Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Classically Catholic Memory

It's not often that I think so highly of a resource that I write a blog post about it.  Recently, when I sold an item from Classically Catholic Memory on Cathswap, my email box was very busy with people interested in it.  I had to turn them down, except for the first inquirer, and many responded with questions: "How did you like Classically Catholic Memory?", "What grades did you use it for?", "Which resources did you use?" etc.  So I decided to write a post about it.

I discovered CCMemory when I was whining discussing the issue of catechism memory work at 4Real.  We have had such a struggle with staying on top of our memory work.  I know it really doesn't take long, less than a couple of minutes to get through a poem recitation, but we just couldn't get it done.  When I mentioned this struggle, one of the moms suggested CCMemory, I checked it out, decided to purchase it, and boy am I glad I did.  This resource has helped us with not only our Religion memory work, but poems, history quotes, science facts and even Latin!

My first impression, upon opening the box, was that I noticed the good quality of the materials.  I had ordered the Alpha level Teacher's Guide and Student Book, the maps, the timeline cards and the audio CD's.  The books are hefty, spiral bound, with laminated covers.  The maps are colored and also laminated, but with a much thicker material. They are two sided, one for tracing and one for labeling.  The maps come with a set of stickers for the child to locate and label the locations being memorized for that week.  The timeline cards are a nice size, big enough to actually see when hanging around the top edge of the school room.

I use this program for all of my children and we all do it together.  This includes my daughter in 8th grade, who follows the MODG syllabus.  During our morning meeting, we go over the memory work each day.  At the start of a lesson, I write the memory work out on our big chart tablet.  We go through it, subject by subject and I use the Teacher's Manual to help me teach the information.  Sometimes it's pretty straight forward - memorizing a Catechism question.  But sometimes, like in the case of science, there is more to talk about, including some pictures that I show the kids which are located in the appendix of the Teacher's Guide.  Sometimes there are project or demonstration suggestions.  To be honest, we mostly just use it for memory work but I've always thought the science information would make a nice "spine" to follow for those who don't like to use a textbook.  Back to our CCMemory routine ...

So it's on the chart, and I take turns calling on who is going to recite first. The start of a lesson takes longer because I explain things.  Sometimes it takes us a couple of days to get a new lesson introduced.  After that, each day is a quick run through of the material for memory purposes.  I use the chart I make for this, but the kids can use the Student Book to practice at other times in the day.

Just a note about how I do this with the various grades -
Beany, my Kindergarten student, listens in and I have him repeat everything after me.  I also modify it for him so he only has a couple of lines to memorize from the poem.  I don't usually have him do the Catechism questions, unless they are very basic.

Builder will be in 3rd grade.  He is able to memorize the information as written.  There are two different poems for each lesson, one for the higher grade levels and one for the lower.  He usually memorizes the poem selections for the younger grade.  Some weeks, he doesn't quite get the Latin or history facts memorized.  I go on ahead anyway, knowing this information will come back around for him as he gets older (since I plan to use the program forever! ;)

Jetter will be in 6th grade.  He also memorizes the information as written.  He memorizes the poem for the older students.

Social Butterfly will be in 8th.  The only adaptation I do for her is to have her memorize the assigned poem from Mother of Divine Grace.  I do this by simply adding it to the chart tablet used at our morning meeting and she gets a copy of it to study on her own as well.

The chart tablet idea is mine and takes more preparation time than the program probably should, but I like the way it keeps us all on the same page.  My kids seem to like using it too, since I use a pointer and when it's their turn to recite something they come up to the chart and point to what they are reciting.  We also do things all together, chant style, which they seem to enjoy (even though the older ones act like they're bored!)

Whether they truly are bored or not, I don't know and honestly, I'm not sure I care.  I really see the value in memory work and with this program we are finally getting to it on a daily basis and my kids are memorizing so much more that in the past.

One last thing ...  the Teachers Manuel explains in depth how to use this program in a coop setting.  We don't belong to a coop, but if we did I think it would work very well. 

I would love to answer questions about this program because I find it so beneficial.  If you have any, leave them in the comment box and I'll try to answer  them.  I really, really wish I had a camera so I could share some pictures.  I'll update this post as soon as I get one.


Amanda said...

Hi Becky! I clicked over to the thread on 4real and realized that I suggested CCM to you. Wow! I think I had just heard of it and was debating the investment. I decided against it then, but ended up purchasing it this year at our HS conference that the author attended. I think it was your glowing reviews, plus seeing it in person, that finally convinced me! When you do get that camera, I'd love to see your noteboooks - I think you mentioned you have the kids copy and illustrate their memory work, like Martha?

Holly Gomez said...

Checking back to see how things are going midyear with CCMemory. We are using CC and would like to switch to CCMEMORY next year. I'd like to see this program in action and not just the YouTube memory work.