Help your Kids Memorize Anything


Help your kids memorize anything |Everyday SnapshotsMemory work is a big part of what we do around here. And while for some people, memory work would suggest feelings of drudgery and drill and kill, the reality couldn’t be farther from that. We love our memory work and have fun with it.

The kids get great satisfaction in learning a new poem or a series of math facts. These “hooks” become saved in their brain to be excitedly called forth during the liturgy at church, at a science museum or demonstration, or during story time at the library.

We memorize because of those feelings of satisfaction and to create those hooks of information.

Memorization aids in higher level thinking, because it frees the working portion of your brain from having to remember basic facts and allows it to focus on more advanced skills.

A good example of this is in foreign language. The student who is able to recall the basic vocabulary, will have a far easier time tackling the grammar and nuances of a translation.

A storehouse of knowledge from memory work provides instant context so vital for success in reading comprehension. If the mention of Finland automatically calls to mind a far-north European country close to the Artic circle, the student already has context stored that may mean the difference in understanding what is being read and only comprehending a portion of the story.

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Finally memory work establishes patterns with language, exposure to extensive vocabulary, and an intimate interaction with scripture, poetry, and the great ideas. When the mind and heart are filled with these, then these are what form the soul. It leaves little room for the less-than-worthy to creep in.

Memory work is introduced each week at our classical coop. As the memory work teacher, I use recitation, songs, motions, pictures, and even puzzles to introduce the new material to the kids. The methods I use give the parents and kids fun tools they can then use at home to be successful in memorizing the material.

Some of these methods I learned while we participated in another classical co-op, some methods are common sense, and other methods I found while researching online and in books.

Help your kids memorize anything |Everyday Snapshots

Because different kids have different strengths, I like to use a variety of modalities in introducing the memory work. While all of the memory work is auditory in some way, sometimes we take that further with songs or funny voices.

Kids who are stronger visually get a boost from pictures and the visuals we provide.

Finally, kinesthetic kids enjoy when we add hand motions or simply dance to the music.

Over the next four posts in this series I am going to unpack the following methods for you and show you exactly how you can use them to help your kids memorize anything.

Linking this to Trivium Tuesdays at Living and Learning at Home. Check out more great classical education resources.

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  • Faith says:

    This looks so interesting. We’ve done some memorization but not as much as I’d have liked.

    • Pam Barnhill says:

      It’s amazing how quickly the little guys soak it up, Faith. Much faster than I do, that’s for sure. Though I will say that the moms at co-op, myself included, are amazed at everything we have learned and can remember from this year. It is a bit life-altering to start carrying around tons of information in your head. Changes the way you look at many things.

  • […] This is the second post in the series: Help Your Kids Memorize Anything. You can see part one here. […]

  • Amy says:

    I have a feeling that our homeschools are pretty similar =) I look forward to reading more of this series! You must be gearing up for your ultimate guide!

  • […] work is a big part of our school day. I have written before on why I think it is so important. I think it is fabulous that it is alive and well in homeschool circles. The sharing of resources, […]

  • […] you do a bit of memory work during your morning time, then try a couple of Christmas selections to get into the holiday […]

  • […] Memorization is fun for us and we like to do it. We work on it during our Morning Time each day and play games for review. I know that it can be daunting to start a memory work program. Even selecting the items to memorize can be a chore. To that end, Jessica and I have selected a few (ok, a hundred) ideas to get you started. […]

    • Sara Boyer says:

      I would like some suggestions of important things to memorize. Top scripture verses etc…

  • […] Help Your Kids Memorize Anything […]

  • […] memorization can be as simple as shared reciting while reading, you can also add additional techniques to your Morning Time practices to aid in memory work. My kids like to use songs, funny voices, and […]

  • […] Prior to last year, I was not convinced that memory work was necessary (I know, I know), but posts by fellow homeschoolers whom I respect like Pam, Brandy, and Mystie, as well as talks by trusted classical educators (i.e. here) convinced me that I should at least consider implementing it in our school day.  Further, I wanted to take what our children were learning in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd religious education program at our parish and bring that scripture and prayer into our homes in a deeper way so that the texts could continue to be written on their hearts and prayed throughout the week.  In the end, we gave it a go and I am now an enthusiastic supporter of the value of memory work.  (For more on memory work, I suggest Pam’s series). […]

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