How to learn, how to acquire information, how to build knowledge, and how to apply wisdom are often lacking in an education system. Many times the student is left to their own devices to figure out ways of doing these things. Within our homeschool we actively seek out a variety of ways to get stuff into our heads (See our homeschool Charter, VII.Tactics of Exerevno Academy.5). It is hoped that by doing this, each of our girls will find multiple ways that work for them so that when they, as adults, have to learn something, they can do it on their own, both effectively and efficiently.
|The funnier the association the better|
As shared, the technique we explored together for her states was "trigger word to story." I have no idea what the formal name is for this approach, but it is the technique of seeing a word in something and building a story out of it that clues you into the answer you want to recall. It is a simple two step process.
First, I asked my daughter to look at the state name and blurt out the first word that came to mind. For example, when she saw Nebraska she said "Ask".
Second, I challenged her to build a story that links "ask" to Lincoln, the president. She shared with me that when she did the debate module at school, she was told the history of the Lincoln Douglas debates. She then continued on with something like, "and he would ask a lot of questions."
Viola! That's it, when she sees Nebraska, she triggers with "ask a" recalling that Lincoln asks a lot of questions.
Below are 20 of the associations she built. The key point is that the trigger word and story had to resonate with her, not me. My context, my knowledge, my background, etc. would build associations that didn't/wouldn't naturally fit her recall. For example, she got stuck on Oregon, so I offered that I see Oreo and that is a cookie sandwich, and that she could instead have a Salami sandwich (for Salem). Nope, that didn't work so after some poking and prodding, she came to one that she still hasn't forgotten but doesn't work for me at all ... something about "Sailing"
After we built her list, when she would recall the capitals, she would regal me with the story each time, thus further burning her association into her mind. Some of her associations were funny, some were crude, and some made no sense to me ... but that didn't matter, they made sense to her and she remembered.
Examples from my daughter:
Alaska - Whats the best month to visit the coldest state? Jeau Know? June, No?
Arizona - Prisoner of Azkaban/Arizona? The Phoenix
California - Sack Ra Men Toe (I don't get this one at all!!)
Colorado - Where does a DOe live? In the Den of Fur (Den-of-fur, Denver)
Idaho - "I da ho" No you're not, you're a boy, see (Boy-see, Boise)
Illinois - There is no Ill in Spring Field (notice the rhyme)
Iowa - "I owe a" "these monies" des monies Des Moines
Kansas - Where is the Kan Of Sauce? At the Top! (Top-E ka)
Michigan - Mich gets rich by land Singing
Minnesota - Mickey was jealous because Minnie had lunch with Paul
Montana - Hanna Montana? No Helena Montana!
Nebraska - Aska lotta questions? Lincoln debates
North Dakota - Dakota is a good business woman with Mark, Bis-Mark (friends of hers)
Ohio - Oh, Hi!!! O.... What Columbus said when he first came to America
Oregon - Or, go Sailin (Or, go is from Oregon)
Texas - Austin likes to Text (Austin is a friend of hers)
Utah - "ahhhh" from the Salt Lake bath (ahhh comes from U ---tahhhhhh)
Washington - Must being washing tons of clothes for Olympians
Wisconsin - W is on in? Because of his Mad Eye Son
Wyoming - Why you, Ming? Because of my friend shy Ann