Friday, January 17, 2014

What's Changed In Our Homschool This Year! (Part 3 of 3)

Part 1 recorded the fact that we are - for now! - finished with phonics!

Part 2 we said goodbye.... to nature (formal) walks.

In our final Part 3, we are saying goodbye one more time... to Bible verse memorization.

Before y'all come unglued - and I have to admit, that does look pretty awful! - let me quickly say that we have removed Bible verse memorization in order to replace it with Bible passage memorization. We're still memorizing God's Word, and always will be. We've just changed our methods.

We started last year with the "one verse per week" method. But finding the verse was something that I always left till the last second, and I often ended up flipping randomly through the Bible to find something on the spur of that last-second moment.

In a moment of desperation, I turned over the "find a Bible verse for us to memorize!" task to DH. He never remembered either. In fact, at this point, I'm not sure he remembers that I even asked him to do that job for me! Back to square one.

Enter Cindy at Get Along Home, who mentioned last year that she was switching over to having her children memorize larger portions of Scripture, rather than just isolated versions.
"I don’t have my children do just a verse or two at a time. The danger of that popular but shallow method is the loss of context... It is far too easy to turn the Bible into a New Age self-help book by memorizing passages if we ignore who wrote them, and to whom, and why. In order to solve this problem, I’ve been teaching my children entire passages this year, rather than single scriptures."
Read the whole article here.

I pondered that for several months. It sounded pretty good. Firstly, it removed the task of weekly frantic-verse-searches from my to-do list. Secondly,  as many of us know, the out-of-context use of Bible verses has been one of the top producers of bad doctrine in the church during the past hundred years or so. (It's really been for the entire history of the church, but it's come out especially during the past 100-200 years as biblical illiteracy has grown within the Christian church.) There's nothing like an out-of-context Bible verse for producing false doctrines, and I want to fight against that trend by teaching our children to study Bible verses in light of the entire counsel of Scripture. What better way to do so than by memorizing whole passages of Scripture to place verses in context?

Thus, last term I began with the new method, using Psalm 23 as a starting point. We have memorized one verse per week (sometimes half a verse per week), adding each verse onto the others, until now we are within one verse of having the entire Psalm memorized.

This has the added benefit of working on memory skills for our students, and I'm thrilled to see our 7yo make great strides in being able to memorize a larger piece of literature than just the single verses we were previously doing!

This method also gives us the added benefit of being able to discuss Bible passages in depth and at length. With the verse-a-week method, there was usually just a quick explanation and then a "repeat after me." With the larger-passage method, we have been discussing all of the topics covered in our chosen passage - for two months! The 7yo has a much deeper understanding of Psalm 23 than he did of any of the Bible verses that we memorized previously.

File that in the file of things that work - hurray! This has been a huge improvement, and is definitely a keeper.

I love making discoveries that greatly simplify and improve our home and our educational program, and this is one of them.


Now if I could only figure out a similar solution to chore charts!


  1. We have done that before too and while the longer passages can be a challenge it's neat. I'm glad you found something that works well for your family!

  2. Thank you for visiting, Tristan!! Loving your blog, as always! :)


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