2013-14 School Year–Memory Work

Now that we’re almost done with the 2013-14 school year, I thought I’d share our list of memory work. Since we’ve memorized Bible verses and Luther’s Small Catechism in the past, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to memorize hymns from Lutheran Service Book instead. We will have learned 23 hymns when we’re done with school at the end of next week…there were a few hymns that took us two weeks to memorize. We also didn’t memorize every verse of every hymn. I tried to follow the liturgical year for the most part, throwing a few personal favorites in here and there (although, not the ones I like so much, that the children memorized them long ago!).


  • The Church’s One Foundation–#644


  • Alleluia, Song of Gladness–#417 (Transfiguration Day, so not technically Lent yet, but kind of the unofficial beginning of Lent)
  • Christ, the Life of All the Living–#420
  • O Sacred Head, Now Wounded–#449
  • Lamb of God, Pure and Holy–#434
  • All Glory, Laud, and Honor–#442
  • Go to Dark Gethsemane–#436
  • I Know That My Redeemer Lives–#461
  • Built on the Rock–#645
  • Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise–#917 (A closing hymn to close out our year)

This was a fun and different approach to memory work…I hope that in the future, my children will appreciate having committed so many hymns to memory!’

Making Memory Work too Hard

I have, now that we’re well over half done with our first year, one major beef with Sonlight. (And really, if that’s all the problems I have with it, I guess I’m pretty fortunate!).

The way memory work is set up drives me crazy.  Let’s put aside the fact that I’m very particular about Bible translations for a moment (read: I can’t stand translations such as The Living Bible, which is used quite frequently). The number one thing that makes me insane is the way they jump around from translation to translation…you know, if you’re going to go with an “easier” translation, then just stick with it.  Use it for all of all of the memory assignments.  Jumping from translation to translation (which is a *huge* pet peeve of mine in Bible studies for adults, as well), just smacks of trying to get the verse to say what you want it to say, instead of letting Scripture speak for itself.

I had already planned to use my ESV Bible (can’t wait for The Lutheran Study Bible to come out this fall, by the way–shameless CPH plug!) to write down our verse every week, so it’s not a huge deal to me that I can’t just copy it out of the teacher’s guide.  But, I have discovered that some of the verses just don’t make sense in the context they’re given outside of The Living Bible.  And this is where I see a major fault of that translation.  If that is the only translation out there where a half of a verse by itself makes sense, I don’t think it’s very good (or accurate).

I get that the good people at Sonlight are probably trying to find a child-friendly way to memorize Scripture, especially in the lower cores.  But, I think (actually, I know, from personal experience), that children are way smarter than we tend to give them credit for, and I also think consistency is crucial.  Have all the memory verses come from the same translation, so they become familiar with one translation. I may not like the one you choose, but at least I’ll respect you for being consistent!

So, I’ve had to substitute verses a few times, which may mean we overlap a few by the end of the year, but that’s OK, right? It’s not like you can learn a Bible verse too many times…

All they Needed was the Proper Motivation!

Last week was Ryan’s birthday (which also happens to be Epiphany).  I had made a cake according to his specifications, which everyone was excited about eating.

As last week was Epiphany, we also had one last Christmas themed day in school.  We read The Visit of the Wise Men, as well as the story of the Magi from Matthew 2, listened to three different Epiphany hymns, and made a star craft to help us remember that God put the star in the sky to tell all people (even Gentiles like the wise men) about the birth of His Son.

I had chosen Matthew 2:11 as our memory verse for the week, as well.

“And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

Our regular schedule for Bible verses goes something like this:  On Monday and Tuesday, Turkey and Bunny repeat the verse after me, phrase by phrase.  On Wednesday and Thursday, they say it with me, usually needing some prompting.  On Friday, they say it on their own.  This is how we’ve been doing memory work since school started in September, and it’s been working pretty well.  There have been a few longer verses that required a little coaching from me come Friday, but mostly they have no trouble memorizing a verse in a week’s time.

I assumed that this might be a challenge last week, though, as this was our longest verse to date, and included a few long words, and a few new words, as well.  I was fully prepared to need to help them on Friday, and I was totally OK with that, since this was such a challenge.

So, rewind to Epiphany itself (again, also Ryan’s birthday).  Since it was only Tuesday, we were still at the repeat after me stage, and as far as I could tell, they weren’t really memorizing it yet at all.  So, Tuesday night, we enjoyed some birthday cake (big hit with everyone!), and ran out to WalMart.  Just before I hopped out of the car to run into the store, Turkey says, “Mommy, we should say our Bible verse for Daddy, so he can hear it.”  Well, as I was about to get out of the car, and, quite honestly, hadn’t memorized it myself yet, I decided to throw an impossible challenge their way.  “If you can say the whole verse by yourself, you can have another piece of cake when we get home.”

I’m sure you can see where this is going.  I get back in the car a few minutes later, and Ryan tells Turkey and Bunny to tell me what they told him.  And, without any help at all, they said the whole verse, with very little hesitation.  So, my not-so-impossible challenge ended with them having a second piece of birthday cake before bed (I can’t believe they even went to sleep after that!), and I learned an important lesson–never underestimate a child’s ability for recall when cake is involved.

I’ll have to tuck this information away for a time I get truly desperate for them to learn something!

*Please note that this is mostly tongue-in-cheek (even though it’s a true story)…I don’t plan on bribing my children in the future, even though it’s tempting!