I can always count on Kysha for inspiration. After hearing Sally Clarkson speak at the HOTM Conference, and then reading her post on learning styles, I went back to one of my homeschool favorites, Educating the Whole Hearted Child, to re-read and see what I might learn.
When I was first introduced to learning styles in children I have to admit something: I blew it off. Don’t get me wrong, I am a staunch believer in the concept of learning styles. In my corporate days, I was formally trained in temperaments as well as the Meyers-Briggs instrument. Being able to answer the proverbial “what makes people tick” question helped me to help others with a bit more targeted assistance. But my earliest education regarding learning styles as they related to home education was more geared toward curriculum. Specifically, the thinking was that if you have this type of child, then buy this type of curriculum. For a child who prefers this, consider purchasing this. It was great information, but it immediately posed several problems for me:
1) Our kids used A Beka while in private school and came home each day with numerous worksheets. Though I’ve since used A Beka with both our children, at the time I thought if I had to find storage for one more worksheet that I’d be suffocated underneath.
2) The idea of buying different curriculum packages for different children sounded exhausting and expensive.
I think that ultimately, there was a disconnect for me because I never looked at learning styles as a connection to a profession, and much less to a spiritual vocation. From my own upbringing, there was school, and school geared you, at the college level, toward work. There was no discussion of what style you used to learn, and how the same combination you used to learn is the same combination God plans for you to do specific things for the Kingdom.
In listening to Ms. Clarkson’s presentation on learning styles and a host of other topics, I was struck by how, even in talking about learning styles, she spoke of how we should always point our children back to God. It was a very different way of looking at how learning styles are not as much about curriculum choices as they are about giving God glory. Look at this:
‘If God has given you a Helper (Facts and Values modes of learning) he knew you could meet the challenges of educating this servant child. God designed your little boy or girl to help and appreciate others. As a future leader, God will some day use your Helper child to serve others, organize people and…If your Helper is a girl, her biblical role model might be Ruth, whose quiet life of service and loyalty to Naomi was rewarded by God…Her servant heart and practical skills eventually led her to become the wife of Boaz, and the great-grandmother of David.’ (Mason, pg. 153)
This, along with other passages on this particular page, describes the oldest perfectly. In reading, I “found” our son, too.
Ultimately, who our children will become is God’s work and His will. We are given care over them for a brief time, and with the help of the good Lord, we do our level-headed best. Where we screw up, there is still grace and mercy. However, re-reading these pages gave me such a peace about who our kids are. And every now and then, He shows us, in the midst of all the pulling and tugging, the questions and the uncertainties, and yes, even the sinful anxieties, a glimpse of Ruth, a peek at Paul, or David, or Esther, or Peter, or Deborah. May He strengthen our resolve to let Him do His work.