Why So Much Memorization?

In Classical Education, the elementary years are called, “Grammar School” where many facts are memorized. Our kindergarten will be memorizing Latin vocabulary, a timeline of the Bible, large chucks of Scripture, grammar rules and parts of speech, songs, classical musical pieces, and how to draw a map of the world. They will also be learning math facts and phonetic rules. Plus, they’ll be memorizing things in science like the names of the planets.
During science, we’ll also be learning Latin prefixes along side whatever we are studying. The first week’s prefix is “gen-” for birth or origin. Does a kindergartner need to know that on the playground or at soccer? Well, how about when he hears that the first book of the Bible is Genesis. Won’t that make something click? Won’t he have a frame of reference for that?
My friend was a researcher in Antarctica. On Saturday she told me about the mountain they could see in the distance. I heard about the same mountain on the news the next day. What made my ears perk up? A frame of reference.
Have you ever had those “coincidences” strike you? You hear about something and all-of-the-sudden you’re hearing about it from different sources? That’s what we’re trying to do with giving our kids so much background knowledge. We want them to pay attention as they learn later in life. We want them to have a strong foundation for building a great wealth of knowledge.
Will it make our kids robots? No! The Grammar years of memorization are coupled with exploring the world and learning to love learning! We are going to be busy with our hands, our voices, our bodies, and our creativity. We’ll have a lot of fun memorizing through poems, songs, and games. And that memorization will just be the beginning.


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