This is Steve’s new toy…a Sony cassette recorder. I actually bought it two or three years ago for some homeschool project that we wanted to do but never got around to doing. It’s been sitting in a drawer with nothing but a pack of eight still-sealed blank cassette tapes and some forgotten paper supplies to keep it company. While racking my brain last night trying to come up with a way to help Steve retain more from his history reading assignments, I remembered the cassette recorder.
After homeschooling for three full years now, I know that any time my son talks on and on about a particular topic we have been studying, you can be pretty certain that he is going to remember the details for a long time. I know he still remembers various facts about animals we studied three years ago. I know he can quote from Shakespeare plays we read two years ago. He has favorite periods of history that he can talk about at great length. I realize now that part of the reason he probably remembers this stuff is because he took the time to verbalize it.
Now that I have both boys at home to teach, it isn’t really practical for me to listen to him tell me every detail of every topic he studies. I wish I had the time, but realistically, I know that I don’t. This is where I thought the cassette recorder would come in handy though. I figured that instead of writing out notes by hand as he reads his textbook, he could dictate notes into the recorder instead. Then, when it comes time to study for a quiz or test, he can just listen to his tape for that particular section or sections.
When I handed Steve the cassette recorder and explained what I wanted him to try, he was delighted. He thought it was very cool. After I showed him how to use it, he grabbed his history textbook right away and tackled the next chapter. He would read a little, and then stop every couple of minutes to speak into the recorder. I know that by the end of the chapter, he “took” way more notes than he otherwise would have if he had to write them out by hand. After he listened to his notes a few times, Steve felt he was ready to tackle a quiz, and he aced it!
I really hope the novelty of the cassette recorder doesn’t wear off too quickly. I predict it will show up again very soon for Spanish and Latin assignments. And of course, Tobin wants one now too!