here and here), and we will strive to do it again. It is a new wealth of information they have memorized this year in Cycle 2 including: Middle Ages and European history; Astronomy, Biology, and Physics facts; lists of pronouns and definitions for the parts of speech; conjugations for Latin verb endings, geographical locations and features in Europe and Asia; Math laws, facts and formulas; and a historical, chronological timeline. It's over 500 pieces of information! Most learning and enrichment activities that I post on this blog I have done with my children to help them memorize all this information and retain it for a lifetime.
I truly believe children's minds are primed and equipped to learn and retain information when they are young. I've seen it work. Without even thinking, children can remember and describe all their Pokemon cards, or identify all their Lego mini-figures, or know all the lyrics to a song on the radio after hearing it only once or twice. I have capitalized on those primary years of learning by teaching them how to memorize dates, facts, definitions, locations, and more. I have learned right along with them. It takes very little time each week over the course of an academic year, and the rest of their time they are free to learn, play, explore, imagine, dream, invent, create, read, and enjoy. In time, they will begin to process and understand the information they memorized during their childhood. I've seen my son begin to make that transition this year.
On Wednesday, I was reviewing one last time with my 10-year-old daughter. (My son finished up a few weeks ago.) We were sitting in a crowded Chick-Fil-A restaurant, and I was drilling her by asking questions such as: What is Newton's second law of motion? Tell me about the French Revolution? Count by cubes to 1000. What are the coordinating conjunctions? Show me the major European mountain ranges. Without hesitation, she could quickly respond with: Force equals mass times acceleration .... In 1789, the French Revolution began when citizens stormed the Bastille and fought for the .... 1, 8, 27, 64, 125, 216 .... for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so .... Pyrennes, Alps, Carpathians, Caucasus, Ural .... It is ridiculously impressive, and I wanted everyone in the restaurant to hear her. I truly wish I had been taught to learn this way.
Clearly, the above picture is not a new one. It is from Christmas 2005. My son was four, and my daughter had just turned two. It is framed and hanging on a wall in our basement. I walked past it on Wednesday afternoon, stopped, and stared at it for a moment. I love these children. I love who they have become. I am so honored and humbled to be their mother and their teacher. It is a fabulous role. Words cannot express how incredibly proud of them I am.