You cannot successfully choose a curriculum for your family if you don't understand the various learning styles (and your own teaching style) at play... We don't all learn in the same way and one of the joys of Home Education is that we can adapt our learning so that it works for everyone concerned! Because families are made up of various types of learners no two families will have the same approach and goals. Therefor what works for one family will not neccessarily work for another. The reason information on learning styles is shared, is to assist you in understanding this and helping you choose an approach that might work for YOU!

Celebrate YOUR child!

     Your child is made in God’s image. He is a spirit, living in a body and has a soul (will, intellect & emotions). You should recognize and respect your child’s uniqueness and meet his needs in all these realms when homeschooling. It should become a lifestyle that hits a balance between, head, heart and hand.

     Your child is a whole person (not an empty vessel) with a purpose and desire to learn (curiosity). The poet WB Yeats wrote: “ Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire” Your child is a (unique) bundle of dynamite sticks! You just need to help him unravel the various fuses and set them alight one by one! A teacher teaches but a learner LEARNS!

      Often the characteristics and behaviors that annoy us most about our children will be the qualities that make them successful as adults.

      The quality of relationship you have with each child will determine the effectiveness of techniques you use . If you have cultivated a loving and healthy relationship, they will care very much about preserving it. Even a strong willed child responds more to love and genuine kindness than to creative, flashy methods and approaches!



What motivates us to learn?

1)   When we are inwardly driven (curious or motivated due to an interest) e.g. John Holt fiddling and children copying and experimenting.

2)   Have something to hook the information on (results in long term retention) e.g. a unit study of rocks leads to an understanding of organic chemistry.

3)   It’s fun (the method capitalizes on our strengths e.g. DO 5 verbs, FETCH 5 nouns for a kinesthetic learner)

4)   There is a purpose    



How do we learn?

We need to distinguish between the way we (and our children)

1)       PERCEIVE things (concretely or abstractly)

2)       ORDER or use this knowledge (sequentially or randomly)

1) + 2) = MINDSTYLES: Concrete Sequential, Abstract Sequential (Left Brain) & Concrete Random, Abstract Random (Right Brain)

3)   UNDERSTAND (analytically or globally)

4)   REMEMBER (auditory i.e. by listening, visually i.e. by seeing or kinesthetically i.e. by doing) and

5)   CONCENTRATE (when e.g. morning or evening, where e.g. at a desk or on the floor & with what e.g. music, food, good lighting, order)

6)   Are INTELLIGENT (linguistically, logical-mathematically, spatially, musically, bodily-kinesthetically, interpersonally & intrapersonally)

Below follows more detail on the above...



1) How we perceive things

A. Concretely  - using our five senses or

B. Abstractly - using our intuition or imagination  



2) How we order things

A. Sequentially – in a linear, step-by-step manner or

B. Randomly – in chunks with no particular sequence



1) + 2) = Mindstyles

A. Concrete Sequential (Gum watches)

The concrete sequential is predictable. They do not like surprises! Their concrete nature makes them practical and hands-on, and their sequential bent keeps them organized and concerned with standards and protocol.

1)  Character traits:

Hard working









2)   What they do best:

Apply ideas in a practical way


Fine Tune ideas to make them more efficient, economical etc

Produce concrete products from abstract ideas

Work well within time limits


3)   What’s hard for them:

Working in groups

Discussion with no specific point

      Working in a disorganized environment

      Following incomplete or unclear directions   

      Working with abstract ideas

      Demands to “use your imagination” or “read between the lines”

      Questions with no right or wrong answers


4)   What makes most sense to them:

Working systematically, step-by-step

Paying close attention to detail

Having a schedule to follow

Using literal interpretations

Knowing what’s expected of them

Establishing routines and ways of doing things


5)   What stresses them:

Too much to do

Not knowing where to begin

No clean, quiet places

Not knowing expectations

Vague or general directions

Not seeing an example


6)   What they thrive on:





Tangible rewards

Literal language


7)   What others don’t like about them:



Things often seem more important than people

Tunnel Vision

Lack of adaptability


8)   What others like about them:



      Attention to detail

      Completion of tasks

      Stability and dependability


9)   What questions they ask when learning:

What facts do I need?

How do I do it?

What should it look like?

When is it due?


10)  What excuses they make:

I can’t concentrate (they need to focus on one thing at a time)

      I don’t know what to do (they need to know step-by step what’s expected)


11)   What motivates them: (they need PROOF of accomplishment)

To know exactly what’s expected of them, preferably in writing e.g. a chore chart (they can’t deal with “this room’s a mess”, it’s too vague)

To have a task broken down into manageable parts with definite outcomes & deadlines

Tangible rewards (gold stars, sweets, grades, money)


12)   What their love language is:



13)   What their motivational gifts are (Rom12:6– 8):

Leaders (but not visionary)

Serving (but not in groups)


14)   What this HS Mom is like

She likes:

Organizing the schoolroom (labels and all)

Planning the school year


Working according to a schedule

Following a teachers manual to the letter


She doesn’t like:

Using her imagination

Designing her own curriculum (unless she has definite specifications to work by e.g.

“You can teach your child successfully ~ Ruth Beechik)


What’s hard for her:

To see her CHILDREN as more important than the schedule or school work

To follow her children’s interests (to ignore her schedule)

To skip pages!

To switch curricula!

To not have tangible rewards (a good exam result)


She needs:

A schoolroom (other mom’s can cope with a diningroom table or sittingroom floor!)

To know what is expected of her (set low or small goals)

To do one thing at a time

She seems to be Mrs Capability BUT she is also the first one that willfeel totally overwhelmed and head for “HS burnout”!!!  


B. Abstract Sequential (JellyTots on toothpicks)

The abstract sequential is dedicated to being as thorough and deliberate as possible. They usually prefer to take their time even if it means accepting a penalty for being late. They learn for learning’s sake (they love researching) and not for frivolous awards!

1)   Character traits:










2)   What they do best:

Gather data before making decisions

Analyse ideas

Provide logical sequence

Use facts to prove or disprove theories

Analyse the means to achieve a goal


3)   What’s hard for them:

No time to deal with a subject thoroughly

Repeating the same tasks over

Lots of specific rules and regulations

“Sentimental” thinking

Expressing their emotions

Being diplomatic when convincing someone else of their point of view

Not monopolizing a conversation about a subject that interests them


4)   What makes most sense to them:

Using exact, well-researched info

Learning more by watching than doing

Using logical reasoning

A teacher who is an expert in the subject

Abstract ideas

Working through an issue thoroughly


5)   What stresses them:

Unreasonable deadlines

Being rushed through anything

Not having questions answered

Abiding in sentimental decisions

Expressing feelings and emotions


6)   What they thrive on:


      Credible sources of information

      Logical outcomes

      Time to work

      Oppertunities to analyse

      Appreciation for their input


7)   What others don’t like about them:



Not in touch with reality (verstrooide professor)

Need everything explained

Perceive things in numbers, not effort


8)   What others like about them:



Ready knowledge

Analyse before making a decision

      Ability to conceptualise an idea


9)   What questions they ask when learning:

How do I know this is true

Have we considered the possibilities

What will we need to accomplish this


10)   What excuses they make:

I’m too bored (they are not challenged, it does not interest them or they have lost respect for your credibility or authority)

I never have enough time to finish my work/assignments            (they need to work through stuff thoroughly)


11)   What motivates them: (they need a SENSE of accomplishment)

Serious and genuine recognition for their achievements

A higher more challenging level of work the next time round

Having a well defined goal

      Knowing the importance of the goal

It’s logical and makes sense (they are not moved by any emotional approach including guilt to motivate them)

      It contributes to a general love of learning

Rewards of free time (to pursue their interests)


12)   What their love language is:

Words of affirmation

Quality time


13)   What their motivational gifts are (Rom12:6– 8):




14)   What this HS Mom is like

She likes:

Researching and teaching (putting together her own curricula)

Following HER interests

Knowing the purpose of a specific task

Having a specific goal


She doesn’t like:

Time constraints

A rigid, dictating curriculum

Hands-on stuff

Not knowing why she’s doing something


What’s hard for her:

To keep it simple and to the point

To end a Unit!

To do hands-on projects (including timelines)


She needs:

            Appreciation for her input

Answers to her questions (no open endedness)  


C. Abstract Random (Marshmellows)

Abstract randoms are not nearly as concerned about facts and details as they are about the people involved. They’re just as intelligent as all the other styles, but prefer not to waste their intelligence on anything they don’t personally care about or can’t apply to their own lives.

1)   Character traits:










2)   What they do best:

Listen sincerely to others

Understand feelings and emotions

Focus on themes and ideas

Bring harmony to groups situations/the family

Have good rapport with almost anybody

Recognise emotional needs of others


3)   What’s hard for them:

Having to justify or explain feelings


      Working with unfriendly people

      Giving exact details

      Accepting even positive criticism

      Focusing on one thing at a time           


4)   What makes most sense to them:

Personalising learning (following their interests)

            Having broad general principles

            Maintaining friendly relationships with all where possible

            Participating enthusiastically in projects they believe in

Emphasising high morale

Deciding with the heart not the head


5)   What stresses them:

Having to justify feelings

Competing individually

Not feeling liked or appreciated

Pressure to be more sequential


6)   What they thrive on:

Frequent praise

Working together

Reassurance of love and worth

Oppertunities to use creativity

Acceptance of personal feelings


7)   What others don’t like about them:


Overly sensitive

Don’t take a hard stand

Unaware of time limitations

Smooth over problems rather than solve them


8)   What others like about them:




Concern for others

Understand others feelings


9)   What questions they ask when learning:

What does this have to do with ME?

Can I make a difference?


10)  What excuses they make:

The teacher/coach doesn’t like me

I can’t do maths (they battle to show the steps they used to get to the answer)

I can’t concentrate (they are easily distracted by interesting activities or conversations)


11)  What motivates them: (they need a FEELING of accomplishment)

To please a person that they love and respect (they don’t want to let the person down)

To work in groups with or alongside others

If rewarded with a social event (play-date/party/sleep-over)


12)   What their love language is:

Acts of Service

Words of Affirmation


13)   What their motivational gifts are (Rom12:6– 8):





14)  What this HS Mom is like

She likes:

Oppertunities to be creative



No time constraints

Everyone to be happy & enjoying their learning

Appreciation from her children


She doesn’t like:

A rigid, structured approach to school


Justifying what they did & why they did it

To have to report back to a CS husband who measures & analysis all learning in terms of facts.


What’s hard for her:

To plan and organize her school room

To plan her day much less the whole school term or year!


She needs:

A good relationship with her children

Her husband to express his appreciation  


D. Concrete Random (Popcorn)

Concrete randoms are driven by a need to keep things moving. With quick and usually accurate instincts, CR’s rarely spend much time researching or debating options – they just go for it, accepting the risks as part of life. They see school as a hurdle they must jump to finish the race. They have a difficult time hiding their boredom and rarely have the discipline to sit through a lengthy explanation when they’re eager to just get things over with and move on!

  1)     Character traits:










2)   What they do best:

Inspire others to take action

See many options & solutions

Contribute unusual & creative ideas

Visualise the future

See different ways to do things

Accept many types of people

Think fast on their feet

Take risks


3)   What’s hard for them:

Restrictions and limitations

Formal reports


Re-doing anything once it’s done

Keeping detailed records

Showing how they got an answer

Choosing only one answer

Having no options


4)   What makes most sense to them:

Using insight and instinct to solve problems

Working with general time frames than specific deadlines

      Developing and testing many solutions

      Using real-life experience to learn

      Trying something themselves rather than taking your word for it   


5)   What stresses them:

Excessive restrictions

Forced routine & schedules

Not being appreciated as a unique individual

Not being given credit for knowing the right thing to do


6)   What they thrive on:


Compelling reasons


Creative Alternatives

Freedom to choose options

      Guidelines instead of rules


7)   What others don’t like about them:




Not a team player

Too many whys


8)   What others like about them:

Sense of humour


Multidimensional personality




9)   What questions they ask when learning:

How much of this is really necessary?


10)   What excuses they make:

I’m too bored (they need compelling reasons to learn or pay attention)


11)   What motivates them: (they need the REWARDS of accomplishment)

Love and respect for the teacher (threats and anger don’t work)

Having choices

A compelling problem to solve (there’s a sense of adventure, something to conquer)

It’s compelling, fast-moving and intriguing


12)   What their love language is:



13)   What their motivational gifts are (Rom12:6– 8):

Visionary Leaders


14)   What this HS Mom is like

She likes:

To take risks and do it her way!

Unschooling makes absolute sense to her


She doesn’t like:

To be told exactly how she must do something



What’s hard for her:


Following a schedule


She needs:




3) How we understand  

A. Analytically (Prophet & Teacher)

1)       Character traits:

Pays close attention to details

Must be prepared (don’t spring stuff on them!)

Needs to know what to expect

Often values facts over others feelings

Prefers to finish one thing at a time



Rarely becomes personally or emotionally involved

Finds the facts but sometimes misses the main idea


2)       Strengths:





Direct answers


Remembering specifics

Sense of Justice

Individual competition

Does one thing well


3)       Frustrations:

Having opinions expressed as fact

Not understanding the purpose of doing something

Not understanding how a teacher grades (e.g. essays)

Listening to an overview without the steps involved

Listening to an explanation when all that’s needed is a “yes” or “no”

Dealing with generalities

Having to find personal meaning in all that they learn

Not finishing one task before moving on to the next (can’t multi-task)  


B. Globally (Visionary Leader, Pastor, Mercy Ministry & Encourager)

1)       Character traits:

Sensitive to other people’s feelings

Goes with the flow

Learns by discussion and working with others

Needs reassurance and reinforcement


Works hard to please others

Tries to avoid conflict

Takes all criticism personally

Avoids individual competition

May skip steps and details


2)       Strengths:

Seeing the big picture

Seeing relationships

Cooperating in group efforts

Reading between the lines

Sense of fairness

Seeing many options


Doing several things at once

Giving and receiving praise

Reading Body Language

Getting others involved


3)       Frustrations:

Having to explain themselves analytically

Not getting an opportunity to explain themselves at all

Not knowing the meaning for doing something

Having to go step by step without knowing the ultimate goal

Not being able to relate what they’re learning to their own lif

Not receiving enough credit for their effort

Having to show the steps they used to get to an answer

People who are insensitive to other’s feelings

Accepting criticisim without taking it personally  



4) How we remember  

A. Auditory (Prophet)

1) Character traits

1)       The auditory learns best by hearing or listening

2)       These people don’t necessarily make pictures in their minds, but rather filter incoming information through their listening and repeating skills (they’re always talking to themselves or humming)

3)       They tell wonderful stories and solve problems by “talking” about them

4)       Their excellent listening skills make them great musicians, disk jockeys, psychologists etc

5)       They speak in terms of “I hear you”, “that clicks”, “that sounds right” & “that rings a bell”

6)       They learn by listening and can repeat statements back to the teacher

7)       They are actively involved in class discussions but can easily be distracted

8)       Of all the learning styles, the auditory is the most talkative

9)       They often have a prophetic motivational gifting


2) How to work with them

1)       Offer to drill them verbally

2)       Help them put the information into a rhythmic pattern (perhaps create a poem, song, or a rap)

3)       Let them read aloud (not quietly) and even record it so that they can review it

4)       Minimise visual distractions in the schoolroom  


B. Visually (Leader)

1) Character traits

1)       This person actually thinks in images or pictures

2)       When they want to recall something, they simply glance upward and look at the image they have stored on their “picture screen”

3)       They speak in terms of “I see” and “I get the picture”

4)       They perform very well in a classroom as testing is conducted in a written visual format.

5)       Good visual learners read black & white text and then convert the info into pictures

6)       They easily conform to most classroom standards, such as sitting quietly, writing neatly, and organizing materials well

7)       The select careers such as architect, designer, decorator, engineer, surveyor and those that require a “vision” for the future such as CEO’s

8)       Motivational gift would be leading


2) How to work with them

1)       Give them bright colours and large spaces to draw or write

2)       Encourage them to take notes or doodle while listening

3)       Stress underlining or highlighting information in notes or books

4)       Encourage them to draw diagrams (brain maps) or pictures to remember info


C. Kinesthetically (Hands-On)

1) Character traits

1)       They prefer to learn through their body or feelings

2)       If they can touch and feel whatever is being taught they remember quite well

3)       They are usually quite restless and have difficulty paying attention as they can’t seem to stay focused

4)       They speak in terms of “I feel” or “I’d like to get a better handle on this”

5)       They do NOT have the internal pictures and organization that visual learners have. This one reason why they have difficulty demonstrating their knowledge in the traditional classroom.

6)       Often these learners have little projection of consequences for their actions, because they do not “see” out into the future. They only understand the present moment

7)       The will excel where reports can be acted out and where they can choose assignments where they can build projects

8)       Careers of choice include: athletics, building, construction, dancing (anything that involves the body and movement)

9)       Motivational Gifts would be serving and giving


2) How to work with them

1)       Encourage them to take frequent breaks (keep lessons short!)

2)       Offer big spaces to draw or write

3)       Don’t require them to sit still and look at you (use prestick or lego)

4)       When spelling words stick the letters up all over the house!

5)       Let them make/build lots of projects to retain information

6)       Provide them with stories that are filled with action and allow them to act it out

7)       Instruct them to take notes while listening  


5) How we concentrate (environmental preferences)

A. Time of day (Early Bird or Night Owl)

B. Intake (with or without food)

C. Light (bright or soft)

D. Design (formal i.e. desk, chair or informal i.e. couch, floor)

E. Temperature (hot or cold)  



6) How we are intelligent

A. Liguistically – strong verbal abilities: reading, writing, speaking and debating with particular skills in word games and semantics.

B. Logical-Mathematically strong abilities with numbers, patterns and logical reasoning. Scientists, mathematicians and philosophers are typically high in this area of intelligence.

C. Spatially – the ability to think in vivid mental pictures, restructuring an image or situation in your mind.

D. Musically – the ability to keep rhythm and melody as well as general appreciation of sounds and words.

E. Bodily-Kinesthetically – the ability to use your body skillfully. Important to surgeons, actresses, artists, athletes etc.

F. Interpersonal – the ability to intuitively understand and get along with all kinds of people.

G. Intrapersonal – Best expressed in solitude. A natural gift for understanding ourselves, the most subtle of all intelligences.  



Love Languages

  • Touch

  • Words of Affirmation

  • Acts of Service

  • Receiving Gifts

  • Quality Time

We interpret different actions as "acts of love". Some feel loved when they are TOLD that the are loved (words of affirmation), while others feel loved when they are given little gifts. Make sure that you understand your child's love language so that as you celebrate him and build his self esteem, you can communicate your affection effectively!



What to do now!

1)   Complete a Profile for each member of your family (See The WayTthey Learn for Profiles)

2)   List everyone’s strengths and challenges

3)    Rethink your family’s vision

4)    Rethink your goals for each family member (short and long term)

5)    Inform your children about their unique learning styles (exhort them!)

Consult an educational psychologist or
Martie du Plessis (Cell: 082 57 414 33  Tel: 058 256 1960)
for a personal assessment if neccessary.



Main sources of information:

1)       The Way They Learn by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

2)       Every Child Can Succeed by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

3)       How Children Learn by John Holt

4)       How Children Fail by John Holt

5)    Dreamers, Discoverers, and Dynamos by Lucy Palladino

6)    The Five Love Languages of Children by Dr Gary Chapman

Please try to read these fantastic books for a better understanding
of the above summaries!