Why I Talk So Much About Right-Brained Learning
I tend to talk a lot about right-brained learners to anyone who will listen. (Who me, talk a lot? Never…)
I talk about right-brained learning mostly because of the huge difference having this knowledge has made in helping me understand Jason and how he learns. I also feel that right-brained learners are very often misunderstood. Since they are obviously bright, yet struggle with the “basics”, they are often seen as “lazy” or as “not living up to their potential”.
Right-brained learners often find themselves with with various labels such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD, or ADHD. Despite not usually being developmentally ready until somewhere between 8 and 10 years old, they are often pushed into early reading, most often using phonics, an approach that does not always make sense to them. They find themselves “struggling” in school, not because they are dumb, but because they are being forced to learn on what is (for them) an artificial timetable, using approaches that are weighted heavily towards left-brained strengths (memorization, sequential learning).
Yet when a right-brained learner is taught in a way that values and honors his strengths and on a timetable that is right for him, he thrives and more than lives up to his potential. It is my desire to help others recognize and understand right-brained learners. So you will see a lot of references to it here on Throwing Marshmallows.
Do you have to know for sure if your child is a right-brained learner? No. Cindy Gaddis, who introduced me to right-brained learning, did not have a “label” for how her children learned when she started homeschooling. She was able to “learn at the feet of her children” by valuing who they were and following their lead, regardless of society’s expectations. And many people (often right-brained themselves) intuitively understand and can meet the needs of kids who learn in this way. But for some of us, the “label” and accompanying knowledge is incredibly helpful and reassuring. Especially those of us who learn very differently!
I have written some about our personal journey with my right-brained son, Jason. I am always amazed at how often people can relate to our story and recognize their own child(ren). They are often surprised to hear that there are other kids who think as theirs do.
I have also compiled a collection of links to good articles, blogs and email lists for learning more about right-brained learning. Be sure to check out my Right-Brained Learning Book List for books that might help better understand how these kids think. While there are no books that focus specifically on homeschooling and right-brained learning, I have been able to glean a lot of insight from these books. As always, take what works and leave the rest. And be grateful that we do not have to help our kids learn coping mechanisms for fitting into a school system that does not meet their needs (or fight to get accommodations for them).
Cindy, in addition to her blog, also has a right-brained learners email list, called Homeschooling Creatively, that is an incredible resource for sharing with others who are homeschooling these creative kids.