Friday, February 17, 2012

My Modus Operandi

My youngest and I are diagramming sentences this week. I hit upon something to make it more interesting to her: I had her come up with sentences for me to diagram. And, of course, she gave me the most complicated, convoluted sentences she could muster up.

I loved it. I LOVE diagramming sentences! I love taking an apparent mess of words and locating the structure, plotting it all out clearly, creating order. I've said this before here: I love creating order out of chaos. There is something satisfying to me about taking piles of dirty clothes, washing them, and then creating neat organized piles of clean clothes. Jigsaw puzzles are tremendously relaxing to me (and addictive, unfortunately, which is why I don't do them much). When I coordinated our homeschool co-op in Jersey, I enjoyed setting up systems to make things work more efficiently. One of my favorite moments in my Creative Memories career was when I took a bunch of tips I'd gathered from different sources, organized them, and created my own journaling class.

This is how I approach the world -- seeking or creating order and structure. This is my modus operandi.

So, as I'm pondering how to approach my daughter's history study (history being one of my favorite subjects and not one of hers, much to my amazement and chagrine), I realize I'm leaning toward a method of structuring the information. I did this several years ago with my eldest -- we made large cards with the labels "Ancient Times", "Classical Age", and "Middle Ages". Then on smaller cards, we wrote specific events, people, or concepts that I wanted her to associate with each time period: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and the birth of Christianity were all in the Classical Age. Feudalism, the Crusades, and monasticism were in the Middle Ages. We shuffled up the cards and she sorted them out in their appropriate categories as a way of review.

But I'm wondering now if this is the best method for my youngest. Because I'm not sure if her modus operandi is finding order. I'm not sure what her modus operandi is. That's tough to figure out, because it's hard to see different ways to approach the world than the one I use. I mean, what other way is there to learn history than to find the structure of the information and organize all the facts in that structure? That's how I approach the subject, and without someone explaining a different way, it's hard for me to conceive of one. And she's too young to understand what I'm talking about and examine herself to figure out her way. But it occurs to me that this is important to know if I'm going to teach her effectively.

Nevertheless, I think I'll do the card thing with her anyway, for now. It worked well with my eldest . . . and Lord knows, order and structure is not her thing.

No comments: