Memorization

Memorization is part of our daily schoolwork.  We memorize all sorts of things.

Things To Memorize:

  • nursery rhymes
  • poems
  • scriptures
  • songs
  • famous sayings
  • important or meaningful quotes
  • speeches, or just important parts of speeches
  • lists of things (like the U.S. presidents, states and capitals, kings and queens of England, the planets)

When they’re little they begin with nursery rhymes and progress from there.  We only spend a minute or two each day, but I’m amazed at all that my kids memorize in that little bit of time when it’s done consistently each day.  Once they can recite something perfectly they move on and get a new poem or tidbit to memorize.  We keep each of the things they memorize in little memorization books so they can always go back and look over the things they’ve committed to memory.

I’m often asked by people why I include that (say it with a little disdain!) in their schoolwork.  It’s not done in public schools.  It will never be on one of their tests.  They are unlikely to ever NEED to recall one of these things I’ve had them memorize.  That isn’t why we do it though.  We do it because it’s good exercise.  It’s good exercise for the brain!

They are practicing the art of concentrating, focusing, and recalling information.  I am convinced that it is these skills that will benefit them, not just the many tidbits they memorize.  It makes learning the times tables, recalling historical dates, learning sight words, and preparing for tests all much easier, because they are trained to memorize.

As amazing as modern computers are they are nothing compared to the human brain.  Kids can learn and sort and recall and categorize and connect information in ways no mere machine could hope to duplicate.  But having good recall takes work.

Memory Work CD’s

One method I like to work on memorizing material is to create a CD using my computer.  You need a microphone.  Most newer computers come with them and if yours doesn’t have one then you can pick one up for $10.  You don’t need anything fancy.  If your computer doesn’t come with recording software, you can download Audacity, a simple and easy to use program, for free.

What should you memorize?  You can skip count starting with every number from 2 to 12, this will help kids with their times tables.  You can include poetry, nursery rhymes, Aesop’s fables, the months of the year, the planets in order, the continents and oceans, countries, and much more.  Look over the information you’ll be covering in your studies for the next term or year and choose some info you’d like the kids to learn.

To keep the CD fun and something they’ll actually want to listen to, vary the information.  Have a poem follow skip counting and include children’s songs and favorite stories for fun mixed in with the target memory work.  This would be a great project for a teacher, a parent, or a homeschooling family to work on together, including the children’s voices as well as the adult’s.

Morning Meeting Memorization

Most of our memorization happens during our morning meeting at the beginning of our school day.  We quickly run through the one we’re currently memorizing, as well as review several we’ve already learned (so we don’t just forget them!).  It takes a minute or two as we just run through them quickly.  My kids know their memory work just like you learned the Pledge of Allegiance.  It’s just a part of them because it’s a part of our every day.

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