Never stop learning! Why adults seem to stop learning once we finish high school or college is baffling. There is a world (wide web) of boundlessly interesting information in an infinite variety of subjects to learn, read about, discover, and explore. I’m referring to deliberate, purposeful, specific learning. It is when our minds are intrigued and piqued with positive information that our bodies get moving in sync, in flow, in harmony. But… since many of us are now in the business of homeschooling our children, this route allows us to at least remain in the circuit of purposeful learning. So, by all means, let us utilize and explore together four (4) reasons to enjoy learning with... FLASH CARDS!
For some reason, some people think that flash cards are an elementary way of learning, or not “mature” enough for adults. Who started such nonsense? Flash cards may seem elementary, but they are almost singlehandedly one of the most effective ways of learning in our homeschool. There are waaaay too many benefits of utilizing flash cards for us to not take advantage of their versatility in our homeschool, and here we’ll share with you our major appreciations of the invention of the Flash Card. But first, a quick stroll down memory lane may help further explain my appreciation for flash cards...
During several semesters of Art History classes during my undergraduate studies, I discovered the brilliant retainable effect that studying with flash cards had on me. Each day in class, the professor would quickly go over many artists and their famous works via “slides” on a slide projector, shining the images on a wall. I instinctively decided in my first Art History class to sketch quick images of each slide of the artworks/artist on one side, and the textual information on the backside of regular, white, lined, 3” x 5” index cards. BRILLIANT! I instantly learned just how effective flipping or flashing through each card during studying would be! I managed to retain the information better when seeing my drawn renditions of their images (and facts) on paper. Plus, I had created stacks and stacks of original, homemade reference cards, like collectibles.
Children are the happiest, most energetic, genuinely fun bunch of beings ever to walk the face of the earth. They are intuitively curious, genuinely interested in just about any and every thing. They awaken each day with the unconscious intent to learn something each and every day. Their minds are free to roam, explore, and discover, and it is because they are ALWAYS learning that keeps them active. EVERYTHING is new to them. There’s a “first” almost everyday. Learning enhances and energizes the brain and body, encouraging it to yearn for more again tomorrow. And with flash cards on-hand...well..
Here’s why they are popular in our homeschool.
1. THE ARRAY - Flash cards come in a splendid array of content, themes, subjects, colors, sizes, makes, models, even series. We’ve collected and still use flash cards on states and capitals, Spanish, sign language, animals, insects, and so much more. We even created our own "I De-Clare-War" deck of cards for mathematical learning here.
2. THE AGILITY - Flash cards are the quickest, most complete, mobile way of filling in activities, studying for a quiz, and/or reinforcing material. If you homeschool year round like we do, and you decide to take an impromptu trip, grab the US Presidents flash cards, or the American states and capitals cards, or even the elements of the periodic table cards. We’ve created so many games with flash cards that we should have written them down as we went along. Once you add in a game on a road trip, all passengers enjoy participating (and learning “accidentally,” too).
3. THE AFFORDABILITY - They are cost efficient, as in inexpensive! We have collected so many flash cards over the years from Dollar Tree alone! (Read about our “Top 10 Must-Have Year Round Homeschool Supplies to buy at the Dollar Store” here) If you’re in search of something specific, check other discount stores (you’d be surprised), the educational supplies retailer, and of course Amazon has just about any and everything you could think of, already in flash card form.
4. THE AWAY-ABILITY - Because flash cards, in nature, are a sleek and orderly deck of cards, prepackaged in a keepsake, custom-made, form-fitting box, they can be stored nicely together in a shoebox, in or out of sight, neat and snuggly. They (individually) fit just right into a satchel or carry-on luggage, or in the glove compartment of your vehicle.
Of course, we all know about the many kinds of “elementary” flash cards available everywhere, including the alphabet, matching shapes and colors, even sight words. But there are many, many kinds of cards for more “mature” subjects like Latin and Greek root words, history and science trivia (which the kids earnestly enjoy quizzing dad on), even sports trivia (dad’s favorite)!
Whatever you do, don’t let deliberate learning simmer, taper, or dwindle. If you don’t want to “hit the books” the traditional way as in our younger days, start with flash cards. There is bound to be at least one subject of interest awaiting your discovery at your nearest retailer or used book store. Indulge, dive in, and discover.
Do you already use flash cards as a way of building various skills in your homeschool? Be sure to share your thoughts about this article in the comments section below. Let us know how you utilize (or not) flash cards.
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