What individualized learning looks like, done right

Individualized learning is the idea that we don’t all learn the same way, and each kid should be able to learn the way they learn best.

For example, that means kinesthetic learners can DO to learn instead of READ to learn. But kids who feel most comfortable reading to learn can do it their way. It means that extraverts can talk to other people to sort through their ideas as they say them, and introverts can go away to a quiet place to sort through their ideas alone.

Productivity is also something that’s individualized. For example, people who love ideas feel productive when they tell someone a new idea. Those who feel most fulfilled taking care of people can feel like they accomplished nothing all day if they think about ideas.

Cynthia Kyriazis’ book, Get Organized, Get Focused, Get Moving, talks about how each personality type needs a different approach to productivity. Of course, I looked at my own personality first, because I love reading about productivity. Then I checked out productivity tips for my sons’ personalities, and I realized that I probably inadvertently assume that the way I do things is the way my sons will like doing things.

Sometimes I notice this gap. For example, my younger son likes to practice piano by making a game, and it seems like a totally inefficient way to get things done to me. But I don’t like fun, and he does, so fun is a productivity tool for him.

Other times I find myself making assumptions about my kids based on what I like instead of what they like. For example, different people have different moments in the day when they are most productive. I am a night person. So I let my son wake up in the morning and do whatever he wants. But then (after like, three years of doing this) I realized that his most productive time is the morning, so he needs to be doing what is most important to him in the morning.

After years of homeschooling I’m realizing that individualized learning is the process of de-schooling myself. But going one step further is individualized life.




7 replies
  1. Lior
    Lior says:

    I’m not clear if you hire tutors teach your kids or they’re self directed or a combo so this isn’t helpful. How about a post on a day in the life there right now? I feel your pain on the night owl thing. My kids are morning people and I am so not. I feel like i am harmful in a way because I cannot focus before noon

  2. Jim Grey
    Jim Grey says:

    One of my sons and I are both INFP. We were talking about learning styles just yesterday. He’s in college studying medical lab sciences, and he is looking forward to the hands-on classes and clinicals “because I don’t really know a thing until I’ve got my hands on it,” he said. His anatomy class is killing him “because it’s all books and memorization. I want there to be a body model that I can take apart and put back together — then I’d learn it easily.” Totally not like me — I’m a visual/logical learner. I have to see it first, and try to understand it as a system, and then I can work with it.

    I think that personality type is just one input to help us understand others. Learning style is another. I’m also a fan of the DiSC assessment; I’m a high D, high I. I participate in a leadership slack where we recently had a conversation about the intersection of MBTI and DiSC. There aren’t many INFPs on that slack, a dozen or so self-identified out of a thousand people, but among those of us who are INFP, only two of us were high D.

    PS. new profile pic because Penelope told me my old one doesn’t look like how I sound here!

  3. Teach By Type
    Teach By Type says:

    My almost 3yo seems to be ISTJ. I’m so grateful as he doesn’t need me to play a lot of make believe.

    An understanding of your child’s personality type can hep you determine your child’s learning style.

    Click on “Teach By Type” in the footer of this comment to take a Children’s Personality Assessment. On behalf of your kids.

  4. Teach By Type
    Teach By Type says:

    Ok, it’s killing me that I can’t reply to the last comment on your link to kinesthetic learning is stating you ‘spelt extrovert wrong’.

    Both extravert and extrovert are acceptable. And using both is better for your SEO than simply using one or the other

    Just as ‘spelt’ is a grain in American English, but still a common way of spelling ‘spelled’ in the US.

    I think I comment on your blog more than I write on mine. I wish I could turn that into passive income.

  5. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    I have found that for my older two kids (INTJ and ENFP) they both have two dominant learning styles, visual and kinesthetic. However, they can learn with any style including verbal/auditory or reading/writing. It’s just that their best learning, or quickest way to learn something is by those first two. My youngest (ENTJ) can pretty much default to any learning method, but she has to be interested in whatever it is otherwise, no dice.

  6. Purva Brown
    Purva Brown says:

    I’m going to have to check that book out – thanks! It’s always bothered me a bit that ALL time management and productivity books seem to suggest a one size fits all approach. I have only through years of trial and error figured out what works for me and that it’s not WRONG, just DIFFERENT.

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