(Even when Tiny was little, he would have to set things to music to learn.)
Tiny was my first baby I had while homeschooling and I spent many days on the couch with morning sickness when I was pregnant with him. While resting on the couch, I used music to teach my older sons because they were preschoolers. I am convinced that hearing me read books to his brothers and playing music for them while he was in my womb made Tiny an auditory learner.
Homeschooling An Auditory Learner
It didn’t stop there. The Mr. loved carrying each son in his arms; he spent many days and nights with each son on his chest, humming to them directly in their ear. Like me, the Mr. loves all kinds of music, but you wouldn’t want either one of us to sing to you. But we have music at some time in our day.
Do you know to this day Tiny hums while he does his school and while he does other things? I knew early on that I had a strong auditory learner and it’s not easy to school him when your other kids need quiet as they work.
On top of all that, I am a visual learner and need silence when I work. That wasn’t going to work as I taught Tiny.
Look at a few of the problems I’ve encountered and a tip or two to help you.
Problem One: They need to work with you one-to-one longer in a subject they struggle with. For us, it’s spelling.
The most important thing to remember is that your child advanced as fast as he did (or if he hasn’t) because your voice made all the difference. Your child’s strength is that he needs to listen to learn and if it’s been your voice, you need to be careful to not take that away so fast, like I did.
Don’t be quick to let him work independently on all things even if he is in middle or high school.
I learned this the hard way when I tried to let Tiny do his spelling independently too soon.
With auditory learners, pitch and pause modeled by you are everything whether it comes to spelling or reading.
Because I let Tiny do spelling independently at the same age I did my other two boys, he has struggled with it.
I have had to go back and work with him on it because he got use to the way I called out the spelling words when he was younger.
It made a difference in how he advanced in spelling. Unknowingly, my teaching method for spelling was spot on for his auditory need.
Here is one way I teach spelling to my sons. I call spelling words out by saying the name of the word first and give a definition of it. Pretty normal there.
But animated teacher that I am, then I hold my hand up in the air and bring it to the right side and say the first sound of the word, then I move my hand to the center and say the second sound and then to the left and say the last sound. Each sound is over exaggerated and very clear and distinct.
I taught all of my boys this way to show them how to break words down into sounds or their smallest part.
But this is exactly how an auditory learner learns and it lines up with his strength. When he hears me say the word broken down into sounds, his spelling is solid.
Problem Two: I call this a problem or a challenge at the very least, which is reading aloud.
The reason it’s a challenge is because if you have younger children, reading aloud with your auditory learner is not just about pleasure but they need your help to get the meaning from text.
Now, this is one thing I’ve done right.
I have never been a fan of reading aloud to my children only when they are little. The rewards change at they grow older because it’s now about discussing with boys the different view of the characters in the literature.
We still read aloud through to high school.
In addition, I haven’t realized until this year that I have been strengthening his reading ability further because he is an auditory learner. He is still learning from me as I read. I know this because as I change the pitch and power in my voice, he gets the point in the literature. This teaches him how he needs to read to himself.
My other two boys just got it when they read alone. The challenge here is that when you have younger kids and an older auditory learner they may not necessarily find delight in the same material.
I’ve learned that if you keep the younger kids interested, the auditory learner can learn from any book as long as he hears your voice.
In addition, audio books for the older learner fills that need they have because it can be exhausting to read each day with a lesson in mind. I try to focus on the enjoyment of reading aloud.
Problem Three: Along with being an auditory learner, there may be a need to wiggle, which can be a distraction.
This is also a challenge because it can make teaching them seem like a 3-ring circus, which I don’t have a problem with now, but may have been a problem in my earlier days of homeschooling.
For example, even in middle school, Tiny would throw a football while spelling a word out loud.
Also, Tiny turns grammar rules that he needs to memorize into musical jingles. If I’m not looking, he will add in a dance move.
He also has a need to recite things more to me than my other boys. He is constantly interrupting me with what he is learning or thinking.
Before I understood about his learning style, I thought he was just not putting effort into something. For example, he wouldn’t study his vocabulary very long or spelling before he brought the book to me to go over with them.
Instead of being lazy about it, it was quite the opposite. He was doing his school and applying his strength of learning out loud and with others.
He learns best by discussing things he learned with me and moving around. At first, it was very distracting for me, but having another son who learns by moving, I recognized the behavior.
When he exhausts me, he is more than willing to go into another room, shut the door and read out loud.
I’m still discovering new ways for Tiny to learn while listening, but to also teach him how to absorb information when others are not around to listen to.
Do you have an auditory learner? Have you recognized the signs? And what do you do?
Also, look at these articles: Homeschooling: Learning Styles – What’s the Difference anyway, Day 16: Practical Tips for Learning Styles and Day 15: Discovering Learning Styles.
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