Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Memorizing Scripture, or anything else for that matter.

I was reading a homeschooling blog, and she mentioned this website: . She is using this method not only to memorize scripture, but basically anything else that needs memorization. Such as Catechism, poetry, prayers, etc. This is such a great idea. And it appears fairly easy to implement for ourselves or our children. Here is the system:

Scripture Memory System


The instructions below outline an easy-to-use system to help your family members develop the habit of memorizing and remembering Scripture. By spending just five or ten minutes a day, you and your children can learn and retain hundreds of verses.

First, a word about memorizing, or recitation. The Charlotte Mason method of Recitation is not cumbersome, yet works amazingly well. The method is simply this: once or twice each day read aloud the verse or passage you are memorizing. As the words become familiar, the family members should join in saying the parts they know. Continue the one or two readings a day until all family members can recite the Scripture together with confidence.

It doesn’t matter how long the passage is. In fact, your family should memorize longer passages regularly. Simply once or twice each day read the entire passage through until everyone can recite it together. Don’t worry about how many days it takes for everyone to memorize the selected Scripture. Hiding God’s Word in your heart is not a race; it’s a lifelong habit.

The System

Step One: Get an index card box and forty-one tabbed dividers that fit inside it. It doesn’t matter if the dividers have letters on them; you can flip them over and use the other side for labeling.

Step Two: Label the dividers as follows and place them in the box in this order:
1 divider — Daily
1 divider — Odd
1 divider — Even
7 dividers — Days of the Week (Sunday, Monday, etc.)
31 dividers — Numbered 1-31

Step Three: Copy onto index cards (or slips of paper) any verses your family already knows. Record both the reference and the text of the passage. If you don’t know any yet, don’t worry — you will very soon. Place the verses you already know behind the numbered dividers, distributing them evenly.

Next write cards or papers for verses you want to memorize. Put one verse card or paper behind the Daily divider; this will be the passage you’ll work on memorizing first. Then stack the rest of the verses to be learned in front of the Daily divider to learn at a later time. At the beginning, you won’t have any verses in the Odd and Even or Days of the Week slots. Don’t worry, they’ll fill in; see the next two steps.

Step Four: Each day you will say together the verses behind four dividers:
Odd or Even
Day of the Week
Date of the Month

So if today is Tuesday, the 3rd, you will say the verses behind Daily, Odd (because 3 is an odd number), Tuesday, and 3. The next day (Wednesday, the 4th), you will say the verses behind Daily, Even, Wednesday, and 4. Keep in mind that only the verse behind Daily is a new one that you are memorizing; all the others are just review.

Step Five: As you master the verses behind the Daily divider, advance that card and move the replaced verses farther back in the box. So when you have memorized a Daily, move it behind either the Odd or Even divider. Move the verse that was in that Odd or Even slot back to a Day of the Week slot. And move the verse it replaces in the Day of the Week slot back behind a numbered divider. You can then put a new verse or passage to memorize behind the Daily divider and you’re ready to go again.

In this way, you will review a new verse every day, then graduate to every other day, once a week, and finally, once a month. Use the system every day of the month and you will review all the verses you know every month of the year! Of course, not all months have thirty-one days; the verses behind 31 will be reviewed seven months out of the year. We recommend putting verses that you know quite well behind that number since it gets reviewed less frequently.
When you have advanced enough verse cards that you have one placed behind each numbered divider, start at 1 again and add another card to each. Soon you’ll have several cards behind each numbered divider. And eventually, you’ll have memorized so many verses that you’ll have enough cards to expand to two boxes! What a wonderful milestone that will be!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Seder Meal

Have you ever had a Seder Meal in your home? We started the tradition of having a Seder Meal on Holy Thursday a few years ago. This is such a wonderful tradition that I wanted to encourage you all to try it. There is a lot of preparation and cooking that goes into a Seder Meal. You may want to get together with another family to lighten the cooking load. And if you have experience with Seder Meals, invite another family over that has never done one before. I'm sure they would appreciate it!

Here are a few websites that explain the Seder Meal and give some recipes:

Here are a few pointers that I have learned over the years:

1. Start your preparations and cooking early in the day.
2. Traditionally, the house is supposed to be completely clean to assure that there is no trace of leaven in the house. Don't stress it if your house is not up to par because, believe me, after your Seder Meal your kitchen will be a disaster.
3. Begin your meal early enough to allow time to go through the entire ritual without being rushed (especially if you plan on going to church that evening). I'm aiming for starting at 4pm this year.
4. Make notes of what recipes you liked or disliked. It might be handy to have a Seder Meal file containing your ritual and recipes.
5. Color code your ritual to make it easier to follow along.
6. For kids old enough to drink out of a regular cup, but too young to drink wine, purchase some plastic wine glasses and fill with grape juice. This will make the Seder meal even more special for them.
7. Enjoy this time with your family as you prepare for Easter.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ideas for celebrating Holy Week

Taken from

Create a family centerpiece for the week using Sunday's palms from mass as the focal point. Have a special family dinner together on Holy Thursday and think of ways to, as a family, "wash the feet" of people in need in your parish or community. As a family, take the day off on Good Friday and attend services at your parish. Accompany your children to church and participate in the Stations of the Cross at a level they can understand - as a family unit you can "do" your own stations - spend a few moments contemplating each station and discussing quietly and reverently with your child the true meaning of each station. Say a quiet prayer at the end of each Station.

Have you taken advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation to fully prepare yourself for Easter this year? If your parish offers a penance service, take your children and explain to them the Sacrament. Even young children who have not as yet received the Sacrament will benefit from attending the prayer service and having an examination of conscience described to them in terms they can understand. While you go to confession, ask your child to pray for you...we need all of the prayers we can get!

On Holy Saturday, make a tradition of coloring Easter eggs as a family reflecting on the beauty of new life. Tie this tradition to the Church's joy at the Resurrection of Jesus and our treasuring of the sanctity of all new life. Pray as a family for the countless people who will enter our Church at the Easter Vigil mass through the RCIA program. You may even want to contact your parish and "adopt" a candidate for whom your family will pray during Holy Week. Light a candle each evening and pray for this person and all who are being baptized and coming into full Communion with the Church. As a family, make attending Mass on Easter Sunday the highlight of your celebration. Rejoice at the Resurrection of our Lord! Read the gospel as a family as a highlight at your Easter meal.

How does your family participate in the joy of the Resurrection of our Savior?

Please feel welcomed to comment and share your ideas with us!