Learning Styles...as promised!

It is so interesting to deal with our children and their differing learning styles when we are  parents, obviously wanting them to do their best in their schoolwork!  I don’t know about you, but I often failed at navigating this tenuous issue, because I could only relate to being an avid note taker when I was in school.  In fact, I continue to this day, to be prolific in writing down every word when I attend seminars or workshops.  My learning style necessitates getting the speaker’s/professor’s words down in a notebook verbatim in order to review what they said once I return from the class or weekend of training.  I need to be able to go back over things so they stick.

My sons, on the other hand, are definitely from this current young generation.  It would drive me absolutely raving nuts to have music playing, or conversations happening simultaneously while I was trying to concentrate on information that had been disseminated by someone usually older and definitely wiser than myself in high school and college.  However, my boys would sit up in their rooms during their high school years with iTunes playing their favorite music, their computers open and live on the latest Facebook chat about something that happened in school that day, and their homework assignment spread out in front of them, along with perhaps their day planner which they would refer to occasionally as well for reminders of other commitments!  It boggled my mind!

When I was in high school, I would sequester myself away and work in silence, totally focused on the task or assignment at hand, with little interruption and no other project needing my attention at the moment.  I had to stay dedicated to one thing without distractions or I would find myself onto another thing in the blink of an eye~ ignoring what I had gone to my room to do!

Now this difference in learning styles has gotten me in trouble on a number of occasions with my boys.  Because I can’t relate to the multitasking mode of having lots of different things going on at the same time, I would question their ability to get their jobs (homework, projects, research) done. And that’s when the fight would start.  “Mom!” they would say, “this is the way I do it, okay?  I can get things done better this way! What is my GPA?”  Quite honestly, they were right…I couldn’t complain.  They were all at the top of their class and we rarely had to harp on them to get their homework done.  I’m not trying to brag here, I am just telling it like it was~ we were definitely blessed.  So what was I doing, getting on their case about how they chose to accomplish their tasks?

So often as parents, we can’t understand the difference in learning styles.  We force on our children the way we would do things, because that’s what we know. When our oldest was in college, we visited for a Parent’s Weekend and attended a physics class with him. During the class, he was attentive but never opened his book and never lifted his pen to take a single note on the lecture.  The professor filled three blackboards with formulas and equations!  It was mind-blowing!

Then it was my turn to lecture (or so I thought) “How can you be so lackadaisical about your class and your education! You never even opened your textbook or your notebook to take notes! I can’t believe how rude that must have seemed to your professor.”  The look my son gave me shriveled me on the spot and put me immediately in my place. “Mom!  If I get it, I get it!” He told me!  He graduated with a 3.9 average, a double mathematics and physics major.  One of his professors even asked him to teach a class for her at one point!  No arguments~ I finally learned my lesson!

Ann Van De Water, Author, MOMMY MEMOIRS-A Hilarious and Heartwarming Look at the Trials and Triumphs of Being a Mom

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More tomorrow ~ until then…