Friday, November 7, 2008

Einstein Never Used Flashcards

I checked the book Einstein Never Used Flashcards out of the library a while back and never got around to reading it. It's due back today, and I finally picked it up last night to thumb through and now I don't want to return it! It reinforces my philosophy that childhood is journey, not a race and that kids learn best through play. I'll give a brief outline in case anyone wants to check it out (and so I remember to go back later).

Each chapter is broken into 3 part: Teachable Moments, showing everyday experiences as learning experiences; Discovering Hidden Skills, which describes how parents can recreate the experiments the authors used to illustrate their points; and Bringing the Lessons Home, which is concrete suggestions for things parents CAN do to help their children learn. Hint: signing them up for tons of enrichment cources and using flashcards are not the best way.

Bringing the Lessons Home is the part I'm most intrigued with. I know this book is based on extensive research and I do plan to go back and read the whole book. I know from what I've read already, though, that I agree with the basic premise: children learn better when they are allowed to be children and learn at their own pace rather than be pushed into learning faster, quicker, better.

Some things the book points out:

  1. music is good for all of us, and it doesn't have to be Mozart - it won't increase your child's intelligence, but it's good all the same

  2. expensive educational toys aren't necessarily - it's better for the child to be interacting with another person than playing alone with an electronic toy teaching her the alphabet

  3. learning in context is better than memorization - no flash cards!

  4. playing in the backyard is as good as going to expensive amusement parks - or better

  5. look for household items to substitute for expensive toys - they're not necessary for a child's development

  6. kids learn better by interacting with us than by watching tv - I've never really used the Baby Einstein videos we have and it's ok!

  7. be careful what you say in front of your child, especially ABOUT your child - even young children can pick up on what you're saying and take it to heart

  8. play with your child - not just board games - join in with the imaginitive play. This is something I think we all struggle with, because we think we have more important things to do.

  9. Provide the resources for stimulating play. expensive electonic toys that do all the playing themselves are NOT stimulating.

Ok. Time to go play with my own munchkin and return this book.


UK lass in US said...

Sounds like a good book. While I want my kids to do well in school, I really just want them to enjoy learning. Academically, there was quite a gap between my brothers and I, but our school grades proved to be no predictor of how successful we were in life.

Indigo, madder, marigold said...

I loved this book...I am a Waldorf teacher and it really affirms everything we are doing there!
One thing I found interesting is where it talked about the gap between what parents KNOW and what they PRACTICE. It takes such societal support for things like play. I enjoyed reading your post about this book.