Thinking Back

Thinking back and remembering what you know, instead of worrying about what you don’t know can accomplish half of a challenge. When your child says, “I don’t know” and you are pretty sure that he/she knows something about the topic, consider replying with, “What do you know?”. Teaching children to think back and reflect on past achievements (and failures) can encourage them to take a step forward and achieve something that may feel daunting. This is why it’s so important to allow children to complete tasks on their own! When we do it for them, there is no working memory to use when faced with a similar task in the future. An ounce of memory along with an ounce of courage launches brains forward and pushes on to great achievement. 

We often ask students to write reflections about a recent project, field trip, a new learning, or to just reflect on their feelings about a topic. Reflection is a powerful learning tool. It helps to make connections and reiterate a new idea. How many times does it take to learn something? Three to twenty! Reflection is one of those times. Thinking back or reflecting is like taking the one step back after taking two steps forward. It’s a step back into our memory that connects new learning to old. In order for our brains to gain new knowledge and skill, it is essential that the new learning has something to stick to from the past. In the education world we call it “connecting to prior knowledge”. In our parenting world it’s “remember when?” Our children often proclaim, “I don’t know how…”. That may be true, but when we re-mind them that there have been thousands of times in their lives that they didn’t know how…now they do!

  • Heart – recall things done or said that encouraged someone’s happiness.
  • Mind – when an academic task is difficult, step back and start with the parts that are already known.
  • Body – remind your child how many laps he/she ran in last year’s Read and Run Relay!
  • Soul – reflect on the sense of achievement felt the last time you accomplished a daunting task.

“I’ve never made a mistake.  I’ve only learned from experience.” – Thomas A. Edison
“The future influences the present just as much as the past.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“Everything we do seeds the future.  No action is an empty one.” – Joan Chittister

Learning Links



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