Truthfully, I think you are going to be surprised and maybe a little disappointed. It’s really not some big fancy thing or magic formula. I got the idea from Jessica over at Trivium Academy, although we use it a little differently than they did (which is to be expected, sing Madison is doing PreK and her daughter is doing 2nd). Our memory CD is a combination of songs, poems, and scriptures – mostly songs. It is not all “facts” that I want Madison to memorize; I also included some songs she likes just for fun. I want her to want to listen to it 🙂
How I made it: First, I picked out things that we are working on, like memorizing the books of the Bible, the sons of Jacob, counting by 10’s, some of our memory verses, state capitols (that’s really just for fun, since one of our family goals is to visit all the state capitols), alphabet sounds, the colors of the rainbow, etc. Then I tried to find songs for them. If I couldn’t find one on a CD or online, I made one up and recorded it using Audacity. Audacity is very easy to use and you can download it for free.
After Madison and I recorded the songs (I let her sing with me if she wanted) and the poems/verses, I imported them into iTunes with the other things I had found. All of that was less than 30 minutes play time, so I added in songs that we just like (although a lot of them came from her “learning” CD’s) to make the total playing time 30 minutes. Then I burned a CD and it was ready to use.
How we use it: Truthfully, we use it just for fun. Madison likes to listen to it, so whenever she wants to listen, I let her. When she has rest time, which has not been very often lately, I put the CD on and she listens to it. She has to stay in her room until it is over and then she can come out. It’s like a timer, and it gives me 30 minutes to do laundry and clean the bathrooms. But, during “rest time”, she also plays with her toys in her room. She rarely lays down and never goes to sleep…
She also listens to the CD at bedtime, sometimes. I let her choose what she wants to hear when she is falling asleep. Sometimes she chooses her memory CD, sometimes she listens to books on tape, sometimes other CD’s that are hers that she likes, sometimes Dave Matthews Band (no really, she likes the Dave Matthews Band…). I would say she chooses her memory CD once or twice a week, and she listens to it during rest time probably two or three times a week.
BUT… I really do think it works! When we started counting by 10’s in math, she had been listening to the memory CD for about 3 weeks, and within 3 days of introducing that topic, she already had it memorized. The same thing happened with counting by 5’s. It also seems to work with Bible verses we have done. I am interested to see whether it will work with poetry. The poems on the CD are the ones I plan to have here memorize when we start poetry memorization, but we haven’t really gotten to that yet.
I plan to make a new CD each quarter (although so far I have only made one and we have used it for about 3 months… so I guess it would be time for a new one). I want the CD to be relatively short and include things that are relevant to what we are studying. For example, Madison is really great at counting by 10’s, so I can take that song off and add a new one for counting by 2’s. Also, I would like to update the scriptures to ones that are relevant to what we are studying.
As far as what I put on the CD, I have several resources that I really enjoy. One is “Sounds Like Fun,” which I bought from Discovery Toys. I had that CD cassette tape when I was little, and after I bought it for Madison, I realized that I still knew all the songs, so I guess I listened to it a lot. Madison really likes it and it is what she listened to most nights before we started the memory CD. Another is “Children’s Songs,” by the Bible Study Guide for All Ages. They have songs for every Bible thing I want Madison to memorize, except for the books of the Bible (I downloaded the Old Testament Books online and the New Testament Books I sang). And I just purchased a skip counting CD from Math-U-See which has not been included on the memory CD yet, but I plan to add it when I finally update. Madison has listened to that some nights as well and really enjoys it.
(As a side note, we also really enjoy music by Joe Scruggs. If you have never listened to him, I really recommend you check it out!)
Here is a screen shot of our memory CD playlist. You should be able to click on it and make it large enough to read.
So, in a nutshell, that is everything I can think of to share about our memory CD – and probably more that you wanted to know! If you have more creative ways to use your memory CD, please share them with me!