At almost forty I still remember the song I was taught in grade school to memorize the 50 states. In fact, even now you can still find the song on Youtube.
My point to all this is that you can use silly songs, jingles and chants to memorize anything. Which is exactly why I use them in our homeschool across multiple grades and subjects.
Over the years there’s been chants, jingles and songs created to memorize all kinds of different facts. You can use the internet to find them, or in some cases even invent your own.
I find that songs and chants work really well for memorizing boring facts or lists. After all, it’s a lot easier to sing a grammar chant than it is to simply recite a list.
It doesn’t take any more time to sing or chant than it does to recite and, very often, it will cement that information in their brain more than a daily recitation will.
Why Memorize Lists & Facts?
What’s the point of memorizing random lists of facts or people? According to Susan Wise Bauer in The Well-Trained Mind, it creates pegs for learning.
If you memorize a list of pharaohs while studying ancient Egypt, your kids will have plenty of ‘aha’ moments, as they relate specific events to certain people.
One caveat – I believe that memorized facts and information should be tied to what kids are currently learning. I don’t think memorizing a list of random facts just for the sake of memorization is very beneficial. It’s all about making connections between what they’ve memorized and what they are learning.
When children make that connection on their own, between something they’ve memorized and what they are currently learning, they really own that learning and internalize it.
When we, as teachers, connect the dots FOR them, they may still learn but it isn’t quite the same.
Can you remember any point in your education where you made some deep connection between two pieces of information without having someone spell it out for you?
It becomes a part of you in a way that learning by lecture just can’t do.
As homeschool parents, we can use these tools to encourage our children to make those connections on their own.
We provide the tools and resources (and often the voice via reading aloud or hands as they dictate to us) but we need to give them time to make those connections themselves.
Songs and chants are one simple tool in our toolbox that can aid our children in beginning to make those connections.
Resources For Songs, Chants & Jingles
If you are not musical yourself, there are some great resources available to homeschoolers today. Here are a few suggestions
Classical Academic Press
One of my favorite resources for all my homeschooling materials is Classical Academic Press. The company has a whole host of songs, chants and jingles that can be used to memorize different facts.
This website is one you’ll want to be sure to bookmark for additional resources too!
Ditty Bugs from Carol Barnier
This audio CD includes 50 ‘ditties’ aka songs designed to help you memorize different facts. The CD also includes a workbook to aid you in the memorization process.
We have a copy of this CD in the car. It’s perfect for road trips, or to recite along with on the way to the store.
Shirley Grammar is a fantastic digital and physical resources for English lessons. They’ve worked hard on creating digital assets including jingles for learning different English grammar and spelling techniques over the years which my children love.
Geography Songs is a fantastic CD album that contains 33 incredible songs to aid children in remembering key facts related to geography.
Much like Ditty Bugs, this CD sit’s in our car and is played on road trips and on local trips around town. I believe the album is now also available on Spotify too!
Lyrical Life Science
Lyrical Life Science is a company that currently has four volumes of jingles, chants and songs designed to aid children in memorizing scientific literacy.
We bought volume one a couple of years ago, and had such great success I went onto purchase the additional three volumes. My youngest particularly struggles with science so creating alternative learning methods for her within this subject area has really helped.
Multiplication is one area of mathematics that I know some children can really struggle. I’ve found math to really cause frustration in children that struggle to understand the processes, however, much like Lyrical Life Science, these Multiplication Songs are perfect for helping children connect the dots and understand multiplication in a different way.
Veritas Press History
Veritas Press History is a classical education resource which offers a range of self-paced courses, applications homeschooling teacher kits and books.
The company knows the importance of jingles, chants and songs when it comes to memorization and utilize these techniques to help children learn subjects including math, science and history.
It’s really very easy to come up with your own song, jingle or chant – consider getting your children to help too. Choose a children’s song you like, for example, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and add your own words or facts to the tune.
I encourage you to watch Dr Perrin’s presentation as he delves deeply into the topic (and he has some good tips about using songs, chants, and jingles with older students as well).
You can find the complete series of videos at Classical Academic Press.
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