Monday, October 10, 2011

Repetition is the mother of all learning

I believe the title to this post is an old Russian proverb, but I don't really know. 

I've heard it so many times it's stuck in my brain - thus proving the statement true.

In working with our girls to get them all learned up (don't worry, Mama will be teaching them English and grammar) we have utilized this strategy, but added our own twist. 

While we repeat everything constantly, we also add in sounds and actions as everyone learns best in a different fashion.  If I read an instruction manual (as awful as they are) I might understand how to assemble something.  On the other hand, if I just jump right in and try to assemble it I will more than likely know how to do it going forward. 

Since our children can't yet tell us how they learn best, we use varying techniques to teach them.

Here are a few examples:

This is a rocking horse and that is what we call it - or horse for short.

We also call him Howard - Howie for short.

Mama does the sign for horse - I haven't learned it yet.

We also make the neighing sound of a horse when they play with it.

At some point the little sponges understood all of those references and now, when we read a book with a horse in it, they will either go get Howie, neigh themselves, sign horse, or at the very least point to him.

I assume Howie is a "he"-- thankfully Howie is not anatmomically correct, so we just don't know.

They'll also take the horse magnet and make the same noises and gestures.

We have Phineas the Frog.  Phineas, thanks to this book, goes ribbit, ribbit, ribbit, hop, hop, hop with corresponding signs and sounds.

Another critter is Fido the dog.  Fido was an easy one since we have two real puppies, so the girls know all about canines.

We do this for non-animals as well.  They have Carla - the car.

Knowing the girls understand us is a wonderful feeling.  It also makes cleaning up before bed a lot easier. 

I can ask Brynne to put Howie back in his stall and she'll do it, giving his ear a squeeze as she goes, so he'll play some music to dance to while she works.

I can ask Hadley to park Carla next to Howie and she'll do that as well. 

We can do the same thing for Phineas, Fido, books, cars, cups, and blocks.  Actually, we can do it for almost every toy they have. 

It's so nice to have two cleaners - especially when neither of them is me. 

It might take them a little longer to pick up than it would for me, but when they work together they do pretty well. 

This also teaches them something I think is very important - to leave things the same as they were when you found them.

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