[The author of this article has requested to remain anonymous to protect the child who is referenced in the article.]
My child was a Memory Master for Cycle 1 and Cycle 2. Cycle 3 was going to be a cinch…or so I thought. She was confident. She flew through the first proof. And then… she had a bit of trouble on the second proof. My husband was nervous about proofing her. He asked me to help him a bit because he did not know how to do it. She did fine.
And then, 0n the third proof she got stumped on the fourteens, a few timeline cards, and the Latin word sunt. It was horrible! Her tutor said she tried everything to get her over the hump. She asked the questions in different ways and she tried to surprise her into answering with the right answer, but it did not happen.
Here are the things I learned from this experience:
- My daughter will learn more from not passing Memory Master testing than from passing. She will learn that there is disappointment in life and things are not always guaranteed. Memory work must be overstudied! Things worth having pride in are worth working for. Being a Memory Master is a big deal and standards must be upheld. Also, she is going to learn that she needs to study and take ownership of her own learning. She and my husband learn things easily (that is not the case for me). She is going to need to learn study skills for life. When she goes to college, is it going to matter more that she became a Memory Master in fourth grade or that she attained study skills?
- I shall try to see if I can have her tested on a noncommunity day. She was tested during lunch and after Essentials this year. Her tutor on community day casually told the other students that she was proofing this year which caused her to feel more pressure. In the past, we met her tutor at the library on a noncommunity day. There was so much less pressure! Also, her mind was fresh and not filled with all the things from the day. In public school, we always took our high stakes testing first thing in the morning: I would like to see her proofing done at that time as well.
- I shall have a friend from Classical Conversations do her second proof OR make sure my husband does proofs throughout the year. This was a rookie mistake and I should have known better. I had not equipped my husband to proof and I set them both up for failure. He asked me to help him and I may have given her some cues inadvertently for sunt. One of my friends proofed her for Cycle 2 and that was a blessing. She was plugged in to the way to ask the questions as well as the way the process worked. The proofer needs to know the material on some level to proof.
- When a child becomes dialectic, his/her learning style may change. This was my biggest take away from this time. My daughter grew a lot physically and mentally this year. She is much more dialectic in nature. She needs to know more of “why” things happen. For the first two cycles, we did all of her memory work orally. As she bridged to the dialectic stage, she needed to see it, write it, and read it. She needs to read a bit more about history and science to remember it. This year, I am going to focus a bit more on the back of the timeline and science cards as well as cause and effect.
These have been hard lessons to learn, but I am thankful for them.