learning…

we all learn differently. never have i been more aware of that, until just recently. everytime i go to see my doctor, i get barraged with the same set of questions…

“how do you learn best? by hearing, and following instructions? by seeing, watching, as someone demonstrates, for you? or, by doing?”

i have never really given it much thought. my answer is always the same, that any of those methods work for me. i feel that, i’m very blessed, and can usually grasp concepts, and ideas, quickly and easily.

it was my mom, who gave me plenty of things to do, ways to help, ideas to spark interest, and curiosity, patterns to memorize, and words to learn. her’s was a simple, yet sophisticated approach to learning.

my mom, used whatever she had immediately, within her grasp, as a training tool, or lesson plan. some of her favorite tools, included: cans from the pantry, the sewing tape measure, loose change, the button jar, and the dictionary.

i began learning, in the pantry, at about
1-1/2 years of age. initially, she started me with something easy, colors. she took the cans out, and put them in the middle of the floor. she then talked to me about colors, and their names. next, she showed me what she wanted me to do…sort cans according to their color, and then, tell her what color each stack was.

i quickly mastered each task, and was given another. i stacked, and sorted cans, according to size, type (fruit, vegetable, or other), and eventually, worked my way up to…separating first by type, then lined them up alphabetically, by size, and put them all back into the pantry.

once i had sorting down, and could hold a pencil…she had me copy down what was in each can, on the lined side, of an index card. on the blank side, she had me draw what was in the can, and color it in. these served as flashcards, that she would quiz me on, and have me practice my penmanship on.

soon, i learned how to sound out words, which enabled me to begin reading. my mom showed me how to use a dictionary, to look up words that i didn’t know, and soon, it was my favorite book.

my mom had a giant glass jar, full of buttons, of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. she would dump them out, in the middle of the floor, and it would keep me busy, all day. once again, i would sort according to color, shape, size, and type (plastic, wooden, glass).

my mom taught me how to count, using buttons. she had me sort out like sets of two, four, six. we went on to use the buttons, to help me to understand addition, and subtraction.

mom, would arrange the buttons, tell me if the problem was, addition, or subtraction, and I would write the sequence down on an index card, and solve it. this method helped me to understand what a basic math problem looked like, and how to solve it.

my mom used her sewing tape measure, to show me how to measure, three dimensional objects. she started me off measuring, to the nearest inch. i kept notes on everything that i measured. i measured my head a lot, trying to figure out if my brain, was getting any bigger, as i was learning. eventually, she showed me how to get more accurate measurements, by introducing me to fractions, for the very first time.

my mom, was the one that introduced me, to the value, of money. once i learned to count, had a grasp on basic math, and fractions, she brought out the loose coins, and paper money.

i understood that pennies, were the least valuable, but could really add up, over time. i understood, that the paper dollar bill, was worth more, than any single coin, other than a silver dollar, they shared an equal value.

she gave me some physical illustrations, which have stuck in my mind, very clearly, over all these years. she took out a dollar bill, and cut it, in half. she laid the two halves, next to two fifty cent pieces. she said, “one whole paper dollar, is the same as two fifty cent pieces. one fifty cent piece, is equal to half of a, whole dollar.” she then cut the dollar into four pieces, and explained that there were four quarters, in one dollar…that one quarter is one quarter, of a dollar…two quarters, equal half of a dollar…three quarters, equal three quarters of a dollar. i understood, quickly, and easily.

my mom, was very instrumental, in my formative education, and learning. by the time that i entered elementary school, i already knew how to read, write, add, subtract, measure, use a dictionary, and count money. this was both a blessing, and a curse.

it was a blessing, because, i could help my friends with things that they had problems with, and i got good grades, without ever even trying.

it was a curse, because, i was so, incredibly bored. i already knew, most of what was being taught. i had absolutely nothing to capture, and hold my attention. i became very disruptive. i was constantly in trouble for talking, to my neighbors. i would sass, and mock my teachers, anything for any kind of attention, or laughs. i spent a lot of time in the principal’s office.

these are all ways that i’ve learned…

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