Different Ways of Learning

There are four main styles of learning: visual (sight), auditory (hearing), tactile (touch), and kinesthetic (movement). When teaching children, determine which approach works best for each child. It is especially important to help children with disabilities discover their own best method of assimilating information. This can be done by your careful observation, keeping in mind that often it takes a combination of these styles to create the optimum educational environment. Here are some suggestions that can help parents or teachers teach gospel principles in each of these learning styles.

  • Visual. Children who learn visually remember what they see, so use a lot of pictures while telling a story. Try Church-produced videocassettes with gospel stories. To help children remember scripture stories, hang pictures in their bedrooms and other areas of the house. A fun activity is to have children write and illustrate a short story from the scriptures.

  • Auditory. Read aloud to children, stopping frequently to discuss what is being read. Prepare children ahead of time by discussing some facts and concepts they might listen for, and take time after to talk about principles and ideas. Encourage children to read aloud on their own.

  • Tactile. Use games and objects while talking about gospel principles or reading the scriptures. A flannel board is a good way to let children participate by holding and placing cutout figures. Children will remember the story better if they are allowed to move the figures around.

  • Kinesthetic. Help children find an active way to get involved with scripture stories, such as having plays or puppet shows in which they can narrate or act out different parts. Simple costumes can be easily made from old clothing or other things found around the house.

Using a variety of creative ways to present gospel ideas and stories helps all children, especially those with special needs, to better understand and remember what they are being taught.Melissa Hodgman, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Food Storage and Children

Determining the appropriate quantities for food storage can be challenging for families with children of various ages. Because children are still growing, they need more food in proportion to their size than do adults. It’s helpful to add two years to a child’s current age when calculating adequate food storage amounts. Then, by knowing the number of children in a family and their ages, parents can estimate food needs as a percentage of an adult portion.


Percentage of Adult Portion

3 and under

50 percent

4 to 6

70 percent

7 to 10

90 percent

11 and up

100 percent

Infants who are nursing share in their mother’s portion. Keep in mind that young children, as well as pregnant and nursing mothers, need more milk than other family members (see “Update on Milk Storage,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 70).

Food storage needs for large families probably should be reassessed yearly.Kay B. Franz, associate professor of nutrition at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

Budgeting Basics

As we set up our budget, one of our challenges was determining a figure for each item on our spreadsheet. This was because we each had differing views on how our income should be spent or saved. Budgeting required open and honest communication with one another to work out our differences. We quickly discovered that each of us had to stay within the parameters we had set or the budget was useless. Initially this seemed confining, but once we committed ourselves fully, we began to feel some of the freedom budgeting brings, including peace of mind. Budgeting helped us gain control over our money, eliminate impulse buying, and put aside money for future needs.

As part of our budget, we set up two savings accounts: our long-term and our short-term savings. Our long-term savings account consists of future reserves. Currently our goal is to have a six-month supply of money in the bank and to consistently save money for our children’s missions, education, and marriages.

Our short-term savings account is divided into such categories as insurance, taxes, car maintenance, home improvements, gifts and Christmas, clothing, and food storage. We budget a specific amount each pay period for each category, allowing the balances to build up over time. Then when we need money for one of those expenses, it is already there. Another benefit that comes from having the money set aside is that we can buy items such as gifts, clothing, and food storage when they are on sale without compromising our budget or turning to credit cards.

Our short-term savings plan also enables us to save for large purchases. Saving for these purchases assists us to buy without going into debt and incurring large interest charges.

My husband and I frequently feel the guidance of the Spirit in planning our budget and in working through our financial challenges. Besides being a vehicle to help us manage our money, budgeting together has strengthened our marriage and opened the door to many other unforeseen blessings.Janice Stringham LeFevre, Kaysville, Utah

One-Minute-a-Day Church History

Our family has enjoyed studying Church history by using a variety of approaches that have helped our children become familiar with important people and events of the past. As we alternate teaching methods, our children stay attentive and interested.

  • A minute a day. We decided to use the manual Our Heritage as the basis for a simple introduction to Church history. We committed ourselves to study the book one minute each day for a month. To prepare, I read the book and wrote down 31 of the most important stories, quotes, and events on small pieces of paper and put them in a jar on the kitchen table. Because our family likes a challenge, I left out one important word or name in each of the stories. Every night after the blessing on the food, we take turns reading one of the slips of paper and supplying the missing word. Then we talk about the story. Even though we set aside just one minute for this activity, we have found the discussion often takes much longer. This activity has helped our family gain a broad overview of Church history.

  • Dramatize stories. Many stories from Church history are both fun and easy to perform as a play. After reading the story, family members are given individual parts, and sometimes we even fashion simple costumes. With a bit of prompting and rehearsal, the children portray men and women from the past.

  • Draw on personal stories. To make the events of Church history even more interesting, we add stories from the lives of our own or other ward members’ ancestors. This helps our children feel a personal connection to events of the past.

  • Surprise guests. My husband and I sometimes don a hat, an apron, or another quick costume and go outside and knock on our own front door. We introduce ourselves as someone from the past and tell an inspiring story before exiting through the front door again. Even though our children know we are just pretending, they treat our “visitors” with respect and listen to their stories. In this way Lucy Mack Smith, Parley P. Pratt, and Erastus Snow have “visited” our home.

  • Other books. When we read a story from Church history that really fascinates us, we try to find other books that tell us more. We have been led to biographies of Church Presidents, history books, and even the hymnbook. But most frequently we are led to the scriptures.

  • Travel. Occasionally we take the opportunity to visit Church history sites. While it’s possible that we might visit Nauvoo or attend the Hill Cumorah Pageant one day, we have found other historical sites nearby, including monuments, museums, and cemeteries, each with historical interest.

Finding ways to make Church history interesting for our children has helped them better appreciate the sacrifices made by early Saints and gain a better understanding of important events from the past.Elizabeth G. Ricks, Centerville, Utah

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker

[photo] Photo by Welden C. Andersen