Find Out What Jen Finds

My journey on the spectrum of life … and the lessons I learn along the way …

about Learning Styles: Timing is everything

  • August 27, 2013 2:08 pm

I’ve just had to switch our schedule up yet again. But I’m glad I did. Eventually it will sink in my thick skull that the day goes by so much more predictably if I cater to their learning styles rather than my teaching preferences.

My preferred schedule:

Time of Day The Elder The Younger
8ish Computer Work Non Computer Work
9ish Non Computer Work Computer Work
10ish Snack and Group Work
12ish Lunch and Free Time
2ish Snack and Group Reading

Last Year their Individual Work was labeled “Independent Work” and “One-on-One Work” instead of Computer/Non Computer but we have since lost the use of a computer. Plus they prefer the tower hooked up to the Big Screen (who wouldn’t??). This has been even more appropriate with the adoption of the Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool curriculum for The Elder (more on that transition later).

But this is my preference because it just seems to flow well and logically hits everything we need to cover during the day and gives me a 2 hour break after lunch to shower do what I need or nap what I want to do. I KNOW it can work because every time I schedule an appointment in the morning (usually during group work because I can take that on the road and teach in the car or in waiting rooms), we end up finishing AHEAD of schedule and get to go to the park or have lunch with Dad. But apparently this is the exception because…

Learning Styles trump everything.

I went through months of searching for the correct curriculum that would “work” for The Younger who’s style includes lots of hands-on, lots of movement, lots of interaction, lots of noise, lots of things going on at the same time. Whew! The Elder pretty much can handle any curriculum that I throw at him as long as it’s quiet, he can be somewhat alone (I can be close to him but I get “shushed” a lot), he can self-teach – only needing me to monitor frustration level, or if it is something that I have deemed as “one-on-one” work. This means that The Elder wakes up an hour before the rest of us (on his own) to do his individual work in peace…heavenly. I wake up and there’s only half-an-hour’s worth of teaching to do with him individually and The Younger isn’t even awake yet!

Therein lies the problem…never wake a sleeping baby, right? I’ve had to start waking him up to start his work (which is still much later than when he was in public school, mind you). Early morning just does not suit him. In fact, he learns best in the afternoon. I should have taken the clue from when he was in public school: he would jump off the bus at 3:30 and immediately do his homework and then ask if we could “play” school so he could fabricate more homework or pretend to be the teacher. It just goes to show that…

Time of Day is very much so a part of one’s Learning Style!

Well we decided to compromise because I am not a very good teacher (mom/person/etc.) in the late afternoon when I’m just counting the minutes before The Hub comes home so I can find a quiet place. Plus the neighborhood kids are home or done with their school and are ready to play, so it wasn’t a difficult compromise on his part either. We switched his Individual Work to right after lunchtime and moved his Free Time up to the morning.

The deal was that, in order to do this, he would have to stay a day ahead and do “Tomorrow’s” assignments Today. That gave me the peace of mind that he was not “falling behind” in the lesson plans (more on that neurosis later). He was so excited that he actually did TWO DAYS worth of assignments yesterday after lunch so that we could start the new schedule today! So here’s the new plan we are trying today.

Time of Day The Elder The Younger
8ish Computer Work Free Time
9ish Non Computer Work Free Time
10ish Snack and Group Work
12ish Lunch and Free Time Lunch and Computer Work
1ish Free Time Non Computer Work
2ish Snack and Group Reading

Yes, I had to forego my mommy break after lunch, but it will be worth it if it means mornings won’t be a struggle for me him.

How do you tweak your schedule to accommodate the different learning styles of your students?

 

Pocket Chart Schedule

Their Visual Schedule “Checklist”