June 7, 2011

Say and Do

As a homeschooling mama, I want to make the most of every moment. As a mom of at least one child who could not seem to remember directions long enough to carry out the task. Actually, he could not carry out the task because he did not process what he heard correctly. Diet has helped some, but Say and Do, together with diet, has worked very successfully to get information to stick and be useful.

I learned about it from a language arts curriculum I bought for my kids. I could not make the curriculum work for us, but the concept of using four modalities at the same time to imprint information into your brain has been life changing. My oldest could not do it at first, but now he uses it for everything and it makes such a difference.

It works like this: You say what you are doing as you do it in order to learn new information. As you SAY it, you HEAR it. As you DO it, you SEE what you are doing. Say, hear, do, see.

Example: My son could not remember how many days there are in one year after much repetition in his math curriculum. After one ten minute practice with Say and Do, he has never forgotten it. I asked him the question, "How many days are there in one year?" and he had to answer in a complete sentence, "There are 365 days in one year." while doing something with his body to help him remember what he was saying. He could write 365 days in the air, sign for the word day, and hold up one finger, while speaking the sentence. He resisted, but he did it, and he has never forgotten it.

Example: Everytime my little kids go to the bathroom, I sing (in a fun and lively way) "I gotta flush the potty and wash my hands with soap. I gotta flush the potty and wash my hands with soap." They sing it with me as they do it. It imprints the message into their minds so that every time they go to the bathroom the song pops into their minds and the remember what they need to do.

Example: One of my children had troubles remembering not to talk about private things outside of the immediate family. This child might share some embarrassing private bodily issue, like another sibling's bedwetting or details about a rash in some inconvenient place, with others. We purposed to put the statement in the positive and practice it and review it many times so that when the situation arrives where one might be tempted to share such things it will pop into our minds that, "Speaking publicly about private things is always inappropriate." We make our fingers move from our mouths out toward others, we subtly indicate private places, and we give two thumbs down while we practice or review the statement at home. It has indeed helped my children to think first before sharing private matters with others. When little ones rush on with their thoughts, I can stop them by simply calling their name, making my fingers move out from my mouth, and giving one or two thumbs down, depending on how many hands I have free. It is very helpful to reign in all of the inappropriate talk that used to rush on like a runaway horse.

Example: My oldest uses Say and Do to memorize formulas and definitions of technical terms for math and language arts. He can easily tell you the definitions of parts of speech and formulas for working out various math equations. This child could not remember to use capital letters to begin sentences and names. Now he has no issues remembering such things.

It is important to use the exact same words and actions every time you practice and review any information you are trying to learn and imprint in your mind. It is important to Do something while you Say it.

My oldest had much trouble at first. He could not repeat a sentence exactly as I said it and he could not coordinate his body to do something at the same time. He would get very frustrated with me. He would try to say the same thing, but with slightly different words each time. It did not imprint in his mind. He could not remember it the next day or even a few hours later. It actually took several years to convince him that this method worked, because, even though he could remember the things I made him learn using the Say and Do method, he refused to be exact in his wording and actions on other things and therefore could not remember stuff.

When I tell my children something, I now expect them to give me a positive response using the Say and Do method. They do not have to like what I am saying or agree with what I am saying, but they must let me know that they heard and understand what I have told them. If I tell them that they need to remember to put their shoes away in the shoe cubbies when they come into the house, then they say something like, "I understand that you want me to remember to put my shoes in the shoe cubby when I come in from outside." or "Right. I need to put my shoes in the cubby when I come in." or "OK, I will put my shoes in the cubby when I come into the house." If they continue to forget the request, I help them form a positive sentence with actions and we practice it. It might be something like, "When I come into the house, I put my shoes into the cubby." I might have them make a roof shape with their two hands then point to their shoes.

We are having fun with it now, trying to say everything in a positive statement, say everything with as few words as possible, and come up with a few simple actions to help us remember the words.

These are some positive changes that have helped our family to better communicate with one another and to better remember the things we learn from one another so that we get along more peaceably with one another.

My oldest is actually excited about starting a new, more challenging curriculum next fall, because he now knows that he can learn and organize information in a meaningful way and retrieve the information when it is needed, instead of just randomly remembering information when something triggers it and feeling compelled to share it right then and there because he might not remember it when he wants to share it later. Pretty cool stuff!!! I, too, can learn and organize information in a meaningful way and retrieve the information when it is needed. I am remembering the names of people I meet along with interesting or important information about them that will help me to feel comfortable and knowledgeable when we meet again. Very cool! I may share the specifics of my methods in a later post.

Thank You, Lord, for all of the ways that You are growing us and changing us to be more effective witnesses for Your glory. Amen!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! That was very helpful. I'd love to hear more about the specifics of your methods.