I ‘ve been getting a number of inquiries about our memory binders, so I thought it was time to do a quick update. I’ve changed the organization pretty drastically in the last couple of years, and the questions I’m getting relate directly — they are coming from the same place we were at when I decided I needed to rethink my approach a bit. So I’m going to share what we are doing now.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: we have to change and grow as our children change and grow. The system that worked great when we were just starting out is something that I’d do all over again, but we reached a point where it wasn’t working. As systems are our hired servants (rather than our slave-masters), it’s certainly okay to fire them and replace them with something that works better. Don’t be afraid to troubleshoot and make changes.
But first: what we were doing before!
Because this worked really well for us up until about a year ago, and because I’d still recommend this system for the earliest years, I thought I’d offer some links for those of you who want to see how we started:
- Building a Memory Work Binder (a guest post I did over at Mercy is New)
- Memorization and the Soul (in this talk, some of the time is devoted to describing the binder that is also described in the post above)
- Memory Work Index (just in case you want to see the selections we’ve memorized over the years)
As you can see, the original binder had a lot more review going on. In the beginning, when we didn’t have many selections memorized, this didn’t matter so much. But eventually, as the years went by, we ended up with so. many. things. to review. At some point, it was too much. For about a year, I continued to use the binder as it was, but I was skipping things — sometimes we didn’t review from this place or that place. It was completely arbitrary, and as I was relying on my memory (ha!) it didn’t always work out very well in the sense that some things that ought to have been reviewed were missed.
If we did do the binder as it was designed to be used, it took too long. There were multiple selections in every tab! I was tempted to cut other things from the schedule. Or I had to split up our review into two parts because I was losing my students’ attention.
In short, it wasn’t working for us anymore.
I had always known that Mystie did her review in categories, but in the beginning, I wanted more review than that. These days, it is plenty of review to stick to categories, and that’s what we’re doing. So whereas before my tabs looked like this:
(And this in addition to the 1-31 numbered tabs!)
Now they look like this:
So. much. easier.
In Daily, I have all the new things we’re learning. Anything already memorized is moved to its appropriate review category. Each category has a Post-It Flag (have I mentioned that I love Post-It Flags?) as a marker so that we know where we left off.
Every morning, we run through everything in daily. After that, we do one selection from each of the category tags — well, except for Christmas. Christmas is its own thing. Of course.
And that’s it. It takes the appropriate amount of time in our schedule, and I don’t need to think about it — I just run through the tabs on auto-pilot.
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