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Theory question about the recitation/memory work

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    Theory question about the recitation/memory work

    Hi,
    Could anyone point me to any articles or explain why MP is so different than other "classical" curriculums with regards to the memory work? For example, classical conversations and others tout singing and/or chants for memory usually focused on a "cycle" that seems usually history based. I was contacted recently about claritas press. I looked it up and it seems quite similar to Classical Conversations with the cyclical approach to subjects. MP does have memory work, although at first glance from websites it doesn't seem apparent (and certainly isn't designated by cycles).

    I had considered other curriculums but ultimately chose MP and am pleased (this is our first year using MP and we'll continue). I like that the "social studies/history" is built into the enrichment and general core materials.

    This is not a critique; I am genuinely curious about the differences with not using the cycle approach. And how I can share my enthusiasm to others interested in a classical approach.

    Thanks!

    #2
    Amanda,

    We do have lots of memory work, but we tie it to our curriculum. We memorize poetry, Latin conjugations and declensions, 100 Facts about Rome, Greece, and the Middle Ages, 200 Facts about American history, Scripture, etc. Memorization is a big part of what we do. We teach to mastery, so memorization is stressed.

    We don't teach history chronologically, but we do teach it in cycles. Our founder felt that history should be chosen based on the age-appropriateness of the children, so she switched it up. But we do teach it chronologically for each time period. For example, we start our study of Roman history with the founding of Rome and end it with the fall of Rome. I am going to put a couple of links here to articles that will explain it all for you. Well, it only let me put one link, but I think the articles have the same content anyway.

    Let us know if you have further questions. We are always glad to help and appreciate your equipping yourself. We don't mind your questions at all. We welcome them!

    Tanya
    Why is the teaching of history in Memoria Press' curriculum not chronological? There's an easy answer- it is! Students in early grades are not...

    Comment


      #3
      Hello there! Here are some quick and oversimplified answers and maybe others will be able to chime in with their experience and perspective. These are my thoughts:

      The farthest back I can trace the cycle/history cycle idea comes from the original Well Trained Mind book. This idea got picked up by most everyone, especially those with history-as-spine curriculum publishers (think Sonlight, My Father's World, Heart of Dakota, Veritas, etc.). There is nothing inherently classical about a cycle of studies or a history cycle as the spine, or history as the spine, for that matter. It was a helpful framework from which to craft a thorough education. SWBauer was a homeschooling trailblazer for robust studies and we all have a lot to thank her for!

      Classical Conversations has gone big on the memory work as a result of their understanding of the grammar/logic/rhetoric stages of learning (their interpretation of the Dorothy Sayers' speech). In the "grammar stage" you learn the "grammar" of things. So they do a lot of memory work, setting the stage for later studies. There is nothing inherently classical about set "memory work" in the early stages, call it the "grammar stage" or no. Because many are introduced to this as "this is what it means to be classical" then if they move on from CC they still like this rhythm of memory work and choose to keep it and/or revamp it.

      A great article explaining the "Stages of Learning" approach with some distinctions is here by Martin Cothran: Classical Education is More than a Method.

      MP takes a completely different tack by putting Latin at the center of the language arts curriculum and ensures that students have a strong foundation in classics. Students do memorize things along with their studies from each year including poetry, art, music, etc. almost always tied to something they are already learning elsewhere. The memory is also very important in Latin and early math and that continues through the entire curriculum. All my kids are always working on memorizing--from the primary student learning "For My Valentine" this week to my 10th grader (still) memorizing Canto 1 of Divine Comedy. You never stop memorizing.

      MP says a big YES to memory. In fact, look at the Latin word in the name: memoria, memoriae f. "memory" The name of the curriculum is memory.

      If you haven't seen it, I really like the first half of The Latin-Centered Curriculum. Here's an article by that book's author, Andrew Campbell where he explains what it means to go deep, not wide in studies: https://www.memoriapress.com/articles/multum-non-multa/

      In short, MP is different because it's founders and writers looked back beyond the revival of classical education in America in the last few decades to what education looked like before the purpose of education began to shift over 100 years ago. The result looks a lot like what my grandparents and great-grandparents learned in their traditional public schools (reading, writing, arithmetic, Latin, poetry, literature, math, natural sciences...).

      The language I use is that Memoria Press embodies an education within the classical Christian tradition. If a family wants to educate within the classical Christian tradition, then it is up to the homeschooling family to select a curriculum that embodies it the way they want. After all, they are the ones who have to do the work day in and day out! MP embodies it in my favorite way. That's why I've hung around so long.
      Last edited by pickandgrin; 01-28-2020, 04:40 PM.
      Festina lentē,
      Jessica P

      2020-2021
      11th year HSing · 9th year MP
      @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
      11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

      Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

      Comment


        #4
        Posting at the same time as Tanya!
        Festina lentē,
        Jessica P

        2020-2021
        11th year HSing · 9th year MP
        @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
        11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

        Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

        Comment


          #5
          Jessica,

          Your post was so much more informative!

          Thank you!

          Comment


            #6
            My take- those other programs have memory work and then you build a curriculum around the memory work. MP has a well planned out curriculum and the memory work comes from the curriculum. So instead of memorizing Latin chants and then trying to figure out how to use them or using Henle and learning the application at a different time than you learned the chants, the Latin memory work is built into the actual Latin application lesson. It’s systematic, logical and much easier to see the big picture. The memory work has meaning. It’s not just memorizing a bunch of random (but chronological) facts. It’s memorizing key ideas from things you are actually studying.
            Memory work is important but that isn’t what defines classical education. Classical education is about having a classical language as the center of your studies as the basis for learning grammar and language structure and learning the history/literature of your culture so you can learn to analyze the ideas of the past, compare them to the present and draw conclusions about how to beat proceed in the future. Memory work is the start of that but it makes more sense to memorize what you are studying rather than attempt to study what you are memorizing if that makes any sense.
            Debbie- mom of 7, civil engineering grad, married to mechanical engineer
            DD, 25, BFA '17 graphic design and illustration
            DS, 23, BS '18 mechanical engineering
            DS, 21, chemistry major
            DS, 18, Physics major
            DD, 15, dyslexic, 10th grade customizednMP plus co-op
            DS, 12, super squirmy, possible dysgraphia, MP 7A
            DD, 6 , K- finally one who seems to like drawing and writing- first one since my oldest!

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for the replies! I feel like I stumbled onto MP and am pleased I did. I agree with momgineer that when I observed the "cycle" memory work chants/songs, it was clear there was little understanding even if it were in chronological order. (Not that it's bad; just not what I cared for.) You make an excellent point that it seems school work is built around the memory work. But I like the focus of MP with the mastery of language first then adding the deeper concepts.

              Thanks for the article.

              Comment


                #8
                momgineer ,

                Another one of those times I wish the forum had a “like” feature! Such a great response about memory work. 👍🏼😃

                AMDG,
                Sarah
                2020-2021
                16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                DS, 16
                DD, 14
                DD, 12
                DD, 10
                DD, 8
                DD, 6
                +DS+
                DS, 2

                Comment


                  #9
                  Oh dear...I invested quite a bit of time typing up a response that got stuck in moderation because I edited it and now it's gone. Sigh.
                  Momgineer did such a great job. I concur with her assessment.
                  Festina lentē,
                  Jessica P

                  2020-2021
                  11th year HSing · 9th year MP
                  @ Home, HLN, & Latin online
                  11th, 9th, 6th, 3rd

                  Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School

                  Comment


                    #10
                    When we did classical conversations for a grand total of 7 weeks before dropping out, it made me so uneasy how the kids were getting all this information in their heads, but not into their hearts. It had absolutely zero context. Now, my kindergartener is learning the names of the planets in order for recitation, and we read the book about the planets last week. She “gets” what she’s memorizing.
                    Ora et Labora!
                    Emily

                    Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
                    DD (age 9): 4NU
                    DD (age 7): MP 1
                    DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
                    "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
                      momgineer ,

                      Another one of those times I wish the forum had a “like” feature! Such a great response about memory work. 👍🏼😃

                      AMDG,
                      Sarah
                      This ^, this right here ^
                      Margaret of Georgia, in west TN – Enginerd’s wife and Mama

                      2019-2020/-2021 · Homeschooling since 2011.
                      Trekking along at a student self-pace...
                      DD Summer 2009 · 5th/6th + BS3&4
                      DD Summer 2011 · SC4/SC5*6 + BS3&4
                      DS Summer 2014 · K/SC2 + SL P + K
                      DD Summer 2017 · Pre + SL T
                      DS Autumn 2019 • Baby

                      Memoria Scholé Academy
                      Blog: Creative Madness Mama
                      @ CherryBlossomMJ

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