Right Brain Activities for Home Practice – Part 2: Flashcards

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2. Flashcards

In Shichida’s book, it was emphasised that quantity is more important than quality.  The Shichida instructors advise the parents not to show the same flashcard more than 3 times because babies get bored if they are presented with the same material over and over.

To illustrate this example, there was an incident with one child who was not able to speak but could use word cards to tell her parents what she was thinking.  When asked to describe her father, she picked “gentle daddy”.  When asked to describe her mother, she picked “annoying mummy”.

How many flashcards should you show your baby a day?  As many as you can so long as your baby is still interested.  In Shichida’s book, two parents had a target to show their child 20,000 cards covering a wide range of topics by the time she turned two.  If you start at one year old, that’s an average of 60 flashcards a day which will take about a minute since you’re flashing one card a second.

The challenge with this activity lies in keeping ahead of your child because flashcard creation is time consuming.  It takes me a couple of hours to create a series of flashcards for the kids and they’re done with it in the a matter of minutes! Therefore I recommend getting as much ready-made flashcard resources you can get hold of as possible.  You can supplement what you buy with materials that you make yourself.

If you are stuck for subjects to cover, this is what I like to do…  I have a series of books hubby and I bought in the MPH warehouse sale under the “Tell Me” series which we were going to keep for Gavin when he is older.  Lately, I have started reading a couple of pages each day to both Gavin and Gareth while they play.  At night, I work on flashcards covering the topics we read about.  Sometimes the topics are difficult to represent with flashcards, so as long as the pictures are related, I use them.  For instance, for the subject of “time”, we had day, night, sun, moon, moon phases, month, sun dial, analogue clock, digital clock, hour glass, seasons, autumn, winter, spring, and summer.  I try to get at least ten images related to each topic.  I’ll be posting these up so you’ll be able to download them from my flashcard database.

Aside from the books, I also use the Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite for flashcard creation.  This resource is very useful for creating “bits of intelligence” cards (Doman’s method for giving your baby encyclopedic knowledge).

Words or pictures?  At Heguru, they say that it is easier to hold a child’s attention with picture flashcards.  Doman says that if you want a child to learn how to read, you need to show the word on its own or the picture will distract the child.  What Doman does accept, however, are flashcards with the pictures and words shown separately.  For instance, it is okay to flash the word “car” followed by a picture of a car, but it is not recommended to flash a picture of a car with the word “car” written underneath it.

It is important to have a combination of flashcards with words and pictures because they both achieve different things.  The word cards are good for teaching your child whole-word reading.  The picture cards are required for image training.

What is the purpose of showing flashcards?

  1. The right brain is like a library that you can use to store information for future use.  Early childhood is a period when it is easy to input information into this library.  To make sure it is stored in the right brain, you need to show the flashcards quickly because Shichida says when the left brain functions, the right brain cannot.  Since the left brain works more slowly, it needs time to absorb new information.  When you present information too quickly for the left brain to make sense of it, it by-passes the left brain and the right brain takes over.
  2. Rapidly showing flashcards also exercises the right brain which is like working out a muscle to make it stronger.
  3. Showing picture flashcards also helps to train the image function of the right brain.

See more Right Brain Activities for Home Practice

Shichida, Heguru, Right Brain Education

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Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

22 thoughts on “Right Brain Activities for Home Practice – Part 2: Flashcards

  1. Hi Shen Li –

    WOuld like to get an opinion from you – if i were to flash the cards in three languages, should i do it in this sequence: i.e. card with the word “hand”, followed by “?” , then “tangan”, then only the picture of hand?

    Or is this too confusing for the baby? My gal is just 4 months plus, and i wonder if i should just stick to one language first and slowing introduce onther languages later.

    Thanks.

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  2. I’m afraid I don’t really have a lot of experience teaching multiple languages. Personally, if I were to do it (this is my opinion only and not academic), I would do it separately. E.g. first session – “hand” and picture. Second session – “tangan” and picture. Third session – “?” and picture, etc.

    I definitely would not wait until later to start teaching a second language because children learn most rapidly the younger they are so the more you expose her to now, the better. Shichida said that one year olds learn faster than two year olds, two year olds learn faster than three year olds, etc. Therefore as your daughter gets older, it will only get harder to learn a new language.

    The other benefit of learning a second language when young is that it makes it easier to pick up new languages later in life. They say that children who speak more than one language have better developed language centers in their brain which facilitates the learning of new languages when they are older.

    So I guess the real key is to make sure she learns at least two languages.

    Hope that helps.

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  3. Hi ShenLi,

    My daughter is 26 months old now. Is it too late to start on flash cards? AT what age do kids normally outgrow flash cards?

    Thanks .

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  4. Hi Irene – 26 months is definitely not too old for flash cards. I’m not really sure what the upper limit is – or if there even is an upper limit but 26 months is definitely still a good time to do flash cards.

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  5. Hi Shen-Li,

    How many flashcards do you show each day and in how many sessions for your older boy? Do you show the cards only once then retire them? Aside from the cards you make yourself, where else do you get your flashcards?

    Thanks!

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    1. Hi aangeles,

      We go through phases. Right now, we’re not really doing any flash cards at home except for the odd little reader flash cards I make for him, Little Chinese, and Little Math. I initially didn’t do Little Math with him because I thought it was too late, but after hearing positive results from other parents with older children, I’ve decided to give it a go. We’ve only just started.

      When we’re in full right brain home practice mode, we do about 100-150 rapid flash cards a day. I don’t repeat because he doesn’t like repeating them. He’ll tell me – we’ve done this. He only likes to repeat the flash cards he likes (for instance dinosaurs). I will go back and repeat decks though – but probably after some time has elapsed, like half a year. If I recall from the Heguru seminar, they recommended going through each deck 4 times before retiring. You can bring out the deck again after some time has elapsed. I read from TweedleWink that when the brain is older, seeing the repeated material develops the brain further now that they have had more experiences upon which to build.

      Aside from the ones I make, I get flashcards from BrillKids and I have exchanged flash cards with other mothers. There are other links to websites that I have gotten flash cards from here:

      http://www.figur8.net/resources/flashcards/ (under More flashcards).

      Like

  6. Hi ShenLi,

    I came to your blog from brillkids, I have been following it for quite a while now,thanks for all the great info. I just had a question for you, when I flash cards(words or pictures) to my kids(11 month olds), they do look at it, more at the pictures than at the words. But they don’t show any kind of reaction, more like a dazed look. I have heard that this should be a joyous process. Is it still a good idea to show them?They don’t turn away from it though.

    Thanks

    Like

  7. Hi San,

    Thanks for reading my blog!
    Just looking is fine. It doesn’t have to be all giggles and laughter for it to be joyous. I think the emphasis is as long as they are happy to look. If they are turning away, struggling, or fussing, then I would stop. If they didn’t want it, they would let you know and the signs will be clear.

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  8. Hi Shen-Li,
    Thank you for your great post and great blog as well.
    i am starting with my child and so confused. if i start flashcards with my 4-month-old baby, how many flashcards should i go per a session? how many is at least and how many is at most?

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Hi Huong,

      How many really depends on your child’s attention span. At 4 month’s old, it will be short, so keep it brief. The intention is to keep your child eager for more so doing less can be good.

      At Heguru, we were taught to flash 100 cards a session, but that is probably for an older child with longer concentration span. For your 4 month old, perhaps you can start with 10 and progress upwards gradually. If your baby looks away, stop. Put the cards away and try again later or the next day.

      I cannot make a recommendation on how many at least and how many at most because I honestly don’t know. Just follow your child’s cues and you should be right.

      Good luck!

      Like

  9. Hi Shen-Li. There’s still a concern about flash card procedure and need your opinion. Among 100-150 flash cards per day, should it be various subject or it could be the same subject and changed day by day? Which is better?

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  10. Duyhoa – the ones we do in class and at home are usually various subjects. Which is better? I don’t know. I think it would be more interesting to do different subjects. Personally, I think a variety of subjects is probably better than one single subject. I recall vaguely reading somewhere that information retention is better if you change subjects rather than study one block on the same topic. Of course, they were referring to students in school so I don’t know if the same applies to young children who sometimes like to remain immersed in their favourite topics for hours on end…

    As for changes to the deck, it should be different cards if you have more than one session per day. You can repeat the cards the next day but not in the same day. Alternatively, you can go through everything you have and then repeat the cycle after you have gone through everything. For instance, say it takes you a month to get through all the flash cards you have, you could do that then repeat the same cards again in the following month.

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  11. Hi Mommy Shen Li,

    I am in the heavy midst of looking for flash card material to be printed for my boy – i search through yout page and saw you have the flash card database – do you mind to share this with me? Many thanks 🙂

    Like

  12. Hi Shen Li

    Thanks for sharing.
    I would like to know that should I use mother tongue or English language when I show the flash cards to my daughter?
    Is it good using the flash cards to develop right brain since from at the age of 6months.

    Like

    1. Hi Zin Mar,

      Either works fine – mother tongue or in English – or better, yet, in both languages. Shichida promotes early exposure because he believed the rapid development of the brain is in the earliest years of a child’s life and declines as the child grows older, so the earlier the better.

      Like

  13. Hi Shen Li

    My kids are 6 & 7 years old now but they have a very weak memory , I guess their right brand have not been functioned for years as I’m regretted being lazy to train them when they were young . Therefore I found they have difficulty in momorising and study . I would like to know is flash card still suitable for the, at this age or any other method that suitable for them ?

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  14. Hi u said that in schichida and heguru they ask to how 60 or 100 cards per session. But how many times we should flash the cards? How many times child should see a card? Like in Doman he mentioned 3times a day for 5 days totally 15 times for a card.is there any rule for the heguru and schichida

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    1. It hasn’t specifically been prescribed in Heguru, but I followed the plan of showing them 4 times. The cards would go into rotation where they wouldn’t be shown again until the entire series of flashcards have been completed. So it might be 6 months to a year before they see the same series of cards again.

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  15. Good work for the kids Flash cards so thanks vary much.Such classic flashcards have been known to aid in memory recollection. There is no age limit to use flash cards — they can work as an engaging learning medium across ages 1 to 6
    In using flash cards, our brains are kept constantly stimulated to actively recall information. Flash cards facilitate the metacognitive faculties in our brain.
    Flash cards should be used to test your knowledge, not just as a way to condense your notes further. people list bullet points on flash cards that they carry around with them to reread.
    Flash cards are simple to create and quick and convenient for testing yourself.

    Like

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