Today's blog is about those who are Body Smart—an intelligence that is seldom recognized unless you happen to be a highly-paid athlete. So, to get started, let me ask:
Do you remember that student in class who was always drumming their hands on the desk, fidgeting in the chair, and grabbing any excuse that came along to get up and DO something? What did the teacher always say?
“Stop making that noise. Stop fidgeting. SIT DOWN!”
The class realized right away that moving and making noise was wrong, and that anyone who did it was in trouble. And now, here you are, with a child in your homeschool who is exhibiting the same behavior! And you keep trying to do what that teacher tried to do—take the bounciness, the fidgetiness out of that distracting kid—with the same amount of success the teacher had. . .
It’s not a pretty picture, is it?
What if I told you that that student is actually BRILLIANT? And that the drumming on the desk, fidgeting in the chair, and the constant movement shines a spotlight directly on their intelligence!!
It’s called Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence, or, more simply, Body Smart.
Some of us are wired to move, whether with our whole bodies in dance or athletics OR with our hands in jewelry-design, engine repair, or brain surgery! When we, as homeschoolers, welcome and appreciate this, it allows these brilliant children to grow and develop their amazing gifts.
With that in mind, let’s take a peek into this Body Smart Intelligence (excerpted from my book, Reaping the Harvest).
People who have ability in this area are very aware of—and are very much in control of—their movements. They are able to use their bodies in ways that make the rest of us scratch our heads. Athletes (everyone from synchronized swimmers to marathon runners), woodworkers, dancers, mechanics, sculptors, jewelers, body builders, cake decorators, calligraphers, joggers, bicyclists, and more are intelligent in this way. . .Both large and small motor skills fit within this area.
Some of the characteristics of this intelligence are:
- needs to move in order to listen
- a kinesthetic or tactile learner
- physically in motion, even while standing still
- develops abilities in handcrafts and other small motor skill activities
- experiences a physical sensation which directs in problem solving
- learns from fiddling with stuff, i.e. disassemble, reassemble
- enjoys athletic competition
- loves activities that engage the large muscle groups, like running, etc.
If you or your children are strong in this intelligence, you need to make time in your schedule for movement and activity! Really. Get everyone up off the couch or their beds or the floor or the chairs and play a game of tag. Run around the house, literally. Go for a bike ride. Fly a kite. Whatever kind of physical activity is enjoyable and appropriate for your family.
Next, make time in your schedule and space in your home for doing crafts—have your kids create hands-on projects in their academic studies on a regular basis. It will be well worth the hassle when you watch your Body Smart kids blossom, and as you see them learn more than you would have dreamed possible!
Since Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence is so seldom honored in school (apart from sports), I made it a point to include lots of opportunities for these learners in my History Revealed curriculum. Here is an example of one physical activity, from World Empires, World Missions, World Wars, Unit 5, Phase 4:
Through stylized action, with two or more students, recreate the Russo-Japanese War, which was fought on land and sea. Remember, this was the first time that an Asian country had been victorious over a European Great Power.
Here is an example of one hands-on project, from Ancient Civilizations & The Bible, Unit 5, Phase 3:
Painted Babylonian Walls
Make a “wall” of bricks to paint: On a piece of wood, roll out clay, or bread dough, or plaster, etc. mark lines in it while still soft to indicate bricks. After the wall dries (or after you bake the bread dough), paint it blue using either tempera or acrylic to cover completely. After this layer dries, paint designs on selected bricks with bright colors. If you painted fierce animals, as the Babylonians did, would you be frightened to walk by this wall?