Recitation

"I hope that my readers will train their children in the art of recitation; in the coming days, more even than in our own will it behoove every educated man and woman to be able to speak effectively in public; and, in learning to recite you learn to speak.


Recitation and committing to memory are not necessarily the same thing, and it is well to store a child's memory with a good deal of poetry, learnt without labour...

The whole parable should be read to them in a way to bring out its beauty and tenderness; and then, day by day, the teacher should recite a short passage, perhaps two or three verses, saying it over some three or four times until the children think they know it. Then, but not before, let them recite the passage. Next day the children will recite what they have already learned, and so on, until they are able to say the whole parable”   Charlotte Mason

Children possess an amazing ability to memorize; much more so than adults. Therefore, it is only logical that we, as educators, would want to make the most of this time and help them memorize that which we consider to be important for their spiritual, emotional and mental growth and well-being.

Charlotte Mason felt memorization was very important. She thought children should memorize poetry, literature and verses that caused their heart to sing. As you read more and more biographies of those who achieved great things, you will find that many of these people practiced the art of memorization and copywork.  They could recite whole passages of great works of literature, poetry and scripture. Why? Because it fed their soul.

Charlotte Mason also believed there was value in memorizing some helpful facts such as mathematical formulas, important dates, arithmetic facts and important grammar rules. However, she did not feel that this should not be the main goal in memorization. This is where that delicate balance must come into play. I'm afraid that some classical educators far too often are guilty of burdening their children with too many lists to memorize and not enough heart-stirring lines. As Classical Charlotte Mason educators we must be careful not to tip the scales in favor of fact- filling over joyful learning.

 

Charlotte Mason recommended the following per twelve week term:

Form 1:  Recite a poem

                learn two hymns

                learn a Psalm

                learn two scripture passages (6 verses each)

Form 2:  Recite a poem (40 lines)

                learn two hymns

                learn a Psalm

                learn two scripture passages (12 verses each)

                learn a scene from Shakespeare's play

Form 3:  Recite a poem (50 lines)

                learn two hymns

                learn a Psalm

                learn two scripture passages (20 verses each)

                learn a scene from Shakespeare's play


Form 4:  Recite a poem (50 lines)

                learn two hymns

                learn tow Psalms

                learn two scripture passages (20 verses each)

                learn a scene from Shakespeare's play

Schedule memory work daily for just 5 to 10 minutes.  A sample schedule could be as follows:

 

Day 1:  Psalm, review

Day 2:  Poem, review

Day 3:  Hymn, review

Day 4:  Scripture passage, review

Day 5:  Math memory work/quote, review

 

Start a memory binder for each student, adding new material each term.  Make a divider tab for each day of the week.  For review, add numbered tabs 1-31 for each day of the month.  At the conclusion of each term move that terms memory work behind a numbered tab in the binder for review and add your new memory work for the term behind your daily tabs.
 

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