Using Speed Drills to Increase Mental Agility

Mental_AgilityA small portion of our children’s learning routine is all about speed. For just four minutes a day, we are attempting to gauge our kids’ ability to think on their feet and move their minds quickly.

We started this practice many years back when our oldest began first grade. I liked the notion of being able to see how quickly she could think on her feet and how much material she was able to mentally access on a moment’s notice. The “speed drills” came in two forms, arithmetic and reading comprehension.

The arithmetic speed drills are basic; addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, simple fractions, and measurement conversions. Reading comprehension is fairly simple as well; you read a section of text and answer questions based on your reading, all within a given time frame.

While it took my girl a few days to catch on to the process and understand she was being timed, she picked up fairly soon and off she went. Since that first year, she has never missed a time goal; not once. All of our other kiddos followed suit; each adjusting to the routine and quickly gaining proficiency.

Our verdict? These are wonderful! I thought our kids (especially my boy, who tends to let his mind wander) would balk at these attempts to increase their mental agility; fussing over the time limits or the difficulty of the task. Instead, I was pleased to learn they accepted our challenge and couldn’t wait to best their own time. Personally, I find these extremely helpful. Just a quick, four-minute, timed quiz each day helps me to see how well their minds are working and if they are grasping concepts.

I know this might not work for everyone. Some children crumble at the thought of rushing through assignments. Time limits can be stressful and not everyone performs well under pressure. However, if at all possible, I highly recommend giving this a go.

📢 Chime In!: Are drills a part of your learning routine?

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