Raine and I have started our more formal homeschooling this year. Thanks to the generosity of Trina, Rene, Nitoy and Inga, Raine and I have the Core K + Grade 1 Readers + Grade 1 Science from Sonlight. Of course, it’s the 2008 edition, and the workbooks are used, but oh my, we are so blessed to have the nearly complete set. All those wonderful books! And the very, very useful instructor’s guide. It would have set us back at least $500 to get this set on our own.
I love Sonlight, and it’s working pretty well for our homeschool, and I’d like to write more about our experience in the future. For now, thanks to the suggestion of the lovely ladies from my Victory Group, I’d like to focus on one aspect that Sonlight encourages: memorizing scripture.
Young children have the most amazing capacity to absorb, remember and learn all sorts of things, which is why you have to watch out what you say in front of them (I have the scientific findings to back this up; I just can’t find my references at the moment). Dr. Ruth Beechick, educator and curriculum developer (and big name in the homeschool circles), encourages memorizing because it helps your child’s language ability, among others. Memorization can help:
- Build vocabulary. Your child learns new words and sounds, proper pronunciation, rhyme.
- Teach grammar. Without you formally pointing out things, your kid will learn proper sentence structures (which is why it’s important to make sure that the materials your kids see, hear and read contain what you want them to imbibe, not just grammar-wise) and grammar rules.
- Develop thinking and sense of values. Your child can “experience logic, beauty, emotion, praise, worship, and many other values”.
- Prepare for the real world. Knowing their names (and yours), address and phone numbers can be crucial in case of emergencies. Remembering the letters and numbers is the precursor to reading and arithmetic.
Dr. Beechick gives a few guidelines for memorizing. First, make it fun. Silly rhymes and games make the drills less of a chore (because you will have do constant repetition for them to remember). She also recommends using the whole memory system: read the whole passage to your child first, then after a few passes (or days), pause and let your child start supplying more and more of the words. Eventually, your child will be able to recite the entire passage on his own. And as a bonus—so will you!
Throughout the day, I also check in with Raine, like “Hey Raine, what’s our memory verse for the week?” Another effective way to reinforce the memory verse that Raine enjoys I also picked up from Sonlight: copywork. Basically, I just let Raine write the memory verse in her notebook, or I make her a worksheet (I use The Amazing Incredible Handwriting Worksheet Maker to make free worksheets). She gets to practise her writing as well.
Sometimes we get the week’s verse from Veggie Tales’ The Daily Word. What I like about it is that it usually is a short verse, and it comes with a brief story or application to make it easier for Raine to understand. Of course, the downside is that I don’t control what verses they feature. Other times, I get them randomly from the Bible, depending on what I’d like to teach her or what story we’re reading. Lately, I’ve gone back to Sonlight’s system of memorizing: one verse a week, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet (so when we’ve gone from A to Z at the end of 26 weeks, we’d have memorized 26 verses! It’s a good goal for me too).
I didn’t like Sonlight’s way at first because the first verse to start us off was Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Yikes! I had difficulty explaining what sin, falling short and glory were, let alone why we all sinned and why we don’t make the cut. So I abandoned the Instructor’s Guide for a while. But I do see the merits of using an alphabetical list of verses, so I’m gradually coming up with my own list of 26 verses.
I use NIV mostly, though I may be switching to NLT soon, when we get the My First Hands-On Bible we ordered from The Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!). Sometimes I don’t use the entire verse, though I’ve included the entire verse here, with the part I didn’t use in brackets.
So far we’re at letter “C”. I haven’t finished the list yet, will post more next time. If you have your own suggestions, please, please leave a comment, and if you can, could you let me know how you explain the verse to your child, and/or how you apply it?
A: A friend loves at all times [and and a brother is born for a time of adversity]. – Proverbs 17:17a
B: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9
OR Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. – Matthew 5:8
C: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. – Ephesians 6:1 (my favorite!)
D: Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you [This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.] – Matthew 7:12a NLT
E: Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright? – Proverbs 20:11
F: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
G: (Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for) God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7
H: Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12
I: I can do all things through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13