You Absolutely Need These 3 Amazing Books for Memory Work

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I was going to write a post about what you should memorize in your homeschool. However, I realized the list becomes incredibly long fast. Should we begin with phonograms, move to various history lists, and before memorizing verb conjugations?

Perhaps we should focus on Shakespeare, geography, and poetry instead. After thinking long and hard, I realized you need these 3 books for memory work.

3 Amazing Books for Memory Work

The Harp and Laurel Wreath

If you’re having trouble adding the good, the beautiful, and the noble to your homeschool, The Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum by Laura M. Berquist is your answer. Written for Catholic homeschoolers, it has a beautiful mix of secular and religious works of poetry and prose for memorization, dictation, and study.

After a thorough introduction explaining how and why to use the book, you jump right into the meat of the book. The book is divided into 4 parts.

  • Early Years
  • Grammatical Stage
  • Dialectical Stage
  • Rhetorical Stage

Most of each section is devoted to poetry. The early years has short, charming poems to memorize like as The Little Turtle.

The grammatical stage increases the length and complexity of the pieces. The pieces vary from historical poems such as Paul Revere’s Ride, The Ballad of William Sycamore, to Casey at the Bat.

The dialectical stage includes longer and more complicated works such as The Lady of Shalott or Horatius.

In the rhetorical stage, teens are expected to begin analyzing the pieces. Each piece is followed by study questions. And if you think you’re going to be left floundering trying to figure out how to answer the questions, think again! The answers to the study questions are at the end of each section.

You’re not left there. The early years, grammatical, and dialectic stages include dictation selections along with guidance. Using sources such as Archimedes and the Door of Science and The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, it’s designed to give your children models of good writing.

In the end, The Harp and Laurel Wreath is a book that will add the good, beautiful, and noble to your homeschool day.

Living Memory

Living Memory: A Classical Memory Work Companion by Andrew A. Campbell gives you a go-to source for memory work. Seriously, it’s totally awesome!

Like The Harp and Laurel Wreath, it begins with an introduction that discusses how and why to memorize. The tips are amazing. At the end of the book, there’s an appendix that discusses memory work in the Ignatian method, just a bit of historical perspective on memory work.

As far as what is included in Living Memory, here’s a smattering of the various lists:

  • Grammar Catechism – question and answer to master grammar definitions
  • Latin Prayers
  • Latin Poetry & Prose
  • Greek Proverbs, Poetry, & Prose
  • Math Facts
  • Literary Facts
    • Poetic Verse Lengths
    • The Twelve Olympians
    • The Nine Muses
    • and more!
  • English Poetry & Prose
  • Hymns
  • History Lists
    • Periods of Egyptian History
    • Rulers of Rome
    • Presidents of the United States
    • and more!
  • Geography Lists
  • Science Lists

No longer do you have to search the web trying to figure out what your kids should be memorizing. Living Memory gives you the memory lists you need. You have a book that includes excerpts of famous oratory speeches such as Give me liberty or give me death.

Living Memory is a book you need on your bookshelf.

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

Unlike the last two books, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig isn’t a reference book but rather a guide that takes you by the hand and walks you through the process.

You and your children begin by memorizing a simple set of lines from A Midsummer’s Night Dream. As the chapters unfold, you’re introduced to the characters, plot, and imagery of the play.

It’s a book you slowly work through one chapter at a time. There’s no need to find time to read the entire book. Jump right in and begin. What’s even better is the book is designed for children of all ages.

books for memory work

A 6-year-old can learn Shakespeare as easily as a high school teenager.

You not only learn the basic plots and characters of 12 plays, but you’re also encouraged to give your kids acting opportunities.

Can you imagine the difference it will make in your children’s writing ability to have passages of Shakespeare at their beck and call?

To analyze Shakespeare’s use of literary techniques as they memorize passages?

And all done with the careful step-by-step instructions of How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare.

If you’re looking to start or improve the memory work in your homeschool, use these three books. You’ll have beautiful poetry at your fingertips, every sort of list you could want, and a guide for memorizing Shakespeare.

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  1. I ordered the “Harp and Laurel Wreath” thanks to your suggestion. It Ismail a great book! I am very excited to dig deeper into it 😊

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