When I was a student some subjects came to me intuitively. I might have had to work hard to understand an assignment or do an assigned task, but what I learned "made sense." With other subjects I could learn what the teacher told me or what I read in the textbook. I could even do the homework or take a test and do well. That, however, was due to the fact that I had memorized the material rather than intuitively understanding it. No matter how hard I tried, I could never really "make sense" of the material.
Considerable attention has been devoted to differences in learning styles among students. While most people learn best through a variety of modalities - visual, auditory, etc. - which reinforce each other - there are often significant differences in what works best for one student versus another. Excellent research in this field has helped educators develop a wider and wider variety of instructional strategies. The research has also prompted both teachers and parents to think about how each child seems to learn and then use that knowledge to the child's benefit both in school and at home. Sharing information and strategies between teachers and parents - what does not work as well as what works - can be very helpful. Parents and teachers see the same things most of the time but either may gain unique insights from the other. How a child learns while studying on his/her own may be different than how he/she learns in a classroom setting with a number of other students.
As we think about the learning styles of our children, I would also recommend that we pay attention to what seems to make intuitive sense to them and what does not. All too often we tend to assume that what makes sense to us should make equal sense to others, particularly in the case of our own children. While both learning styles and intuitive understanding seem to run in families, there are often considerable differences between parents and their children as well as from one child to another. Just as one child may be a visual learner and another an auditory learner, one child may intuitively understand mathematics and another may intuitively understand poetry. Both may be equally intelligent and both may be able to attain equally high grades in all areas but they may have to follow different paths to the same end.
It is clearer each year that the capacity of the human mind to learn is far greater than anyone anticipated. Figuring out how to unlock all of that potential is clearly a challenge and it will take greater understanding of how the human brain works both in general as well as specifically for each individual. What we have learned and put into practice even over the past decade demonstrates that the payoff can be significant.