One of the most unique things about Memoria Press’ curriculum is the daily Recitation. It’s one of the first things we do each school day, and I see it as a valuable tool to retaining what they are learning in different subjects. I bought the pdf file for first and third grade last year even though we weren’t yet using their curriculum. It can totally work that way, but you’ll need to do more explaining along the way of what it is the kids are memorizing. I ended up skipping some of the questions because they were unrelated to anything we were studying. Here is a picture of what it looks like:
Basically, there is a list of questions for each week. Some of them are rudimentary facts that everyone should know (ideally) with instant recall (how many feet are in a mile, when Columbus sailed to the Americas, how many continents and oceans there are). Others are specifically related to the material they are learning in other school subjects that week (the capital of Florida, the body parts of an insect, the eight parts of speech, etc.). Most weeks have a mixture of math, geography, Bible, grammar, and history related information, but it really varies from week to week.
On Monday, you glance at the information and let the student know what new questions will be coming. After practicing any new material, ask them each of the questions. Go ahead and tell them the answers if they don’t already know them! The whole point is to memorize vital information. Sometimes my kids nail them the first time, and other times it takes weeks or longer to learn them. After doing the questions for that week, I jump around through previous weeks’ questions, hitting on ones they are still slow with or ones we haven’t reviewed in a while. The kids listen to each other’s recitations and pick up a few extra facts that way.
Each year includes some material from the previous year’s Recitation as well, so that information is not forgotten. It just takes a few minutes a day, but by reviewing their material so often they are more than ready when they see it as a test question later, and they eventually know it all so well they don’t even have to think about the answers. By the end of last year, they could each recite the answers to every single question flawlessly. They felt so proud at their accomplishment!
If you are not using Memoria Press, you could make a Recitation yourself just by looking through the material your kids are learning each week and noting the most important facts you want them to remember. It’s a great way to turn that exposure into long-term knowledge!