This past month I have helped three of my teens select courses for the upcoming school year. We live in a small rural school district, and for the size of the school there are many courses to choose from in the 2017-18 school year. The advantages of being in a small school is that the teachers know our family and our teens. The disadvantage of being in a small school district is that the teachers think they know our family and our teens.


Let me explain. Each of our four children learns in a combination of different ways. As a teacher for many years in several small school districts, I had a series of children from one family pass through my science room door. I would have the oldest child in the family come through and perform wonderfully in my class –all A’s and B’s, no missing work, everything right on time. Then the younger sibling would enter the classroom. He or she would be nothing like the former sibling. Work was late, study time was sparse, and talking in the classroom was abundant. I had entered the relationship with the younger sibling with the assumption that habits of the older sibling would carry through, and I was wrong! This was before I realized all children learn in different ways.


This can happen in a small school district where teachers can make assumptions about a child and his/her siblings. Often the assumption is wrong! This is where the parents can help by knowing how your teen learns best and with what learning style. Finding the environment that will help accelerate learning can also be an advantage to your teen.


There is an easy online quiz that will help you and your teen discover his/her style of learning: The VARK, (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic) questionnaire helps determine a learning preference and suggests learning strategies that can help your teen to study and acquire knowledge. I suggest to parents that they also take the VARK to better understand how they learn. In many instances a parent’s learning preference is different from their teen’s.


The summary for the Four Learning Styles can be found here.


Since a person’s learning preferences can be a combination of several styles, the boundaries are not rigid. Determining what learning strategies are best for your teen is the goal. A better understanding of the learning strategies can assist parents, teachers, and students to better understand that there is more than one way to learn in a school environment.


As my teens select their upcoming classes, I also helped them look at their learning styles to guide them in understanding that some courses fit their style of learning better than others. In addition, some teacher’s ways of teaching will fit a child better than other teachers.

Building your understanding of learning styles can help you can assist your teens in unleashing their brilliance!


I will be talking more about each of the different learning preferences in a Facebook Live talk at the end of the month. You can  subscribe to the Wildewood Learning channel or sign up for the Wildewood Learning newsletter to receive notice when the replay of the talk is posted.


Kathy Magnusson M.Ed.

Kathy Magnusson, M. Ed, support parents in creating educational options for their teen. She has been in the field of education for over 20 years and is passionate in engaging young adults in unleashing their unique brilliance. As an educator and coach, Kathy has supported parents in finding ways to help their teen feel more capable and confident. When she’s not chasing after her own four teens on a farm near Roseau, MN, you can find her serenely kayaking or relaxing with a good book at the family lake cabin in Ontario, Canada.

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