How do our children intake and process information most effectively? That’s how we want to teach them!
Auditorily, visually, and kinesthetically are the three main ways in which to intake information. Auditory learners prefer to be read to, to read aloud and to repeat information over and over again. Auditory learners will learn best with audio books, singing math and geography songs, and reciting verses out loud. As much as possible, aim to provide books on tape (CDs, MP3s, etc.) and to encourage verbal repetition.
Visual learners need to see it to understand it. They usually love reading, and understand more easily with graphs, charts, and pictures. Provide lots of quality reading material and don’t be frustrated if this child doesn’t want to be read to as much after she learns how to read herself. This is the easiest style to accommodate, because much curricula is visually oriented.
The little wigglers really can’t help themselves; they’re most likely kinesthetic learners. They may be required to sit still in Mrs. Smith’s first grade classroom, but in our homeschools, let them wiggle. I have found that to require absolute stillness from kinesthetic learners is a recipe for disaster. Sure, they may sit perfectly still for five minutes, but they won’t be able to concentrate on anything else; all of their energy will be directed towards not fidgeting. By allowing some movement, we free up their minds to intake academic information. Some not-too-intrusive ideas are allowing a little squishy ball to hold and squeeze, standing for a while, sitting on an exercise ball instead of a chair, and allowing movements (such as making up a cheer for a Bible verse). Their concrete nature means that they’ll need manipulatives for math. Most children start off being kinesthetic learners, but many outgrow the need to touch and/or move in order to learn as they get older.