This father has been using spaced repetition (Anki) to teach his children how to read several years earlier than average. Michael Nielsen and Gwern tweeted about the interesting case of a reddit user, u/caffeine314 (henceforth dubbed “CoffeePie”), who has been using spaced repetition with his daughter from a very young age.

Chris, you've been asking for suggestions, here is one: Teach them how to learn a skill by preparing to teach it. I've been doing this for 9 years and it's a banger - the speed at which I learn a skill goes up, plus I remember concepts better and even help someone else in the process:)

With regards to math topics, you may find a book series called the Cosmic Calculator interesting and appropriate. You should also be aware that there are a number of school system pitfalls where they proverbially burn the bridge (intended to inflict a maoist struggle session on the student that they aren't good at math, Robert Lifton has some case studies if you are curious about that subject matter, though its dark, quite a lot of public schooling embeds thought reform techniques based in Marx and Mao, the hot seat/hot potato is one such coercive structure, i.e. when your called to answer in front of the class, the structure is designed to have the group impose coercive pressure and potentially bullying without any direct interaction of the teacher with the group imposing the social cost (when disapproval is expressed) to answer correctly and there are several techniques aimed at exploiting underlying psychological blindspots prior to kids reaching the age of reason, a full list of these blindspots can be found in a book called Influence by Robert Cialdini, there is another operating mechanism called distorted reflected appraisal that may also be used, in conjunction with hegelian dissembling]). I remember the full gamut of these being used when discussing and reviewing material with a friend (who has young children). Most of the teachers don't even realize the techniques they use originate in torture (see Robert Lifton Thought Reform & the Psychology of Totalism for elements and structure, its used everywhere today). The rule of consistency Cialdini lays out follows the Jacobian Whorf Hypothesis in practice (in isolation what you write, say, or speak about, you tend to adopt and internalize to remain consistent, quite a lot was learned from Korean Conflict PoWs), agreement operates similarly.

You may consider some classical trivium based books, philosophy, and history (not the watered down garbage textbooks you get for school). Developing a habit of not agreeing with things initially could be beneficial along with developing strong forms of rational intelligent thought and reasoning. Speedreading material internalizes things more easily for similar reasons.

The cosmic calculator is based on a Vedic system of Math which is basically mental math. Its similar to Trachtenberg system. Though there are some minor issues with it, overall it works well. You can also train memory techniques (which can help retain things more easily with less work). Some basic memorization techniques are covered in Socrates/Platos works related to oratory.

With cosmic calculator, Most of the issues are just aspects that don't have as much generalization, but practicing speed math can greatly improve tasks that would normally be rather difficult to teach. It eliminates a hurdle that most people don't even realize.

For example how to go about calculating currency change rapidly from set denominations (20 50 etc). Many of the mental tricks you learn with it can also be improved upon with timed rapid recall. There are two sets where knowing the complement for base 9 or 10 can be incredibly helpful without needing to carry. Memorizing those complements for rapid recall vocally for 1-9 and 10-99 greatly expands what kids can do. It also develops flexibility in being able to do math, while using your voice to carry some information (two different parts of the brain).

If you haven't previously taken an abstract algebra course, you may find that helpful in skipping past a lot of the grunge that lives in the math curricula. You don't really start to understand how math is made up until you've taken it alongside discrete math. Some of the concepts in abstract math relate to digit sums (as cyclic groups). I found what I learned about functions (they just server as an arbitrary label [what we call numbers]), and other aspects at that level to be as important if not more important than the fundamental idea that integrals are the volume under a curve, and derivatives(differentials) are the instantaneous rate of change.

I ended up writing more than I intended, as this comment kind of got a bit out of hand.

Hopefully you find some value in it. Its important to prepare our children to properly deal with deceit (recognizing credibility and falsehood), and manage the disadvantaged malevolent environments that is the world we live in today.

Oops, missed including that burn the bridge pattern I talk about.

I'll keep it short. It often starts in Algebra -> Geometry -> Trigonometry ,but this is one of many archetypal pattern where they set you (student) up to fail.

The grading methodology silently changes, and goes undisclosed, and there is an intermediate unrelated course between which gets passed (burning the bridge so you can't go back).

Failures at Trigonometry are often failures from that change, which originate in Algebra.

The process changes from did you follow the process correctly (showing your work, algebra), to did you follow the process correctly and get the correct answer (trigonometry). You can follow the process taught and not get the correct answer.

This is quite common in academia. There are a few other archetypal ways they try to fail people to gatekeep knowledge. Nearly every community college/transfer path at least on the West coast runs into these patterns (in bottleneck courses for a degree). Most science requires math because it is taught using math as the teaching tool. This wasn't always true.

You'll find a marked difference in the quality of any published text, where that quality drops off a cliff for most subject matter starting around 1970, but being mostly garbage by 1990, and with science intuitive approaches are eschewed instead teaching using math formula that must be memorized after that time period, along with ambiguous and contradictory meanings. Finding a signal in an attenuated environment while jamming is going on is an apt metaphor.

This is one of the reasons I visit goodwill regularly (where they have a fairly large number of book donations. Some of the older books are absolute gems or are fantastic in their intuitive reasoning and description compared to what's taught today.

I should mention, the teachers doing this often do this unknowingly, they are only doing as they are taught. Many of the problems only become evident when examining it at the design level. I'm a System's Engineer, so I work with these type of things every day, and centralized systems involving people that have no working feedback mechanisms fail preventably and inevitably as a result of the incentives and dynamics inherent in the structure of those systems. (Mises on Socialism actually covers this far better than I could, but I wouldn't recommend any subject matter dealing with socialism before learning to recognize sophisticated deceit, Mises is a rare exception, every other book on that subject matter is usually more false than true, and the finding of the falsehood is a hunt for a needle in a haystack that may require quite a bit of background knowledge, education (philosophy/rational logic/critical thinking, and understanding of psychology to avoid and sidestep cognitive traps set for the unwary to mislead).

Is the exact protocol published anywhere? After reading the Reddit posts, I'm still looking for these 3 things:

- how exactly does a single session work? Sit down, fire up Anki, and work through the Letters deck?

- how does progression work? When to incorporate numbers, words, capitals, etc?

- the example decks? Several times he mentions sharing his decks.

I added a video to the post that shows this

Yes, I'd be really interested in knowing more about it. I'd never even really considered it as really feasible at this sort it age

I added a video to the post that shows this

Thank you for writing about early childhood literacy! There is a demand (me) if you want to write about parenting :)

I have another parenting post, probably in the next few weeks:)

Chris, you've been asking for suggestions, here is one: Teach them how to learn a skill by preparing to teach it. I've been doing this for 9 years and it's a banger - the speed at which I learn a skill goes up, plus I remember concepts better and even help someone else in the process:)

With regards to math topics, you may find a book series called the Cosmic Calculator interesting and appropriate. You should also be aware that there are a number of school system pitfalls where they proverbially burn the bridge (intended to inflict a maoist struggle session on the student that they aren't good at math, Robert Lifton has some case studies if you are curious about that subject matter, though its dark, quite a lot of public schooling embeds thought reform techniques based in Marx and Mao, the hot seat/hot potato is one such coercive structure, i.e. when your called to answer in front of the class, the structure is designed to have the group impose coercive pressure and potentially bullying without any direct interaction of the teacher with the group imposing the social cost (when disapproval is expressed) to answer correctly and there are several techniques aimed at exploiting underlying psychological blindspots prior to kids reaching the age of reason, a full list of these blindspots can be found in a book called Influence by Robert Cialdini, there is another operating mechanism called distorted reflected appraisal that may also be used, in conjunction with hegelian dissembling]). I remember the full gamut of these being used when discussing and reviewing material with a friend (who has young children). Most of the teachers don't even realize the techniques they use originate in torture (see Robert Lifton Thought Reform & the Psychology of Totalism for elements and structure, its used everywhere today). The rule of consistency Cialdini lays out follows the Jacobian Whorf Hypothesis in practice (in isolation what you write, say, or speak about, you tend to adopt and internalize to remain consistent, quite a lot was learned from Korean Conflict PoWs), agreement operates similarly.

You may consider some classical trivium based books, philosophy, and history (not the watered down garbage textbooks you get for school). Developing a habit of not agreeing with things initially could be beneficial along with developing strong forms of rational intelligent thought and reasoning. Speedreading material internalizes things more easily for similar reasons.

The cosmic calculator is based on a Vedic system of Math which is basically mental math. Its similar to Trachtenberg system. Though there are some minor issues with it, overall it works well. You can also train memory techniques (which can help retain things more easily with less work). Some basic memorization techniques are covered in Socrates/Platos works related to oratory.

With cosmic calculator, Most of the issues are just aspects that don't have as much generalization, but practicing speed math can greatly improve tasks that would normally be rather difficult to teach. It eliminates a hurdle that most people don't even realize.

For example how to go about calculating currency change rapidly from set denominations (20 50 etc). Many of the mental tricks you learn with it can also be improved upon with timed rapid recall. There are two sets where knowing the complement for base 9 or 10 can be incredibly helpful without needing to carry. Memorizing those complements for rapid recall vocally for 1-9 and 10-99 greatly expands what kids can do. It also develops flexibility in being able to do math, while using your voice to carry some information (two different parts of the brain).

If you haven't previously taken an abstract algebra course, you may find that helpful in skipping past a lot of the grunge that lives in the math curricula. You don't really start to understand how math is made up until you've taken it alongside discrete math. Some of the concepts in abstract math relate to digit sums (as cyclic groups). I found what I learned about functions (they just server as an arbitrary label [what we call numbers]), and other aspects at that level to be as important if not more important than the fundamental idea that integrals are the volume under a curve, and derivatives(differentials) are the instantaneous rate of change.

I ended up writing more than I intended, as this comment kind of got a bit out of hand.

Hopefully you find some value in it. Its important to prepare our children to properly deal with deceit (recognizing credibility and falsehood), and manage the disadvantaged malevolent environments that is the world we live in today.

edited Jun 15Oops, missed including that burn the bridge pattern I talk about.

I'll keep it short. It often starts in Algebra -> Geometry -> Trigonometry ,but this is one of many archetypal pattern where they set you (student) up to fail.

The grading methodology silently changes, and goes undisclosed, and there is an intermediate unrelated course between which gets passed (burning the bridge so you can't go back).

Failures at Trigonometry are often failures from that change, which originate in Algebra.

The process changes from did you follow the process correctly (showing your work, algebra), to did you follow the process correctly and get the correct answer (trigonometry). You can follow the process taught and not get the correct answer.

This is quite common in academia. There are a few other archetypal ways they try to fail people to gatekeep knowledge. Nearly every community college/transfer path at least on the West coast runs into these patterns (in bottleneck courses for a degree). Most science requires math because it is taught using math as the teaching tool. This wasn't always true.

You'll find a marked difference in the quality of any published text, where that quality drops off a cliff for most subject matter starting around 1970, but being mostly garbage by 1990, and with science intuitive approaches are eschewed instead teaching using math formula that must be memorized after that time period, along with ambiguous and contradictory meanings. Finding a signal in an attenuated environment while jamming is going on is an apt metaphor.

This is one of the reasons I visit goodwill regularly (where they have a fairly large number of book donations. Some of the older books are absolute gems or are fantastic in their intuitive reasoning and description compared to what's taught today.

I should mention, the teachers doing this often do this unknowingly, they are only doing as they are taught. Many of the problems only become evident when examining it at the design level. I'm a System's Engineer, so I work with these type of things every day, and centralized systems involving people that have no working feedback mechanisms fail preventably and inevitably as a result of the incentives and dynamics inherent in the structure of those systems. (Mises on Socialism actually covers this far better than I could, but I wouldn't recommend any subject matter dealing with socialism before learning to recognize sophisticated deceit, Mises is a rare exception, every other book on that subject matter is usually more false than true, and the finding of the falsehood is a hunt for a needle in a haystack that may require quite a bit of background knowledge, education (philosophy/rational logic/critical thinking, and understanding of psychology to avoid and sidestep cognitive traps set for the unwary to mislead).

re "exact protocol" I think it would be good to have details about how he got started with them, not just how it's going some months/years in