Homeschool Learning

Using Visual Mnemonics

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Using visual mnemonics is an effective and fun way to enhance your homeschool learning.

I mentioned in my Times Tables resource list that that we had used visual mnemonics to learn some Italian words, and I thought I would expand on that here.

Mnemonic systems were developed by the Greeks (the name being derived from their worship of the Goddess of Memory, Mnemosyne). They discovered that memory worked best by linking things together, and that the more associations were made with those links (in terms of imagery, imagination, humour, colour and exaggeration), the better the memory would work.

A simple mnemonic consists of an easily remembered word, phrase, or rhyme whose first letters are associated with the list items. So for example, the colours of the rainbow are remembered by the phrase ‘Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain’ (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet). Visual mnemonics make use of imagery. In remembering that a Bactrian camel’s back is shaped like a ‘B’ whilst a Dromedary’s is shaped like a ‘D’, you are making use of a visual mnemonic.

If you can make the visual mnemonic colourful and bright in your imagination you will find that it becomes something you remember.

Home School Ideas

I often look for ways I can use visual mnemonics to help the children remember things they want to learn. Words in a foreign language can be memorised this way. An example from LinkWord French is ; The French for RABBIT is LAPIN (LAPAHn). Imagine a rabbit LAPPING at a bowl of water. The method may seem cumbersome at first, but once you have memorised the word you find that get to the stage where you can easily recall it without having to recall the picture.

Try using visual mnemonics to help children remember facts - or just play about with using memory systems in this way to expand memory functioning and prepare them for the future!

Homeschool Mnemonics

Here is a great example to share with your children in your homeschool learning, to help them remember the planets in order from the sun.

A thermometer was placed near the sun. Thermometers are filled with MERCURY and the sun was so hot that the mercury shot out of the top and began to bounce around in small black balls. A lttle girl came along. Her name was VENUS and she began to play with the black balls. She threw one high, high up into the sky, and it landed with a thud - right in the middle of your garden on EARTH. It made a huge crater and you were just peering over to have a look when your neighbour came to see what had caused the noise. He was very cross - and very green!! And you realised he came from MARS. While you were trying to explain to him what had happened, a huge giant came along. His name was JUPITER. You looked up high at him and saw he was wearing a tee-shirt with the word SUN written on it. These are the last planets - Saturn, Uranus and Neptune!

If you think visual mnemonics would work for you and your children, I have collected some links of sites and books that use this system in my resources section.

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