The right brain vs left brain functions are important to understand as a homeschool parent not because one is better than the other, but because understanding the function of the left vs the right hemisphere of the brain can help you figure out which homeschool curriculum fits your child's learning style.
You probably learned in school that the right side of your brain controls the left side of your body and vice versa. The right and left side of the brain are both needed to function in life, but they "interpret" the world and the information they get in different ways, then they "talk to each other." That oversimplified explanation of how our brain works is the premise for using different teaching techniques to fit the learning style of the student. People actually learn better when they do activities that engage the side of the brain they prefer.
The functions of the right brain vs left brain have been discovered through research of people who have suffered strokes on one side of the brain or the other. They are summarized below.
words and language
aware of time
knows object name
"big picture" oriented
symbols and images
present and future
knows object function
To put this another way…
Left brain learners generally think in words, like structure, can memorize facts easily, see details, and can follow a lecture while taking notes. They tend to do well in arithmetic, but struggle with higher math concepts in geometry and physics. Many of them are categorized as having an auditory learning style. They generally do well in a traditional school setting.
Right brained learners are implusive, creative, intuitive, and empathetic. They tend to think in pictures like a movie running through their head. They prefer visuals like pictures, graphs, charts, and maps over lectures. They see the "whole picture" first and then fill in the details. They struggle with arithmetic and showing their work, but do well in subjects like geometry and calculus. It's no surprise that they are often classified as having a visual or kinesthetic learning style.
Our learning and personality are a result of how these two hemispheres communicate. Each of us draws on the left brain vs the right brain for a variety of daily tasks, but most people tend to prefer tasks and methods of learning that engage one side over the other.
Most schools are geared to teach to learners who prefer to learn the "left brained" way and children who prefer the "right brained" way are often left behind. It's hard for left "brainers" to understand how a right "brainer" can function in a "mess'. It's frustrating for right "brainers" to have fit in to the structured "box" of a left "brainer". Learn what you are. Learn what your child is. Read as much as you can about the differences.
Answer the right brain vs left brain question about yourself by taking this free learning styles quiz.