Are you a parent who is passionate about learning? Do you want your children to enjoy school and find success IN and OUT of the classroom?

Then welcome to Learn Their Way!

 


 

In this week’s episode, we’ll discuss why learning is a journey and why there is no one “right” way to learn.

Just like there is no one “right” path for a road trip, there is also no one RIGHT way to learn. There is only the right way for your child and your family. Every journey will be different because our children are all unique!

One of my favorite quotes ascribed to Madeline Hunter says, “Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same materials is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing.”

Great teachers — and great parents — strive to understand how a child learns best, so that they can find success in and out of the classroom.

 

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EPISODE 2 TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Learn Their Way podcast, where we teach strategies designed to help students understand how they learn best and find success in and out of the classroom.

I’m your host, Melissa Droegemueller, and in this episode, we’ll discuss why learning is a journey and why there is no one “right” way to learn.

 

<<musical interlude>>

Well, hello! Welcome to episode two!

I have some really fun topics planned for the fall, and I’m excited to dive into them with you over the next few months! But before we go there, I want to take a little time to share my heart and my mission for this podcast. 

Today’s episode is titled “Learning is a Journey,” and that simple phrase is the foundation for what I believe about education and why I am so passionate about working with families.

Imagine you are going on a family road trip. You know your starting point, and you probably know your destination, but there are literally hundreds of ways to get from point A to point Z. 

Maybe you like to follow the step-by-step directions from your map app. Or maybe you like to plan out your route from home ahead of time. Perhaps you’re like our family — open to interesting detours and fun roadside stops along the way, even if it does take a little longer.

Just like there is no one “right” path for a road trip, there is also no one RIGHT way to learn. There is only the right way for your child and your family. Every journey will be different because our children are all unique!

But because of the way our education system is currently set up, many children are pushed into a learning structure that is not the best fit for them.

For example, many people learn better and retain that information longer when they are moving while they are learning. I once had a first grader who preferred to stand during my lessons and a third grader who liked to do his independent work under his desk. At home, our kids can bounce on an exercise ball or practice spelling words on the trampoline.

Let me give you another example. Some people learn better in silence — sitting alone in a quiet space with a book. But many people, children included, do better learning in groups. The social interaction can help new concepts make sense in a way that words on a page can’t.

Personally, I prefer written content, either on its own or in partnership with audio or video. Some strategies that I like to use? Listening to an audiobook while I follow along with a print copy, watching TV with the captions turned on, or reading a transcript while I listen to a podcast episode.

The point is: we’re all different.

And that’s where we come in as parents. We can inspire our kids to love learning by supporting their interests, empowering them to use their unique gifts to make a difference in the world, and encouraging them through difficult times — like frustrating concepts or teachers that aren’t the right fit.

Great teachers — and great parents — strive to understand how a child learns best, so that they can find success in and out of the classroom.

<<musical interlude>>

Before we go further, let’s take a minute and talk about what success means for your child.

When I was younger, I thought there was one way for me to become a successful adult — do well in school, graduate from college, and join the workforce as an elementary school teacher. Now, don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying that was a bad choice for my life. But if you had told me 20 years ago that I would someday be recording a podcast and running an online consulting business, I would have had no idea what you were talking about!

I know a lot of people who went to college with one career in mind and are now doing something completely different. Something more suited to who they are as adults, not who they were at the age of 18, picking a random major from a course catalog.

Many of our kids are going to grow up and do jobs that don’t even exist yet. The best thing we can do is help them fall in love with learning and finish school with an unquenchable curiosity that will last the rest of their lives.

<<musical interlude>>

When we look back at the history of public education in America, it’s not too much of a stretch to see the connection between grade schools and factory assembly lines. As classrooms transitioned from the one-room schoolhouse model to larger schools divided into grade levels, students went from learning at their own unique speed to being expected to develop at the same pace as their similarly-aged peers.

One of my favorite quotes ascribed to Madeline Hunter says, “Expecting all children the same age to learn from the same materials is like expecting all children the same age to wear the same size clothing.”

Very few students will be totally ready for ALL the material presented to them during a school year. Many children are “advanced” in one subject area and “delayed” in another — and please understand that I am using quotes around both the word advanced and the word delayed. 

Despite the fact that asynchronicity is totally normal in terms of child development, our kids still receive grades based on a totally arbitrary system: what the district office says they should know at any particular moment in time.

This is the number one reason I am passionate about working with parents to inspire, empower, and encourage children to learn their way. Not our way. Not their teacher’s way. And for sure not the way prescribed by a handful of curriculum developers who have never met our kids.

Are there certain milestones or stops our kids will reach along their learning journey? Yes! But we need to understand and expect that our children are going to reach those milestones in different ways and at different times.

I knew from a young age that I was good at school. I got the grades and fit the mold of “model student,” which ulitimately meant that I was afraid to take risks and learned to avoid the chance I might fail at something.

But things were different in the 80s. School has changed. And so, too — I hope — have parents.

If I could go back and give my younger self a bit of advice, it would be to try new things. Pick up a camera in high school. Learn how to play the clarinet. Take an art class and get messy.

Those electives would probably not have raised my GPA or helped me get scholarships. But they might have made me a happier kid — and who’s to say that’s not the real definition of success?

Over the next few months — here on the podcast– we’re going to challenge some outdated beliefs about education. My hope is that you will learn more about how kids actually learn and maybe understand your child a little bit better, too.

Because helping our children find success in school starts with identifying what makes them unique.

<<musical interlude>>

All right parents, it’s time for homework. If you have a few minutes this week, I would love for you to pull out a piece of paper or journal, and reflect on these questions:

  1. What does success mean to you? What would it look like for your child to be successful? Are there outdated ideas that aren’t really a good fit for your child? What can you let go of?
  2. What does it mean to be “good” at school? Is school “good” for your child?
  3. If you could go back in time, would you choose a different educational path? Would you pick a different major? Do you feel like your school experiences prepared you for the job(s) you are doing today?
  4. What would you tell your 18-year-old self? Think about how old your kids are — what advice would you give yourself at those same ages?
  5. How might your child’s educational journey differ from yours (or the way that you might have expected it to go)?

You can head to rollingprairiereaders.com/episode2 to download a copy of these questions. 

Before we go, I want to say thank you to everyone who has been so encouraging about the launch of Learn Their Way. Thank you for listening, and thank you for your support!

Be sure to tune in next time as we dive into… learning styles. Are they a myth or a helpful learning tool? We’ll talk about it all next week!

<<musical outro>>

Learn Their Way Podcast Episode 2

** Music by Lesfm from Pixabay