by Sara Breetzke, TCA Head of School
If you’ve been around children, you know that they memorize and repeat whatever they hear: song lyrics, family sayings, quotes from TV shows or favorite books. But what many of us haven’t fully considered is the power of these “sponge years” when children are collecting and remembering so much of what they hear and see.
When I first started learning about classical education, I was surprised to see an emphasis on memorization in the early grades. Most progressive educational models don’t require students to memorize facts that they can easily find online. The word memorize isn’t used once in the Nebraska State Curriculum Standards.
But the more I see classical education in action, the more I see the unbelievable ways children are formed as they memorize beautiful and true facts. Here are three of them:
1. Memorization forms the powers of observation.
Embedding language in a child’s brain gives him words for what he sees, enhancing his experience of the world. Recently a TCA student went to the zoo. Upon seeing a turtle, he spouted, “Lizards, snakes, turtles, and crocodiles’ temperatures match their surroundings.” This student saw and appreciated the turtle, but his brain didn’t stop there. He was inspired to observe God’s creation more closely because he knew what to look for. Beautiful language sealed in the brain through memorization becomes eloquent, exact thoughts and words that uniquely add to the human experience.
2. Memorization forms the soul through truth.
Memorized information is always with you. After falling and getting a big bump on his head this winter, one TCA student said solemnly, “God has a purpose in all things – even the bad things.” Students who have memorized truths about God and His world have a grid of wisdom through which to experience and understand life. And memorizing allows students to have more than the idea of what’s true; they also have the vocabulary to express truth with a host of powerful words.
3. Memorization forms habits of focus and diligence.
How proud our TCA students were as they finished reciting Psalm 19 – all of it – for a stunned audience this January! And the benefits of memorization go beyond impressing family and friends. In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport states, “Memorization trains the mind to pay attention and focus intently.” Cultivating this sort of mental industriousness at a young age helps students know the power of steady, persistent effort. Moreover, students who have formed habits of concentration and endurance at a young age are prepared to solve difficult problems, develop original ideas, and accelerate the speed at which they can learn new things.
Are you interested to learn more about how memorization and other distinguishing traits of a classical education can help form your child? We’d love to invite you to our next informational meeting. At this meeting we’ll share how Trinity Classical Academy partners with parents in an educational model that’s created with you and your family in mind. Click HERE for all the details.