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4 Most Overlooked Learning Styles and How to Teach Them Effectively

Many people are aware of the three main cognitive learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. However, there are many other learning styles that often get overlooked. These learning styles are based on the nine intelligence types presented by Howard Gardner. Howard Gardner is a developmental psychologist and Research Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. He is best known for his theory of multiple intelligences, which we will discuss in this post. 

What are the Nine Types of Learners?

  1. Musical
  2. Logical
  3. Kinesthetic 
  4. Linguistic 
  5. Spatial
  6. Existential
  7. Naturalist
  8. Intrapersonal
  9. Interpersonal

This post will identify the four most overlooked intelligence types, their preferred learning style, teaching strategies to honor those learning styles, and a list of curricula and resources to help these intelligence types thrive. You can read about the remaining five types of intelligence here

Why Identify Learning Styles in Children?

Identifying your child’s preferred learning style is an act of service. Parents who commit themselves to learn how their children learn, help their children thrive in many areas of development. Those areas of development include cognitive, social, emotional, creative, spiritual, and even physical. Think of the full scope of your child’s development as one giant puzzle. All the pieces work together to form the whole child. If one piece is missing, the puzzle is incomplete. Since learning is a huge part of cognition, helping a child to reach their academic potential by honoring their learning style becomes a paramount piece of the puzzle. Take a look below to read more about learning styles. 

1. Existential (life learner)

These children tend to think philosophically. They have a gift of intuition and have a high understanding of the world around them. You’ll find these children ask deep questions about life, death, and beyond. They also enjoy marching to the beat of their own drum.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with existential intelligence learn best by making connections between what they learn and the world around them. They thrive when studying topics from different points of view.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Make real-world connections to learned material.
  • Provide overviews on topics to help them see the big picture.
  • Study topics from different angles using unit studies and comprehensive curricula. 
  • Encourage them to summarize learned information.
  • Incorporate notebooking and lapbooks for creative summaries of work. 
  • Create timelines to connect subjects and events together. 
  • Encourage them to create lessons to teach the information.  

Curriculum and Resources:

  • Philosophy for Kids: 40 Fun Questions That Help You Wonder about Everything! by David White 
  • Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy by School of Life
  • Big Ideas for Little Kids: Teaching Philosophy through Children’s Literature by Thomas E. Wartenberg
  • 40 Lessons to Get Children Thinking: Philosophical Thought Adventures Across the Curriculum by Peter Worley
  • The Bible Made Easy – for Kids by Dave Strehler
  • 131 Conversations That Engage Kids: How to Get Kids Talking, Grow Their Friendships, and Inspire Change by Jed Jurchenko
  • 642 Big Things to Write About: Young Writer’s Edition by 826 Valencia
  • Me and My Feelings: A Kids’ Guide to Understanding and Expressing Themselves by Vanessa Green Allen, M.Ed.
  • Writeshop (Writing Curriculum)
  • Gather ‘Round Homeschool (Unit Studies)
  • United States – Geography, History and Social Studies Handbook: Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling by Ryan Conner, Sarah Janisse Brown, et al. (Unit Studies)
  • Across America (Unit Studies)
  • All in One Homeschool (Unit Studies)
  • The Good and the Beautiful (Comprehensive Curriculum)
  • Moving Beyond the Page (Comprehensive Curriculum) 
  • English for the Thoughtful Child

2. Naturalist (nature learner)

These children love to spend time outdoors observing nature. They are gifted at understanding living things, weather patterns, or any mystery about nature. They may have a fascination with plants, collecting rocks, insects, animals, climate changes, or simply sinking their bare feet into the grass.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with naturalist intelligence share characteristics with kinesthetic learners. They learn best through touch, especially hands-on categorizing and classifying, preferably outdoors.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Hold lessons outdoors.
  • Implement nature journaling.
  • Go on nature hikes and collect things.
  • Take photographs or create beautiful paintings.
  • Build a home library full of nature books.
  • Go on scavenger hunts searching for nature’s treasures.  
  • Have season-appropriate clothing items on hand to explore the rain, snow, and other safe weather conditions. Think rain jackets, rain boots, snowsuits, etc.
  • Choose a curriculum with short lessons to keep sitting time to a minimum. 

Curriculum and Resources:

  • National Geographic, Explorer Classroom
  • The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms by Clare Walker Leslie
  • Exploring Nature Activity Book for Kids: 50 Creative Projects to Spark Curiosity in the Outdoors by Kim Andrews
  • Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock
  • Journaling a Year in Nature by Simply Charlotte Mason
  • My Nature Book: A Journal and Activity Book for Kids by Linda Kranz
  • Nature Study Handbook – 12 Months in the Forest: The Thinking Tree – Curiosity Journal – A Handbook of Observation & Discovery by Abigail Janisse Brown, Sarah Janisse Brown, et al.
  • The Thinking Tree – Wild Wilderness – Adventure Handbook: A Survival Guide & Science Handbook by Aiden Potter, Sarah Janisse Brown, et al.
  • Apologia (science curriculum)
  • Berean Builders (science curriculum)
  • Real Odyssey Science (science curriculum)
  • Math U See
  • Moving Beyond the Page
  • The Good and the Beautiful
  • All in One Homeschool
  • Language Lessons for a Living Education
  • Math Lessons for a Living Education
  • CTC Math

3. Intra-personal (solitary learner)

These children are gifted at using their emotions to understand themselves and others. They have a keen ability to control their feelings and are great at observing and listening. They may prefer to work alone or self-study.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with intra-personal intelligence are often solitary learners. They learn best through expressing and/or assessing feelings, values, and attitudes, preferably alone in a quiet space.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Let them scrapbook, journal, or photograph their homeschool journey.
  • Allow space to talk about how they feel about what they’re learning.
  • Allow them to set their own learning goals.
  • Incorporate hobbies and projects they can do on their own.
  • Opt for an independent-learning curriculum. 
  • Make real-life connections with what they’re learning.
  • Create a cozy quiet corner or space where they can learn and reflect. 

Curriculum and Resources:

  • Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool 
  • Alpha Omega Lifepac
  • Switched on Schoolhouse
  • School of Tomorrow
  • Apologia Science
  • Christian Light
  • Worldviews of the Western World
  • Teaching Textbooks
  • CTC Math
  • Essentials in Writing
  • Mindfulness Workbook for Kids: 60+ Activities to Focus, Stay Calm, and Make Good Choices by Hannah Sherman LCSW
  • Emotional Intelligence Program for Children! by Kinderwise
  • English for the Thoughtful Child

4. Interpersonal (social learner)

These children have a great understanding of people and relationships. They may enjoy group games and discussions and anything that involves team-building. They are often gifted in leadership, mediating, or sensing people’s feelings and motives.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with interpersonal intelligence are social learners. They learn best through interaction with others, working collaboratively and cooperatively.  

Teaching Strategies:

  • Let them conduct interviews to learn about new topics.
  • Encourage them to teach back the material they learned.
  • Find them a working buddy to do pair-work with.
  • Incorporate shared reading into your lessons.
  • Create scenarios and encourage role play.
  • Make room for brainstorming and problem-solving.
  • Use a family-style curriculum if possible. 
  • Consider virtual classes where they can interact with teachers and other students.
  • Get them involved in group work like volunteering or book clubs.

Curriculum and Resources

  • Time for Learning  (virtual classes & community)
  • Outschool (virtual classes & community)
  • Khan Academy (virtual classes & community)
  • CodeWizardsHQ (virtual classes & community)
  • Bridgeway Academy (virtual classes & community)
  • The Good and the Beautiful Health and Science Curriculum (family style)
  • The Good and the Beautiful History Course Set (family style)
  • Gather ‘Round Homeschool Unit Studies (family style)
  • Social Skills Activities for Kids: 50 Fun Exercises for Making Friends, Talking and Listening, and Understanding Social Rules by Natasha Daniels
  • Social Skills Activities for Secondary Students with Special Needs by Darlene Mannix
  • Ready-to-Use Social Skills Lessons & Activities series by Ruth Weltmann Begun

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1 Comment

  1. 5 Learning Styles, How to Teach Them, and What Curriculum to Use | The Homeschool Genius

    […] This post will identify five types of intelligence, their preferred learning style, teaching strategies to honor these learning styles, and a list of curricula and resources to help these intelligence types thrive. You can read about the remaining four types of intelligence here. […]

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