Many homeschoolers focus on some level of memorization during the early years, when the brain is most malleable. By capitalizing on young children’s incredible capacity to memorize, homeschoolers can establish pegs of knowledge which children can easily recall later in their education, when they are old enough to understand and process the meaning behind those facts.
For example, Classical Conversations, a homeschool group based on the classical model of education, focuses strongly on memorization, teaching facts related to History, Science, Math, English, Geography, and even Latin (click here for audio CDs of memory work in these subjects). Many Christian homeschoolers work with children on memorizing verses of scripture, and even homeschoolers from more eclectic approaches utilize memorization for basics like multiplication tables. While memory work is important, it is not generally thought of as fun. And although education does not always have to be about having a good time, being creative with memory work (especially with young children) can go a long way to helping the child be invested in and excited about learning. The following are some ideas to make memory work enjoyable:
Put it to a song
- Purchase memory songs CDs, or make up your own songs for memory facts!
- Click here for Geography songs
- Click here for Math songs
- Click here for History songs
- Click here for Grammar songs
- Click here for Science songs (and accompanying curriculum)
- Click here for Spanish songs
- Click here for Latin songs
- Click here for Scripture songs
Make it into a competition
- See how many addition facts the child can say correctly in 10 seconds, and award a prize, such as an M&M, for each one said.
- Allow the child to shoot a basket (or soccer goal) for each state he is able to remember. Let him earn an treat for every basket (or goal) he makes
Incorporate it into a game
- Use a board game such as Candy Land. Have each colored space relate to a specific subject or area of memory work (green= Math, blue=English, etc.). When the child draws a card for a particular color, he has to correctly say his memory fact from that subject before being able to move to the colored space on the board.
- Print out cards that have the subject area for memory on them (such as “Kingdoms of living things”), and hide these around the house, or outside. Have the child go on a scavenger hunt to find each card, reciting the answers to each card by memory as she finds them.
- Have the child say the memory fact as quickly as he possibly can, and then as slowly as he possibly can.
- Play tag. Each time the parent (or a sibling) tags the child, she must freeze. She has to correctly say a fact from memory to be “unfrozen”.
- Play tic-tac-toe. One sibling is “X”, the other “O”. When each sibling correctly recites a memory fact, he gets to put his letter on the tic-tac-toe board.
Recite memory facts while being active
- Have the child give the answers to her multiplication tables as she swings on the swingset.
- Allow the child to create out of clay whatever fact is being memorized (e.g. the planets in the solar system) as he recites his memory work.
- Let the child climb a tree, while reciting the parts of the food pyramid as he climbs, starting at the bottom of the tree with a fact from the bottom of the pyramid, and naming each additional block of the pyramid as he takes each step up the tree.
- Give the child a coloring page related to the memorization (e.g. a coloring page of Joan of Arc for memory work related to the Hundred Years’ War) and have the child share his memory facts as he colors the picture.
- Create hand motions to go along with each fact being memorized, and have the child do the hand motions as he recites.