Those of you that are familiar with the classical style of homeschooling know how much of an emphasis is placed on memory work. The idea is that these little bits of knowledge are used as pegs to later hang more information at a deeper level. I truly believe this approach works and is a great way to tap into the ease with which young children can memorize. But I have always wanted a little bit more. I want my children to be able to really understand what they are reciting and not just be able to repeat information. My solution to this was to add in some aspects of interactive notebooking with our memory work.
The base of our memory work is Living Memory, a book written by Andrew Campbell. This resource provides us with enough memory work for several years, if not the entire homeschool education. We have memory work to cover several content areas. For the interactive notebooks I bought the kids each a 5-subject notebook and divided the memory work into the following categories: grammar, geography, history, science, and math. I know there is debate on what type of notebook to use, whether it be a composition book, a regular notebook, or a binder, but for the sake of keeping all of our memory work together I chose the 5-subject notebook.
To give you some idea of how this works, I’ll walk you through a piece of memory work and how we make it memorable. The kids just recently finished memorizing the regions of the United States. To help them remember this regions and understand where they were located we did a couple of pages in the geography section of their interactive notebooks. For the left side of the page (which is typically the basic information) I used a worksheet from www.worksheetworks.com that had the states listed in alphabetical order with a blank line next to each. The kids then wrote which region each state was in and circle the state with the coordinating region from the right side.
Then the right side of the page is where they apply their new knowledge. I printed off a blank US map (again, I found it on www.worksheetworks.com) and had the kids choose 1 color for each region. These were also the colors they used on the left side to circle the states.
For an added bonus, we were able to print off some great map outlines from this website to use in reinforcing their memory work. These maps are nice and large (it is made up of 9 pieces of cardstock) so we placed it on the wall right next to the table where we do our schooling. This particular US map will also be used when we memorize states and capitals, major US rivers, major US mountain ranges, and the Great Lakes.
So that is a little example of how we make memory work meaningful in our house. There are so many other websites available that have worksheets to use for the interactive notebooking. In fact, if this interests you, check out our Earth Science/Astronomy curriculum since I used this method for our weekly science notebooking. Memory work doesn’t have to be boring and monotonous…make it memorable!