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Mixing Up the Memory Work

While our Foundations tutors do a fantastic job of modeling memory techniques and review activities that can easily be duplicated at home, we can sometimes neglect to incorporate these ideas into our daily memory work review routines. Daily review can become tiresome and tedious for us and our children if we always use the same methods, especially towards the end of the year when there is so much material that needs to be covered. I know even I am tempted to skip review when it begins to feel stale or perfunctory!

But drilling the memory work is necessary if we want our children to own it for a lifetime and not merely recall if for a few days or weeks. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite at-home review ideas. I hope you are able to find a few new ideas to try out this week!


  • Invite your students to recite memory work while being active—jumping up and down, performing toe touches, spinning in a circle, doing a bridge, balancing on one foot, etc.
  • Have students recite memory work using funny voices or while making faces.
  • Allow students to “win” memory work cards from you by correctly reciting the information on each card. Offer a simple prize if they win a certain number of cards—a story of their choice snuggled up with mom or dad, a cookie after lunch, an extra five minutes of tickling at bedtime.
  • Let students write the memory work on windows and doors with window markers/crayons. Or pull out the sidewalk chalk on warmer days.
  • Change it up! If you usually review the questions for a particular subject in order by week, shuffle the deck and ask them in a random order.
  • Let students test mom or dad on the memory work. It’s amazing how attentive to detail they can be when they are watching for errors from mom and dad! It also helps them retain the memory work and review effective memory techniques if you ask them to coach you on how to remember pieces of the memory work.
  • Play tic tac toe as you ask questions. If students can state the complete fact, they get to draw an “X” or “O.”
  • Play hide the thimble and have students recite a piece of memory work in order to get clues about whether they are getting hotter or colder.
  • Host a review party for your child’s Foundations class and invite your children come up with their own review games and activities.

These general suggestions work well with almost every subject, but a few ideas are subject-specific.

Subject Specific


  • Use mini chocolate chips to mark geography locations. This technique never fails to please in our household!
  • Pull out a map and invite students to “Tell me everything you know.” This can speed up geography review because it removes the need to ask questions. Students can just quickly identify all locations that they know and often find it satisfying to realize how much they know.
  • Play hangman with geography memory work.


  • If you usually sing the history songs, try saying them in a monotone without the rhythm (it won’t work, but it’s likely to lead to giggles).
  • Call out a key word from the history sentence and see if your student can identify the corresponding question “Tell me about…” and sentence.


  • Kick or toss a ball back and forth while chanting math facts.
  • Select a number 1-15 and then roll two dice. Students must add the numbers on the dice, and then multiply the sum by the selected number. We usually roll the dice five to ten times before selecting a new number.


  • Remove one timeline card from a series of cards and ask students to name the missing card and show where it belongs in the timeline.
  • Mix the timeline cards up and have students put back in order. Warning! It can be overwhelming to do this with the whole timeline at once! I’d recommend doing one or two weeks’ worth at a time to begin with.
  • Grab a partner and alternate listing the timeline events. Person #1 says, “Age of Ancient Empires,” and Person #2 says, “Creation and the Fall,” and so on as far as you can go. Repeat in the opposite order.
  • Choose an event from the timeline at random and asking the other person to list the events immediately preceding and following it.


CATEGORIES: Articles, Classical Christian Education, Grammar Stage (ages 4 to 11), Homeschooling Life

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