My son and I are memorizing the book of James. If that makes you pause, don’t worry, it did us, too.
Our wonderful home school curriculum assigned this James memory project. There was an abbreviated version for the faint of heart, in which you do not learn the entire book. We did consider the abbreviation, especially since the state of my memory is (Shall we say?) aging. But we decided to go for the gusto and to attempt to tackle the entire book. We have until the end of the school year.
So far, we have the first chapter (all 27 verses) more or less committed to memory. We are using the NIV. Here is the method the curriculum outlines, in a nutshell:
Every other week, we learn a verse each day, in this way:
- Read the verse aloud together, several times.
- Discuss any difficult spellings or word meanings.
- Discuss what the verse means.
- Take turns attempting to say the verse without looking, while the other one follows along in the Bible.
- When we both can reasonably say the verse without looking, we copy it onto an index card that is spiral-bound.
- Each time we quiz each other on the verse, we make a small dot in the upper corner of the card.
- We repeat the verse to each other at lunch and again at bedtime, each time adding a dot.
- The verse should be quizzed at least 3 times on the day we learn it, and any other time we think about it. The dots help us meet the bare minimum.
- The verse must be learned word perfect.
- Each day starts with a review of previous verses.
On the opposite weeks, we simply review the verses we have already learned each day (no new verses), quizzing each other, and Son does a day of work in “Boy, Have I Got Problems”, which is a youth version James study put out by Precept Ministries.
Once you get the hang of it, this process actually moves pretty quickly each day.
- The memory work is assigned in sections. The first section is James 1:1-11. Once that section is thoroughly committed to memory, we only review it each Monday. Tuesday-Thursday is reserved for review of the section we are currently working on, which includes verses 12-27. On Fridays, we have a verbal “test”. We have just started Chapter 2, and are still regularly reviewing Section 2 (James 1:12-27) so I’m not sure where the next section ends, and I’m not sure how review of section 2 will be cycled off. Clear as mud? Well…
- It’s all outlined in the teacher’s manual. I just check it off each day.
Each year, our curriculum assigns different scriptures for memory, and we’ve enjoyed this challenge. The Holy Spirit teaches us in daily situations with the verses we learn, and somehow, even this aging brain has benefitted in the process.