What Homeschoolers Should Know About Learning Styles

Studies show that seventy percent of children do NOT learn well in the way the schools teach-lecture/ textbook/ test–most students need more.

Learning styles researchers state there are 4 identifiable learners. The four-step lesson cycle is a way to teach to all four learning styles. It does not isolate one type of learning but, instead, teaches in all four ways so that students relate to the subject in the way that is the most comfortable for them, and improves their ability to learn in other ways as well.

Bernice McCarthy author of Teaching Around the 4MAT® Cycle: Designing Instruction for Diverse Learners with Diverse Learning Styles describes four learning types.

The Four Learning Styles Identified:

  • Type 1: Creative Learners are people-people. They need to know how the material relates to their lives in a personal way. This type of learner does well with praise and feedback.
  • Type 2: Analytic Learners are interested in finding out facts. This type of learner does well in school with the lecture/study/test methods. Most children need more.
  • Type 3: Practical Learners are curious about how things work; ninety-five percent of engineers tested are Type-3 learners. They perceive things concretely and process actively.
  • Type 4: Influential Learners are self-taught learners. They need to find ways to use the material in life.

  • Public schools teach for the needs of the Type-2 Analytic Learner, but studies show that seventy percent of children need more. The Heart of Wisdom curriculum incorporates a four-step learning cycle in every lesson so that at some time during the lesson each learning style is addressed. Each lesson contains a section that will appeal to each type of learner. Each student is motivated by feeling comfortable in one of the steps as well as being challenged to be involved in the other steps.


    Christians should be cautious when studying learning-style theories. As with other truths, nonbelievers take a discovery, as the secular world often does, and distort the principles to fit their secular worldview. New Age religion and humanistic psychology take things like learning differences and brain dominance and use them as an excuse for sin. The pagans of ancient Greece recognized the principle of personality differences and then proceeded to label different personalities to fit their pagan beliefs.

    Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung are responsible for most of the psychological teachings of the four personality types. Not only were both men unbelievers, they were anti-Christian. The humanistic psychology that is creeping into our churches today is not in line with biblical principles, is not of God, and is ultimately destructive. Any time that psychology or the names Freud or Jung come into play, a red flag should wave.

    This does not mean we must shun useful inventions because nonbelievers discovered them, just as we would not discount inventions such as the automobile or eyeglasses, which we use every day. It simply means that caution should be exercised and all things should be checked against Scripture for ways they can be used to accomplish God’s will.

    The Bible describes how different people are given different gifts and talents. Anything you read about learning styles should line up with God’s Word and never be used as an excuse for sin or shortcomings. They should not be used to categorize or label. They should be used to realize the benefits of teaching new concepts through different modes of learning and to help children who are having difficulty grasping or retaining information. In fact, we should not teach exclusively to any one particular learning style–else the student would only learn in one mode. We need to teach children to recognize their strengths and improve on their weaknesses.

    The fact is that people have different preferences in all areas of life. Some of us like broccoli, and some of us like spinach. Some of us prefer red, and some prefer blue. Some of us prefer discussion and interaction, and some prefer to be quiet and alone. And of course, in different stages of life, we change, and our preferences can change. The task for educators is to prove this to students, so they will understand the importance of every learning mode in preparing them for the unforeseen and ever-changing patterns of their lives.

    Different Gifts and Talents

    The most important thing to know about learning styles is that no one style is any better than another. We all have different intellectual strengths. No one fits into a box; we are all unique individuals created by God. Each of us is a combination of the four types, more or less in one or two categories.

    The Bible teaches that we are all different parts of the body of Christ and one part is no better than another part.

    For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body [were] an eye, where [would be] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [would be] the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where [would be] the body? But now [they are] many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness. For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members shouldhave the same care one for another (1 Corinthians 12:12-25).

    Left Brain/Right Brain

    In the last 20 years, neurosurgeons have discovered that each of the two hemispheres of the brain is responsible for different modes of thinking and specializes in certain skills. Studies reveal that the left brain is mostly responsible for logic, sequence, and rational thinking. The right brain is mostly responsible for random, unordered, and intuitive creativity. A student’s age, home environment and background are also factors in determining which hemisphere of the brain he or she will use more.

    Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic

    There are many ways to categorize learning styles. Most of us are familiar with the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic channels of learning. Visual learners prefer to learn by seeing and watching demonstrations. Auditory learners prefer to learn through verbal instructions from others or themselves. Kinesthetic learners prefer to learn by direct involvement and doing things with what they are learning.

    The Learning Styles Tests

    These learning styles are based on the work of Gregorc & Butler (1984) and Kolb (1984). The Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire developed by Solomon and Felder (Felder, 1993) provides data relevant to this theory. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Kiersey Temperament Sorter II define an associated theory for personality style and temperaments.

    The above is an excerpt from The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach This approach can be used for all grade levels. 500 pages. Free unit study Excerpt (60+ pages)

    Now that you know there are four learning styles how will this help you teach?

    Regina Angelina

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