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Copyright 2006 Julie Shepherd Knapp
Copyright 2006 by Julie Shepherd Knapp.  All rights reserved.
about the book
The Homeschool Diner's Guide to
Homeschooling Specials
Twice Exceptional Resources

Homeschooling Gifted Visual-Spatial Learners
aka "Right Brained"  or Creative Students

by Julie Shepherd Knapp, copyright 2006

"Visual-Spatial" is a learning style that corresponds to a dominance of
and/or reliance on the brain's right-hemisphere abilities.  It is informally
referred to as being "Right-Brained".  The opposite learning style is
"Auditory-Sequential" (A-S), conversely termed "Left-Brained".   V-S
learners think in pictures rather than words and are "whole to part"
learners, rather than "sequential" learners.  They learn best from visual
materials, such as diagrams, pictures, maps, books, and visualization
techniques.  V-S learners also excel at "synthesis" of knowledge, but have
trouble with memorization of discrete facts (such as the times table).   

A gifted child who is highly Visual-Spatial is at a distinct learning
"disadvantage" in the typical classroom environment of lecture classes
and sequential instruction.  In addition, most gifted and honors programs
include extensive writing assignments, when, in general, V-S children have
trouble translating their ideas to written words.  Gifted V-S children may
have a wonderfully rich imagination, but be unable to put their stories
down on paper, or organize their ideas into essays.  Also, V-S children
often get frustrated trying to memorize math steps, when they have no
idea why the steps are needed.  To a gifted V-S child, not knowing the
"whys" of math can be so confounding that they dismiss the subject all

When V-S children struggle in school it may be suggested that they have
a learning disability. There is a distinct overlap between the characteristics
of a struggling visual-spatial learner and the symptoms of several learning
disabilities/disorders, including Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, Attention Deficit
Disorder,  Auditory Processing Disorder, and Sensory Integration
Disorder.  How to understand and help with these issues is discussed in
articles in the
Visual Spatial and Creative Learners section.

Homeschooling is a wonderful choice for educating gifted V-S Learners.  
Parents can help located materials that fit their learning style and make
learning easy for them.  Parents can give their children the freedom to
"run with" their unusual and creative ideas and, as a result, actually feel
successful at academics.  When parents make an effort to match their
curriculum to their children's learning style, V-S Learners can gain back
their confidence that they are smart and capable students.

The articles below discuss how gifted V-S students are at risk in the
classroom, and how we can help them succeed.

"I Think in Pictures, You Teach in Words: The Gifted Visual-Spatial
Thinker by Lesley Sword, ..."four main factors that put gifted visual spatial
learners at risk: they have well above average intelligence, they are
creative and divergent thinkers, they are physically and emotionally
sensitive and they have an extreme visual spatial learning style coupled
with an auditory sequential information processing problem"...

Written Output Suggestions for Gifted Visual Spatial Learners by
Leslie Ansell-Shepherd

Algebra for Gifted Visual-Spatial Learners by Steven Haas

Borenson's Hands-on Equations a visual method of teaching how to
solve linear equations in algebra

Nurturing the Child Gifted in Fine and Performing Arts by Kandi

Emotional Support for the Visual-Spatial Learner -- by Michael Davis  
"...negative self-image, feelings of being judged, alienation, frustration,
resignation and hopelessness are among the painful feelings that result
from visual-spatial learners struggling in auditory-sequential systems..."

Support and Encouragement:

Homeschooling Extraordinary Children -- support for parents
homeschooling gifted children with a  variety of learning differences

Spatially Gifted, Verbally Inconvenienced -- by David Lohman,
University of Iowa, discusses how being v-s can mean that words don't
always come easily, uses Winston Churchill as an example

Thinking Like Einstein: Returning to our visual roots with the
emerging revolution in computer information visualization by
Thomas West --  a book discussing how visual-spatial learners are leading
the way in a new era "where the most advanced work in science, art, or
business will be done using modern information visualization technologies
and techniques", also author of the book "
In the Mind's Eye"

The Right Brain Difference -- by drs. Fernette and Brock Eide, several
articles explore the  neurological basis for slow thinkers and late bloomers
"Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics. I can assure you that
mine are still greater." ~~ Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
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