I listen to a lot of podcasts. A LOT.
Until about two months ago, I was not entirely sure what a podcast was…or what I was supposed to do with it! Do I listen to it? Watch it? Both?
Go ahead and call me old now. It’s okay.
Anywho, I found podcasts for a woman whose blog I follow. her name is Pam Barnhill, and she is amazing. I have subscribed to her blog/emails for a while now and used some of her lesson planning tools and printables in the past few years. Lo and behold, she does podcasts! She has a whole series of them interviewing different homeschool moms and asking about their day or about a topic they are very knowledgeable about.
One of the people she interviewed was a man, who was very knowledgeable about memorization and why it is important for school-aged children. I forget all of his credentials, but he taught like a million different classes, including the Suzuki method for music. This guy was so informative! He discussed how a lot of schools are moving away from fact memorization for whatever reason, but ending memorizing of facts is hurting our kids. The brain needs repetition to stay strong and memorizing things (regardless of what the things are) is key.
I remember memorizing states, presidents, math facts, parts of speech, Bible verses, and a ton of other things as a child. I have not really pushed my girls lately to do memorization but knew I needed to get back to it and started again just a week or so ago. That podcast was a great encouragement to keep it up! He mentioned that Common Core math is moving away from math fact memorization because it wants to teach the “why” behind the math problems. Teaching why something works is great, but knowing that 6×6=36 is great, too. I still know all my math facts. I can also sing you two songs – one about the US states and one about presidents (although it stops at Clinton…haha).
Now, do I need those two songs? No. Do I need the math? SURE! I used math in my head all the time – at the store, at the library (when paying fines!), etc. Do I sit and consider the “why” behind the math? NO. I just know that if I buy 10 avocados and they are $.50 each, I just moved my decimal one spot to the right and pay the cashier $5.00 (plus the tax I already calculated in my head as well). Simple…..and no one behind me is aggravated because I sat there and drew out a one page paper with ridiculous regrouping. I just KNOW the answer.
I have no experience with Common Core Math. I do not plan to experience either. I am just going to stick with how I learned it and go with that. I do plan to force my girls to learn their math facts (we really struggle with this. I bought a DVD for Christmas, though, that tells a story with the multiplication facts, so hopefully that will help it stick in their little heads.) and give them tons of opportunity to use these memorized facts throughout the day.
I feel like I am off-track a bit.
This post is not to bach Common Core. Again, I really have no experience with it, and I only know about it what others have posted (like the picture above I found by searching “common core math picture” just to use as an example). 🙂
All I really want to say is that memorization is awesome. It really works your brain. And, if you do it right, kids remember these things into their adulthood. I remember the bazillion AWANA Bible verses I learned years ago. I remember the silly songs from school for the states and presidents. I remember silly poems we learned in school, too (like the Jabberwocky…totally useless but still fun to know and recite).
I want my kids to remember things as well. I want them to remember verses, as well as poems and random stories and math facts.
So, here’s what we are working to memorize in the next few weeks:
Psalm 23 – We are almost done with this. The girls, for sure, have it down. Buddy is still working on the last two verses. We have hand motions for it because that helps us (ok, ME) remember things.
The Swing – by Robert Louis Stevenson. Cute little poem. We are only two lines into the memorization, but we are working hard to have it done by the last week of February. We have learned a few other Robert Louis Stevenson poems, and I really enjoy his work. They are very kid-friendly.
States (and eventually capitals) – We have not started this, as I was hoping to find the YouTube video for the song I learned as a child, but I have not found it. I learned them alphabetically, and that is how I want to teach them to the kids. I did find a rap about the states. 🙂 We’ll see what we go with, but I am hoping to have all 50 learned by the end of March. As far as the capitals…we may push that out for later in the Summer.
For my brain, I am trying to memorize more verses. I have really fallen behind with learning new verses, but to keep my brain young and really be able to recall verses for different times throughout the day (tough times, thankful, hurting, etc) and be able to share with someone who needs a specific verse I want to learn more. I have four I am working on, and they are written out on index cards and set in the kitchen…because that is where I end up spending most of my day. 🙂 I like food. There, I said it.
Do your kids memorize facts or verses or anything else? Do YOU? Please share what you all are learning!!