Our Reasons for Home Education:

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Although he was achieving good results, he wasn't reaching his full potential because his love for learning had been destroyed & hence his grades were steadily declining.

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Completely failed by the system, he hated school, was always tired & homework time was a major frustration for both of us. He was severely frustrated & quickly heading to become yet another ADHD statistic.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Brain Dominance

~ in addition to Learning Styles, is a key to learning & life success!

When we removed Misha, our struggling 2nd grader from private school in August 2010, because he was struggling in school in spite of being a very clever child that could memorise books like a parrot & yet wasn’t able to read, he had already lost all his self-confidence & hated school. At that stage I had absolutely no knowledge about learning styles or even brain dominance.

Thanks to Tannie Hettie, our eldest’s Grade R teacher at Hettie HenPlaygroup, I discovered that his gross & fine motor skills hadn’t been addressed properly. I figured once the motorskills were addressed, his learning would improve. Although he did show huge progress with the motorskills improvement, he still had huge resistance to worksheets & workbooks, thus getting schoolwork done was still a daily struggle for us. It was only after about 8 months of homeschooling that I finally stumbled onto a website about learning styles & brain dominance.

WoW, what an eye opener that was. Finally I understood why my bright 7 year old was struggling so much with schoolwork. All the indications were there that he’s a right-brained child & hence the left-brained learning environment at school was just not working for him. He needed alternative instructions in order to retain what he was taught. In hindsight, Misha’s motor skills were only part of his problem, the other contributing factor was his learning environment. School just didn’t cater for his kinaesthetic & visual spatial learning styles & he just didn’t fit into the left-brain dominant teaching environment.image

For more information on brain dominance, please check out the links below. I’ve spent the last 4 months incorporating these strategies into our school day & have since seen a huge improvement in all areas of learning. He is finally able to read & starting to slowly regain his confidence…

Left Brain vs. Right Brain

Left brain

Right brain
Analytical, led by logic
Intuitive, led by feelings
Verbal, focusing on words, symbols, numbers
Visual, focusing on images, patterns
Work up to the whole step by step, focusing on details, information organized
See the whole (big picture) first, then the details
Highly Organized
Organization ends to be lacking (Random)
Orderly and predictable
Spontaneous and flexible
Like making lists and planning ahead
Free association (Impulsive)
Few gestures when speaking
Many gestures
Skipping around
Main idea
Work independently
Cooperation in groups
Touching and feeling actual objects (sensory input)
Process ideas sequentially, step by step
Process ideas simultaneously
Words used to remember things, remember names rather than faces
'Mind photos' used to remember things, writing things down or illustrating them helps you remember
Make logical deductions from information
Make lateral connections from information
Likely to follow rules without questioning them
Like to know why you're doing something or why rules exist (reasons)
Good at keeping track of time
No sense of time
Spelling and mathematical formula easily memorized
May have trouble with spelling and finding words to express yourself
Plan ahead
Trouble prioritizing, so often late, impulsive
Likely read an instruction manual before trying
Unlikely to read instruction manual before trying
Listen to what is being said
Listen to how something is being said
Likely to believe you're not creative, need to be willing to try and take risks to develop your potential
Likely to think you're naturally creative, but need to apply yourself to develop your potential
In addition to the characteristics above, ask yourself these questions to determine whether your child has characteristics of a right-brain orientation:
  1. Does your child struggle to memorize facts?
  2. Is your child spontaneous, rarely planning ahead?
  3. Does your child like to discuss and talk while learning?
  4. Does your child struggle to “show all work”?
  5. Does your child prefer a relaxed, non-traditional school environment (such as lying on the floor)?
  6. Does your child figure things out without much evidence?
  7. Does your child struggle with self-discipline, and tend to act impulsively?
  8. Does your child skip problems when doing math?
  9. Does your child struggle with doing work in workbooks?
  10. Does your child like to do hands-on, interactive projects?
  11. Does your child enjoy mechanical, technical, or “put it together” types of pursuits?
  12. Does your child lose track of time easily, or often underestimate how much time he has?
  13. Does your child question rules regularly?
  14. Does your child learn complex concepts easily but struggle with easy skills?
  15. Is your child imaginative and creative?
  16. Does your child find answers without knowing how he got them?
  17. Is your child dramatic and demonstrative?
  18. Is your child sensitive to emotions and attitudes of others?
  19. Does your child have a good photographic memory?
  20. Does your child work well with noise, music, or activity in the background?
  21. Does your child develop unusual solutions to problems?
  22. Does your child prefer pictures, charts, and graphs to written words?
  23. Does your child enjoy fantasy-based and/or mystery books over biographies?
  24. Does your child have to “see” a word in his mind to be able to spell it?
  25. Does your child skip over directions and immediately “jump in” to assigned work?
  26. Is your child able to brainstorm many options to potential problems?
  27. Does your child have a good sense of rhythm or an aptitude for music?
  28. Does your child have a good sense of humour?
  29. Does your child like to move around while doing schoolwork?
  30. Does your child often want you to “get to the point”, and get bored with long descriptions or details?
  31. Does your child like to doodle while he works, or enjoy drawing or colouring?
  32. Does your child learn whole words easily, but struggle with phonics?
  33. Does your child have a good sense of direction, and is he able to read maps well?
  34. Does your child enjoy taking risks?
  35. Does your child tend to procrastinate, and wait until the last minute?
  36. Does your child seem to daydream often?
  37. Does your child enjoy listening to music while doing work?
  38. Does your child struggle to keep his desk and room organized?
  39. Does your child enjoy computer-oriented games or learning?
  40. Does your child learn better by demonstration than explanation?
If the answer to many of these questions is “yes”, you may have a child with right-brain characteristics!

Left Brain vs. Right-Brain Functions

Left Brain Functions Right Brain Functions
Uses logic Uses feeling
Detail oriented “Big pictures” oriented
Facts rule Imaginations rules
Words and language Symbols and images
Present and past Present and future
Math and science Philosophy and religion
Order/pattern perception Spatial perception
Knows object name Knows object function
Reality based Fantasy based
Forms strategies Presents possibilities
Practical Impetuous
Safe Risk taking

Skills Associated with Hemispheric Specialization

Left Hemisphere Right Hemisphere
Handwriting Haptic awareness
Symbols Spatial relationships
Language Shapes and patterns
Reading Mathematical computation
Phonics Colour sensitivity
Locating details and fact Singing and music
Talking and reciting Art expression
Following directions Creativity
Listening Visualization
Auditory Association Feelings and emotions

Modes of Consciousness

Left Hemisphere Right Hemisphere
Linear ~ Linear means part-to-whole. The left-brained person takes little pieces, lines them up, arranges them in logical order, and arrives at a convergent conclusion.
Holistic ~ The right-brained person thinks whole-to-part, holistically. The child with a dominant right hemisphere starts with the answer, a total concept, or perceives the whole pattern and discovers a divergent conclusion.
Symbolic ~ The right-brained person thinks whole-to-part, holistically.
Concrete ~ The child with a dominant right hemisphere starts with the answer, a total concept, or perceives the whole pattern and discovers a divergent conclusion.
Sequential ~ The left brain approaches life sequentially.
Random ~ The right brain floats randomly through life’s experiences.
Logical ~ The Logical person knows exactly where he gets his answers. He starts out with a little piece of information and logically works toward an end result.
Intuitive ~ Right-brained children are intuitive; they are not logical. They pull the answers right out of the air. They can give you the answer to a long-division problem but they may not be able to work through the sequential steps.
Reality-based ~ Left-hemispheric children can deal with reality, with the way thing are. Left-hemispheric children are very much affected by the environment and will adjust to it. If something is presented to them they will shift and react. If something is not there for left-hemispheric children, it doesn’t exist for them.
Fantasy-oriented ~ Right-hemispheric children will try to change the environment, to make it shift and react to meet their needs in any way they know how. They deal with fantasy, with imagery, with imagination.
Temporal ~ Left-hemispheric children have a sense of time.
Non-temporal ~ Right-hemispheric children have very little sense of time. They simply do not comprehend when you set time limits. They cannot think in any terms except the here and now.

Brain Dominance Tests:

Right-Brain Teaching Tips:


Please visit this page frequently as I will be posting regular updates as I find more resources.