This is interesting. I’ve been studying grammar for the past three weeks and only started using WaniKani again last week 'cause of exams. This means that while I know somewhere around half of N4 grammar points and half of N4 Kanji, I’m not even halfway done with N5 vocab. So I’ve been meaning to get on that. A good portion of WaniKani vocab isn’t particularly useful (because they’re mainly chosen to reflect the readings of a particular Kanji, rather than based on common usage) or easily understood unless you know basic grammar to get the context sentences, so I was thinking of starting with a list like Core 2k - this way, I can get a decent amount of useful vocab in my head and I can start reading NHK Easy and stuff like that to pick up other vocab.
Problem is, Anki is really bloody boring for me. Wanikani is somehow more engaging, probably because I have to actually type out the stuff, which is something reminiscent of the Iversen Method you mention here. I wouldn’t really have to branch out if there was a WaniKani for immediately useful vocab - but there isn’t. I’ve tried learning some vocab from stuff like the Genki vocab list, but it’s really slow to stick in my mind because I don’t know the Kanji for ‘Airport’! And, I mean, I could learn to write the Kanji, but if the Kanji I’m trying to learn is only used in this particular word, in this particular compound of the Genki vocab list…that’s ridiculously hard to remember for me. I need some cues as to how the Kanji is actually used.
So, my next plan was to learn 3 Kanji a day from the Jouyou (general use) list and at least 5 vocabulary items for each Kanji, making sure it uses every standard reading as well as some special readings. Exceptions include Kanji like 生, which I plan to pick up along the way while reading native materials.
I personally don’t like the idea of writing out a Kanji and then it’s readings with no vocabulary. Readings are useless on their own; they’re abstract syllables that mean nothing to the brain. I would recommend tieing them to actual words; and the readings that don’t get used, you shouldn’t be focusing on remembering anyway. If it comes up a few months from now, you can just look it up on imiwa or jisho.org or whatever. You’ll remember it better that way anyway, because you’re very familiar with the Kanji and it’s ‘readings’ (how it’s pronounced in the vocabulary it’s used in), and once you come across an obscure reading, you’ll brain will think, “that’s not normal,” and remember it better. I don’t know about you, but when something is weird or exceptional, I remember it very easily.
About Kanji meanings - this I’m on board with. However, just learning a Kanji’s meaning in isolation tends to mislead me because it’s an English word that is used as its meaning. Sometimes the definitions are very vague, and I don’t know how it’s really used, so all I’m really remembering is a keyword that hints at its meaning - so when I come across it in an actual sentence, I’m confused as to what the entire sentence really means. This is why context sentences are so awesome. You get the nuance of the meaning in addition to how it’s pronounced in vocabulary.
That’s what has really helped me remember Kanji as well as Vocab. It’s also why I really don’t want to attempt RTK.
EDIT: Wait - are you talking about learning Kanji outside of WaniKani, or reinforcing the Kanji you learn through WaniKani, or both? It’s probably both. Whoops. Oh well. At least I just explained what’s so awesome about WaniKani, I guess. Thanks for the supplementary method; I think it’ll help a good deal!
Sorry for the ramble.