Last year, a friend introduced me to a program called Classical Conversations. I took my oldest to an open house, and I was really impressed with the public speaking portion of the program. My son said he wanted to learn the information that the children in the class were learning, and I thought the public speaking practice would help him build confidence, so we decided to give it a try.
Far from being boring, practicing memory work is my children's favorite part of the day. Here's some of what they're learning.
Based on our experiences, here are some of the benefits of rote memorization:
- My kids are learning how to memorize large volumes of information, and it gets easier for them as the weeks go by. Classical Conversations uses songs, hand movements and games to make memorization fun. My son is a visual learner, and has found that it is helpful to write out some of the information he is trying to memorize. He's learning techniques he can use when he's older.
- Memorization is much easier for my kids than it is for me and my husband. From birth to age 10 or 12, children are in what's known as the grammar stage of the trivium. This phase of classical homeschooling takes advantage of a child's natural ability to memorize.
- My children are storing factual information they can use in the future. They do not fully understand everything they are learning, but the facts will be available for recall when they need them. We sing the alphabet song to our babies years before they understand what the letters mean. As my kids sing about the parts of the cell, they are tucking the information away for the days when they'll study biology.
- As we memorize information together, we grow stronger as a family. If you watch the video closely, you'll notice that my 2-year-old often sings along with his older siblings. He is usually with us when we practice, soaking up information like a sponge. This is one of the benefits of learning in a multi-age environment.
- Learning is fun, and the ability to recall information on demand is a huge confidence builder. I am learning facts that I didn't learn as a child. And my husband, who was a bit skeptical about the need for an extensive memorization program, has asked me to get him a copy of our memory work audio CD.
We are mostly relaxed homeschoolers, so we don't strictly adhere to the classical model of education, but I can definitely see it's benefits. Follow this link to learn more about classical homeschooling and the 3 stages of the trivium.
Enjoy the journey,