The Homeschoolers

NIKKI: ACTUAL-ROUTINE LEARNER (based on Dr. Keith Golay’s work)


1. compliant nature, cooperative
2. thoughtful
3. helpful
4. methodical
5. likes routine, rules and tradition
6. upset easily by changes
7. seeks approval of parents and others
8. organized
9. dependable and responsible

Strong Dislikes:

1. large, chaotic groups
2. change in schedule
3. vague expectations
4. open-ended assignments


1. abstract thinking
2. invention
3. risk-taking

– most concerned with understanding and meeting expectations
– asks for clarification regularly to avoid making mistakes
– needs material presented in a sequential, step-by-step manner
– likes assignments with clearly defined instructions and expectations
– most comfortable with traditional teaching methods: written assignments, repetition, drill, bookwork, workbook learning
– some weakness in understanding principles, concepts and abstractions
– may not like role-playing, estimating, predicting, or other exercises that require spontaneity, creativity, or extrapolation
– respects authority and needs a learning environment with clear leadership and recognized rules
– needs well-organized, sequential lessons presented in incremental steps; resources with clear directions and standards of evaluations
Saxon Math and Professor Phonics
– try essay tests for a better understanding of larger concepts
– must learn to make decisions and act spontaneously
– must be encouraged to invent and take risks
– They like their environment to be clearly structured, planned, and organized. They are not comfortable with spontaneity and do not feel they are creative. The traditional school model works well for them. They ask “What?”
– Instructors of actual-routine learners should realize that
they will need help and encouragement in keeping their shortcomings in perspective, and they often require outside accountability
to insure all responsibilities eventually are completed with an acceptable level of competency.


ETHAN: ACTUAL-SPONTANEOUS LEARNER (based on Dr. Keith Golay’s work)


1. impulsive
2. autonomous
3. distractable
4. flexible
5. short attention span
6. risk taker
7. constant motion
8. thrives on variety and adventure
9. competitive
10. quick
11. inventive
12. outgoing
13. defiant when boundaries are imposed

Strong Dislikes:

1. structure
2. routine
3. sitting still
4. reading or seatwork
5. convention
6. delayed gratification


1. study skills
2. long-range planning
3. planning and organization

– the Accidental Learner
– learning is involuntary and, without training, is limited to a concrete level of thinking
– impulsive and adventuresome
– is controlled by his impulses; lives for the moment
– any learning that occurs is an unintentional by-product of his actions
– wants to deal with the actual, concrete world
– least suited for the traditional classroom and formal learning experiences
– won’t sit still for lectures, repetition or drills
– wants to be unrestrained by structure, routine or authority
– loves games and enjoys being in a group but is competitive and often takes charge
– antics and sense of fun; quick wits and resourcefulness
– has the ability to act swiftly with precision
– adept at manipulating, constructing, and performing
– excels in areas requiring invention, physical dexterity, resourcefulness and courage
more than any other child, this one needs to be homeschooled
– needs strong parenting and leadership, a daily routine, clear boundaries
– set up an environment that is quiet and clear of distractions
– be tolerant of his need to move around
– set short, achievable goals and immediately reward good attitudes and acceptable work; Incentive charts, stickers or special treat can be motivational
– spice up routine regularly with variety: field trips, special projects, cooperative classes
Math Blaster and Sing, Spell, Read and Write
– usually gifted in areas that require physical dexterity, primarily athletics
– They like their environment such that they are free to act spontaneously; they dislike planning and organizing. They love games and hands-on projects, but have short attention spans and are difficult to motivate. They want to know how what they are learning is of use to them. They ask “How does this work?”
– They like their environment such that they are free to act spontaneously; they dislike planning and organizing. These learners
prefer games and hands-on projects, but have short attention spans and are difficult to motivate. The traditional face-to-face
classroom is lest suited to individuals of this nature, Golay notes, for they do not prefer the formal learning experiences.


  1. the two learner describes my daughter and my son… can i see more about Dr. Golay’s research?

    • Hello! sooo sorry for my late reply. haven’t been updating my site since I started Facebooking. I learned about Dr. Golay’s work in a homeschooling book I was reading. I was amazed at how closely it described my boys. anyway, if I encounter more of Golay’s research and if you are still interested in reading about it, I’ll happily share it with you. 😀
      Take care!

  2. Hi Lea,

    Finally found your website… am interested though about Dr. Golay’s research? Are there more of Dr. Golay’s research? Thanks

    • Hi Jeanne! Sorry for the late reply. Haven’t been blogging here in ages. Just chanced upon Dr. Golay’s work in a book I was reading. Haven’t researched more about it though…
      Take care!

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