Modern education trends view memorizing as a thing of the past…old school! Why memorize anything when you can look it up? But as usual, the proof is in the pudding! Memorizing may not be in vogue now, but I have seen enough positive results of memorizing with my own kids that memory work is a daily part of our Morning Time. Here are some simple ideas for Memory Work in Morning Time.
Video: Simple Ideas for Memory Work in Morning Time
I recently wrote a detailed post about Morning Time that gives the basic understanding of how to SIMPLIFY YOUR HOMESCHOOL WITH MORNING TIME. In this post, I share how we use Morning Time to teach the subjects that are best taught as a group and also some of the things that we want to teach our kids, but often get put aside for the more important subjects.
I have found it helpful to break up the subjects you want to do with your kids into daily and regular lists. We do memory work as part of our daily subjects.
Andrew Pudewa from Institute for Excellence in Writing talks about the value of memorizing in this excellent podcast by Your Morning Basket with Pam Barnhill. He tells the story of Frederick Douglas who was born in a supremely dismal literate environment, yet when he escaped slavery as a free man, he became one of the greatest orators our country has ever known.
The interesting thing is this. One of the first books he ever owned was a book of famous speeches.
He memorized them.
Memorizing enhanced his vocabulary and gave him understanding of the basic form of good speech.
Science also backs the value of memorizing. In his book Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization, Pudewa explains that when children memorize, the network of connections among neurons becomes stronger.
And, as he suggests in the above interview, children are built to memorize…since they repeat everything anyway, let’s make it something of value!
For these reasons and others, we value memory work as part of our daily routine. It is a small part of our day, maybe 10-15 minutes, but it packs a powerful punch.
Simple Ideas for Memory Work in Morning Time
We like to memorize scripture in chunks. We’ve always done it this way. We do Scripture Memory in two steps.
- Read our current verse aloud together.
- Review 2 or 3 old passages.
Years ago, I made a little file box of our verses that helped us keep track of how often we were reviewing old verses. Inside, I wrote our memory verses on index cards and organized it with tabs, putting a verse behind each tab. It was arranged like this.
- Current verse.
- A review verse for each day of the week.
- Daily review verses by number of the day of the month.
This way we were daily reading a current verse, reviewing an old verse weekly, and reviewing an old verse monthly.
This worked for quite a while until we accumulated too many to fit into this system. Now we use our Morning Time Folders. I have printed out all our verses and put them in a section of our binder.
Here are a few of our favorite passages.
Deuteronomy 6: 4-0
Psalm 78: 1-8
Ephesians 6: 10-18
Revelation 21: 1-7
Nursery Rhymes (Younger Kids)
Why do children love nursery rhymes and simple songs? Because when you can’t read something, your mind is looking for some form of stimulation. Repeating the same sounds, rhythms, and rhymes is entertaining!
When a child hears nursery rhymes every day, he will repeat them throughout the day. Actually, when you teach a child nursery rhymes, you will hear, “Again! Do another one!” Without realizing it, the children are building a repertoire.
Children love to hear the same phrases over and over so that they can remember them and do them on their own. Many nursery rhymes have been put to song. If you can sing some of them and add motions, your littles will relish this time with you. You will be folding laundry and hearing them in the next room saying, “this little piggy went wee wee wee aaaaaall the way home!” with delight.
Memorizing poetry is beneficial for so many reasons. Poetry expands a child’s vocabulary naturally because they learn words in context. Each time they repeat a poem, they gain more understanding of the little parts of it.
We like to memorize poetry by poet. I love Christina Rosetti and Robert Louis Stevenson for young children because their poems are often titled with concrete topics that are familiar to children.
Here are some of our favorites:
- “The Swing” by Robert Louis Stevenson
- “Daffadowndilly” by Christina Rosetti (This one great for spring when the daffodils come up!)
- “The Tyger” William Blake
- “Wynken Blynken and Nod” by Eugene Field
- “My Shadow” Robert Louis Stevenson
- “Months” by Christina Rosetti
- “The Children’s Hour” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
- “The Sluggard” by Isaac Watts
- “I Can” by Edgar A Guest
- “The Window” by Walter de la Mare
- “Crossing the Bar” by Alfred Lord Tennyson
- “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
- “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll
- “Opportunity” by Edward Rowland Sill
- “Charge of the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Catechisms and Creeds
Memorizing catechisms can help a child understand the basic doctrines of our faith. It can also help answer some of the questions children naturally ask!
Who made you? God.
What else did God make? God made all things.
Why did God make you and all things? For His own glory.
Memorizing Creeds like the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s creed, along with teaching doctrine, can give kids a link to important historical moments in church history.
When children are old enough to begin studying grammar, it gives them an advantage to know some basics. These are lists we have memorized. When they approach their grammar work for the day (we begin grammar lessons in 4th grade), they already have these in their bank.
- Subjective, Objective, and Possessive Pronouns
- The “Be” and “Helping” verbs
- Questions to ask for Adjectives
- Questions to ask to find Adverbs
History Timeline Songs
We memorize the history songs from Veritas Press. Our kids do Veritas self-paced history program for their history lessons. VP has five years of history study, each with a timeline song of that section.
- Old Testament and Ancient Egypt
- New Testament Greece and Rome
- Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation
- Explorers to 1815
- 1815 to Modern Times
When kids memorize (through song) events of history in order, it gives them a rudimentary framework to hang their hat on, so to speak. From this time forward, whenever they learn any new person or event from history, they can mentally browse through their memorized catalog and put that event in the right place.
*Veritas Press is currently running a free 2 week trial to any self-paced course!
Memorizing famous speeches is one category have not tried yet, but it is on my list! Memorizing speeches not only teaches excellent form and vocabulary, it also connects us to important historical moments. When repeating a line from a famous statesman or patriot, you are challenged to have the same kind of courage as the person you are studying.
Here are some speeches on my list to memorize.
- The Gettysburg Address
- Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”
- Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight”
We weave math facts into our Morning Time in seasons, usually when I can see the kids need to sharpen up a bit. I did a post on FIVE MINUTE MATH GAMES TO DO WITH EVERYONE which goes into more detail about how I have used math in Morning Time. Here are some math memory ideas.
- Skip counting by 2’s to 20 (and back), 3’s to 30, 4’s to 40… up to 10’s. This helps prepare them for multiplication facts.
- Counting by nickels and dimes to a dollar, by quarters to five dollars.
- Addition, subtraction, muliplication, and division facts.
- Geometric shapes by sides, angles, etc.
Lists of Valuable Information
There are so many other fun things to add to your repertoire. You might like learning this random list of information with your kids.
- Presidents of the US
- Kings of the Bible (We love this song on YouTube!)
- Kings of England (Another favorite song)
- Periodic Table of Elements
- Books of the Bible
- States and Capitols
Pam Barnhill from Your Morning Basket also put together a wonderful list of things to memorize in Morning Time. See her post here for more: Pam Barnhill’s 100 Things to Memorize.
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Comment With Your Memory Work Suggestions!
This is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it is enough to give you some ideas for your Morning Time.
What kinds of things are you learning for memory work? I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment with your memory work suggestions below so others can see and get ideas!
Looking for more inspiration for Morning Time?