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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Spread the Readings Out

 I know many of us have resentful memories of not being allowed to read ahead in our school books back when we sat row by row in our public classrooms. Or we read ahead anyway and received some sort of reprimand or punishment for it, and it still chafes.

 So when we meet the CM method and are told to take more time with the books, read slower, spread them out, slow down, we question it. And when our kids fall in love with a school book and want to speed read to the end, we resent being told that isn't really in keeping with the principles of a cm education. "You know your child better than anybody else, do what you want," counsels somebody else who isn't really familiar with the principles either. 

 It is true, you know your child better. but it might also be true, even so, that strangers to your child could still have a better grasp on educational research, Charlotte Mason, and/or how the brain works, how memory happens, what conditions best foster learning.

 I am reading a book called Learn Hangul in an Hour! In the intro the author tells readers to spread this hour out over 2-3 days in 20 minute sessions, rather than attempting to "burn your way through in one sitting." "Break time is essential to assimilating the information so don't skip it. Studies also show that our brains tend to remember the first and last parts of information the easiest so it makes sense for us to create as many 'firsts' and 'lasts' to take advantage of our brain's natural tendencies."

Modern research supports Charlotte Mason. When reading schoolbooks we don't plow through them. We take small bites, giving children many firsts and lasts to take advantage of the way the brain works. We leave them hungry to more and the naturally go over the reading in their own minds, hunting for clues to what comes next, eager to think about it.  If you asked them to devote this much thinking time to review, they couldn't give it the same fresh, eager hunger to consider that material.  But this way, you aren't asking. You are taking advantage of the way minds function. It's letting the design of the universe work for you instead of you trying to push against it. You are using round wheels on a smooth track instead of square 'wheels' on an uphill footpath full of stones.  Some hard work is worthwhile.  Some is simply kicking against the goads.

Don't make extra work for yourself. Don't make extra, unproductive, or at least less productive work for your child.  Take the easy road and read through a schoolbook with plenty or built in starting and finishing points, and lots of natural incentives for thinking carefully built in in between.

I want to see you succeed with joy. This is part of it. Come  along with us on this path.