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?

Book Recomendations, Christmas, Winter

Jolabokaflod: Christmas Book Flood

Books are not only treasured as Christmas presents in Iceland, they are also given in abundance. For Icelanders, the holiday season begins with the delivery of Bokitidindi, the catalog of the new books published in Iceland that year.  Citizens pour over the catalog for their Christmas selections.

After the books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, everyone snuggles down with hot cocoa and reads the night away. The occasion is called Jolabokaflod which translates roughly to Christmas Book Flood.

The closest our family came to a Jolabokaflod was when my husband unwrapped a Field of Dreams DVD one Christmas Eve and all five us piled into our queen bed to watch it. A favorite memory. Books with hot cocoa would have been even better.

Of all the things I wish I had known—before my children were grown and scattered— Jolabokaflod is probably the most fun and bonding. Christmas Eve is too full with our established traditions, but I would have declared another day,  perhaps New Year’s Book Flood.

Interested in a new tradition?

Book Recomendations, Memories, Parenting

Childhood Prepares

Today I know that memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work he will give us to do.

Corrie ten Boom

Daily we prepare our children for their future. In my Father’s House narrates how Corrie ten Boom’s childhood prepared her for the Holocaust.  (See Here for more.)

When the family faced financial difficulties and Corrie’s mother was ill, her father taught Corrie The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33: 27 (ESV). Imprisoned at Ravensbruck thirty years later, Corrie recalled the conversation and it comforted her.

The Dutch family liked reading the same Bible verse in different languages. Corrie’s sister learned John 3:16 in German and Corrie learned it in English.  They recited the German translation many times at the German concentration camp.

After a schoolteacher slapped Corrie, she was comforted by her earthly father.  That memory drove Corrie to her Heavenly father after a Nazi slapped her.

Daily childhood events with enormous adult rewards.

Which childhood experiences have prepared you for adult struggles?

Book Recomendations, Money

A Favorite Money Story

Jesus used the power of a story to help his disciples understand and remember spiritual truths. We can follow his example as we teach.

In Famer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the town has gathered for a 4th of July Celebration. A cousin dares seven-year-old Almanzo Wilder to ask his father for a nickel to spend on lemonade. Almanzo knows he will be denied, but he asks to save his pride. Instead of a nickel, his father shows Almanzo a half dollar.

It’s work, son,” Father said. “That’s what money is; it’s hard work.

He asks Almanzo to describe the process of raising potatoes. Almanzo complies.

That’s what’s in this half-dollar, Almanzo. The work that raised half a bushel of potatoes is in it.

Mr. Wilder gives the half dollar to Almanzo so he can buy a suckling pig—and raise a litter of pigs worth $4-5 each—or buy lemonade to drink. Almanzo returns to his peers who are envious when they learn that he is buying a suckling pig.

For a couple of years, “Suckling pig or suck lemonade,” was a way to remind our boys of wise financial choices.

Has a story helped you illustrate a principle?