Years ago, before we moved to Utah, I remember Aaron having 100 verses that James White recommends memorizing. And he recommends memorizing by reading/writing the verse multiple times a day for at least 10 days, and then once it’s memorized it’s reviewed once a week or once a month, depending on how well you know the verse.
That’s all well and good, but I’m not much of an organizer. I could barely organize my food cabinet let alone a list of 100 memory verses. And so scripture memory never happened.
Then I ran across this Charlotte Mason link. (At the time I had no clue who Charlotte Mason was or what it meant, but after my homeschooling research, I’m a little more clued in!) I loved the premise. You say a verse every day until it’s memorized, then every other day, and then once a week, and then once a month. The website shows how to organize an index card box so that this is an easy way to memorize verses. It also emphasizes that the speed at which you (and/or your children) memorize the verses is not the issue. If your oldest memorizes a verse in two days, but it takes your youngest 2 weeks, you simply wait for the youngest to move onto your next verse. I loved that idea, and it stayed in my head (at the time I didn’t even have talkers let alone memorizers!) for years.
But I wanted to memorize scripture, so I made myself and the women in my Bible study a box. Unfortunately the box and system isn’t helpful if you never open it. For 2 1/2 years my box sat on my bookshelf, my kitchen counter, and my bedside table, moving around in hopes that I would remember to open it and try to start my memory. It was mostly rushed over and forgotten however, and the few times I did open it doesn’t help, since you need to do it every day. (I don’t know if the other ladies used it or not.)
Back in February, with my children fighting with each other, I decided I wanted to have them start memorizing scripture so that I could implement it better into my disciplining. I also remembered how memorizing the first few shorter Westminster Catechism helped me with my theology growing up.
So, I wanted to incorporate that too, and found catechisms for small children and young children… much more age-appropriate for my kiddos! And John loved calendars and marking days off and counting down to special events. So, I decided to integrate the two into a big wall memorization calendar.
So, here’s how it works. You have a verse/catechism that you work on every day. The only commitment is that you say the verse once a day. Of course, once I have it memorized, I have started working on it in the car with the kids and we do more repetitive stuff so they can
memorize it faster, especially for Lydia. As you can see, our daily verse is huge. I can’t miss it. I walk by it a million times a day. I can see if from the dinner table and the living room and so can work on it immediately whenever I think about it. I also think subconsciously it gets memorized for me. I mean it’s just there and I read it and see it without even realizing it. I can usually memorize the verse within a day or two.
Once a verse is memorized, it goes to the every other day category. To distinguish every-other-day, you assign it to even or odd. On even days you recite the even verse, on odd days, you recite the odd verse.
As you continue to memorize verses the older ones move on. So, it moves like this:
Verse 1: Daily until memorized.
Verse 1 moves to even.
Verse 2: Daily until memorized.
Verse 2 moves to odd. Verse 1 stays at even.
Verse 3: Daily until memorized.
Verse 3 moves to even. Verse 2 stays at odd. Verse 1 moves to Monday. (So you’re saying it once a week.)
Verse 4: Daily until memorized.
Verse 4 moves to odd. Verse 3 stays at even. Verse 2 moves to Tuesday. Verse 1 stays at Monday.
Once you get to like 9 verses, Verse 1 would move to 1 (saying it once a month) and verse 6 would move to Monday. So as you memorize a new verse it shifts the other
verses around. (You can use Saturday and Sunday too, I just didn’t have enough squares) Eventually on Wednesday, June 8. I would recite my daily verse, my even verse (because 8 is an even number), my Wednesday verse (because it’s Wednesday) and my 8 verse (because it’s the 8th of the month.)
I hope that makes sense. It can be a little hard to understand. But it works like a CHARM! Since February, both my kids and I have memorized three verses and three catechisms. We’ll be starting our 4th verse, as soon as I print it out. John could fly through these much faster, but I’m trying to get Lydia to memorize them as well. She doesn’t retain them as well as John either, but usually with a word prompting here or there she’s got it down.
It has also been amazingly beneficial to MY spiritual walk. Our last verse was Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” Even though I picked it so that I could hopefully make the kids more mindful of grumbling and arguing, I can’t tell you how many times I have started to grumble about something only to have the verse pop in my head. I ask God to forgive me and to help me remember that what I am doing, I am doing for his glory and to help me to do my job in a way and with an attitude that glorifies Him. I look forward to continuing this. And for my family… the big HUGE calendar on my wall is what did the trick! 🙂
As a side note, I’ve mostly used the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version) since it’s easy for the kids to understand, but I pick whichever version is easiest for them understand for each particular verse. (What good is a four-year-old who memorizes verses, if he doesn’t understand what he’s saying?) Second, I alternate between verses and catechisms. The catechisms are easier and are a nice break. Third, I have come up with songs for each verse, and I think that has really help speed the process along, as well as the recall.