Learning Styles

There is a lot of information about on this subject out in the world and this is a simplified overview.  If you are new to home education, this might be a topic you have never really thought about.  In your research, know that the term “learning style” may also be called “intelligences”.

I know I never considered it until someone suggested I read The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias but I am so glad I stopped and took the time to read it.  After years of homeschooling, I still remind myself of my learning style versus my child’s learning style.  They are opposite.

Books about learning styles:

The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias

Howard Gardner Theory of Multiple Intelligences


Here is a breakdown of some theories and links to more information as applicable:

Theory:       http://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/

Visual (spatial):  You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.

Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music

Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands, and sense of touch.

Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.

Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and us self-study.


Theory:  Richard Felder and Linda Silverman in the late 1980s (revised by Felder in 2002)       http://www.mindtools.com/mnemlsty.html

Sensory learners prefer concrete, practical, and procedural information. They look for the facts.


Intuitive learners prefer conceptual, innovative, and theoretical information.  They look for the  meaning.

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Visual learners prefer graphs, pictures, and diagrams. They look for visual representations of information.


Verbal learners prefer to hear or read information. They look for explanations with words.

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Active learners prefer to manipulate objects, do physical experiments, and learn by trying. They enjoy working in groups to figure out problems.


Reflective learners prefer to think things through, to evaluate options, and learn by analysis. They enjoy figuring out a problem on their own.

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Global learners prefer a holistic and systematic approach. They see the big picture first and then fill in the details.


Sequential learners prefer to have information presented linearly and in an orderly manner. They put together the details in order to understand the big picture emerges.


Theory:  Perhaps the one referred to most – visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic. Determine which ways your child learns best.  May be a combination of several.

Visual learners prefer or learn best from posters, picture, murals, movies, videos, computer games, field trips, dramatizations, and experiments.

Auditory learners prefer or learn best from music, read-alouds, discussions, lectures, speeches, interviews, audiobooks, radio, and debates.

Tactile learners prefer or learn best from crafts, clay, manipulatives, painting, sewing, wood working, experiments.

Kinesthetic learners prefer or learn best with manipulatives, arts and crafts, experiments, field trips, games.



Children and adults demonstrate intellectual ability in different ways.  The information below was taken from LD Pride. More information can be found at the site.

Visual/Spatial Intelligence

Ability to perceive the visual. These learners tend to think in pictures and need to create vivid mental images to retain information. They enjoy looking at maps, charts, pictures, videos, and movies.

Their skills include: puzzle building, reading, writing, understanding charts and graphs, a good sense of directions, sketching, painting, creating visual metaphors and analogies (perhaps through the visual arts), manipulating images, constructing, fixing, designing practical objects, interpreting visual images,

Possible career interests: navigators, sculptors, visual arts, inventors, architects, interior designers, mechanics, engineers.

Verbal/Linguistic Intelligence

Ability to use words and language. These learners have highly developed auditory skills and are generally elegant speakers. They think in words rather than pictures.

Their skills include: listening, speaking, writing, storytelling, explaining, teaching, using humor, understanding the syntax and meaning of words, remembering information, convincing someone of their point of view, analyzing language usage.

Possible career interests: Poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, translator

Bodily/Kinesthetic Intelligence

Ability to control body movements and handle objects skillfully. These learners express themselves through movement. They have a good sense of balance and eye hand co-ordination. (e.g. ball play, balance beams). Through interacting with the space around them, they are able to remember and process information.

Their skills include: dancing, physical co-ordination, sports, hands on experimentation, using body language, crafts, acting, miming, using their hands to create or build, expressing emotions through the body.

Possible career paths: Athletes, physical education teachers, dancers, actors, firefighters, artisans.


Logical/Mathematical Intelligence

Ability to use reason, logic, and numbers. These learners think conceptually in logical and numerical patterns making connections between pieces of information. Always curious about the world around them, these learners ask lots of questions and like to do experiments.

Their skills include: problem solving, classifying and categorizing information, working with abstract concepts to figure out the relationship of each to the other, handling long chains of reason to make local progressions, doing controlled experiments, questioning and wondering about natural events, performing complex mathematical calculations, working with geometric shapes

Possible career paths: Scientists, engineers, computer programmers, researchers, accountants, mathematicians.

Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence

Ability to produce and appreciate music. These musically inclined learners think in sounds, rhythms, and patterns. They immediately respond to music either appreciating or criticizing what they hear. Many of these learners are extremely sensitive to environmental sounds (e.g. crickets, dripping, taps).

Their skills include: singing, whistling, playing musical instruments, recognizing tonal patterns, composing music, remembering melodies, understanding the structure and rhythm of music

Possible career paths: musician, disc jockey, singer, composer.

Interpersonal Intelligence

Ability to relate and understand others. These learners try to see things from other people’s point of view in order to understand how they think and feel. They often have an uncanny ability to sense feelings, intentions, and motivations. They are great organizers, although they sometimes resort to manipulation. Generally they try to maintain peace in group settings and encourage cooperation. They use both verbal (e.g. speaking) and non-verbal language (e.g. eye contact, body language) to open communication channels with others.

Their skills include: seeing things from other perspectives (dual-perspective), listening, using empathy, understanding other people’s moods and feelings, counseling, cooperating with groups, noticing people’s moods, motivations and intentions, communicating both verbally and non-verbally, building trust, peaceful conflict resolution, establishing positive relations with other people.

Possible Career Paths: Counselor, salesperson, politician, business person.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

Ability to self- reflect and be aware of one’s inner state of being. These learners try to understand their inner feelings, dreams, relationships with others, and strengths and weaknesses.

Their skills include: Recognizing their own strengths and weaknesses, reflecting and analyzing themselves, awareness of their inner feelings, desires and dreams, evaluating their thinking patterns, reasoning with themselves, understanding their role in relationship to others

Possible Career Paths: Researchers, theorists, philosophers.


Want to further the discussion?  Post on Homeschoolers of Lake County Facebook group page.  You can also email us at homeschoolersoflakecounty@gmail.com.

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