I wanted to share our Family Memorization Binder with you today.
We have been using it since the beginning of school and it has been very helpful.
First, why memorize?
I can’t remember if it was “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen or Victor Frankel’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” that got me going on the importance of memorizing, but basically, I want my brain and my children’s brains to be full of virtuous, meaningful, insightful thoughts. You never know when your mind is all you will have available to you.
James Allen said, “A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”
Consider memorizing scriptures, quotes, poems, etc. as the good seeds I want to plant in my children’s garden. You can also consider the memorization as an antidote to all the swearing, crudeness and graphic language they may encounter in school, music or movies. I’ve gotta fight back with something.
Richard G. Scott backs me up on memorization:
“If young people would review a verse of scripture often … , you could have hundreds of passages of scripture memorized. Those passages would prove to be a powerful source of inspiration and guidance by the Holy Ghost in times of need.”
OK. So now that we all agree that memorization is important, how do we get started?
Getting Set Up:
I pulled out a 3 ring binder, and then I typed the Articles of Faith in a very readable font (Century Gothic) in as large as size as possible. I formatted the paper landscape direction. Then I printed them all off and put them in sheet protectors and put them in the binder.
Next, I printed off this calendar on which I could record our goals and our plan. I put the calendar in the front of the binder to keep us on track. I also got a little sticky arrow to mark which page we were on. I can switch it easily as we progress through the Articles of Faith.
Then, I had my cute brother make me a cover sheet for the front of the binder. I added some scrapbook paper on the side to fill in the extra space. He typed up the Richard G. Scott quote I mentioned earlier for the back.
How to make this work:
Who has time to add in another “to do” to their daily lists? No one. So we just snuck family memorization into already established routines: family scripture study and family devotional. We repeat and recite our focus passage each morning a few times after we sing the opening song and before we start reading the scriptures. We recite it at night when we remember as well.
Sometimes we recite the focus passage at breakfast if Scripture Power didn’t happen for one reason or another. So far these little blurps of repetition seem to be enough time for now.
Memorization plan and schedule:
We started with the Articles of Faith (the basics of what Mormons believe) because our two oldest children need to memorize these for their Faith in God awards. I have been happily surprised how well Croft, our 6 year old, has picked up on them as well.
We generally take about 1 week per Article of Faith, but some longer ones we have scheduled for 2 weeks. Our hope is to finish the Articles of Faith by the end of the year. Then we will memorize the Family Proclamation next year.
We allotted for some review weeks to catch up or to spend more time on a particularly difficult passage. Or we might recite a different scripture each day that we have already memorized just so we don’t forget them. You know I like to have a little padding in my schedules.
I wanted to keep track of who had memorized what, so I had my brother design memorization pass-off sheets for the kids. Each kiddo has his/her own sheet.
It is just a basic spreadsheet with different columns:
Week– I write the date of the Monday of the week we start memorizing.
Focus- This is whatever passage we are memorizing that week. It could be a scripture, poem, quote, etc.
Copy Work- This column is specifically for Elle to record her homeschooling work. HW is when she does handwriting and KB is when she types the passage (keyboarding).
Pass-Off- The kids just put a sticker on their chart when they pass it off. I store the stickers in the back of the sheet protector so they are easily accessible.
Date- I write the date that they passed the quote off.
These memorization pass-off sheets are great to keep right in the memorization binder.
To help with memorization, I always explain what we are memorizing. It is easier to commit words to memory when we understand what we are saying, so I will take a minute and explain word meanings, ask questions, give tips, or give background. I make about 1-2 teaching points each morning and by the end of the week we better understand what we are memorizing.
We also sing the Article of Faith song at least once for the opening song for our Family Scripture Power. Music really helps my oldest daughter remember the words.
Towards the end of the week, when people start to have the passage down we like to spice up our memorization techniques to keep things interesting.
Sometimes we will go in a circle and everyone can only say one word as we repeat the Article of Faith. This technique breaks it down word by word and exposes small word issues. You could also do first letter word prompts. Just write the first letter down of each word as a cue. For example, Article of Faith #1 would look like this: W B I G, T E F, A I H S, J C, A I T H G.
Sometimes if a person thinks she is ready, she recites it by herself. The others listen to see if she did it right.
I also use this website to create custom handwriting/printing sheets for the kids to copy or trace. It is super easy to do. Croft works on printing and Elle and Crew work on their cursive.
Now to help you get started, my cute brother made a generic binder PDF package you can print. It has a cover sheet, the scripture for the back, and a memorization pass-off sheet. The pages looks just like the pictures except instead of “Erickson Memorization Binder”, it says “Family Memorization Binder”. So just click here for the PDF.
(Make sure to tell Kyle thanks if you print it, because the more thanks he gets the more projects I might be able to rope him into for us :))
I hope some of you will join our family in planting some good seeds in our children’s garden through memorization.