January Journal: Day 17



We have tried a number of techniques for actually getting the words we want to memorize from the paper into our hearts and minds. Bauer has major auditory skills, so for him, it's not as vital that he sees the words we are learning. Cash, on the other hand, has trouble learning things as quickly when he can't see the words he's supposed to say.

For each practice session, we do a combination of repetition by listening and then repetition by seeing. We almost always practice our review verses first and then move on to working on our new verses.

The review part is nothing fancy. The kids, including Story, take turns saying 1-3 passages, according to the review schedule I'm keeping up with on the current month's calendar page. I try not to have them do more than one long passage on any given day. So if they are saying Romans 12, the only other review may be a short passage like Psalm 133:1&3b or the Books of the Bible or perhaps no other review verses at all. Poems, prayers, and speeches can also be grouped here for review. One day I may have them say the prayer of gratitude from The Valley of Vision, along with Matthew 6:25-34, and another day I may have them say "A Time to Talk" by Robert Frost, coupled with Psalm 139:1-18.

I've tried having the kids say their review passages simultaneously, but it seems to not be the best idea in general unless you are really crunched for time and saying it together is better than not saying it at all. I always have everyone stay together for review. This means no one runs to the bathroom while the brother or sister takes their turn, because I feel it's important that we all hear the passage repeated as many times as possible.

Colossians broken down by weeks

The new part is where we take our time and work hard on repetition and memory tricks. We are currently memorizing all of the book of Colossians for school. The kids are assigned three verses per week, which is challenging but doable. When we first began the school year and I realized the pace we would have to keep all year long to do this, I would catch myself at times thinking we would burn out before the end or just feeling tired before we were even a whole chapter in.

But now it has become a part of our days, a part of our routine, and a part of our family culture. We just keep chipping away, verse by verse, and it's amazing how our minds can expand to take it all in. It feels easier in some ways to keep the constant and brisk pace rather than to take it more slowly, which I think might trick us into thinking we could take time off in our practice schedule. Because we are learning so much, we are training our minds day after day that this is what we expect of them. It's almost as if you have to just get over that rebellion your body feels when you start a new workout program. You just decide and then you don't look back. It hurts at first but then you develop muscles and strength and it doesn't hurt nearly as much.

When I present a new verse to the kids, we first practice saying it over and over. I say it in phrases and they repeat it. It helps a lot to practice a few times yourself first, so that you know where you are going to pause and can get a good rhythm down for how you want the kids to say it. I have the verse already written down on a small white board and I let them look at what we are saying if they want to see the words. But the looking part isn't necessary just yet. They can roll around on the floor, hang upside down off the back of the couch, hide under the couch, color, build with blocks or Legos, or anything else as long as they are listening and repeating.

I think that's enough for today. I guess I didn't quite make it to the repetition by seeing and "white boards in the bathroom" part of what we do, but I'll cover that and memory tricks tomorrow. On Thursday I'll talk about my personal memory work practice (separate from the kids), and on Friday I'll share a few words of wisdom from others that have impacted me. That should do it for this series and then I'll share a new recipe over the weekend.