I haven’t researched this idea, at all. I just don’t have time. But, it stands to reason that challenging your mind, by memorizing, really strengthens that brain muscle. And, who doesn’t want a super-buff brain? Brain challenges, like math?? No thanks. Puzzles?? Sure. Memorizing stuff?? Hmmm….
To be honest, I never thought much about memorizing things, or having my kids memorize things. But, as I was reading about the Charlotte Mason homeschool method, I noticed she was a fan of kids memorizing poetry. And, if Charlotte Mason told me to jump off a cliff, I totally would. Okay, not really. At first, I thought, “why?” And, when it comes to poetry, I still think, “why?” (I know, I am SO uncultured, right?) Memories came flooding back to me of all the times I had to memorize pieces for my piano recital and how CHALLENGING it was…challenging, challenging, challenging. That was the key word that stuck with me! Isn’t it good to challenge our minds? Wouldn’t memorizing challenge our minds?? I decided it did, with no ambition to prove it. So, now my kids are required to do it. Every Tuesday, for homeschool.
Don’t you want to eat my little Joey?? Yummy, I could chomp those cheeks right off. So, if you’re going to spend time memorizing something, it might as well be something that is valuable to you. When I was little, sitting on the toilet, I memorized the back of the tube of Crest toothpaste. “Crest has been shown to be an effective decay-preventive dentrifice that can be of significant value when used, as directed, in a conscientiously applied program of oral hygiene and regular professional care.” It may have changed over the past 20 years, but pretty valuable stuff, right?
Oh, I think another time, I memorized the McDonald’s menu place-mat. Remember it?? “Big Mac, Mc DLT, a Quarter Pounder with Some Cheese, Filet o’ Fish, a Hamburger, a Cheeseburger, a Happy Meal, McNuggets, Tasty Golden French Fries, Regular and Larger Size…” I could keep going, believe me. What’s a DLT??
Some people might think memorizing poetry is valuable, that’s fine. Others might think memorizing Def Leppard lyrics is valuable. “Pour some sugar on me…in the name of love! Pour some sugar on me…c’mon, fire me u-up…” Pretty sweet stuff. We might start memorizing that on Thursdays. But, really the most valuable things I have ever memorized in my life has actually been scriptures. For one, brain challenge. For two, random experiences in life will still bring to mind a scripture that corresponds with my situation. I love it. I need all the help I can get in being the best person I can be. Those scriptures have been valuable to me.
Sooooooo, it was an easy choice of what I wanted my kiddos to memorize. This year we are actually studying the New Testament, so all of our verses are from that. It’s been fun! Part of me wondered if it was cruel and unusual to think a 6 year old could memorize verse after verse of scripture. But, no worries. My 6 year old actually picks it up quicker than my 9 year old. He actually seems like he is totally ignoring me, then he suddenly spews it out, almost perfectly.
Oh, and because I have decided this is something that is important for me to have them learn, I threw in a little incentive…which I will explain soon. I would love to have scriptures come to their minds when they are going about their days. But, first I thought I would share with you our typical Tuesday mornings…scripture memorizing day.
First, I write the passage to be memorized on a white board. We say it together several, several times.
Then, one by one, we start erasing words. See that kid sprawled out on the floor? That’s the effects of a brain being challenged. They are motivated by their desire for a reward (we’re getting there.)
Are their distractions? Yes.
Penguins drawn on the white board? Yes.
Tired and unhappy kids? Yes.
But, we nail our scriptures and the boys feel so proud of themselves when they can pass it off. Oh, caveat: They can only pass it off if they can still repeat the scriptures we have learned previously. (We didn’t spend all of this time for them just to forget it!)
When they complete their scripture, they get a coupon for any of the following things:
No chores for the day
1 hour late to bed
1 hour break from school
1 dollar for fast food
1 hour early for free time (We have a 4:00 rule, in our house, that no games or tv can be watched or played before 4:00, unless they are educational and approved. This coupon lets them loose at 3:00.)
They can obviously only earn 1 coupon per week, since we only memorize that often. They can save their coupons to use whenever they want, they don’t have to be used that day. These are super motivating to them!
I have a little video of the kids passing off their memorization…but, I can NOT believe how long it is taking to upload. Seriously.
Okay, I only had time to upload one, of Shane. He gets reallllllllllllly frustrated and flustered when he makes mistakes, so bear with him. Oh, and excuse the stampede of screaming children, in the background.
More homeschooling posts, for your reading pleasure: