Apr 30, 2006

Exponential Education

I have recently discovered something about education.

Do you remember learning about exponents in math? I don't suppose I can actually show one here, but it was a smaller font number to the upper right corner of another number, such as 3 "to the power of" 4, whereas 3 is the main number and 4 is the little number in the corner. These always fascinated me. If we were just to take 3 X 4, for example, the answer would merely be 12. However, with exponents, you multiply the number times itself for however times the exponent says to. So in this case, we would multiply 3 X 3 X 3 X 3, which would give us 81! What a tremendous difference!

So what does this have to do with education? I have recently applied this same principle to learning. As we have increased our field trips, our museum trips, our hands-on learning, I have noticed that our learning has increased exponentially as well. You know that old saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Oh, how true that is! An educational picture, of sorts, can dramatically speed up learning. (And likewise, the evening news can dramatically speed up learning as well, but those are not the kinds of pictures I want my children to have seared upon their brains. I want to be very careful what "impressions" I put upon our minds.) So I feel good about "investing" in the IMAX theater for a great educational movie, which may take many, many hours of reading a great book to get the same educational impact.

Now, if just seeing something has such an exponential educational impact on our brains, I started thinking about what else learning could do. Several years ago, I heard a great Sunday School lesson that forever changed my life (don't you love those memorable lessons?). The man was talking about reading God's Word and he started with talking about just reading the Bible, where the only sense that is used is seeing. Then he talked about reading God's Word out loud. Now, we not only see the words, but we are saying them and hearing them also! Wow! That was an exponential leap! In the same amount of time, we can now see, hear, and say the words of God! As I started experimenting with this, I noticed that my disabled daughter would come and join me every morning, so that she could hear God's Word, too. I am not reading to her, but she is able to hear the word of the Lord. What an extra blessing! (Moms, don't push away your little ones when you are spending time with the Lord. They can learn, too, although you are not speaking to them.) A little while later, I discovered even more exponential learning from God's Word, which I will cover in a post entitled "The King's Assignment," coming soon!

We have never done too many field trips, but this last year we incorporated quite a few of them into our schedule. We don't go for the ones that are more for amusement (muse = think; a = not or without; a-muse = not thinking; without thinking), but there are lots of great educational opportunites out there. Have you ever studied something in a book, and then gone to see it, or do it? It's that "Aha!" feeling, isn't it? Before we went to Sea World a couple years ago, for example, we always liked dolphins, we read about them, we looked at pictures of them, we'd even seen them afar off. But when we were able to spend an hour with the dolphins with almost no one else around, to play catch with them, to pet them, to feed them, to play with them, to laugh with them - our learning about dolphins increased to tremendous exponential proportions. No amount of book learning, and I'm all for book learning, could match this one hour experience!

So, I will be giving field trip reviews on this blog now, for my local readers especially, or maybe those who would like to come for a visit!, but we do like to travel once in a while, so I will write field trip reviews for wherever we might go. I hope these reviews will encourage you to exponential learning, no matter how old you are! The day you stop learning is the day you grow old.

Exponential learning also includes science experiments, gardening, cleaning house, a walk in nature, seeing the baby ducks grow up, and a million other areas of life. Explode your learning with exponential education!

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