Disclosure: The book was given as a complimentary copy but all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.
Once my daughter started going to school, my husband and I started reflecting on our own experiences in school, specifically our experiences on learning in school. For me, I found learning in school rather easy. I liked memorization and absorbing facts, which was the popular teaching style at that time. But once I entered college, I was shocked by how much my experience in grade school and high school left me unprepared for self-learning. And I had a really hard time understanding and analyzing processes that had a lot of interactions between different components, which was essential in a lot of subjects I had to take in college.
For my husband, it was the complete opposite. He had a hard time in grade school and high school because he hated memorization. He had very little supervision from teachers because they thought that he was a mediocre student. Unfortunately, this resulted in bad study habits that carried on until college. But what made college a wonderful learning experience for him was that he was mostly given the freedom to study in a non-linear sequence that made sense to him. It was easier for him to learn if he understood the how things worked, how things interacted with one another, before he learned about the individual characteristics of each component.
The different learning styles and personalities made us think about how our daughter’s learning style would be. My husband wants her to inherit my good study habits. I want her to inherit my husband’s strong analytical skills. How can we help our daughter achieve both, while catering to her learning style and without undermining the good things she’s already learning in school?
Lucky for me, my friend Cham from http://eaturbanana.blogspot.com/ just received a complimentary copy of A Parent’s Playbook for Learning by Jen Lilienstein. It talked about how to discover your child’s learning personality and what you can do to facilitate your child’s learning. She passed the book on to me, believing I’d be in a better position to review the book since I’m a parent and a big fan of learning.
As expected, the book talked about the 3 main different learning styles, which is what most school now are trying to address. But what impressed me as a parent was that it focused on the learning personality. It’s not just about how your child absorbs information. His or her personality affects how they categorize, file and retrieve what they have learned. It talked about how a child’s personality affects the way they learn, not just from school but from their surroundings and their life in general. Introverts learn differently from extroverts. Creative personalities learn differently from analytic personalities. Some work best in teams while some work better alone. The different combinations of these personality types creates unique learning personalities (the book discussed the eight main types).
As a parent, I think the book is awesome and a great help. I liked the fact that it was written in a way that can help most parents understand and decipher their child’s learning personality. I also appreciated the fact that it gave a lot of recommendations and tips on how to help facilitate your child’s learning personality by helping design their study area to how to help them work in a group. The learning charts (study milestones, project trees) were amazing, and I wished I had them when I was still studying.
The book doesn’t sugar-coat. It talks about the strengths and weakness of all learning personalities. It talks about how challenging it can be if your learning personality doesn’t match or completely contradicts your child’s personality. It also talked about how a teacher’s personality and teaching style affect how your child would approach certain subjects.
However, as a reader, I felt the book did have some flaws. I think it’s because I has expecting the book to be a little more technical. I know this was written for the busy parent in mind, but I would have appreciated it more if there were footnotes that directed me to the studies/book/papers that she got her information from. The chapters can be a bit redundant if your intention is to read through the entire book but I think the author intended for the parents to skip certain chapters that don’t relate to their kids. But if you have several kids or if you’re a teacher, the book can get repetitive.
And my friend, who is a teacher, said that the book really doesn’t provide anything new. The Philippines’s recent adaptation of the K-12 system does emphasize on using the 3 main learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) to help children absorb and retain information better. She also believes that the KPUP (knowledge, process, understanding, product and performance) grading system would help ensure that all learning personalities would get the best education possible.
I believe that teachers should be more aware of these different learning personalities but I understand how hard it would be to change teaching styles to adopt only a few. I think this is the reason why the book was directed at parents because it’s our responsibility to help our children adapt to situations that aren’t ideal. There will always be teachers or subjects that our children will not like. They will be forced to work with people that they don’t get along. But deciphering their learning personality can help us teach them how to adapt, so they can make the most of their strengths and push back their weaknesses.
My husband and I tried some of the techniques in the book and it has given us ideas on how to make our daughter’s playtime as avenues for learning without actually studying. I understand now that she’s not a linear thinker like me but she does have better focus than her father. I’m starting to see how she is as a learner and we now have more insight on how to answer her questions in a way that understands.
All in all, despite the technical shortcomings, I think this is a great resource for parents, especially for those who are considering homeschooling or who want to supplement their child’s education.