The title of this post may seem rather presumptuous, yet that is what happens. Since formal education usually decides what your child will learn, and often shapes what they think, learning how to learn on their own is a valuable tool that can serve them throughout their lives. The method is called 5 R-ing. The “R”s stand for Research, Reason, Relate, Record, and Revelation. It is a process by which children (and students of all ages) learn how to learn.

This method is best used with students who can read and write. When I taught kindergarten we didn’t use it until the second half of the year. With my sixth grade class the requirements were more extensive than for third graders.

5 R-ing can be used with broad subjects such as “the flight of birds,” to a single word, such as “educate.” In the classroom we taught the children how to use this method with “word studies,” often done in conjunction with a lesson. (For example, while studying the era of exploration we may have done a word study as a class on “navigate.”) The students were also assigned a weekly word study for independent work due each Friday. These words were often character traits such as discipline, integrity, diligence, or self-governing.

Research. First the given word was defined using American Dictionary of the English Language (1828 Facsimile Edition). One or two definitions were chosen and written out. Second, Key words in the definition were also defined and written. Third, scriptures were searched that contained this word and 2 or 3 scriptures were chosen for simple word studies. Fourth, quotes from approved sources were searched and recorded.

Reason. Each definition, scripture and quote was then rewritten in the student’s words, being explained within their understanding. This step is best guided by an adult in the beginning, but refrain from dictating your ideas. Allow personal revelation to occur.

Relate. In this step the student explains how this principle relates to them or to the subject they are studying. If it is a worthy character trait they tell how they can make choices to incorporate it into their lives.

Record. Not only is the research recorded, but the reason and relate steps are also recorded. This is an essential step, not only helping the student to clarify their thoughts, but it promotes better writing and is a tool that will be useful as their education continues.

Revelation. Revelation occurs spontaneously throughout the process as students search to learn, pray for help to understand, and resolve to change their lives.

Next week I will give a sample Word Study that better illustrates this. But in the meantime, give it a try yourself. Keep it simple, just a page or two. I once did a Word Study on Light and Truth that produced enough research to fill a small book. You don't want to go there. 🙂