Thursday, January 03, 2008

Right Brained Learners -- Ground Rules

Here are the ground rules for raising a right brained child, according to this great book, Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World — it was geared towards ADD kids and my kids don’t tend to be classically ADD but they do fit into the RBL category in several ways.

These are drafts from about a year ago when I read the book — I was going to work these into posts but HA! completion is, as usual, an issue! But I am trying to clear them out of my draft box for 2008 and thought they might be helpful for someone even just as rough notes, so here goes:

Don’t pressure

Use positive reinforcement — reward efforts not outcome, pass over mistakes initially.

Aim high — RB children don’t learn sequentially or evenly — they can sometimes jump ahead and it helps their confidence to be “ahead”.

Make tutoring a priority — consistency, brevity, good time of day

Pick quiet environment

Don’t insist he sit still

Let him learn through interests

Give him the big picture

Let him see and observe before jumping in

Help him understand WHY he is doing this.

Use humor

Teach him to make pictures in his head. Rightbrained children can turn auditory input into visual if they take time and effort to do so. Teach him to monitor if this process is going on.

That last one is a big one. When I first read the book I started to experiment with drawing quick visual icons as I read to try to help me remember. It did help, but it was a slow process trying to figure out graphics that I could actually draw (art isn’t a strong point for me) that would accurately represent sometimes abstract concepts (I am a conceptual thinker; my RBL son who is a concrete detail person could probably do better this way, and in fact I bet that is exactly why he has such a comprehensive memory for facts about everything — he is the family encyclopedia!)

Self-monitoring is also a useful skill — asking yourself “am I getting this?” and giving yourself a chance to reflect.

And giving oneself a chance to observe and get used to a situation before jumping in is a valuable coping strategy. I use it regularly in homeschooling now, and it works for a lot of different types of situations. It even works for me as a mom — say there is something I want to try in the homeschool or some new activity — if I allow myself a way to enter the situation gradually, it is more likely to be pleasant and positive.

Anyway, if you look at those ground rules for right brained learners, you see that many or even most of them — like personal tutoring, learning through interests, focusing on efforts not results, allowing jumps ahead, humor — are also traits of a good homeschool.