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An Evening With Old Friends

March 11, 2011

Last night, our homeschool group had a meeting/curriculum expo. A bunch of us brought our favorite current study materials and shared them with the rest of the group so we all could get a better idea of what is out there.

I wandered around a bit and came to a table highlighting a program that built up study skills for college – where I met a few old friends.

The study skills that the program worked on up included skimming, memorization skills and note taking skills – more to the point, they included systems of memorization and mind maps.

I used pegs and mind maps back in college. They got me through all but the most calculation intensive physics and math courses with ease. I used them to make the Commandant’s list when I switched from the Army to the Air Guard and retrained in information management. I used mind maps to outline articles back when I was writing every day and I still use memory systems for simple shopping lists and to-do lists when I don’t have paper handy.

Granted, my memorization system is kind of unorthodox – I typically use a bastardization of the Journey system and the Major system (I have the consonants memorized but usually pair up digits and assign words on the fly) – but it works for me. I remember plenty of other systems though. I used a link system to memorize lists as a kid and rhymed words with numbers for a primitive peg system later on. I remember the Roman Room system and loved how Hannibal Lector’s Memory Palace took this idea to extremes. Still, my mix of methods works for me and I’ll stick to it.

I didn’t come across Mind Maps until college though – which was too bad. I might have done better in High school if I had a system of note taking that worked for me. As it was, I muddled by as a kid and only excelled later as an adult.

Sadly, I haven’t shared any of these techniques with my children and they are getting to a point where they would benefit from them. I’m definitely going to change that today!


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