Week 3 of the series, Understanding How Your Child Learns is here. Last week, we talked about how to reach the auditory learner. Today, we’ll learn about homeschooling the kinesthetic/tactile learner.
Several years ago, when I was a fifth grade teacher, I taught a boy I’ll call Richard. Richard was a bright child, but he was fidgety. When it was time for him to do seat work, Richard had a hard time concentrating. Richard drummed beats on his textbooks, he tapped his pencil on his desk, he got up to sharpen his pencil several times, and he leaned back in his chair instead of sitting on it.
One morning, I asked Richard why he couldn’t sit and work. He replied, “I don’t know. I just have to be moving.” From that point on, I made adjustments for Richard to help him complete tasks more successfully. I allowed him to push his chair to the side and stand or kneel in front of his desk while writing. I allowed him to roll a stress ball in his hands as I taught a lesson. I let Richard stand against the wall and sway in the back of the classroom while the class watched a video. All of these accommodations helped Richard find success in the classroom.
Kinesthetic/tactile learners like Richard learn best by moving and doing. Here are some characteristics found in these types of learners. Kinesthetic/tactile learners:
- enjoy taking things apart and putting them back together again,
- prefer to complete hands on projects,
- figure things out rather than read directions,
- like to doodle and draw,
- touch people as they talk to them,
- use lots of gestures as they speak, and
- find it difficult to sit still
If you’re homeschooling a kinesthetic/tactile learner, you can meet her needs in your safe and comfortable home environment. Addressing this learning style can be fun as it allows the homeschooling mom to implement a variety of interesting approaches that will help your child grasp what you’re teaching. Here are some tips.
- Take frequent breaks. No one knows your child better than you. When she begins to show signs of weariness, take a short break. If you try to unleash too much information at once, your child won’t be able to fully process what you’ve taught. Plan your day so that it includes regular break times.
- Provide opportunities for physical activity throughout the day. Begin the day with a burst of physical activity to help the kids get the “wiggles” out. Start off with a round of morning exercises including stretching, jumping jacks, or jogging in place. If the weather permits, let the kids run around outside for a bit after lunch. In the afternoon, take a short walk.
- Let your child lie on the floor or couch during instruction. This is one of things I most enjoy about homeschooling. The kids aren’t soldered to chairs during instruction. As long as it’s not interfering with learning, let them get comfortable as you teach. I’ve taught many history lessons to children comfortably stretched out on the couch.
- Use a special chair. If your child must sit upright, consider letting him use a special moving chair such as a beanbag chair, rocking chair, or swivel chair. This will provide the movement kinesthetic/tactile learner needs but still keeps him seated.
- Let your child hold onto something while you teach. Fidgety fingers need something to do. Allowing your child to roll a stress ball in his hands as you teach the lesson can help improve your child’s focus. For Sugar Plum this means allowing her to have her blanket in hand. As I read, she likes to roll the blanket between the palms of her hands.
- Use manipulatives and games when possible. During math, make use of those rods and cubes, counting bears, and fraction tiles in your math bin. Let your child use the globe during history and build models in science. Teach concepts and review information by playing board games. Moving pawns around a board game is great way for kinesthetic/tactile learners to touch as they learn.
- Make lapbooks. Lap books are full of hands on activities like cutting, pasting, drawing, and coloring. The hands of your active learner will work hard to create these marvelous books that can be used for teaching, review, and assessment. If you’re new to lapbooking watch this tutorial to learn about them. Once you’re ready begin, find free lap book templates at Homeschool Share.
If you’re homeschooling a kinesthetic/tactile learner, there are many ways to meet his needs. Just be sure to focus on hands on activities and movement. Do you have any tips for working with kinesthetic/tactile learners? If so, share what you know by leaving a comment.
Photo courtesy of Phaitoon/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
© 2013 – 2014, Andrea Thorpe. All rights reserved.