As I have mentioned, I subscribe to both classical and Charlotte-Mason styles. The encouragement to add memorization to our education profile originally came from reading The Well-Trained Mind. However, the manner in which we approach memorization comes from the Charlotte Mason Method. I adapted a similar book based upon one that I had the luck to view several years ago, and since found in my file of keepsakes for homeschooling.
The download includes a brief description of use. Yet, I think a bit more explanation will serve it justice.
I plan to use it across all subjects. I will list some examples of the types of selections or items that I plan to include in our organizer: the weekly spelling list, the Megawords spelling list and reading list, formulas from math, math facts, geometry angles and shapes, Mystery of History’s key dates and memory flashcards, poems, Bible verses, national anthem, Gettysburg Address, grammar rules, definitions from any subject, latin vocabulary, lists (such as of continents and oceans), people (historical figures and scientists), et cetera. Any item or selection that requires memorization will be planned for memorization and review. The schedule options are daily, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, the first of the month, the fifteenth of the month, and the thirtieth of the month.
Encouraging the memorization is as essential as rewarding the accomplishment. I have incorporated a reward for memorizing a selection. I encourage the use of stars. Stars are a symbol of success in school. However, you can choose to use another sticker. There are a wide variety of reward stickers. Adapt the type of sticker to what will work best with your child to show success. When a selection is completely memorized, a sticker is placed on the section page and the selection moved to the back of the book. Because the selections are not removed from the memory organizer, these can be reviewed periodically as time permits in your schedule.
This is a very simplistic adaption of the free book that I had found so long ago. If you feel that you would rather read more and develop a different approach, I would like to suggest that you read Living Memory: A Classical Memory Work Companion, by Andrew Campbell. I have not personally read this book, but the reviews and comments lead me to believe that author subscribes to the notion of classical memorization and uses a notebook too for memory work organization, although I cannot comment on the notebook design or use having not read this book myself.
When beginning with a selection, read it aloud to your child, and let your child read it aloud. Use it for copywork, or use it for dictation (ask the child to repeat it back or write it down). Seeing, hearing, reading, and writing help.
When choosing to memorize a poem, print the entire selection. The child should be able to view the entire poem in context. Highlight the selection for memorization. For a younger child, a reasonable goal is to highlight the first line for memory. When this goal is reached, highlight the second line. Continue in this manner until the entire selection is highlighted and memorized. Place an award sticker and move the selection to the back of the memory organizer.
Provide background on the selection, passage, poem, et cetera. Make the connection to the subject and the material being studied so that an understanding of purpose and intent helps to encourage memorization. The last thing you want is for your child to roll their eyes and yell “this is stupid!” at the top of their lungs.
If you plan to review something only two times weekly, I would suggest that you make two copies. Place a copy behind the section page days of your choosing. For example, you may want to read your Megawords list on Tuesday and Thursday only. Make two copies and insert a copy behind each section page. Although the reading list itself is not actual memorization in the normal view, it is memorization of the phonics, and thus, I am including it. However, only include one copy of the final list in the back of the book when complete.
If using lists, you can print or write on half of the sheet to conserve paper. Use the half fold of a piece of paper in the portfolio position.
For notecards and flashcards, consider using plastic sleeves that hold photos or pencil cases behind each section page.
For your Veritas Press Memory Cards, laminate and three-hole punch to insert for review. This is one instance where you may need to move the cards from day to day if you choose a different schedule over daily or once a week. I do not see this as hardship. Study the cards on Tuesday and move them to Thursday at the end of the day on Tuesday. On Thursday, move them to Tuesday. Once memorized, move them to once a month behind one of the three dated section pages devoted for scheduling monthly review and learning.
Do Not Forget:
As you begin or continue to teach memorization, remember that to build retention you must be consistent and review often. The memory book helps you to do both.
Encouragement is a must. Placing a reward will build confidence. You may need to reward more than the final memorization of the entire selection. This is especially true with very young or new users not accustomed to memorization as part of their academic life.
A child must be trained to memorize. Extensive drilling, review, and testing (orally or written) will assist you. Do not praise failure, but do not punish for it either. Do not say things to admonish their lack of study or accomplishment. The mind needs to be trained. Yes, you can state disappointment or that you had hoped for more. However,once again, reward; don’t punish.