More Memory Work Content – Simply Convivial

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Besides our hymns and Scripture memory, we have a few other parts in our Circle Time binders.

Catechism Memory

We’ve been memorizing & reviewing The Catechism for Young Children for almost 7 years now — ever since my oldest was 2 and could first answer, “Who made you?” We’ll keep this in our memory work until we run out of children to teach it to. After 7 years, I even have the 145 questions & answers [mostly] all memorized!

A couple years ago our pastor and elders commended a selection of 10 Heidelberg catechism questions and answers to the congregation for memory. I promptly added them to our memory material. I do love the Heidelberg. The sections in the Heidelberg are called “Lord’s Days” because there are 52 and they are designed to be read or taught through at church yearly.

The selections included in our binder are

  • Lord’s Day 1 — What is your only comfort in life and in death? Q2: What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?

  • LD 5, Q12 — According to God’s righteous judgment, we deserve punishment both in this world and forever after: How then can we escape this punishment and return to God’s favor?

  • LD 7, Q13 — What is true faith?

  • LD 10, Q27 — What do you understand by the providence of God? (another of my favorites)

  • LD 12, Q32 — But why are you called a Christian?

  • LD 23, Q60 — How are you right with God?

  • LD 25, Q66 — What are sacraments?

  • LD 30, Q81 — Who are to come to the Lord’s Table?

  • LD 32, Q86 — We have been delivered from our misery by God’s grace alone through Christ and not because we earned it: Why then must we still do good?

  • LD 45, Q116 — Why do Christians need to pray?


We generally start off our memory work time by reciting together a creed. I have three we alternate between:

History Sentences

This will be our first year adding in history sentences. It is a concept I picked up from Classical Conversations, but when I looked through a friend’s CC book, I was disoriented by the sheer volume (and packed text), and the difficult to discern (theme-related?) order of the history sentences. Dawn uses some history sentences by Hannah’s Homeschool Helps yahoo group, but it wasn’t really what I had in mind, either.

timeline figure for Alexander the Great
I wanted only a handful of sentences about the most important people or events in a given period. Just basic pegs, cornerstones, so we can have a strong framework for the flow of history. We’re memorizing the Veritas timeline (titles of the cards only), but I wanted also to memorize a few key dates along with that.

So, since I already had the History Through the Ages Timeline Figures, I picked 2-3 people or events to memorize per term (this year is ancient history), then printed out the full-sheet-size timeline figure with sentence from the CD. So I didn’t have to write any sentences, though I did abridge a few.

I’m pretty pleased with the plan, actually. We’ll see how it turns out in reality.


I started adding mottos to our Circle Time this year and it does help quite a bit, I have found. One reason I know that is because we only ended up reciting them about 1/3 of the time. When we did them, our awareness of what we should do increased, and I had a quick, ready-on-the-tongue, easy-to-say-cheerfully reminder to give throughout the day.

Our mottos for this coming year will be mostly repeats, including

  • Focus on your job & do it right.
  • Leave it better than you found it.
  • Voices: cheerful, polite, strong
  • Business before pleasure
  • Ready to strike your colors? I have not yet begun to fight!
  • Soldier Stance (1. Stand up straight; 2. Shoulders back; 3. Hands at sides; 4. Ready eyes; 5. Quick response)

Plus, for the sake of the youngest in the group, we will be frequently reviewing our obedience motto: Obey right away, all the way, with a good attitude every day.


This year I’m adding poetry memory to our Circle Time. This last year it was part of the boys’ independent work. That worked acceptably well, but I’m moving it for two reasons: 1) So I don’t have to shift around papers in an additional 2 binders; 2) So I can hear them say it every time, correctly pronunciation and cadence as needed. Also, some of these are repeats, because I didn’t incorporate review into their poetry memory this past year.

Hans’ Poems

Jaeger’s Poems

My Poems

I love Donne, and I’ve always wanted to have a couple of his poems memorized. So Hans will read his poem, Jaeger will read his, and I’ll read mine:

More Circle Time details coming up!

Next week, I’ll show you my revamped Circle Time binders, made more durable for daily use by boys. I will also publish my Circle Time routine details, including how it often looks in reality — never as pretty as on paper!

Related Homeschool Memory Work Posts

4 Responses

  1. Julie Zilkie
    | Reply

    Thank you, thank you for these Circle Time posts! I have a lot to do this summer to get organized to begin this, and I will be using all these posts as my launching spot. I can’t thank you enough!
    Julie in St. Louis

  2. Sharlene
    | Reply

    Thank you for posting this. I really like the mottos. I need to work on some for us.

  3. Sarah
    | Reply

    Mystie, do you have an update on how this went? (Please excuse if you’ve already mentioned it somewhere on the blog and just point me there– I may have missed a post or two!) I’m getting ready to put together Memory Notebooks for the kids next year and would love to hear your thoughts on what you’ll keep doing the same and what you’ll change.

    Hope you’re staying cool enough down there– I thought we were baking, but then I looked at YOUR temps!!! EEEK!

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      Thinking that the cool rainy days (of swimming lessons for us) were for your sake helped me keep content. :) This week should finally bring my tomatoes on, so I’m excited!

      You can see some comments on this here, and next year’s plans here. I was very happy with how Circle Time went and that I was able to prioritize it. When I asked my husband for input before planning this next year, one of his only comments was “Make sure you keep doing Circle Time,” which made me happy. Now, the boys did get close to memorizing their poems, and they know most of the catechism, but the entire Psalms and large NT chunks aren’t recitation-perfect. However, if they hear a phrase, they can complete the sentence. I am going for familiarity that will grow with every passing year, and I think in that we have been successful so far.

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