As I have mentioned before, Jason is a right brained learner (also known as a visual/spatial learner). The realization of this was a huge turning point in our homeschooling journey. It totally changed (for the better) the way that I approach things with him and has helped me understand him and where he is coming from. I have also learned a lot about myself (as I am a left brained learner but never realized it). I have realized that I am not a visual person, but rather a feeling/relationship person, which is kind of a cool thing to know about myself. (I always wondered why I could never relax while picturing myself on a secluded beach…it wasn’t until I focused on how I felt (or would feel) while on that beach that it actually worked…but I digress…).
Since I seem to constantly be talking about right brained learners, I figured that I would list some of the resources that helped me. An online friend Cindy was the person who pointed me in the right direction and I am eternally grateful to her for that. She started an email list called Homeschooling Creatively to talk about homeschooling these creative kids. The list can be quiet, but over all it is a great place to talk about and appreciate these awesome kids and Cindy is a wonderful resource.
If you are wondering if your kid is a right brained learner, there is a good article that gives an overview of how these kids think as well as a great list of right brained traits. If you see your child in this description, then check out Linda Kreger Silverman’s book Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner. A very good overview of visual/spatial learners and how they learn differently then what is traditionally taught in schools. This book gave me a lot of insight into Jason’s learning style. The only thing that I didn’t like about the book is the emphasis she puts on IQ testing…even though she admits that testing does not always give good results with right brained kids! She also focuses on highly gifted kids and that can be intimidating (especially if your kid was not making maps of the neighborhood at age 2!) But that is where she is coming from so she spends a fair amount of time on the subject. There is definitely enough good info in the book to make it worth reading though.
Another good book with practical suggestions for helping right brained learners learn is Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World: Unlocking the Potential of Your ADD Child by Jeffrey Freed. Although it is subtitled Unlocking the Potential of Your ADD Child, this is more of a book about right brained kids then it is about ADD (Freed makes the point that most ADD kids are right brained and that is the type of kid he worked most often with). Jason does not have ADD but I found much that was applicable to him in this book. It really helped me better understand how Jason thinks.
I had always thought that right brained people were more traditionally creative types like musicians, artists, dancers, etc. None of which I really identified with Jason. He has never really been drawn towards any kind of musical instrument, he has fine motor issues and hates writing/drawing/coloring and does not really like painting or other art. Yet, once I started looking into it, I recognized a lot of Jason in the descriptions. Since then I have realized that there are many ways to be creative…although Jason has shown no interest in playing an instrument (yet), he is actually extremely musical. He notices music and often makes comments on how it makes him feel. He will go into the extras on his video games and play the different music themes and pick his favorite (it drives Kyle crazy when he does this!) He has a definite sense of rhythm and likes music with a strong beat. He notices the music in movies and how it is used to make you feel…our favorites happen to be Star Wars. There are other things that I have noticed, now that I am paying attention and I am seeing that creativity can take very many forms.
Learning about this right brained/left brained thing has really expanded my outlook on so many things.