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Memory for the Master

Posted by David Bailey
David Bailey
David Bailey is the founding pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Stokesdale
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on Tuesday, 10 December 2013
in Articles

I have never worked very hard on memorizing. With varying degrees of memory success, I have carried around little Bible memory cards and even worked on long passages of scripture. In high school, I memorized Macbeth’s speech about the petty pace that creeps on. And I have also memorized untold volumes of useless content in the form of advertizing jingles and sitcom title sequences. “Fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more…”


I have the capacity to memorize. It happens even without effort. However, I have operated under a flawed understanding of memory. Until very recently, I have thought of my memory capacity as similar to an electronic music player. Memory is limited, so I must be careful what I store. My seventeen-year-old daughter recently spent hours carefully deleting photos and music from her uncomfortably cramped eight-gig iPod. In order to add more music, she had to delete something.

Memory Work: A Personal Journey

Posted by Jennifer Courtney
Jennifer Courtney
Jennifer Courtney has been home educating since 2004. In addition, she serves as
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on Thursday, 26 September 2013
in Articles


Timeless Thursdays: Revisiting Some Archived Articles that Have Not Been Lost, but May Have Been Forgotten and Are Worth a Fresh Read



For the last six years, I have encountered some of the same questions over and over again from families who are wondering about memory work. Why should I introduce difficult concepts to a young child? Why should I teach my children to memorize and recite things that they cannot understand? Isn't it a waste of time to memorize things that they will just forget?


My family started the Classical Conversations Foundations program in 2005 when my oldest child was six. He has now completed each of the three cycles of memory work twice and has just been awarded the honor of Memory Master for the fourth time. Reflecting on our journey, I realized some truths about memory work that I did not understand in the beginning.

Confessions of a Thirty-Something-Year-Old Memory Master

Posted by Kathy Sheppard
Kathy Sheppard
Kathy Sheppard has a B.A. in Latin from the College of William and Mary and a M.
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on Wednesday, 22 May 2013
in Articles

At the beginning of the year, our Foundations Director, Stephanie Ross, posed the question, “Are there any mothers who want to be Memory Masters?” As someone who is a lifelong learner, I secretly wanted this. Besides the fact that I love challenges, I wanted to experience the process for myself because my daughter would be doing it for the first time this year.


Make no mistake, IT IS HARD! I earned my undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary and my masters from George Mason University. The Memory Master test was the hardest test I have ever taken! I nearly did not make it because I could not remember the word “shelf” in continental shelf and I nearly forgot the card “Immigrants Flock to America” after “The Missouri Compromise.” My director was very patient with me, because she knows that I am in the rhetorical stage rather than the grammar stage. I understand now why it was easier for my eight year old: she did not let things she already knew get in her way! If I tried to think too hard, I had trouble remembering the facts. My director had to remind me not to think so hard because I did know the material. The only block in my brain was my brain trying to think much too hard.


Here are some pointers I gleaned from this experience:

One Child's Memory Master Journey

Posted by Nancy
Nancy Casari Dayton graduated from Pennsylvania State University and earned a Ca
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on Wednesday, 08 May 2013
in Articles

During the first week of our family’s homeschooling journey, I taught this verse to my children: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV). It is a wonderful day when a parent can see the fruit of his or her instruction.


On May 3, 2013, our Roseville, California, Classical Conversations community held our End-of-Year Celebration and Open House. At this event, the director honored six students who had earned the title of Memory Master. My ten-year-old son was among them. What an inspiring journey this has been!

Memory Master Time!

Posted by Courtney Sanford
Courtney Sanford
Courtney Sanford has been home schooling with Classical Conversations since 2005
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on Monday, 05 March 2012
in Articles


Ah, springtime—warm breezes, daffodils, sunshine, and among Classical Conversations families, practicing for “Memory Master”!


“Memory Master” is an honor bestowed on Foundations students who have mastered all of the memory work during the twenty-four weeks of Foundations class. We define “mastery” of the information as having committed the information to long-term memory, which means we do not cram for a single test and then forget it. I followed the “cram-it-and-forget-it” method in my own education, but now I see the foolishness of that and I am careful to help my children see the wisdom of truly mastering the material. We do not focus on test scores, but on what is really in their head to stay.


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