Welcome to day two of The Classical Preschool! Today we are talking about memorization. To read the other posts in this five-day series, click on the picture above.
Young children are like sponges. They are able to absorb incredible amounts on information with little effort (compared to adults anyways!) From the time they are babies, your children are memorizing people, locations, language, and much more. As your children grow, everything is new to them and they must memorize it all, so this is the perfect time to expose your children to great amounts of information.
Why is memorization so important in classical education?
In classical education, learning is broken down into three, natural segments. The first is called the grammar stage and is a child's first years of education. It is called the grammar stage because a child spends his time learning the 'grammar' or building blocks of each subject. This is natural because of young children's incredible ability to absorb and memorize information. Not only are they good at this, but they enjoy learning new things and are keen on repetition (especially preschoolers).
Classical educators find this memory work important because it truly does lay the foundation for later learning. I have heard this many times referred to as giving the child 'pegs' on which to hang information on later in their education. If we give our children bits of information to store in their heads, new information later will already be familiar and more easily understood. This is the essence of the grammar stage, but I firmly believe that it can be started in the preschool years, simply because these little ones are so great at it and willing!
How does memorization look in a classical preschool?
Two Years Old
Every 2 year old loves to sing the alphabet song. This is memorization! A child who is just starting to speak can learn the very basic building blocks of language! When my children were two, we would spend a week on each letter of the alphabet and learn to recognize it and call it by it's correct name.
Just like a very small child can recite the alphabet, they can also learn to recognize numbers. You may start with saying "1, 2, 3...let's go!" or "I'll count while you eat 5 bites of dinner." each time before you do a certain activity. Soon they will be memorizing the numbers up to 10 and be able to count along with you.
Add in some shapes and colors and you have plenty of memorization for a two year old. You don't have to have a formal school time to do this, just work it in naturally throughout your day. If you want, of course you could establish a 15 minute block of time (or whatever works for you) to talk about these things.
Three Years Old
As your child approaches their third birthday, you will see their verbal ability and mental capacity increase. This is a great time to build on what you have already taught and also introduce some new things. If your child has his ABC's down, start introducing the sounds that each letter makes, one at a time.
I found fun songs to introduce basic facts to my son when he was three. We listened to songs about the days of the week, months of the year, skip counting, etc.
Don't doubt your 3 year old's ability to begin memorizing longer sections of information like Bible verses and poetry.
Here are some helpful posts of mine from when my son was three:
Four Years Old
This is when a child's ability to memorize beyond the basics really takes off. Classical Conversations begins classes for children at 4 years old and really holds them to a high standard. I think this is completely acceptable! My son is four this year, and we have been able to memorize a wider variety of information, adding more as the year has gone on.
We have continued to memorize Bible verses, only this year making them line up with what we were studying in history. He has memorized about four good sized poems (the ones we have come to in Primary Language Lessons), and some of the definitions from the Book of Virtues. We completed learning all the phonograms needed for reading and added some definitions and facts that tied into other areas of our study. I wasn't too purposeful about it this year, just adding cards as we came to them. Really, you can follow a particular plan, or just pick things that are important to you.
I hope to soon have a post listing all the things that were in our memory box this year. I'll link it here once I write it =)
As the year went on, I realized that my son could be doing more than he was, so I added history sentences to go along with each new topic. This made me wonder what else I could/should be including in our memory box. I found that the breakdown Classical Conversations uses was helpful. Each week they have the students memorize something from each of these categories: history, timeline, geography, grammar, Latin, math, and science. This has inspired me for next year!
Recommended Resources to Aid you in Memorization:
Here is a list of some wonderful resources to aid you in helping your older preschool child with their memory. Notice that many of them are songs!
(Some of these are affiliate links. They are all products that I either use and love, or are considering using next year.)
I'm sure there are many more, these are just some of the ones we have used or have piqued our interest.
What are your favorites resources to help your child memorize?
What kind of things do you have your preschooler memorize?
This series is a part of the iHomeschool Network summer Hopscotch! Click the picture below to find other great series' from the ladies of the iHN.