Around the beginning of October, it seemed that God was prompting me from every direction that we needed to expand our Scripture memory time to include larger portions of Scripture. In the midst of my planning to make that happen, I ran across a post by Ann Voskamp about Ann Kroeker's Mega Memory Month challenge. I decided that it was just what we needed, and posted about my motivation and our plan here. (For those who are interested, you can read intermediate updates here and here.)
I was supposed to post a wrap-up post at the end of October; however, our final "presentation" for dad kept being postponed due to "life happening". So...I kept putting off my final post thinking "we'll have our presentation tonight and *then* I'll post." And then we finally had our presentation a week or so ago and I still haven't posted. *hanging head* Ugh.
But...there *is* an upside to my procrastination. One of the best parts of the story didn't happen until last week, so now I can post about it, too. :)
We did complete Psalm 1. I have all kinds of books of "scripture memory activities" that I had planned to use during the month, but we ended up keeping it very simple. We had "Mega Memory" time every day during our group time in school to work on our memory work. (That has now become a permanent part of our school schedule.) We discussed the Psalm in detail during the month, turning it into an extended Bible Study on the Psalm. Every couple of days we added another verse, learning sign language to go along with it to aid in memory (a tool we used to use in our Character First VBS for learning longer Scripture passages). Once we had them all learned, we continued reviewing and polishing. I had also recorded the Psalm (and our poem) on a small cassette player, which the kids thought was amazingly cool, and they loved to review with it on their own. (More on the cassette player and our Mega Memory folders here and here. )
We ended up not doing as much with our poem as I had planned (at least not in October...we're still finishing it up!) The Psalm was our focus, but the kids loved the Robert Louis Stevenson poem I'd picked (My Shadow), and ended up doing a lot of work on it on their own. We read through it a few times during our Mega Memory time early on, then didn't do anything with it for a few days. I was amazed when we came back to it that Emlyn had the first verse and most of the second memorized almost perfectly! We began to work a bit harder on it at that point, although only *just* a bit, and by the time we recited for Daddy, they had two verses down pat and could do the rest with a little help.
1. The kids love the memory work. Because we've always done *some* sort of memory work, even if it was just a verse a week, and because we have approached it as fun, they enjoy it and don't see it as drudgery. :)
2. A little work done consistently goes a long way. We didn't spend a huge amount of time on this. There were days when all we did was recite once what we had learned so far. Other days we put more time in, but never a huge amount. They learned a 6 verse Psalm and two verses plus of a poem by putting in an average of ten-fifteen minutes a day, four days a week.
3. Simple works. I still hope to use some of the activities in that stack of books on "helping kids memorize Scripture" from time to time during our memory work. But they accomplished a great task with only copies of the Psalm and poem printed off my printer, a sign language book, and an obsolete cassette recorder given to us by a friend. We spent no money...this was one of those times I decided to "use what we had"...and there was no complicated planning or preparation involved. Just good old-fashioned learning. :)
4. We got to see a little miracle. :) For those who might not know, a tiny bit of background: Our youngest, Ammah Grace was a 30-week preemie who spent 6 weeks in NICU. She had a whole host of preemie-related medical issues, including severe apnea and bradycardia and a brain bleed that had us less than 24 hours away from neurosurgery when it finally began to clear up. We spent weeks listening to very scary prognoses...predictions of brain damage that most likely would lead to lifelong disabilities ranging from blindness to CP to various types of learning disabilities. We were told it was possible she would never walk or talk. At the very least, she would need several years of therapy to catch her up to her peers. (Read more of her story here and here and here.)
Ammah Grace is now four, and as bright and healthy as any four year old could possibly be. None of the dire prognoses and predictions came true...from the day she came home from the hospital (only hours after turning blue and having to be "bagged" yet again)...she has actually been the healthiest of all of our children, and has shown no sign of *any* brain damage. She thinks she can do anything the *big kids* can do, and she has sat in on group time during school since she first came home from the hospital. :) I'm used to her joining in on whatever we are doing, whether she really *gets it* or not. But I was shocked last week when we were reviewing Psalm 1 and I realized she was prompting the older girls when they made mistakes. I asked her if she could say the whole thing by herself...and she did. All six verses! Wow. What a blessing and a testimony to God's power and faithfulness to watch the little girl who so many prayed for so hard reciting those verses.
5. Bonus! Peter recited the verses we learned from Psalm 1 in his R.A. class at church. As a result of learning those and other verses, he received a medal during our R.A. recognition at church Sunday. He is now even more motivated and excited about memorizing Scripture!
A word on these photos...the night we finally recited for dad, it was *cold*. The kids had had baths (and some still had a bit of wet hair :)), and had dressed for warmth and not a photo shoot. Of course, that didn't stop me from snapping a few pictures anyway!
Ammah Grace reciting Psalm 1 for Daddy...
I didn't manage any good, serious photos of the occasion, but here is a silly one of them doing their sign language for Psalm 1...
Mega Memory Month worked for us! So much so that "Mega Memory Time" is now a permanent part of our school day. We have started on the Beatitudes now, and hope to start a new poem next week (as soon as I decide on one!) Many thanks to Ann and others who have encouraged us in this challenge!
For more "Works-for-me-Wednesday", pop over to Rocks in My Dryer (I love her open-faced English muffin sandwich ideas this week!)