Musical Resources for Homeschooling the Auditory Learner

Though there is no strong science supporting the idea of various learning styles (auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners) I do think there are preferred modes of learning for every person. I believe this is why the idea of learning styles continues to exist despite the lack of sound science to back it up. So how do you homeschool a child who seems to learn more by listening versus any other mode of learning? Why might someone be an auditory learner? What are some good methods to provide home instruction, or homeschooling, to an auditory learner? In this blog post we will go over these questions and more.

Why does the learning styles model continue to persist?

VARK Learning Model

The VARK learning model was initially developed in 1987 by Neil Fleming, Christchurch, New Zealand, and became widely taught to many school officials. Though there is no real science behind learning models we have known for centuries about the different modes of learning. People often have a preferred mode of learning and these preferred modes often align to one of the modes of learning under the VARK system. 

The VARK acronym stands for Visual, Aural, Reading, and Kinesthetic to represent the various types of learners. This post is going to focus on children who have audio (aural) as their preferred mode of learning.  It is interesting to have an auditory learner. Only about 30% of learners learn best by listening to information. An auditory learner can retain up to 75% of the information they hear

What are the Characteristics of an Auditory Learner?

Even if there is not a lot of information to back up the concept of VARK there are definitely are people who prefer auditory information.  My son Joseph is one of these people.  He has a lot of learning disabilities including visual impairment, poor working memory, and low processing speed.  As I have been homeschooling Joseph over the years I have noticed he is always drawn to lights and music. He learns a lot of information from apps and videos that he can watch and play over and over again. So we commonly use apps and videos in our homeschooling. He also has an ear for music, melody, and things put to music. So I strive to find homeschool resources that speak to his learning style…..noise, sounds, lights, and more noise!  LOL  So what are the characteristics of someone who prefers auditory information?

Characteristics of an auditory learner:

  • Enjoys talking.
  • Enjoys music.
  • Remembers names.
  • Talks to self out loud.
  • Hums or sings often.
  • Likes and is good at explaining things to others.
  • Recognizes variations in a person’s tone of voice.
  • Notices sound effects in movies.
  • Likes being read to or reading to self out loud.
  • Remembers things by repeating them aloud.
  • Follows spoken directions well.
  • Likes being around other people and is not afraid to speak out.
  • Understands concepts better by talking about them.
  • Has difficulty handling distracting noises and are distressed by background noise.
  • Has difficulty following written directions, but is good in study groups.
  • Reads slowly.
  • Unable to keep quiet for long periods.
  • Enjoys the performing arts and have no problems being on stage.

Learning tips for Auditory Learners:

  • Repetition – Since speaking is a key component of the auditory learning style, having your student repeat an idea in their own words will greatly enhance their learning experience.
  • Q&A sessions – These types of sessions are great for keeping aural learners engaged and help them easily absorb important information about specific topics.
  • Debates – Auditory learners are often social butterflies, and because they need to listen, speak and interact to learn best, debates are usually a fun way to transform and elevate conversations on a specific subject.
  • Music – Songs are an excellent way to engage your child and a great way to start learning concepts. For younger students, starting out with the alphabet song helps them learn and remember the order of the alphabet, which is key when learning to read. Older children can learn about science from songs that teach about the digestive, skeletal, and respiratory systems, just to name a few. In addition, students can learn about sound waves through music as well as other concepts.
  • Read alouds – Reading out loud to your student also helps them learn, especially if you have your child repeat after you. As they advance in their reading skills, auditory learners should sound out words and break down the syllables of each word. Repetition is key!
  • Book clubs/Out-Loud Readings of Books – Having your child explain concepts to others verbally gives them the opportunity to talk through situations and information, not to mention fully absorb it.
  • Podcasts – These are incredibly useful for auditory learners, and can take the place of music on long car rides or even while exercising!
  • Show & Tell – Pick a day of the week to have a show & tell. Your student can pick an object and tell a story about it. To make it a little more challenging, have them use some adjectives or vocabulary words they are learning!
  • Verbal Games – It’s no secret that learning through play is effective. For aural learners games like “Just a Minute” and “Fact or Fiction” are a perfect way to test or increase knowledge on certain topics. “This or That” is another great game that benefits auditory learners. If the topic is “sharks”, warm or hot water? Bones or cartilage?  Five or Six senses? Scales or no scales? And so on.
  • Reciting – Reciting information out loud helps auditory learners retain what is being taught to them.
  • Remove Auditory Distractions – This helps your homeschooler to focus on their learning style.
  • Match Learning Task With Learning Style – Know when is the best time to utilize your homeschoolers auditory learning preference and ask yourself, “What’s the best style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, reading/writing) for this particular learning task?”
  • Think of Different Ways to Add an Audio Element to Your Homeschooling – Sing it. Yell it. Turn it into a poem. Be creative!
  • Practice Your Homeschoolers Listening Skills – Just because your homeschooler has an auditory learning preference that doesn’t mean they have great listening skills! Take the time to help your homeschooler practice their learning preference! Teach your homeschooler how to asking clarifying questions and repeating back the information they just heard as it can help them assess how accurate their listening is. Also, it is good for your homeschooler to try and transfer what they’ve heard to other learning styles. Write it down or draw it as pictures, charts, and graphs.
  • Reflect on What Works and What Doesn’t – Just because your homeschooler has an auditory learning preference that does not mean they will retain all auditory information well in all circumstances. Teach your homeschooler to be reflective and self-aware in their learning. After they try a learning strategy, assess and reflect on how it went. Did they retain as much information as they had hoped? Have your homeschooler build off their successes and change strategies when a learning style isn’t working.

Resources for Educating the Auditory Learner

When I homeschool Joseph I used many of the teaching tips above.  Joseph needs repetition and actually enjoys repetition.  He will often watch or listen to many videos or songs over and over again. We often verbally discuss his work and his answers. Joseph enjoys a good podcast.  There are over 50+ great podcasts that you can try out for your auditory learner and see what interests them!  One of Joseph’s biggest interests is anything put to music!  Here is a list of various music-based resources I tried, or have used, to educate my little melomaniac

Musical Resources

Joseph playing with his Kindle
English
Geography
History
Life Skills
Math
Image
Joseph Waiting for Doctor Appointment
Physical Education
Reading
Joseph drumming it out and
reveling in the noise
with his sister behind him.
Science
YouTube Channels Worth Reviewing

Conclusion

As you can see there are a TON of resources out there!  I barely scratched the surface of all the resources out there for your audio learner!  There is a TON of music available teaching a wide variety of educational information! Some of my favorite resources available for purchase:

And this website is an amazing resource! This site has a song for every educational topic, but you will need to purchase the songs or CDs.
Songs for Teaching

I hope this post has been helpful. Homeschooling a child who is an audio learner can be challenging if that is not your learning preference too! I hope I supplied you with enough useful information to help you home education, or homeschool, your audio leaner! Please take the time to click on the links in the post as it contains the reference material used to write this post or product affiliate links. As always, you are welcome to join us for more discussion on audio learners and learning preferences in our FB group, Homeschooling Special (Needs) Kids.

AESA runs a special education advocacy group, IEP/504 Assistance for parents who are lost and overwhelmed by the special education/504 process.  We also run a Facebook group for all parents and caregivers of special needs children called, Special Needs Parenting Advice and Support, where we discuss ALL things related to special needs care. Finally, we you are welcome to join our Facebook group, Educating Gifted Children if your child is considered gifted or twice exceptional (2e).  I hope to see you there! 

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