Memory skills are both biological and experiential. In other words, you can be born with good or poor memory skills, but you can also learn to use them to their maximum.
Memory skills are very important to your child’s future academic success, so spend time helping them improve them. Here’s how:
Memorize with your child
Few things are as boring as memorizing alone. That’s why, even though I have strong memorization skills, I studied anatomy and physiology with friends in college.
Learn memory tactics
The book, How to Develop a Brilliant Memory Week by Week: 52 Proven Ways to Enhance Your Memory Skills, teaches multiple approaches to memorizing, one of which is sure to appeal to your child.
Harness the power of competition
The popular Bible Bee succeeds in getting children to memorize large portions of Scripture because of the competitive aspect of the activity. When the kids and I worked through the activities in How to Develop a Brilliant Memory, comparisons were naturally made, though I didn’t encourage them. While it resulted in some tears, it also motivated my kids to improve their skills. If competition doesn’t work for your family, offer a reward. That’s why competition works anyway; the reward is the placing and admiration you receive. My son memorized all the countries in Europe alphabetically to get a sweet treat and to get the appreciation of his peers.
Put it all together
Here is how we memorize in our family. We review together thoroughly and then give individuals who want one an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge. The kids honestly “fight” for the right to do this. We memorize Bible books and Word Roots (using English from the Roots Up Flashcards, Vol. 1) this way and we plan to memorize many facts together next fall using Classical Conversations.
What has helped your children commit things to memory?
I think I have tried just about everything to teach my kids their math facts–flash cards, repetitive curriculum, electronics, games, pictures, and software. The problem isn’t so much teaching them as it is the kids retaining them.
While I am happy with my current math curriculum, I decided to give Learn Math Fast a try. The basic setup for book one is:
- Teaching using money
- A worksheet on the facts
- A timed test on the facts
Competition Can Motivate
My children are competitive. While I know many homeschoolers aren’t wild about competition, I have seen the value of it in teaching–even when the only way you are competing is with yourself.
I time each of the kids with my iPhone (it’s my version of a Swiss Army knife). They know when their siblings have completed the test under the time limit. They also know how much time they have to shave off to come in under the time limit set in the book.
Rewards Can Motivate
Yep! Learning is self-motivating, but offering my kids a small reward for passing the timed test has them begging me to learn their math facts. Not even the math video games they’ve played have had that effect. The combination of competition and rewards has been a winner for me.
My kindergartner and second grader know their addition and subtraction facts cold. The upper elementary kids are making progress on multiplication and division. I expect them to really get them down when their younger siblings start learning them.
When it comes to motivating kids, timed tests, competitions, and rewards can be very effective!
Do you want to give Learn Math Fast a try or could you get the same results using your current curriculum or flash cards? Do you have any tried-and-true tips?
Through 12/5/15, get $5 off one book using code JUST1BOOK or $20 off the 7-book set with code ALL7BOOKS at LearnMathFast