Saturday, November 12, 2011

Home Schooling - Part 6 of a 12 Part Book Review - Brain Rules - Rule 6



Song:  Moonlight Sonata

Group:  E.S. Posthumus


BRAIN RULE 6

LONG-TERM MEMORY:  Remember To Repeat



I am going to present a modern analogy for memory.

The short term or working memory is, of course, our RAM...
Random Access Memory...the data which presents the information
at the time to formulate and compute.

Our long term memory is our Hard Drive and ROM (Read Only Memory).

The Hard Drive records that which we find important for more
permanent storage.  The ROM is the firmware...the instructions...
which makes use of the information in the memory.

Although this is more difficult to alter...
it is done on the human level through repetition.

We can alter the actual wiring in the brain through repetitious
usage.  Through a new way of thinking, and using this new process
of learned skill over and over...we may change our ROM...
or in effect...update our instructional base...essentially giving us a
new computer.  People may change...it is just that most don't
since it involves so much effort.

It is done naturally in humans as they transition from child to adolescent
to adult.  Our experiences mold our ROM through the strength of...
and the number of, repetitions.

When one reaches adulthood...most of our ROM is hardwired...
and so, most never change
(again, the wiring MAY be changed in adulthood....
but only through great effort or trauma).

That is why it is so crucial to have your child learn correctly at the beginning.

Although the brain is always plastic...
it is extremely so... the younger they are.


It is not only repetition that is key...
it is the timing of it that also matters.

The brain must not only encode the memory...
it must then consolidate and store it.

Should new information be presented...
the extent of which overloads the person's ability
to store in their short term memory (differs by person)...
the person is forced to remember only the salient points
of the new block of information...thereby losing many
of the details.

Should the information be presented by concept...
and only by concept until mastered...
the pertinent information may be retained as a working whole...
and the working memory is then clear for new input.

Revisiting and consolidating the new information into
a larger working concept allows the long term storage
to be updated and stored together (an essential defragmentation).


Chapter Summary

1)  Most memories disappear within minutes, but those which survive
the fragile period...strengthen with time (and exposure).

2)  Long term memories are formed in a two way conversation
between the hippocampus and the cortex...
until the hippocampus breaks the connection and the memory
is fixed in the cortex...which can take years
(unless the memory is fixed early through adequate repetition
or fitted into an easily remembered concept).

3)  Our brains give us only an approximate view of reality...
because they mix new knowledge with the past memories
and store them together as one.

4)  The way to make long-term memory more reliable is to incorporate
new information gradually and repeat it in timed intervals.


A great strength of Home Schooling is in its inherent
ability to adhere to that which is the most effective way
of remembering...through repetition...concept by concept...
before moving to the next.

Through constant review...and through DAILY instruction
and practice...broken into smaller sessions ...which are repeated
more often and at an appropriate amount of spacing...
where the information may be cogitated and eventually downloaded...
a child may make steady improvements.

A three month break from school  (as in most public schools)...is sheer madness.
It is a holdover from when children had to help with the harvests.

School should be year round with perhaps 4 one week vacations
(one for each season).

Alex loves learning because of his steady progress.

The inherent nature of daily on-line learning allows
it to fit in with the way that humans naturally learn...
through daily reinforcement...and in smaller chunks at any one time.

Concepts learned...
daily reinforcement...
eventual retainment...
steady progress.



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