The “Waiting Room” of the Mind

the waiting room of the mind

QUESTION: A mom in our homeschool group ordered one of the spelling books and commented that it seemed very simple, especially with some pages being just coloring. I remember that Sarah said something about the purpose of the coloring pages in the book… like downtime for the brain to process what it has learned. Does anybody know what I’m referring to?

ANSWER: When you learn something new, the brain stores it in “the waiting room” before sending it into long term memory. The brain needs to take time to process new things and store them properly so the new things can be retrieved in the future. If you move from one activity to the next, and don’t have downtime to process and reflect on new information, the waiting room gets really crowded and the brain starts to dump many of the new things into the trash, to make room for more information in the waiting room.

The waiting room does not have a lot of storage space, so the brain needs to process the information, and make room for more. Some things take just as long to process as they take to learn.

In the old days people used to learn a little and then do necessary work just to keep life on track. A lot of that work is thoughtless, like washing dishes and pulling weeds. You don’t need to “think” to pull weeds, so the brain takes that time to deal with all the new things in the “waiting room”.

There are a few things we need to do to learn AND REMEMBER new information:

1. We need to be introduced to new information.

2. We need to be curious about it.

3. We need to engage in it, and research it.

4. We need to use the new information.

5. We need to SHARE and talk about the new information.

6. We need to reflect on and ponder new information.

7. We need to get creative with the new information.

8. We need to attach emotions, experiences, stories and memories to the information. (click here to continue reading)

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