How to teach your child sciences and encyclopedic knowledge
This section started as a purely Doman approach to teaching Encyclopedic Knowledge, but grew into a more comprehensive list of materials for learning about various sciences and fun topics. Encyclopedic Knowledge Materials Books Pick Yourselves a Subject to Learn: categories and units of study Encyclopedic Knowledge Materials at other sites: English; Spanish; Other Languages How to teach Encyclopedic Knowledge How to make your own materials Buy materials
Encyclopedic Knowledge Materials
|A-D * Animals * Art: Painting * Art: Architecture, etc. * Astronomy * Chemistry||E-H * Earth Sciences * General Culture * Geography * History * Human Physiology||I-O * Literature * Mathematics * Music||P-Z * Physics * Plants * Religion * Transportation|
What is intelligence? According to Glenn Doman intelligence is “a product of three things: the ability to read; the ability to do math; the amount of encyclopedic knowledge one has.” (How to Give Your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge, Glenn Doman, 2001, p. xi. From now on GD) Well, we’ve all heard that child’s brain is getting formed by 5 and in the first 3-5 years the child learns faster and easier then ever before. Glenn Doman goes further: “It is easier to teach a one-year-old, then to teach a six-year-old” (GD, p. xi). Glenn Doman is the only one I know who provides some suggestions on teaching kids encyclopedic knowledge, but if you know anybody else, please comment below!
How to teach Encyclopedic Knowledge
- Get started
- How to show cards
Get Started First and foremost, don’t be lazy: get a book How to Give Your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge by Glenn Doman and read it. Second, Glenn Doman recommends starting with reading. Reading is the staple of the knowledge. If you haven’t yet, review our brief summary of his reading method, and jump start section for getting the materials, knowledge on creating materials, cards, computer presentations, etc. The next program Doman recommends is math. His dot system relies on a fact that kids still are able to recognize quantities visually. Without use, this ability gets lost very fast and Doman’s method of learning math becomes useless. Check out our Math learning section for tips on learning mathematics with little kids. According to Doman, once you are comfortable with your reading and math programs, you are ready for the Encyclopedic Knowledge. What most of the parents say, is that their kids love this program the most. So I think that you can start this program whenever you are ready – your child might like it so much, that it can even give a good boost to your reading and math programs. Here you can find a summary, or rather – a cheat sheet. A few rules:
- Information has to be precise: accurate and appropriate detail
- Illustration (or drawing) has to be very accurate, of excellent quality
- Information has to be discrete: one subject only. If the subject is George Washington, on the illustration there shouldn’t be any other people. The illustration should be preferable against white background to eliminate distractions, to make it precise
- Information has to be unambiguous: “named specifically with a certainty of meaning” – that can be interpreted in only one way. If it is a portrait of George Washington, it should be labeled “George Washington”, not “a president”.
- Information should be new: something the child doesn’t know yet.
How to Give your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge, 1984, p. 84 summarizes it:
- It must have accurate detail
- It must be one item only. It must not have a confusing background
- It must be specifically named
- It must be new
- It must be large
- It must be clear
How to show it?
Same rules apply as with reading cards: stop before your baby wants to stop (always show one card less then the baby has the patience to watch), show cards frequently (3-4 times a day), consistently (maintain the same frequency on a daily basis), very-very quickly (as fast as you can – 10-15 seconds maximum – on second per card). Make sure that your cards are large, clear, with a good-sized border around them, so that your child can see the cards very easily. Sit ~18 inches from your child, so that you don’t obstruct the bit card. The younger the child – the louder and clearer your voice should be. Begin with 5 different Categories with ten cards in each, but adjust this number according to your baby’s wishes (less is more – it should be fun and really desirable for both of you!), show each Category 3 times a day. As your confidence grows you can add more categories. Adding and retiring: after 10 days, retire one card in each category and add a new card instead. Then continue retiring/adding on a daily basis. Once you run out of bit cards, start another Category. For more detailed information on how to show Bits and Programs, see Comments at the end of the article.
How to make your own materials
- Doman Method
- Parent’s Methods
- Computer Presentations
The quality must be very fine. Materials (How to Give your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge, 1984, p. 112):
- Raw Bits of Intelligence (photos or drawings) – see the rules for Bits of intelligence. Cut out the unnecessary background leaving just the object for an illustration. If there is a group – cut each object individually and eliminate the background. Make sure you have the clearest and most unambiguous label you can find for a title. E.g. “beetle” is too general, “two-spotted ladybird beetle” is correct.
- Poster Board – white, two-sided poster cardboard: index board, illustration boards, etc. It shouldn’t “flop” in your hands, should be strong enough for repeated handling. You can as your cardboard precut. Size: 11″x11″ (28cm x 28 cm)
- Black “Magic Marker” or other waterproof felt-tipped marker – for writing title and programs of intelligence information on the back
- Rubber cement – “we have found that rubber cement is the best vehicle for fixing raw Bits to cardboard.” I guess they recommend it over conventional paper glue-sticks.
- Clear “Contact Paper” or laminate (optional) – “ideal Bit of Intelligence” has a clear plastic laminate on both sides. It is ideal because it strengthens the card, making it virtually indestructible as well as making the Bit card impervious to fingerprints and soil.”
(How to Give your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge, 1984, p. 119): How to find bits of intelligence
- Use books, magazines, maps, posters, teaching cards, museum cards.
- “Treasury of [subject] books” are excellent sources of birds, flowers, insects, mammals
Doman’s method describes an ideal Bit Card, with ideal imagery, information, etc. If you have the time and the resources to proceed letter by letter – you’ll have the best possible materials. I actually believe, that if it takes too long to create the materials – the baby will miss a chance to use them, since you’ll be so busy all the time! There is also a concern, that if you are not able to provide your precious baby with the best of the materials, then it is not even worth doing it. I don’t believe it. Kids are remarkable resilient and can learn from variety of “wrong” materials. As long as you do it joyously, enjoy the process together, and provide anything you can put your hands onto – your baby will learn. Even if the baby wouldn’t remember every latin name of every insect you showed him, or every middle name of every president – it is the brain cells that haven’t died in an everyday decaying process, that matter – the baby will fill those cells with some other data later on. Preserving them is important. So, here are the resources parents have found useful for making bits cards at home.
- National Geographic magazines are excellent for cutting out pictures of animals
- Calendars: especially if you can buy them during end of the year/beginning of the year sales, or in second-hand stores, or in dollar stores – beautiful imagery, a little data, and even the size is terrific! I especially love the calendars as the resource for art bits – it already has all the necessary information – name of the painting, year, artist, even a little about the painting itself.
- Thanks a lot to Julia for sharing this marvelous idea: “I get cheap books at goodwill or salvation army anywhere from $1-$3. They are usually older books sometimes the Time-Life books or old encyclopedias, but the pictures are nice and glossy. I kind of feel like I am recycling because many of these books would end up in a landfill.”
If you come up with some ideas that are not listed in this article, please share it in the comments below!
This is my favorite way of making Bit cards. I find it the easiest and I really like that I can show it both on the computer, and print it out as a book or set of cards. We don’t just “retire” cards – I store them in boxes and on bookshelves and we reread the old presentations – my son loves recognizing the familiar images, and I hope that this repetition will actually make some knowledge stick through the years! Doman doesn’t think it is important… but I don’t think it hurts! If we are rereading “Cat in a Hat” ten times a day, why we can’t “reread” “Architectural Masterpieces” or “Solar System”? So,
- Creating your own Power Point Presentations
- How To Add Audio to a PowerPoint Slide Presentation
Where to buy the materials
- Official Doman Materials by Gentle Revolution: Bits of Intelligence. I initially purchased a lot of their sets. These sets are unreasonably expensive. Their animal sets are hideous – they don’t conform to Doman’s first rule – good picture! I couldn’t even recognize a gorilla on that picture, as well as many other animals… very bad quality drawings. I found the information a little to dry as well – later on I found a lot more exciting facts about many of their subjects. Moreover, I found that some sets are mixed up – in primates there is a bit card that definitely supposed to be in mammals (a tree shrew, who is not a primate, while the gorilla probably was intended for primates set). The only sets that we really enjoyed were Explorers, Inventors and musical instruments. Still, our set of inventors came with Thomas Edison missing. We didn’t open all the sets right away, so when I noticed it, too much time has passed to contact the company. My son still keeps referring to Edison, as the “missing person”. I believe many of the sets they sell are better acquired some place else (see the resources below), especially considering their price.
- Wildlife explorer subscription: every three weeks they send a three sets of large cards (all with wholes, so could be placed in provided binders). Each card contains a large photograph of an animal at the front and a drawing of an animal on the back. The sides, the insides, of the cards are filled with some summarized in boxes facts, and more detailed passages on their habitats, behavior, feeding, breeding, etc. Beautiful photographs, excellent data. I’ve used these cards as animal bits for a long time, discovered tons of animals I’ve never even known! I found it very worth the money (and very time saving!)
- Classical Composers CD-Subscription: my friend initially signed us up to this as a gift and I love the set that I get every three weeks – 2 CDS dedicated to two different composers. Each contains a little collection of different works of this composer, a little booklet with some information about him, and a nice picture on a front of the booklet. We usually select a composer for the week and listen to his CD, looking through the booklet, at least few times a day. So far Bach is my kid’s favorite and he would discern his style even when we listen to some musical works that we’ve never heard before.
- More useful music materials can be found in Music section
- I also found recently in Target $1 card flash card sets: a small picture in front and 10 facts at the back! The pictures are small, so I am planning to redo these cards into presentations, but I am so looking forward to the ease of creating intelligence bits! Usually it takes hours for me to create intelligence bits – reading the articles, separating the important information, etc.
- I’ve already mentioned this resource for the “making your own bits” – calendars. Terrific pictures, and for artwork, you can find most of the bit information you’ll need as well.
- Fandex Family Field Guides: Fandex has these “guides” for composers, explorers, painters, tree types, states, etc. I have a set for US States, for composers, for leaves and for flowers. I can’t say I am thrilled about it, but my son loves the composers set: he would swivel cards around while we listen for some CD compilation, matching the picture of the composer to the music we listen. When were were learning the states, we would similarly swivel through the states that I’ve selected for that day, and find them on the big map on the wall. He loved it too.
- Professor Noggin’s: small card set and a dice. Each card as a drawing at the front, 6 facts at the back (3 easy, 3 hard), phrased as questions. We “play” these cards: roll the dice, pick the question from “Easy” or “Hard” section, try to answer it. We have sets for “Countries of the World”, “Inventions”, “Space”. I wish the cards were large, but at least there are some bits already gathered for me… and there is a fun way to enjoy them through the years to come.
- U.S. Presidents Pocket Flash Cards: also small, but the pictures are good, clear, and at the back there are 10 facts IN ADDITION to the name of the president and his reign year, birth/death, vice president, term, birthplace, college education, even the first lady! A lot of data, but since it is nicely grouped and under bullet points, it is easy to say it. Once my child was a little older then two, I was comfortable showing him these small cards in addition to the large books I am making. At least they don’t take much space… But I do like big cards.
- Brighter Child Fact Cards: these cards were highly recommended to me us by Krista from TeachYourChildToRead yahoo group. They appear nice and bright, with a nice collection of facts at the back, but we haven’t used them yet, since many of them are out of stock at amazon. I really like that they use real pictures (where it is possible), and that they are very inexpensive. If you’ve tried them, please share below.
Please share other materials that you’ve purchased for your kid and found useful or useless! I’ve come up with these resources thanks to the kindness and generosity of other parents who were sharing their recommendations and they’ve already saved us a great deal of time, and now I hope – will save some for you as well! Looking forward to hear from you in the comments below or in our forum.