As homeschooling parents one of the most frustrating lessons can be found in teaching your child how to write a paper. I’ve heard numerous accounts that can attest to the fact that it can be a long process. Will they be able to write clearly enough to tackle the SAT’s? What about when they get to college? For some kids a bulleted outline works well. They can look at a book and transcribe the main points to make a clearly written outline with all main points covered.
What about the visual learner? The visual learner has difficulty recalling information from their text and this can be very frustrating. This I can attest to because I belong to that club! Up until earlier this year I had not discovered mind-mapping. What is mind-mapping? Glad you asked!
“A mind map uses visual thinking to create an organized display of the plan, problem, or project—a diagram that mirrors the way our brains naturally processes information. Information and tasks radiate out from a central theme or goal, rather than falling below a header, as in a list. Related items link with connecting lines. New items can be captured randomly and then organized into the larger scheme, with new ideas flowing naturally as the map gains detail. Information can be illustrated with symbols, words, color, images, links, and attachments to add context, helping to reveal new directions, greater clarity, and big ideas.” –Mindjet
Here is a visual representation of what that means. I have used the invention of the band-aid as an example to illustrate my point.
If you are an auditory learner this may look pretty disorganized but let’s talk bullet points. The main idea is represented in the center. We are talking about Band-Aids. The words sit on top of a pair of Band-Aids to illustrate the main idea. With this map I have chosen to go clockwise because it makes sense to me but you could add numbers next to the points if needed. Here is what it would sound like if you were speaking out loud because you may have to explain the concept to your child:
1. Who invented the Band-Aid? Answer: Earle Dickson
2. What did he do for a living? Who was he? Answer: A man who worked for Johnson & Johnson as a cotton buyer.
3. Why did he invent the Band-Aid? Answer: Because his wife was always cutting herself in the kitchen.
4. By what means were they initially created? Answer: With squares of gauze and tape held in place with crinoline.
5. Who thought it was a GREAT idea? Answer: Johnson & Johnson
6. How did they gain popularity? Answer: Band-Aids were given to the Boy Scouts for free.
7. What happened as a result of Dickson’s invention? He became Vice-President of Johnson & Johnson.
And there you have it! I used the pictures as an example and highly recommend a visual learner using pictures as well because the points are more easily remembered.
For more advanced use of a chart like this your child can add branches to the bullet points. This is highly dependent on how long of a paper you wish your child to write.
For ex.: When talking about his wife cutting herself in the kitchen another line can be created with her name, Josephine Knight.
I created the picture using Edraw. The software is free to download and pretty easy to use. You can look at the examples used on the page as well. I highly recommend that a Junior High or High School student create their own map for further retention. This habit will help them in their advanced years.