Most kids have a natural way of picking up new info — they learn best either by listening, looking, or doing. Once you know your child’s learning personality, you can sidestep a lot of academic agita. Take the quiz below to reveal how your kid’s brain works best, then play to his strengths to maximize his school potential.
1. You let your child pick out one toy at the dollar store. Which is he most likely to choose?
a) Paint-by-number set
b) Play microphone
c) Hula hoop or football
2. If your child could only pick one after-school activity, which would he choose?
a) Art lessons
b) Music lessons
c) Sports or drama lessons
3. You’re out to dinner and there’s a 10-minute wait. How does your child occupy himself?
b) Talking your ear off
c) Digging in your purse while bouncing in place
4. When your child picks the family activity, which is he most likely to choose?
a) A movie
b) A concert
c) Mini golf
5. When your child reads a book to himself, he:
a) Sits quietly, immersed in its contents
b) Mouths the words aloud or asks you to read it to him
c) Fidgets frequently
6. Which of these iPad activities is your child most drawn to?
a) Looking at photos
b) Listening to music
c) Playing Angry Birds or another video game
Mostly A’s: Learns by looking
Your kid responds best when new material is in lists, charts, graphs, and diagrams. A little color goes a long way: He can write spelling words or state capitals in different colors so they’re easier to memorize. Abstract math homework goes faster when you give your visual kid objects to help him think through the problem. (If I had 12 M&M’s and Mom ate 7, how many are left?)
Mostly B’s: Learns by listening
If your child is one of the 10 percent of kids who are auditory learners, she does well with verbal instructions and shines in discussions. She’ll learn faster if she has a voice recorder: Saying things aloud can help her retain info, and re-playing the recording boosts comprehension even more. If she turns a book’s dialogue into a puppet show, she’ll remember the story.
Mostly C’s: Learns by doing
Like the majority of children, your kid absorbs info best when she’s physically engaged on some level. Many kinesthetic learners have trouble sitting still for long stretches. So turn homework into a sporting event: Let her shoot a foam basketball into a laundry basket every time she answers a question correctly or give her a squishy ball to squeeze and manipulate.