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Do you believe in the classical education idea of "Pegs"?


mathnmusic

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I used to really believe in the idea of "pegs", and the idea that memorizing all sorts of facts in the logic phase is beneficial for kids, and that they'll have these memorized pegs to "hang" future information on. So for the past 2 years we've been doing a ton of memorization, in CC as well as on our own. While we were memorizing the 3 types of seed plants the other day, and the kids were reciting "The 3 types of seed plants are monocots, dicots and conifers", it got me thinking...is this really THAT beneficial for them? So what if they were to get to high school without knowing the 3 types of seed plants? Yeah, they wouldn't have heard those particular words before, but it only takes 2 minutes to learn those words AND they would be ready for all the higher learning about what those things are. Right now, we're spending so much time memorizing and reviewing all the names of things, in all subjects, grammar, latin, science, geography, history, there's not much time to go in depth in content on any area. While it probably doesn't hurt to have all those random facts rattling around in their heads, it takes serious TIME to keep reviewing all the facts so that they don't forget them. I'm not knocking memorization. I agree that SOME memorization is critical (ie. one's address, parents' names and phone numbers, etc), certain other memorization is obviously a plus (multiplication tables, months of the year, Bible verses), some memorization is a pleasure (poems, songs, Bible passages), but other memorization like being able to recite "some parts of an animal cell are nucleus, cytoplasm, vacuole, golgi bodies, mitochondria"? I don't know if the benefits of knowing these factoids outweigh all the work of regular review to keep it in their brains. Is this really going to be a "peg" to hang future learning on? Wouldn't they do just as well to delay that type of memorization til they're older and it's time to really learn about cells in depth, do experiments, prepare cells to examine under the microscope, etc? My question is not so much these specific examples and more about this whole idea of pegs. Do you really believe in "pegs"? Do you think the work and time in maintaining these pegs is worthwhile?

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I do, but not like that. My experience has been that activity, discussion, experience and stories have created pegs for further connection. We haven't done much out of context memorization yet so I am interested to read what others have experienced.

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I'm a firm believer in 'pegs,' but I don't think just any old peg is beneficial.

 

We pick & choose our memory work. (The seed thing or cell part thing wouldn't be part of our day, but we are memorizing the characteristics of certain types of animals in poem form.)

 

'Pegs' that get used in our house usually end up being from the stories in SOTW or a Latin vocab word. I'm seeing the value in these when I hear my oldest & #2 who are going through the history/science cycle for the second time. They remember stuff from the first time & are building on it. (I'm amazed at how much MORE they are getting from history this year than the first time we went through ancients. And how much more of the geography they remember than the first time - perhaps because they have more room in their brains & a place to associate with the map images.)

 

... And weekly, at least one of my older kids will hear or see some word with a familiar meaning and remark (ruefully), "That darn Latin is EVERYWHERE."

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I'm a firm believer in 'pegs,' but I don't think just any old peg is beneficial.

 

We pick & choose our memory work. (The seed thing or cell part thing wouldn't be part of our day, but we are memorizing the characteristics of certain types of animals in poem form.)

 

'Pegs' that get used in our house usually end up being from the stories in SOTW or a Latin vocab word. I'm seeing the value in these when I hear my oldest & #2 who are going through the history/science cycle for the second time. They remember stuff from the first time & are building on it. (I'm amazed at how much MORE they are getting from history this year than the first time we went through ancients. And how much more of the geography they remember than the first time - perhaps because they have more room in their brains & a place to associate with the map images.)

 

... And weekly, at least one of my older kids will hear or see some word with a familiar meaning and remark (ruefully), "That darn Latin is EVERYWHERE."

 

 

:iagree:

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We've never actually done memory work. I know it is beneficial, but I just can't get past the tedium. Some people find memorization satisfying, but that isn't how my brain works. I'd much rather go wide and deep and let the pegs happen. It's always interesting to see what they remember in later years.

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My initial response to the question in your thread title was yes. After reading your description, it would be no. I don't philosophically believe in filling up on facts to hang on some not-yet-acquired-peg. I think of pegs more as the first priority. In my mind, pegs and facts are like a filing system. I don't want to acquire a bunch of random papers before I have my filing system set up. I need to know where to put each newly acquired paper. If I don't have a file for a new set of papers, I need to create one. Without the files (pegs), the papers (facts) are going to be forgotten or misplaced. Or I will look at it and think :confused: and trash it. :tongue_smilie:

 

In short, we are big idea people. Big ideas-->medium ideas-->small ideas. Hmm. I guess I think of us as outline people. And there needs to be a title on the outline! :D

 

ETA: We do memory work. But it is not random. It is always related to what we are learning. Presidents are learned when we do American history. Countries and capitals are learned when we do world geography. Grammar rules are learned when we do grammar and writing.

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I'd much rather go wide and deep and let the pegs happen. It's always interesting to see what they remember in later years.

 

:iagree:

 

We do memorization only for German and Chinese vocabulary. That is because we do not have that many reading material in German and Chinese compared to English.

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I do, but not like that. My experience has been that activity, discussion, experience and stories have created pegs for further connection. We haven't done much out of context memorization yet so I am interested to read what others have experienced.

 

 

:iagree:

 

Our memorization work is limited to poetry. The kids get exposure to plenty of what I would consider "pegs", and they are able to recall things through discussion, and make connections. We don't memorize dates, etc.

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:iagree:

 

We do memorization only for German and Chinese vocabulary. That is because we do not have that many reading material in German and Chinese compared to English.

 

Actually, this reminds me that every one of the children has memorized all of the Latin endings. So I lied. :tongue_smilie:

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Sometimes you don't know exactly which pegs will 'stick.' In general, my boys are *way* more interested in stories, ideas, or lessons when they recognize some basic vocabulary from their memory work. Yes, some of the memory work is going to slip through into obscurity or pointlessness, but it is worth the effort for the things that do stick.

 

For instance, my boys enjoyed SOTW when we'd read the chapters aloud, but none of us was great at remembering details. BUT recently, when we have a related history sentence memorized (with names and dates) or even just an event or name from the timeline, all of us have a much higher interest and retention when we read the story.

 

We don't find memory work tedious. At the very least, my boys are learning how to train their brains to retain facts, which will be very helpful in later years. Each of us has discovered what helps us remember things (songs, hand motions, visual pictures, stories, chants, associations) and we know, from practice, how to transfer that to new ideas and facts. It isn't like we are slogging our way through torturous hours of repeating words to ourselves until we have it memorized. My boys would say that the CC memory work is among their favorite aspects of school.

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In my mind, pegs and facts are like a filing system. I don't want to acquire a bunch of random papers before I have my filing system set up. I need to know where to put each newly acquired paper. If I don't have a file for a new set of papers, I need to create one. Without the files (pegs), the papers (facts) are going to be forgotten or misplaced. Or I will look at it and think :confused: and trash it. :tongue_smilie:

 

I feel the same way! This analogy is perfect.

 

Just want to clarify that the memorization we're doing isn't exactly random pieces...we're doing the CC memory work (which seems random sometimes :lol:), Audio Memory's Geography songs, Korean, Latin vocab from Minimus, and chapters of the Bible. We enjoy the geography songs and Bible, but yeah, CC memory work is out of place unless we flesh it out with further study.

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My initial response to the question in your thread title was yes. After reading your description, it would be no. I don't philosophically believe in filling up on facts to hang on some not-yet-acquired-peg. I think of pegs more as the first priority. In my mind, pegs and facts are like a filing system. I don't want to acquire a bunch of random papers before I have my filing system set up. I need to know where to put each newly acquired paper. If I don't have a file for a new set of papers, I need to create one. Without the files (pegs), the papers (facts) are going to be forgotten or misplaced. Or I will look at it and think :confused: and trash it. :tongue_smilie:

 

In short, we are big idea people. Big ideas-->medium ideas-->small ideas. Hmm. I guess I think of us as outline people. And there needs to be a title on the outline! :D

 

ETA: We do memory work. But it is not random. It is always related to what we are learning. Presidents are learned when we do American history. Countries and capitals are learned when we do world geography. Grammar rules are learned when we do grammar and writing.

 

:iagree:

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ETA: We do memory work. But it is not random. It is always related to what we are learning.

 

This is what I meant. We're studying animals/human body/plants this year. Our memory work in science is part of this. I'm not having my little kids memorize the bones of the body, but they just might have some stuff about the body memorized because of

....
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My dc were all grown up by the time WTM was first published, and I had never heard of such a thing as classical or pegs or anything. I was all about John Holt, lol.

 

However, seems to me that what you're talking about is very similar to how the "Karate Kid" learned: he waxed a car, and sanded a floor, and painted a fence, and painted a house. Turns out that those moves were all training his mind and body to do karate, such that by the time he began putting them together specifically for karate, he already *knew* them.

 

All the things your dc are memorizing now will free up their brains to learn more complex things when they are older. If the memory thing is working for you now, then I'd just keep doing it. :)

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I also believe having pegs will be helpful, but that those pegs are ideas they remembered from reading about something before (I believe that is how SWB uses the term in her book). I also don't believe in memorizing things out of context. My brain would be screaming, â€What is this?!?†I need to know the what, how, and why.

 

CC would be a bad fit for me. :)

 

I've seen my son use his pegs - he has read through SOTW so many times that when we did a paragraph on the Mongols in IEW one day, he added in info he'd learned from reading SOTW. That was his peg. We hadn't tried to memorize anything.

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My initial response to the question in your thread title was yes. After reading your description, it would be no. I don't philosophically believe in filling up on facts to hang on some not-yet-acquired-peg. I think of pegs more as the first priority. In my mind, pegs and facts are like a filing system. I don't want to acquire a bunch of random papers before I have my filing system set up. I need to know where to put each newly acquired paper. If I don't have a file for a new set of papers, I need to create one. Without the files (pegs), the papers (facts) are going to be forgotten or misplaced. Or I will look at it and think :confused: and trash it. :tongue_smilie:

 

In short, we are big idea people. Big ideas-->medium ideas-->small ideas. Hmm. I guess I think of us as outline people. And there needs to be a title on the outline! :D

 

ETA: We do memory work. But it is not random. It is always related to what we are learning. Presidents are learned when we do American history. Countries and capitals are learned when we do world geography. Grammar rules are learned when we do grammar and writing.

 

:iagree:

 

Memorization of long lists of things is not for us. A few key things, especially for really basic skills, yes. And a structure for understanding, yes. Long lists, no way. And that's why, aside even from the fact that we school secularly, I would never do CC. The information just seems so disconnected to everything else.

 

I find that when we learn something for history or science that I never know what the kids will really retain later. However, instead of spending my time trying to make them retain a specific list of facts, it's so much better to expose them to more things and let them create their own set of pegs for these content subjects. I trust that while they may not remember one specific myth from our year of ancient history, that they'll remember a few, that the names will be familiar, that they'll have a gist of some of the themes, and that when we revisit them later, they won't be intimidated by them. That's enough to me.

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I'm a firm believer in 'pegs,' but I don't think just any old peg is beneficial.

 

We pick & choose our memory work. (The seed thing or cell part thing wouldn't be part of our day, but we are memorizing the characteristics of certain types of animals in poem form.)

 

 

:iagree:My main issue with CC is that it's random and decontextualized. Whcih is why we left CC.

We do tons of memory work and have for 8 years (we did it before but we've but hyper intentional about it more recently). I have seen my ds 18 go through the stages of the Trivium and I can honestly say it's a beautiful thing. We have failed in certain areas (i.e. Latin), but in other areas, like history and lit, science, we rock. The facts that ds learned as a 10 ye, he can talk about in ordered, sequential, amazing ways with the maturity of someone who has done even more study. (he's a global thinker, so it's not that he's naturally logical/sequential).

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I'm a firm believer in 'pegs,' but I don't think just any old peg is beneficial. We pick & choose our memory work. (The seed thing or cell part thing wouldn't be part of our day, but we are memorizing the characteristics of certain types of animals in poem form.) 'Pegs' that get used in our house usually end up being from the stories in SOTW or a Latin vocab word. I'm seeing the value in these when I hear my oldest & #2 who are going through the history/science cycle for the second time. They remember stuff from the first time & are building on it. (I'm amazed at how much MORE they are getting from history this year than the first time we went through ancients. And how much more of the geography they remember than the first time - perhaps because they have more room in their brains & a place to associate with the map images.) ... And weekly, at least one of my older kids will hear or see some word with a familiar meaning and remark (ruefully), "That darn Latin is EVERYWHERE."

 

:iagree:

 

I am amazed how much my older kids remember from their days with SOTW. What they learned in those earlier days have formed very solid pegs for their more advanced studies. I didn't used to understand the concept of 'pegs' to hang future learning on, but I do now as I am seeing it in action. I think that there is value in memorizing some poetry (it helps to develop knowledge of rhyme, rhythm in language, and of words), as well as the nitty gritty grammar terms and times table etc which will be of value as the work level gets harder. Some history dates would be of value too. Even if a few major events/people are memorized then the child can start to place other things around them.

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I used to not believe much in the idea of pegs. I currently am swinging in the other direction. We are in our second year of a co-op that is very similar to CC. I joined the co-op for social reasons, but we do the memory work anyway.

 

I agree that an older student will be able to memorize information quicker. However, I find that I learn new material better if I already know 80-90% of it. Similarly, when I know a little about something, I am more likely to want to know more. So I am stuffing facts into my kids heads so that they will find their future studies more interesting and easier to learn. The more they memorize now, the less they'll have to memorize later.

 

Putting facts into my kids heads is work. Reviewing facts so that they don't fall out of my kids' heads is even more work. However, I find it extremely frustrating to reteach my kids things they knew but have forgotten. I want to teach something *once* and then be able to move on to the next thing. So we review.

 

On the other hand, I try to make review as painless and efficient as possible, for me as well as them. We review memory work for all subjects using Anki. It takes 5-15 minutes total per day per kid for all subjects. When reviews start taking less than 5 minutes, I know that it is time to start memorizing new stuff.

 

If doing reviews was more work, I would probably ditch the memory work. But since reviews are so easy, why not memorize?

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I absolutely believe in the value of pegs, but they don't need to be memory work, or minor details.

 

The number of pegs I choose for my tutoring students are few and important. Just enough to layer junior college classes and newspaper articles on.

 

Obviously a person preparing for more advanced studies would need more pegs, I guess with more details. That's just not MY world.

 

Our pegs are things like "George Washington was the 1st president." Yes, I did have to reach an adult student that! Without any concept of what the Revolutionary War was and what North America was like before and after that, she was clueless to understand ANY history at all. So even 4 one-sentence pegs about George Washington, Abe Lincoln, the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War, can set a student up for a lot of future learning.

 

Too many pegs, with too many details, can become no pegs.

 

For plants, I review a sentence each about roots, stems, leaves, fruit, seeds for a few days in a row, without exact wording. That's it.

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We joined CC 15 months ago, but I had real concerns. My triplets have some developmental challenges due to premature birth, and for 2 of them remembering things was a real problem. They couldn't execute 2 step instructions, let alone remember lists of things. I really didn't think they had any chance of being successful in CC, but it was the only co-op around here, so we joined just to meet people.

 

Fast forward to today, and the brain training from CC has been truly unbelieveable. Not that I am a memory whiz or anything, but my kids can remember LOTS more than me. I really think the practice memorizing at CC has made all the difference. Their brains are stronger now than they were previously. And not just with dry facts - they are much more successful at dance, b/c they can remember the order of the routines. They have finally learned their church friends' names. They can remember the words to the songs in choir. Etc. etc.

 

I truly think that working this memory work has stretched their brains in new ways.

 

Also, whenever we come across something they have memorized for CC, they are SO much more interested in learning more about it!

 

I look back at the things I learned in science in high school, and I memorized them for the test and forgot them. I can't help but think that had I memorized them in elementary school, and reviewed them for years, maybe I would actually remember them now!

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PS - as tedious and annoying as I think reviewing memory work is, my kids LOVE it. Truly. They LOVE it. They really enjoy feeling like they are so smart, that they know these facts. It's really given my kids confidence that they didn't have previously.

 

PPS - We only review in the car, so we aren't using time that we would use learning other things.

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Do you really believe in "pegs"? Do you think the work and time in maintaining these pegs is worthwhile?

 

Yes. My kids are 18, 10, and 10. I see the fruits of pegs with my youngers, and with my older, who was adopted from an orphanage at age 11 and didn't have ANY pegs, I see the detriments. However, I don't see pegs merely as memorized phrases. I see them more as stories that the kids expand as they grow older and learn more information. I'm not sure that hours and hours and hours of memorizing phrases is the best way to go about it. I think narration does a better job of creating purposeful pegs.

 

Tara

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I didn't until recently, this year we started some of the CC memory work at home, the timeline and history topics that go with our history cycle. I'm amazed at how well DC pull things out from the timeline during history discussions. It is very helpful for my DD who has working memory and processing issues.

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...While we were memorizing the 3 types of seed plants the other day, and the kids were reciting "The 3 types of seed plants are monocots, dicots and conifers", it got me thinking...is this really THAT beneficial for them? So what if they were to get to high school without knowing the 3 types of seed plants? Yeah, they wouldn't have heard those particular words before, but it only takes 2 minutes to learn those words AND they would be ready for all the higher learning about what those things are. Right now, we're spending so much time memorizing and reviewing all the names of things, in all subjects, grammar, latin, science, geography, history, there's not much time to go in depth in content on any area. While it probably doesn't hurt to have all those random facts rattling around in their heads, it takes serious TIME to keep reviewing all the facts so that they don't forget them. I'm not knocking memorization. I agree that SOME memorization is critical (ie. one's address, parents' names and phone numbers, etc), certain other memorization is obviously a plus (multiplication tables, months of the year, Bible verses), some memorization is a pleasure (poems, songs, Bible passages), but other memorization like being able to recite "some parts of an animal cell are nucleus, cytoplasm, vacuole, golgi bodies, mitochondria"? I don't know if the benefits of knowing these factoids outweigh all the work of regular review to keep it in their brains. Is this really going to be a "peg" to hang future learning on? Wouldn't they do just as well to delay that type of memorization til they're older and it's time to really learn about cells in depth, do experiments, prepare cells to examine under the microscope, etc? My question is not so much these specific examples and more about this whole idea of pegs. Do you really believe in "pegs"? Do you think the work and time in maintaining these pegs is worthwhile?

 

Yes, I believe in pegs; and I think that the examples you gave are not just random factoids - they are frameworks for deeper study. Now, if you were talking about memorizing characteristics of *one* obscure plant or animal, I'd say that was VERY specialized (and go for it if the kid is interested). But three types of seed plants and parts of an animal cell are more general and framework-ish and useful in later high school biology study.

 

When we first started memorizing suggested memory work from the WTM book (in science and history particularly, besides the memory work that goes along with math, grammar, and Latin), I didn't have a clue why we were working on certain lists (result of my poor education). Years later, I do. It helps us to get a bigger picture on the landscapes of history and science, and to knowledgeably dive in deeper in different places, and to not lose our sense of the bigger picture. Major wars since the Trojan War? Very helpful as pegs. Every single battle of a short, small war? Probably not so necessary for the bigger history landscape picture, but could be interesting.

 

All the things your dc are memorizing now will free up their brains to learn more complex things when they are older.

 

Exactly.

 

I look back at the things I learned in science in high school, and I memorized them for the test and forgot them. I can't help but think that had I memorized them in elementary school, and reviewed them for years, maybe I would actually remember them now!

 

Me, too!! And I would have learned the content FAR better had I memorized some basic pegs earlier in my life.

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I want to thank everybody for their replies - I don't know how to multi-quote so I'll just type here but so many of the things you guys have said have helped me understand the reasons behind this type of memory work. And Colleen, you're right. Those aren't factoids, they're building a framework for more in depth study later on.

 

I also have to agree with the person who said that their kids love memory work. It's me who questions it sometimes...but my kids never. They love it, working on their memory work binder is one of their favorite parts of the day, and I do think it has boosted their self-confidence to have a body of knowledge committed to memory.

 

It totally makes sense to me what one poster wrote about memory work freeing up the brain to learn more complex things later on. And I've also experienced that what you memorize when you're young is very sticky through life. Thanks, everyone, for helping me think through this issue. We'll continue with it! :001_smile:

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We do memory work, but in relation to what we are studying, more like in WTM. We learned the list of the kings of England the year we were in SOTW2. That way, as we went through history that year and practiced our history list, they went together and we were reading about those kings and their stories throughout the year. We learned the presidents last year when we were in the modern area, etc.

 

We do not do so much of the science memorywork. But we do memorize grammar, latin grammar, math facts, and poetry, where it relates to our studies. We don't memorize it randomly.

 

But on the other hand, I see kids that do memorywork seemingly randomly. When I have them in co-op classes and we are learning about something and they break out into a song about the subject that they learned from another co-op or whatever they get so excited that they know something about what we are learning about. So I do think it serves a purpose.

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Yes, I do believe in pegs. But I never had my kids memorize anything in the lower grades. The pegs I was trying to create were more of a big picture variety. So we went for exposure and whatever stuck stuck. It seems to have worked great, even for the older one who has LDs and can't seem to remember anything.

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I wouldn't call them pegs; I'd call them MAGNETS!! For my kids it doesn't just give them something to hang info on. It gives them something to draw their interest in all that they hear and see around them. Things they would have watched or read with glazed-over looks before are now meaningful and interesting because of the things we've memorized. Heidi at Mt. Hope Chronicles (her blog) has a fabulous quote I read this morning on memorizing. Heidi, if you're reading this I think you should repost it here. It is exactly what I was thinking about last night, along with the magnet thought. The geography and history especially make the world come alive.....both what they read in history and what they see on TV for current events, etc. It has the same effect on our Bible reading. In Science they haven't had as many connections ONLY because I don't have them watch enough or read enough about it, but I intend to. I have no doubt the results would be the same.

 

The Latin, English grammar, and Math that they are memorizing is obviously just to make the study of those subjects easier and more efficient and more thorough, but I would argue that the time put in there transfers to other subjects as well, like other languages and logic. I also believe that all of this is brain training and is teaching them the skill of HOW to memorize and therefore how to begin learning ANYTHING.

 

One thing I will definitely agree on is that for us it takes a long time. There are moms (including Leigh Bortins) who makes it seem so easy. Cd in the card with flashcards and some timeline card drill and map drawing at home. She would say 30 minutes a day. But for us it does take longer. But I choose to spend 30 minutes immersed in geography (drawing maps, locating places, singing songs, doing puzzles, etc.), 30 minutes with Science (lab reports, nature study, notebooking about our science memory work and extension facts from our Acts and Facts cards, singing songs, reading extra info, etc.) and an hour on history and timeline (discussing and notebooking history sentences and timeline cards, reading extra info in the encyclopedias, etc.). So mine have context and facts together, but the context is specifically related to the facts and they are spending time using copywork and narration and illustration as ways to solidify those facts. The rest comes naturally from whatever the Lord brings into their lives and the home library we are building for them to feast on. I plan to also add additional information in the summers when CC is not in session studying their own history topic on their grade level which may or may not line up with the previous cycle but should nonetheless trigger and expand on the memory work from previous years.

 

I did not provide context last year other than reading read alouds that were associated with the same time period as last year but not the same weeks and reading the backs of the timeline cards. They still learned a ton of history, but I still think they are learning more this year as they use writing (copying, illustration, and narration) as a way to record their learning. With the timeline cards they choose what context to record and I only dictate the amount they have to write (one sentence per grade level). So they make this their own and because of that they are proud of this record of learning. Next year they will do it all over again and as they get older they will be required to write reports on their history and science memory work which will require them to work on the skill of research a bit. But I full expect them to be ready for that. So I think that one does not have to add context immediately to make the memory work useful but the context added can definitely help.

 

There was one comment that CC is disjointed. I would disagree with this, although I would agree that it can appear that way at first. But I think the longer we are in it the more I see the connections and how it comes together. Maybe it is having the new timeline this year that really draws it all together better than last year, but I see how it works and moms who have their kids in Challenge repeatedly tell me it all makes sense now of how it fits together and why they learned what they learned. That is exciting and encouraging to me when I get overwhelmed trying to do all the review!

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I can attest to the value of memorization to create pegs from my own education. I went to school before the current educational fad that would have us believe that since everything "can" be looked up, nothing should be memorized. Memorization was never a huge part of our school day, but in every subject there were several items to be memorized each year. These created all sorts of pegs in my mind. Years later these facts rise up from my memory banks to assist me when I am working on the topic.

 

I agree with other posters who have mentioned that pegs also help develop interest. Pegs also help people to make connections between what is known and what is new. This is so much easier than trying to make connections between two newly discovered pieces of information. Contextually placed memory work gives the learner solid ground from which they can take the next step into the unknown.

 

Finally, I am really seeing the value of science memory work in the younger grades. I did not do enough of this with my son, and we are using a high school biology textbook for 7th grade science. There is SO MUCH information, most of which has to be memorized in order to pass the end of chapter tests. I am sure assimilating it all would have been much easier if I had taken the most basic concepts and used them as memory work over the years. That would have freed up time in logic/rhetoric stage which could be better used understanding the science in a deeper way, but instead is required for memorization. So while some decontextualized memory work may be a waste of time, memory work within a planned sequence of study is a time saver.

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Like some other posters have said, pegs are good and I agree that we seem to better understand things when we have a peg/hook/whatever already in our minds on which to hang it - but peg does not mean memorized information. At least not to me. It could be memorized facts, but the more prominent pegs are those discovered by oneself (think Montessori), those that have a high affect, or those that are discordant with what we already know (and thus require rationalizing prior knowledge with new knowledge). There is definitely a place for memorization of fact (including excising the mind, making repetitive tasks easy, creating a peg/hook/framework, etc) but some things really aren't important to memorize. There must have been at least three classes in my major (zoology) in college which required you memorize the name, abbreviation, and structure of amino acids (which I had already done in high school) but I NEVER found that information of any practical use - only for regurgitating on the test. I think the best things you can memorize are beautiful words/poems/language.

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I did a year with CC and now am doing my own thing. I am having my kids learn information within context of what they are learning. For example, in science, I had my son learn a definition of rotation with regards to a planet. When that term came up again in the text, I was able to ask him what rotation was and he could recall it. This, in my opinion, gives him a stronger peg. I am also having them learn geography(current countries - not contextualized within history), poems, and Bible memory. But, there is even some value in learning things out of context. Last year, my ds 8 learned to skip count. In first grade, he had no use for it, but guess what? He still remembered those songs well enough to apply them to learning multiplication this year so that his multiplication tables are fairly easy for him - not fast, but easy. There is real scientific results out there that memorization does increase your brain potential. You could memorize anything and your brain would still grow, but why not put it in context with something else?

 

Beth

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We do memory work. But it is not random. It is always related to what we are learning. Presidents are learned when we do American history. Countries and capitals are learned when we do world geography. Grammar rules are learned when we do grammar and writing.

 

 

:iagree:

 

This is us too. I do believe in pegs, but they are never learned out of context. Context may be schoolwork, season, holiday or personal experience.

We do memory work most days every week. I know how relatively easily young children memorize and am trying to fill up their minds and hearts with things that will be of value to them in all of life, including but not limited to academics. I have found that the "pegs" come naturally as they make connections between the various things they've learned.

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This is what I've been thinking about lately. Makes me want to make an audio library to pull from for study. I think the reason that CC works for some is that it's easier to get it done if you just do it. Many of us think it'd be great to do our own memory system to sequentially learn things, but not many of us actually put it into practice. So, "get it done" versus the theory of "better but not done"... well, sometimes get it done wins....

 

I think I'm going to spend the time to put a memory system for my son to do over Christmas.... UGH.... and that's when I think, "Gosh, just having him memorize CC's material would be easier" :) We'll see if easier or more relative.... wins :)

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We are not memorizers here, and have found that "pegs" seem to be naturally created by simply working with a subject deeply. I want a general framework for information to be "hung" on, but have found that with our crew, memorization didn't provide enough to work with or to hang on to. But by reinforcing learning of certain topics and revisiting them frequently, those pegs seem to magically fall into place without any memorization work. However, I will readily admit we have ELL and Spec. Ed we are dealing with, including my son who has huge memory deficits. Memory does not work for him, ever...but the power of story is amazing in helping him create his own pegs for later use.

 

Cindy

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My thoughts on pegs ...

 

First let me say up front that we're on our 7th year of CC; ds is in Challenge A and dd is in Foundations and Essentials. My dc love CC. I like parts of it and other parts not so much.

 

Based on my observations it seems like a lot of people can be described as either whole-to-parts learners or parts-to-whole learners, and the two styles often cannot relate to how the other style learns.

 

The whole-to-parts learners are the "big picture" people; they need to see the big picture of where they're going in order to have a place in their memory to put what they are learning. These are often the people who see CC as a random collection of disjointed facts that have no point. CC often doesn't work well for them unless the mom is able to provide the big picture. These are the ones who, if they are able use CC at all, are using it as their spine and providing the necessary context at home.

 

On the other hand the parts-to-whole learners are often overwhelmed if they are given the big picture first, but they can take the little bits of information that seem random to the whole-to-parts learners and over time assemble them into the big picture. These learners are often the ones that can just do CC as a memory work supplement while completing other curricula that may or may not tie in directly. For these learners the pegs that CC creates really help them build the framework in their minds for the rest of the information they will need to store.

 

Some times I wonder if the moms who have real trouble settling on curriculum that really works for their children are the opposite learning style from their children, so that the curriculum that would work best for the children doesn't make sense or seems too overwhelming to the mom and the curriculum that looks great to the mom doesn't make sense or is overwhelming to the children.

 

Anyway my dc are "fact junkies." They love collecting facts about all sorts of topics. Often times 1-2 facts will become the springboard for learning more about that subject, like the magnet analogy a PP used.

 

So.. yeah... I believe in pegs, but I think the whole-to-parts learners need different pegs from the parts-to-whole learners. Neither is better than the other, but recognizing the differences helps me understand others experiences with some curricula and helps me pick curricula for us.

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

We don't find memory work tedious. At the very least, my boys are learning how to train their brains to retain facts, which will be very helpful in later years. Each of us has discovered what helps us remember things (songs, hand motions, visual pictures, stories, chants, associations) and we know, from practice, how to transfer that to new ideas and facts. It isn't like we are slogging our way through torturous hours of repeating words to ourselves until we have it memorized. My boys would say that the CC memory work is among their favorite aspects of school.

 

 

Yes, I agree with this. Our boys really love memorizing stuff because it's the easiest part of school for them. It drives me a bit crazy to read a "poem" three times in a row, but they think it's the bomb. We literally make maintaining it a game. I think most adults think of the memorization of the grammar stage as tedious, but that doesn't seem to be the experience of the kids most of the time.

 

As somebody relatively new (two years) to wtm and classical education, I guess I would ask you whether you believe in the developmental stage that needs grammar, and also in the need for it in learning throughout life. Going "deep and wide" only really makes sense if you have context, and depending on the ages you're dealing with it might not be all that helpful even though it feels like it to an adult mind. A brief mention of how it relates to other things they know or learn is much more easily retained when the peg itself is already there.

 

You might enjoy reading some on the development of memory and the history of memorization in general. I really liked Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer, but that's a pretty lightweight and anecdotal example. I'm sure you all know of many more better references on the development of memory and child development in particular.

 

For us, we were really drawn to classical education precisely for teaching the kids how to memorize, and how to build a base of knowledge in any topic. I do believe that having "pegs" or facts spread across a structure like a timeline is a very effective tool in that endeavor.

 

We're also doing CC and I no longer see it as my core with a few things on the side. I think that was a mistake on my part, because I was underemphasizing language arts, math, and history. We now do CC almost as a reward, and the LA, math, history part is our core along with much more of me reading. What I read does often relate to CC- either a history thing we've chosen from the timeline, or from the science for the week, about the region we're doing in geography, or anything the kids seem to enjoy in particular the week before. This maybe gives us a bit of the depth you're talking about, but honestly I've drunk the kool-aid there and don't worry about it much in the grammar stage anyway.

 

Thanks for posting your question, I'm getting food for thought in the replies.

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There was one comment that CC is disjointed. I would disagree with this, although I would agree that it can appear that way at first. But I think the longer we are in it the more I see the connections and how it comes together. Maybe it is having the new timeline this year that really draws it all together better than last year, but I see how it works and moms who have their kids in Challenge repeatedly tell me it all makes sense now of how it fits together and why they learned what they learned. That is exciting and encouraging to me when I get overwhelmed trying to do all the review!

 

 

I agree. (Imagine a cute little gif with a sign pointing up here.)

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When they reach high school, they will have an enormous amount they are supposed to have mastered. Pegs are secure points from which new information can be hung. Our "peg-building" is more informal, but I believe it is CRUCIAL.

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