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26 December 2011


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So, knowing you both (but you better), I'm not at all surprised by that exchange!!!

It's not a gender thing, either. You are so clearly a visual learner (hence your Spelling Bee championship).

I think that IS the beauty of homeschooling, isn't it? Figuring out your kids (and then your spouses) learning modalities and right-brained/left-brained tendencies? I love that.

Thanks for sharing that!

Kevin and I have similar conversations. He is an auditory, left-brained learner and I'm a right-brained, tactile-kinesthetic learner. Makes for very interesting conversations. I seriously can't see where he comes from on some things until he does just what Mark did for you...

Too funny, very interesting. Thanks for sharing!


I can see words in my head like Erin, and spin them like your hubby can spin objects. I guess that makes me a freak, right? ;-) I used to think Erin and I think the same way, but it appears there is at least one difference.


Wow I totally can't picture a word like necessary in my head. I am so not a visual learner. But I can definitely turn a pencil around and see it from every side and break it in two to see the inside.

It's always fascinating to get a peek into how the world looks to other people. Thanks for sharing this.

I'm guessing you're not a whiz a tetris then?

Amy F

Fascinating! I'm in your camp.


I can't picture the words in my head, but once I see a word written once, I can always spell it later, so I guess I don't need to? But I can do the pencil trick.


My husband, reading over my shoulder, says "But what about tactile learners?" :)

Sort of a rough go for those of us who can picture the whole word . . . who were never taught to spell right in the first place. I'll write the thing, stop to check the spelling--mostly by seeing if the picture "looks" right. But there are a handful of words that I've spent a lifetime mis-spelling, and my techniques for slowing down and checking the thing one letter at a time are distinctly lacking.


Wow, very interesting! I'm with you and I'm a fellow spelling bee champ too. I remember having to close my eyes on occasion if it was a tough word so that I could "picture it".


The visualizing thing wouldn't work for me, either....When you posted those videos of classical music, I realized how very NOT a visual learner I was--I kept closing my eyes to enjoy the music better!


I can imagine simple objects rotating and coming apart in my head -- no problem with pencils or cheese graters -- but I suspect Mark can imagine things much more complex in all their parts. The word thing just shocked me because I couldn't imagine not being able to do it.


Dom chimes in to tell me that when he sees words they are in Helvetica. He was puzzled that I can't visualize them.


Very interesting! My dh and I learn very differently and I thank God that we do because we have children that learn very differently. I can try to teach something to a couple kids at once and one will totally grasp it, the other not so much, until my dh jumps in to help (and it's often with a chuckled, "I don't know how anyone can understand it the way you just explained it"....but one of those kids did ;)

I remember reading something recently that if you watch a spelling bee you will often see kids either close their eyes or stare at the ceiling while spelling a word - in either case they picturing the word ;)

Barbara C.

That's an interesting exchange. While I do imagine/remember words/text in my mind, and I've always been fairly decent at spelling (and I do really well at Boggle and Scrabble). I would never think, though, to teach a kid to imagine a word to learn to spell it. I would assume that they would have to see it written in order to memorize it as a whole picture. I'm also not sure that their short-term memory could sustain itself to get through a long word.

I always just tell the kids how to spell the words in groups of two to three letters.

On the flip side, I am HORRIBLE at remembering numbers. It takes me forever to learn a new phone number, and forget remembering the prices of groceries.


This is fascinating to me. I asked my 13yo dd who has competed at the National Spelling Bee twice if she can see the words in her head. She didn't hesitate with her "yes". I wonder if the contestants were polled how many would say that?


I wish I could remember the names of specific spelling programs or authors, but I know I have encountered in more than one place the advice that studying spelling should include a "picture the word in your mind" step. For example, a child might be supposed to write the word, look at the word, close eyes and imagine the word, look at it again, then cover it up and try to write it down without looking.

I have always taken it for granted that closing eyes and picturing the word was possible, and even easy if one has just looked at the word and if it was not more than, say, eight or ten letters. I guess this technique is not going to work on everyone.


It has been a long time since I visited here. I love reading and am just really enjoying my coffee and reading old posts. When I got to this one, I about jumped out of my body. Literally. :) I am a spelling bee champ who can totally picture just about any word, period. I never knew there was such a thing as not being able to until a couple years ago. It was when we realized my second son was a dyslexic. Dyslexics cannot picture words, but can picture, often, a full engine (or the pencil rotating). It's actually a sign of dyslexia to not be able to picture a word. It's why they can't spell and why they rely on whatever spelling rules they can remember and why they need systematic instruction in every single spelling/reading rule that exists. It's something that I've had to live and breathe for a couple years now, so I'm just fascinated by your post! :) Anyway, I just had to comment!


Thanks for your comment, Brooke! Yeah, my husband probably would be classified as dyslexic -- he frequently transposes letters, even digits in strings of numbers, and other classic examples. It has been edifying, though -- he's an intelligent guy who did well in high school and college and now is good at a job he loves and pays well, so obviously he found coping mechanisms and workarounds -- even though he still would misspell many words if you gave him a quiz.

I wonder sometimes if it might make more sense to teach those coping mechanisms and workarounds. That might be more efficient than to expend an enormous amount of energy and learning time memorizing English spelling in the form of "rules" with many exceptions.

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