches.

~Diaoramas.  Both of my children (and ME) like to make dioramas. We belong to a homeschool geography club and with each country we will make a scene of some aspect of the country we have studied. Last month we did a presentation on Dennmark and my daughter made a replica of a long house, complete with real mud on the walls!

Utilizing your child's learning strengths is the key to success in helping your child achieve their individual potential!


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