Saturday, July 31, 2010


We are just finishing up our annual break and I have all sorts of home education thoughts going on in my mind.  I am so pleased to be able to finally think about other things (my favorite things) again!

Memorization.  To some immediate abhorrence occurs.  Others love it.  Perhaps our loving or loathing boils down to which curriculum we might ardently follow.  I don't really follow a curriculum, I guess you could say I follow sets of principles I find truth in.

Where do I stand?  Love it.  Yes, yes I know this puts me at odds with many.  Perhaps one of the reasons we do it though is that I love to memorize and I like to be quizzed. I am a facts girl you might say. I have several children, Determination (age 10) especially, who also love to memorize and be quizzed. I like The Well Trained Mind philosophy on it. The TWTM philosophy says that by memorizing children are able to more easily connect things together and later on they can learn the why behind it all.  With this process they learn the why much quicker because the facts are instantly stored and available for retrevial.  For example we memorize multiplication tables (I teach my children some why's before with these) and if we have them memorized mathmatics is much easier and quicker later on.  Another example is last year some of my children and I memorized the Presidents of the United States. Since that time whenever we learn something in American History Determination immediately connects who was president then. He slowly adds knowledge to that "hook," as the Kimber philosophy would say, and he is easily putting American History together because he has these hooks to place things in order for him. 

Maybe it is good for those of us out there who are logical learners that like things in lists and order?  At any rate it is fun for us, to other families it may be torture. We all have our quirks right?

 Another reason I like memorization is that it fills our minds will worthy thoughts and knowledge.  Five years or so ago I memorized the The Proclamation to the World on the Family, The Living Christ and The Relief Society Declaration.  It has been wonderful always having those words ring through my ears as I parent and serve others.  Not only are the words worthy that float through my mind, but as I memorized the documents I also gained a more vivid and clear understanding of what those documents meant. 

I see that with out guidance children will memorize things anyway.  It amazes me how many youth and children are expert in all pop music lyrics, they also have lines memorized from books, TV and movies.  Their heads are filled with things, but what?  I have tried to place worthy thoughts in my children's minds that their thoughts can stay focused on the good, the positive and most importantly the holy.

How do we do memorization if we don't have "school time?" It's just built into our day and various activities. We just do it has a family.

As part of our daily routine we memorize a scripture every week, we rememorize/practice an Article of Faith every week in Family Home Evening, and we also work on a paragraph or a couple of sentences from the Proclamation to the World on the Family every week in Family Home Evening also.  For years and years we have just gone over it and over it.  So we have some things built into our routine.

I should also point out that no one is required to memorize anything, and sometimes they don't.  Or some children will memorize one thing while others will memorize another.  Last year Determination memorized the Presidents as mentioned while Liberty (12) only partially memorized them, but instead she memorized the Declaration of Independence.  Usually I will say, "Do you want to memorize __________? This is why I think it would be good information to know____________.  I am going to memorize it, so if you want to do it with me you are welcome too."  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.  It's never a forced thing.  When we are walking, driving or working we will practice memorizing whatever we are interested in.  More often than not it really is in the form of oral quizzing (which is a TJEd concept).  So while some children might not consciously choose to memorize something, they are often learning it right along side of us anyway and they will pick up much of it.  Right now we are memorizing our piano pieces for our recital. 

Here are a few things some of us have memorized and why it was helpful:
  • The books of all the scriptures-find scriptures faster
  • Latter-day prophets-connect church history events easier
  • 12 modern day apostles-easily recognize them when they speak and recognize patterns in their talks
  • Christ's original 12 apostles-understand stories, personalities of 12 in the NT better
  • President's of the United States-associate American History events easier with other things
  • Articles of Faith-understand basic doctrines of the church
  • Proclamation-Understand how important our family is
  • Scriptures in general-they recognize scriptures quoted from the pulpit more easily as ones they have already learned, they know the background and can more easily understand the message the speaker is delivering (they love to catch how many Scriptures they know during Sacrament Meeting or in a Church video, there are usually two or three every time)
  • Patriarchal line of the Book of Mormon (Alma, Alma, Heleman, Helaman, Nephi....)-understand exactly who is speaking/teaching when reading the Book of Mormon
  • 12 Tribes of Israel-Increased understanding of most Old Testaments events
  • Counties of our state-associate where things are in the state easier
  • Geography locations of all types-connect historical and current events together more easily
  • All the wars the United States have fought in with their dates-more association with other world events
  • All major and several minor events, places and dates associated with the restoration, from the birth of Joseph Smith to the arrival of the Saints into Utah (all those things in between)-we have been able to travel to most of these places and they understand exactly what took place and why it was important. (For instance when we visited the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration site in Pennsylvania last summer they knew exactly what had happened.  When they stuck their hands in the Susquehanna River they knew who had been there and what sacred event had happened and exactly how long ago it had). They also can easily connect church events together when they learn stories.  They know if something happened for instance right after the Saints were expelled from Missouri what the Saints were probably thinking and feeling at the time.
Those are some of the things I can remember of the top of my head.  Here are some things we want to memorize next:
  • The Declaration of Independence (only Liberty did it)-Liberty is continually quoting to us why something is wrong or right in government now my telling us what the Declaration says
  • Address to My Children by Heber C Kimball
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Major Plant Species and key components of each
  • Periodic Table
  • Poetry
  • Kings and Queens of England (we know several though)
  • Constellations
  • Key dates and events the occurred chronologically during each American War (We already have much of the Revolutionary War dates memorized.  Extremely beneficial!)
  • Prophets and kings of the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah
  • Major musical movements of history
  • Refined vocabulary words (thank you Misfit Cygnet)
That's a good start.  We will do many of those this year.  At least I will and some of the kids will learn some and some will learn others.  I have faith in each of them that they will be inspired to know what they need to memorize to bless their lives individually. 

If you would like to memorize things but seem overwhelmed by the ideas just start small.  The first things we memorized were what I considered core phase things.  For example the Latter-day prophets, Books of Scripture, Articles of Faith, etc.  All of these things are already put to Primary music so it'll be easy.  Time lines for Seminary provide easy access to dates, places and key events.  The seminary scripture mastery's are also easy places to start for knowing which scriptures to memorize.  I think on You Tube (I've not looked though) there would most likely be rhymes/songs for learning geography, presidents, states, etc.  It seems like they have everything on there!  Any science or history book would have dates and key events for you to study if you didn't know something.  Of course googling for a list of something is even easier.

To stop a very long post, memorizing can be a great tool that is easily incorporated into a routine.  It takes no more effort than googling a list for me.  It helps make traveling in the car easier when I distract them.  We are excited to work on new things. It has been helpful to evaluate how my children learn. I have learned that I have some that respond to lists, drills and memorization,  However, I have a very "right brained" child (Imagination age 9) has never really been interested in memorizing and has a hard time memorizing some things that my older two children have known since they were two.  Just thoughts. What are yours?


Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I'm currently working on memorizing the Family Proclamation. I got out of the practice of memorizing and, like exercise, my memory "muscles" were sore from the work!

You've got a wonderful list to work from. Somewhere in my files I have the old seminary list of scriptures when they had to memorize 100 scriptures every year not just 25. Those would be good to memorize.

We are Ben and Rebecca said...

I LOVE memorizing. Kids are such sponges. Brock knew the order of the Prsidents of the church since he was 18 months old. I believe it's a very natural way to learn things. The church teaches in repitition, so I do, as well. The church teaches precepts as we are ready to learn them, and I will follow that as well.
I am also in favor of "oral quizes" I am dyslexic- and failed way too many "multiple choice" questions (which I find absurd, anyway) and was passed through until High School a teacher caught me frustrated when I shouted "Where are you seeing these numbers?!" All of my math tests were taken orally, and I realized I wasn't dumb or bad at math.
Wonderful post.

Angela said...

I love it! What a wonderful post! My husband hated going to his grandmothers house as a child b/c they were forced to memorize a poem each day. It seems like it wasn't done lovingly and his siblings and he never developed affection for her, only a sense of duty. It was really frustrating. But we love the idea of memorization. When we don't have scriptures handy for family scripture time we go through memorized scriptures and discuss/practice them. Excellent post!

Jenp8 said...

I've had trouble lately in understanding the benefit to memorization other than just passing off facts. Thanks for giving me some new ideas of what to memorize and inspiring ME (not pushing it on the kids) to get out a list and start working on it.