I picked up this book with great curiosity. At first, I thought "why would anyone learn encyclopedic facts when Google knows everything these days?"
Glenn Doman, the author and a co-founder of The Institutes For The Achievement Of Human Potential, elaborates on similar myths in the book.
There seems to be a great difference between
- older children or adults learning facts that are never used in practice
- and very young kids learning encyclopedic facts to learn about the world around them
In a computer, the number of facts that are stored is called the database. In our human brain, we call those facts The Knowledge Base. Knowledge leads to intelligence, as you'll see from Doman's quotes below:
With no facts there can be no intelligence.
With an average number of facts we have the base for average intelligence. With a huge number of facts we have the base for high intelligence.
Yet again an important reminder that it’s essential to start with a young kid:
The child’s ability to take in information at two and three years of age will never be equaled again. The younger a tiny kid is, the easier it is to teach him facts.
The more information a child absorbs below low the age of five, the more he retains.
This is so encouraging. I only wish I’d start when my kids were younger!
But never is too late, right? So we started with my daughter when she was 2-years old:
Babies can learn absolutely anything that you can present to them in an honest and factual way.
The ability to take in raw facts is an inverse function of age.
My wife Martina took it seriously and started showing the encyclopedic cards to both our children:
No myth dies more slowly than the belief that the older you are, the easier it is to learn. The truth is exactly the reverse. The older we are, the more wisdom we acquire, but the younger we are, the easier it is to take in facts and the easier they are to store.
Wisdom, the tiny child does not have; but the ability to take in raw facts—in prodigious amounts—he does have, and the younger he is, right down to the early months of life, the easier this is.
New Material, Please
The one mistake a child will not tolerate is to be shown the same material over and over again long after it should have been retired. Remember the cardinal sin is to bore the tiny child.
Even though we try hard, we adults almost always do things too slowly to suit tiny kids. Our new motto should be “the faster, the better.”
What Are The Facts?
Facts, in order to be facts, must have these characteristics. They must be:
- true (not opinions),
- precise (crystal-clear, not approximations),
- discrete (the fact alone),
- unambiguous (named exactly),
- and large enough to be clearly seen or loud enough to be clearly heard.
The program of encyclopedic knowledge should be begun as soon as possible and may be carried on concurrently with the reading program.
Facts Or Cartoons? Facts!
The basis of all intelligence is facts. Without facts, there can be no intelligence.
If we put in garbled information we will get garbled answers. The computer people have a superb saying. “G.I.G.O.” That means “Garbage in-Garbage out.”
It is easier to teach a baby the great paintings of the world than it is to teach him cartoons.
It is easier to teach him the great music of the world than it is to teach him jingles.
The human brain is the most superb of all computers and obeys the same rules. With a small number of facts, it can come to a small number of conclusions:
- With an average number of facts, it can come to an average number of conclusions.
- With a huge number of facts, it can come to a huge number of conclusions.
- If they are related facts the number of conclusions is breathtaking.
Children At The Institutes
Glenn Doman describes “average” child at their Institute. An average kid in their terms is clearly an above-average overall.
Well, everything is relative, right?
By two years (prior to their third birthday), virtually all of the children who started at one year of age or less have the following characteristics:
1. They know upward of four thousand Bits at sight. (Since they obviously know them both visually and auditorially, that means eight thousand Bits of Intelligence.)
2. They can read at least four thousand words in two or more languages. (Since they obviously know these words both visually and auditorially, that means eight thousand Bits of Intelligence.)
3. They can read many books.
4. They have begun to play the violin.
5. They can do arithmetic.
6. They know the great paintings of the world and other art masterpieces.
7. They are familiar with the geography of the world.
8. They recognize the great music of the world. (They have been listening to tapes since birth.)
9. They can write.
10. They can speak and understand sentences in one or more foreign languages.
11. They can do a host of other things such as swim, dive, and do gymnastics (things which are not the subject of this book but which are covered in other books).
12. They are sweet, secure, and charming children who are immensely curious and who think that learning is the greatest game life has to offer.
Wouldn’t it be great if all our kids were so outstanding?
What Is A Knowledge Card?
Each card is a piece of stiff poster board with the picture on one side and its name on the other side facing you.
The facts (cards) are organized in ten divisions (Art, Biology, History, …). Each of them includes ten categories. Each category includes ten or more sets of cards. Each card has 10 facts.
Edited by Michal Juhas