Classical Education Memory List & Recitation Importance

While many people would argue that memorization isn’t necessary during our age of information where everything is available with the click of a mouse, I disagree.

Recitation and memorization are an important part of a Classical Education.

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As such it’s something we practice in our homeschool on a daily basis. I’ve been able to see the benefits of memorization and recitation in my children first hand and better still, it’s nowhere near as difficult or boring as you might think.

Benefits Of Memorization

Memory work is so much more than just memorizing a boring list of facts to have stored away for a future date. Here’s just a small list of what memorization can do:

  • Provide a rich vocabulary
  • Train the brain for critical thought process
  • Strengthen the brain
  • Build complex language patterns

And sometimes it’s just handy to have some things memorized (like prepositions)!

Benefits Of Recitation

Recitation goes hand-in-hand with memorization. The act of standing and reciting poems or historical information cements that information in your brain. It also provides other valuable skills. Recitation can:

  • Strengthen communication skills
  • Develop solid presentation techniques
  • Provide a strong foundation for later rhetoric-level skills

Memorization and recitation do not have to be boring (especially in the elementary years).

Sola Gratia Mom has an incredible round-up of ideas for adding some fun and creativity to daily recitation time.

How To Implement Daily Recitation & Memorization In Your Homeschool

As I mentioned in the introduction, daily recitation and memorization are nowhere near as boring or difficult as it sounds.

Our favorite method is the Scripture Memory System from Simply Charlotte Mason.

However, we change the system slightly by using a binder and tabbed dividers instead of an index card box.

This is a personal preference, even without this adjustment, the system works very well. You’re constantly reviewing previously learned material so things always stay fresh.

Now that we agree on the importance of memorization and recitation and we have a system in place, it’s time to decide what to memorize.

My one goal for our daily recitation time is to make it relevant. If we are studying ancient Egypt we recite a list of important pharaohs.

If we are learning about astronomy we memorize the names of the planets and the types of stars. As Susan W. Bauer says, we are creating “pegs” for learning.

When I’m planning our school year I take some time to choose things for memory work. I type them up and put them in our binder behind a tab marked “new work”.

When my child has fully memorized a piece and it gets moved out of the daily section, she chooses something new to memorize from that section.

There are a few resources that we like to use (and some that always seem to be at the top of everyone’s list) when we’re choosing new things to memorize.

Memory List Resources