From Tuesday: J- has started Grade 8, the year before high school. Last schoolyear, we invested more time into helping her learn, and that worked well. I wonder what we’ll learn about learning this year.
J- was preparing for a quiz on pre-confederation Canada. To help, the teacher had labelled the settlements with A, B, C, and so on. J had made her own mnemonics. For example, D stood for ReD River Settlement. But the letters weren’t assigned in any obvious order, so J- was memorizing an arbitrary association.
Placing the information on the map was much more useful. We scanned in J-’s handout, then J- traced it using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. With a blank map, J- could then add layers with her labels. After a few tries, she could correctly label all the areas in less than a minute and a half. (… and so could I! That will probably come in handy for any citizenship tests.)
We created a new map for Canada’s current provinces, and we quizzed ourselves on that too. For kicks, we took J’-s jigsaw puzzle of the provinces of the Philippines, mixed up the pieces, and assembled everything without looking at the picture. That was fun, although I was a bit slower putting together Mindanao’s provinces than I was at Luzon and Visayas. (More travel?)
Out of curiosity, I flipped through the other pages in her folder. One of the sheets had a timeline of events. “What if we could learn the order of these events?” I asked J-.
We imagined it while we were in the living room. She physically traced the steps and talked about the things she imagined. Then she mentally retraced the steps. Even after watching a movie (Pom Poko, by Studio Ghibli), she still remembered the sequence. Let’s see if she ends up using it in school!
It’s fun adding tools to J’s learning kit. She picked up the strategy of inventing mnemonics. She made flashcards to practise the Gnommish alphabet from the Artemis Fowl series. Now she knows about mapping and the memory palace technique. For dates, we might try the Major system, if we can wrap our minds around it. I wish I’d learned about these things when I was in school, but hey, good to pass on the hacks! =)