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How to Unveil Your Child’s Inner Genius and Boost Their Academic Confidence

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Welcome to The Homeschool C.U.R.E. series!

The Homeschool C.U.R.E. is for anyone looking to start a healthy homeschooling journey—or heal the journey they’re currently on. If either one of these is your goal, you’re in the right place!

This week, we are discussing how to unveil your child’s inner genius, one of the C.U.R.E strategies that help you approach your homeschool journey with confidence and purpose. After reading this post, you’ll get a clearer picture of what your child’s dominant intelligence type is, how they learn best, what teaching strategies you can incorporate into your homeschool, and what career paths your child may be interested in.

I get many questions from homeschoolers about children and learning. In particular, how to engage reluctant learners in the education process. My response always points the parent back to studying their child and assessing what his/her dominant intelligence and learning style is. In other words, what does your child’s inner genius look like?

Most often than not, a reluctant learner is being pushed to conform to a teaching method unsuitable for their learning style. This can lead to the child feeling unconfident and unmotivated in their education journey. Helping your child unveil their inner genius can restore confidence and motivation back into your homeschool, or start you on the right path if you’re just beginning your journey.

Take it from someone who’s been there, done that. The power struggles. The regressions. The tics. The limited efforts. The bad attitudes. I’ve experienced, and am still not immune to, these unfavorable homeschool moments. What I can say with confidence is, the more I learn about how my children learn, the better our homeschool days become. And it all starts with the information I’m about to share with you in this post.

Now, let’s talk about your little genius, or geniuses, shall we?

What Is a Genius?

When we think of the word “genius,” our first thought is probably someone who has a high intelligence quotient (IQ) measured by a series of standardized tests that assess human intelligence. However, the truth is intelligence is not so one-dimensional.

A genius, in short, is a person who has remarkable talent and/or intelligence.

I’m sure we’ve all read that popular quote by Albert Einstein:

 “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

I’m with good ol’ Einstein. I believe there’s a genius in every child and that it’s our responsibility to help our children discover and pursue it. When a child discovers their remarkable abilities, it helps them learn and better connect with about the world around them. It grants them the confidence they need to excel in all areas of life.

What Is Your Child’s Intelligence Type?

We are all born with distinct gifts and talents. The problem is, we’re told only certain ones are worthy of applause. Howard Gardener, an American developmental psychologist, concluded there are actually many types of intelligence. His contention was children possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways. There are currently 9 types of intelligence that have been identified.

Read below to see which type of intelligence your child most identifies with. I want to note it’s possible to possess more than one type of intelligence, so be careful with trying to fit your child neatly into one “intelligence box.”

1. Naturalist (nature smart)

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.

Careers They Prefer:

  • Biologist
  • Botanist
  • Farmer
  • Landscape Architect
  • Animal Trainer
  • Zookeeper
  • Veterinarian
  • Meteorologist

2. Musical (sound smart)

These children love to listen to and play music. You may hear them sing, hum, replicate tunes, or create tunes of their own. They have a gift for discerning melody, pitch, rhythm, and tone.

How They Learn Best—Children with musical intelligence are often auditory learners. They learn best through songs, patterns, instruments, rhythm, and musical expression.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Reading aloud is key
  • Have an engaging conversation about the lesson.
  • Let them perform an oral presentation rather than a written assessment.
  • Learn new concepts using catchy songs or chants.
  • Play soft classical music in the background.
  • Use audiobooks and lessons when appropriate.
  • Allow them to use noise-canceling headphones. Auditory learners are easily distracted by random noises.  

Careers They Prefer:

  • Musician
  • Disc Jockey
  • Singer
  • Composer
  • Sound Engineer
  • Recording Engineer
  • Choir Director

3. Logical-mathematical (reasoning/number smart)

These children love to know how things work, make hypotheses, and are gifted at problem-solving. You’ll find they may enjoy working with numbers, collecting and classifying items, or working with patterns and puzzles.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with logical-mathematical intelligence are also called logical learners. they learn best through reading, problem-solving, numbers, and charts.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Explore statistics and facts on topics when appropriate.
  • Incorporate critical thinking exercises into your lessons.
  • Implement problem-solving tasks into your lessons.
  • Let the child interpret abstract visual information.
  • Stock up on brain teasers such as puzzles, mazes, riddles, and optical illusions.

Careers They Prefer:

  • Accountant
  • Computer Programmer
  • Engineer
  • Lawyer
  • Mathematician
  • Physician
  • Researcher

4. Existential (life smart)

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 and 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.
  • Encourage them to summarize learned information.
  • Encourage them to create lessons to teach the information.  

Careers They Prefer:

  • Philosopher
  • Minister
  • Public Speaker
  • Therapist
  • Writer

5. Interpersonal (people smart)

Interpersonal Intelligence

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.
  • Get them involved in group work like volunteering or book clubs.

Careers They Prefer:

  • Leader
  • Manager
  • Politician
  • Teacher
  • Social Worker
  • Counselor
  • Coach
  • Sales Representative

6. Bodily-kinesthetic (body smart)

These children are gifted at coordinating their mind with their body. They use their body skillfully and love to be physically active. Playing sports, dancing, miming, or acting are among some of their favorite things to do.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are physical learners. They learn best through interacting with their environment and real hands-on experiences.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Incorporate physical exercises into your lessons.
  • Provide hands-on learning experiences.
  • Interact with physical objects when learning.
  • Let them roleplay.
  • Include drawing, writing, crafting and cut and paste activities with lessons.
  • Suggest studying while engaging in physical activity.

Careers They Prefer:

  • Athlete
  • Dancer
  • Choreographer
  • Actor
  • Surgeon
  • Carpenter
  • Builder
  • Farmer
  • Mechanic
  • Craftsperson

7. Linguistic (word smart)

These children are gifted in knowing the meaning and order of words. They have a strong ability to find the right words to express what they mean. They may like to tell jokes, riddles, or stories. They may also enjoy reading, writing, or playing word games.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with linguistic intelligence are verbal learners. They learn best through listening, reading, speaking, and writing.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Read lots of books.
  • Present lessons in a story-time format.
  • Encourage them to write poems and short stories.
  • Play word games like Scrabble.
  • Incorporate daily journaling.
  • Have frequent dialogues during lessons about the subject matter.
  • Keep reference materials like encyclopedias and thesauruses readily available.
  • Encourage them to reenact stories.

Careers They Prefer:

  • Editor
  • Public Speaker
  • Politician
  • Lawyer
  • Journalist
  • Teacher
  • Poet
  • Writer
  • Actor
  • Translator

8. Intra-personal (self-smart)

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.
  • Make real-life connections with what they’re learning.
  • Create a cozy quiet corner where they can learn and reflect. 

Careers They Prefer:

  • Psychologist
  • Philosopher
  • Writer
  • Consultant
  • Counselor
  • Program Planner
  • Entrepreneur

9. Spatial (picture smart)

These children have a gift for perceiving the world accurately and recreating or transforming aspects of the world. They often see the world in pictures. They may enjoy drawing, painting, building blocks, doing puzzles, taking photographs, or observing maps.

How Do They Learn Best? Children with spatial intelligence are often visual learners. They learn best through visual images and pictures and organizing ideas spatially.

Teaching Strategies:

  • Use visual aids during lessons.
  • Use a visual approach to reading and phonics.
  • Encourage them to discover their own methods of problem-solving.
  • Avoid rote memorization. Use conceptual approaches to learning.
  • Allow them to accelerate and advance in the material if appropriate.
  • Master higher-level concepts rather than perfection of simple concepts.
  • Use computers so that material is presented visually.
  • Emphasize creativity, imagination, and innovation in all subjects.

Careers They Prefer:

  • Architect
  • Graphic Designer
  • Advertiser
  • Engineer
  • Interior Decorator
  • Film Animator
  • Photographer
  • Surveyor
  • Painter

How Do I Assess My Child’s Intelligence Type?

Closely observing your child is the best way to assess their intelligence type. What makes their eyes sparkle? What do they naturally gravitate to? What natural abilities do they have? What can they spend long periods of time doing contently? The answers to these questions may take time if your child is still under the age of five. That is why I’m an advocate for free play for children age 7 and under. The more a child plays, the more you get to know them—and the more the child gets to know himself.

Even more than studying a child in their “natural habitat” (free play!), we must expose our children to different experiences to help unlock their inner genius. You may never know your child has a love for instruments if they’ve never heard a band play. Or that they’re a natural actress if they’ve never taken a theater class. That’s why I love homeschool cooperatives. Children have the opportunity to take specific classes that interest them, and they discover themselves as a result. Homeschooling is very flexible, so take advantage of all the opportunities to provide your child with rich experiences.

Tag, You’re it!

What type of learner is your child? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for more information like this.

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