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The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles: A Fresh and Demystifying Approach Review by Heidi Miller-Ford

Carol Barnier

I heard Carol Barnier speak at a homeschool convention a few years ago and loved her. She is a great speaker, and I figured I would love her new book, The Big WHAT NOW Book of Learning Styles: A Fresh and Demystifying Approach. She did not disappoint me. This was an enjoyable read. In fact, it was quite humorous at times. Some days when you are homeschooling or working with children, a little humor is needed.

Carol points out that many children are visual learners, and it works well for them since most information at school is presented this way. But what about the children who don't fit into that mold? She answers this question and gives some wonderful ideas. She explains the best way to find out how your child learns and how to have fun while doing it. She takes the stress out of wondering if you are using the right learning techniques with your child. Some of the ideas aren't anything new but just a reminder of great ideas you may have forgotten or needed to motivation to try.

There is a brief introduction that explains learning styles. Too many books spend way too much time explaining and don't give enough ideas. The concept behind this book is to provide lots of ideas to use in your classroom or homeschool today. The ideas are divided into eight areas: spelling, writing, reading, math, history, geography, science, and any subject. There is a symbol that represents each of these areas in the right corner of the right page for easy reference. Within each of those areas, there are tactile, visual, and auditory symbols at the beginning of each activity explanation to help you locate the correct activity for a specific learning style quickly. Websites are included occasionally where applicable. There are bonus materials included in some of the subject areas. These may be simple activities or full-blown unit studies. One of Carol's most successful tools is the "Ditty," which is rhythmical language used to help memorize important information in a fun way. At the end of every chapter, there are Ditties you can use with your children. I personally love these, and many children benefit from them. It's great having some at your fingertips that are already made up and ready to use.

Carol gets right to the point, which I like. She gives plenty of activities to try with your child. She also has a section at the end of the book that describes things your children wish you knew about how they learn. This was a great wake-up call for me and has opened my eyes about how I perceive learning compared to how my son actually processes information. If you desire to teach your child in a way that will benefit him the most and will create an enjoyable learning environment, this book is a must read.

Product review by Heidi Miller-Ford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2010