Book Recomendations, Homeschooling

One-Word Summaries

I wish I had read Summarization in Any Subject: 50 Techniques to Improve Student Learning by Rick Wormeli before I homeschooled. (See my favorite technique Here)

My second favorite technique is One-Word Summaries, which is not easy as many writers have noted.

I have made this (letter) longer because I have not had time to make it shorter.*

Pascal Translated from French

A One-Word Summary is simply choosing one word to summarize the lesson’s topic and explaining the choice. This method also works with favorite books, Scripture passages, best friends, trips.

Choosing requires processing an experience.  Eliminating excess words gets to the heart of a matter.

My husband chose “honor” to describe last year’s trip to Oklahoma.We traveled to honor an inheritance and the man who left it to me.

Explaining solidifies the understanding. We treated my uncle’s possessions and wishes with respect. We did our best to make sure his desires were satisfied.

Which one word summarizes your childhood? Your parenting? Your homeschooling experience?

*Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain—among others—have used variations of Pascal’s statement.

Book Recomendations, Homeschooling, Memories, Parenting

Memory: Prime 1 and Prime 2

When I play a concentration game, why I do I remember the first card I turn over? Always.

Why does the first day of vacation stand out from the rest? Why do I remember my first child’s milestones better than his siblings? Or my first vegetable garden when I was newly married?

I learned the answer after my boys were in college. I discovered Summarization in Any Subject: 50 Techniques to Improve Student Learning by Rick Wormeli. 

Research proves that we remember best what we experience first, and we remember second best what we experience last—also known as Prime 1 and Prime 2. That is why pastors, teachers, and motivational speakers begin and end with memorable scripture passages or examples.

Along the way, I should have started and ended lessons with my major points. Even more, now I should begin and end my day with what is most important.

What is your Prime 1 and Prime 2?

Memories, Parenting, Photos

Picture of the Day

Are you considering new habits for the New Year? Along the way, I learned that regular habits sometimes—well, usually—disintegrated into irregular ones. I also learned that irregular habits can still be valuable.

When my middle son went to college, his younger brother urged him to take a Picture of the Day, POTD, and email it to the family. I thought POTD was our family’s acronym, not commonly used for Poll of the Day and, more accurately, Photo of the Day.

My middle son daily emailed a POTD the first two weeks, and then sporadically the rest of his college years.  

A Junior Year POTD

My youngest took POTD seriously his freshman year. POTDs dropped off during his sophomore year. Junior year was more accurately Picture of the Week—although still labeled POTD.  Senior year became Picture of the Month.

A Freshman Year POTD

Fifteen years later, my husband and I still have the thrill of receiving emails and texts with POTD in the subject line. The frequency and regularity have decreased, but the habit continues, keeping our family connected—and sometimes amused—over hundreds of miles.

Has an irregular habit benefited you? Perhaps, kept you connected?

Christmas, Family, Friendship

Seeing and Hearing

Over thirty years ago, my husband and I memorized Isaiah 11:1-9. (See here). I love many things about this Advent passage, which prophesied the first coming of Christ.

Shoots coming up from seemingly dead stumps intrigue me. (Verse 1) I want someone who has the Spirit of wisdom and understanding and counsel and might and knowledge. (Verse 2) Killing the wicked with the breath of his lips is helpful. (Verse 4). However, over the years, I thought most about verse three.

And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,

Isaiah 11:3

I wish I had known that my eyes and ears didn’t always reveal truth. Trusted people deceived. Situations were complex. Pain was buried deep.

Along the way, I witnessed “perfect” marriages crumble, “heroes” struggle with addictions, and “happy” children rebel. Acquaintances who seemed oblivious proved to be extremely perceptive.

Deciding by what my eyes saw and my ears heard did not lead to accurate judgements.

The Good News was, and still is, the arrival of a Savor who accomplishes what we cannot.

Deciding accurately?

Christmas, Family, Friendship

Pondering

The shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

Luke 2:15-18 (ESV)

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Luke 2:19 (ESV)

Mary pondered the birth of Jesus and the shepherds’ visit. No photographing, no blogging, no texting, no over-analyzing, no wishing for a repeat.

My husband frequently quotes Luke 2:19 when I tend to overdo all of the above, especially wishing for a repeat of a special moment. Pondering sums up so much. Slowing down and savoring. Taking in deeply instead of documenting. Letting my heart do the reviewing.

What I wish I had known and am still learning along the way is to ponder. I would have experienced more joy and understood more heartache.

Pondering this season?