Set goals. What do you want your children (and, possibly, yourself) to memorize? If you have sections of Scripture you feel would particularly help them, that’s a great place to start. If you want to delve into poetry but don’t know where to begin, I suggest checking out one of the many books available on the subject. The Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg address, and other American documents of merit may be advantageous in the study of history. 

There is not enough room in this article to discuss methods of memorization, but in a nutshell, recognize how you and your children learn best and try to slant the memorization toward those styles. For example, I’m a visual learner, so I do well with an index card with the words on one side and a mnemonic, i.e., the first letter from every word, on the other. An auditory learner would benefit from hearing and repeating the words out loud.

Consistency is important in memorization. Review new information several times a day, then once a day, then once a week. It helps to keep a list of what you’re working on and to have multiple members of the family memorizing the same things.

As you pursue memorization of worthy words in your family, it is likely you yourself will be enriched even as the family conversation deepens and grows full in allusion, metaphor, and shared mental images. Know that you are joining the great stream of wise and seeking-to-be-wise throughout the ages, and that you are benefiting your children beyond a doubt. 

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps from to read the magazine on your Kindle Fire or Apple or Android devices.

Emily McIntyre, a homeschool graduate, is a Kansas City-based freelance writer and harpist who has placed work in a wide variety of publications ranging from Rails to Trails to Missouri Life to Renaissance Magazine. She also writes a blog, She and her husband had their first child in February. When not writing, she enjoys reading and cooking.

Publication date: October 26, 2012