Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Mighty Memory

My 1st grader has 15 spelling words a week.  My older son had up to 35 spelling words a week when he had the same teacher.   My wife asked about the difference and the teacher just rolled her eyes.   I'm guessing that a parent complained.

My older son not only had 35 spelling words a week, but he also had me piling on the extra work.   The class works two years ahead in language arts and science, and we were totally unprepared.  Parents don't think of this when they are doing test prep.  That's when I bought vocabulary workshop for extra work on the weekends.  We also downloaded all of the vocabulary words I could find for the FOSS science units in order to keep up.   Our whole house was covered with post-it notes for 3 years.  It wasn't until later that I realized the school used Wordly Wise as well.  So he had double or triple the vocab.

This is of course the best thing you can possibly do for your child between 1st and 3rd grade.

The end result is that I have a forth grader who can memorize anything on site.  It's his Super Hero ability. He's not that great of a student right now in terms of paying attention, trying really hard, or caring about the material because he's a boy and because he is 9 years old.  But he'll take a few minutes and memorize verbatim the material to regurgitate it on tests and quizzes.  When I ask him what a vocab word means, he can tell me exactly what is written in the book.   I'm not 100% sure he knows what it means, and I'm 95% sure he doesn't really care.

This is an extremely useful skill for all classes.

I remember guys in college who didn't go to class and didn't do homework.  The night before the test, they would pick up the book for the first time at about 11 pm and ace the test the next day.  I hated them.   There are about 3 primary skills required for this approach, and the ability to memorize is the first one.

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