Sight is most people's primary means of collecting information.

When you step into a garden, for example, you notice at once the color and shape of each flower. You might see a squirrel or a hummingbird at the feeder. Looking up, you can see from the shape and color of the clouds whether it's likely to rain or not.

In formal learning, almost all new information is first presented visually. It's easy to include a visual aspect in learning through books, demonstrations, and videos. A captivating visual aid will reinforce your lessons even if your child is not a visual learner.

But there are sometimes challenges to visual learning.

I was an excellent student, but during the summer between 2nd and 3rd grade my family moved to a new school district. At my new school students were seated in alphabetical order. I sat near the back of the room because of where my name fell on the seating chart. I began to fall behind. I often raised my hand, but the teacher rarely called on me. One day I stayed after class to ask her why. She explained that there were many students who needed help. "But you're a smart girl. I know you can figure the problems out by yourself."

Trouble was, I couldn't see the assignments and examples. I couldn't read the board.

My teacher alerted my parents, who had my eyes checked, and I soon had a pair of glasses that helped a lot. But for those few months before we realized that I had a vision problem, I felt lost, invisible, and frustrated.

Good vision is a blessing. Learning through visual input is easy for a majority of people. It can be a real disadvantage to have vision that is impaired, so definitely follow up with a professional if you notice signs that your child doesn't see clearly or has other visual challenges such as dyslexia. But also realize that there are other ways to collect information and learn and that visual input is much more than "just" reading textbooks.


Broaden your perspective of sight-based educational activities by brainstorming visual learning experiences that don't involve textbooks or worksheets.

I'll start you off, then you can add to the list:

  • A trip to the library for "real" books
  • Videos
  • Watching a science experiment
  • Using math manipulatives
  • Starting a nature journal

Your turn! :)

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