Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Memorization Monster -- and a Giveaway!

Quick: which of the following have you memorized?
  • Your 4th-grade crush's birthday and phone number, though you've never seen him since
  • Every quotable line from The Princess every word to every song in The Sound of Music.
  • License plate numbers from every car your parents ever owned during your lifetime
  • Bible verses from Genesis to Revelation
  • The entirety of the Declaration of Independence
  • The word-for-word definition of the term "antidisestablishmentarianism."

    If you're a normal person, you probably know the important stuff needed for banking and everyday life: birthdays, addresses, your mother's maiden name, multiplication tables. You know, stuff that you can actually use.

    And then there's me. For some reason, my brain latches onto meaningless info that gets me nowhere (except baby shower games. I seriously always win the baby shower game where you have to memorize the tray of baby items).

    There is one item on the above list, however, that is not meaningless. Far from it, in fact.
Jack colors his "Keep me as the apple of your eye" page

In the worst and best times of my life, words have supernaturally appeared in my heart. I didn't create them, or even neccessarily ask that they be there. But there they were and I have always been grateful.

I'm talking, of course, about verses from the Bible, memorized over the course of a few thousand Sunday School lessons, summer camps, school and home assignments and personal study sessions.

Maybe you don't believe in God, or that the Bible is relevant today. I could definitely write several blog posts on this topic. But here's the skinny of it for me: the Bible is the best-selling book of all time for a reason. And I know from personal experience that I need its wisdom like air and good chocolate.
When learning ANYTHING, adding a bouncy ball is always a good idea! We tossed it back and forth to each other, saying each verse one word at a time per bounce. Jack dug it, and so did Jude, even though he had no idea of what we were saying.

Consequently, getting its truths into my children from an early an age as possible is a top priority for me as a mother. Part of this is practical; most of the verses adult Christians know were learned in childhood. Part of it is educational; the Bible is critical to understanding world history, among other things. And let's be honest: part of it just a little selfish...Ephesians 6:1, I'm looking at you.

So when Jenn over at The Purposeful Mom announced she needed reviewers for her new e-book, God's Word in my Heart: A Scripture Learning Guide with Memory Verses, I volunteered. This short e-book prompts parents to get their little ones (especially preschoolers through elementary ages) started on the easiest path to memorizing portions of God's word.

So here's what I did:
1) I read the book. Since it's only 20 pages, it didn't take long.
2) I perused the many ideas and picked out several I thought would work for our schedules, age levels and personality types. Jack, for instance, just is not into detailed crafts. As a five-year-old boy, he'd take an action rhyme any day.
3) Since this is not a project you can accomplish in one afternoon -- after all, truly memorizing anything requires repetition over several days, weeks and months -- I announced our plan to the family. Once Jack hears us say, "We're going to do this...." he NEVER lets us forget it.
4) We dove right in and did them!

Jack and his Scripture caterpillar!

I'm happy to announce that in just a few short weeks, Jack (and consequently, Nick) has memorized several verses perfectly and with great enthusiasm!

What I liked:
*The ideas were perfectly geared toward Jack's age
*The verses are arranged in an ABC fashion. In other words, you learn a new verse every day with one of the main words starting with the letter of the day. Like the first day: "Keep me as the APPLE of your eye" (Psalm 17:8) and so on. This makes it easy for Jack to remember what we're doing next and which order to say his learned verses in.
*There are many ideas to choose from. You get to taylor them to your family's needs -- either way your kids are learning!
*Because it's a "program," it keeps you accountable; once you get going, it's hard to stop. Or, should I say, Jack keeps me accountable and makes it hard to stop. We promised him that if he learns all 26 verses, he gets a rare visit to Chuck E. Cheese. I have complete confidence this motivation alone will keep him going.

*When ordering God's Word in my Heart, you can choose the version: KJV, NKJV, a mixture of NIV + others, etc. I like options!

What I didn't love:

*I wish it had been a little longer and more detailed on each idea, perhaps with illustrations on the craft ideas. I am NOT a crafty person and need as much help as I can get!

*There are a lot of clickable links throughout the book (most often to other similiar sites/blogs). Because of how my brain works, I don't like being sent multiple locations to get information; I'd rather have everything in one spot. But this might just be me and my neurotic quirks.

At any rate, Jack is learning that Scipture memorization is a priority in our house and establishing a pattern that will serve for him his whole life.

Hearing his beautiful little voice recite the word of God seriously blesses this mother's heart (and his grandparents'!). Because when the first words out of his mouth in the morning (even before he requested his Mickey Mouse vitamins) are, "What verse are we learning today?" I think, "Oh yeah. This is definitely a good thing!"

Want to get in on the Bible-loving action? You can win by leaving a comment below! Or purchase your own e-copy for only $1.99 TODAY (Valentine's Day). Beginning tomorrow, it goes up to $3.99, so purchase today!

(If you purchase the book, enter the giveaway anyways -- Jenn will refund your purchase price if you are the winner.). 

Tell me, if you memorized verses as a kid, what was your method? Or, how do you teach your own kids today? Or, why do you want to win this e-book?
Make sure to leave your name and some sort of contact info in the comments so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner!
Contest ends February 17. I received a copy of this e-book for review purposes only; all opinions are my own.
Update: Jessica Derstine is the winner! Thank you all for participating.