Since we have dyslexia and dysgraphia in kids 2, 3 respectively, I have had to use a lot of alternative curriculum. I keep little pieces of what works for our methodology. This memory box is dreaded and loved. You can tell where I got it from (All About Spelling). It catches all the material that falls through the cracks, but it also eliminates blunt repetition of known material. You have probably heard of this before. Some people LOVE Charlotte Mason memory boxes. Like many things in homeschool, it’s a great idea but INTENSE in application.
AAS uses a simplified version. There is “instant” and “not instant.” Review the “not instant” multiple times a week. Review the “instant” every week or two. It’s like in our syllabi when it says to split your decks into “hard and easy” except it’s a faster loop. A whole chapter of Latin may be hard and another whole chapter be easy, or just 4 cards. Regardless, in this system, we review about 4 days a week for 5-10 minutes for each subject. Every week or two, we check the instant stacks and make sure they are still mastered.
We use it for spelling rules/patterns, misspelled words, sight words, homophones, phonograms, Latin rules/vocab, etc.
What doesn’t work?
Catechism. That’s just has to be blunt repetition, mostly because it’s never mastered in my house. Apart from “God made us” and a few others, they always have a bit of ad-lib in them.
Poetry. Poetry would work well in a traditional CM memory box that telescopes out the “known” material repetition, but I’m not about to set it up. That and I’m too flaky actually practice a poem on the same calendar day, school or not. (A digital version of the CM box is Anki. If you still know it cold a week from now, it pushes it out farther until “Rain” might be reviewed once a year.)
How to make one?
I use my AAS boxes that I needed for dyslexia stuff. Those boxes hold cards that are 1/8 a piece of paper (4.25 x 2.75). Smaller than index cards. That means all the dividers you see that didn’t come with the box were cut down. But any box or card size will do as long as they match. To divide your cards, spend 5 or so minutes a day dividing them in to “instant” and “not instant.” File them behind “mastered” or “review.” If you have a BIG stack that isn’t going to be separated in one session, then I file those behind a “Later” tab or keep them in a baggie until we catch up to them.
How to keep it up?
I HIDE them on my top shelf. I guard these boxes better than the medicine cabinet. After a few weeks, it’s customized to the child (I have three kids/boxes going right now.) I am a box NAZI. There is no touching the box without me. Back away from the box, people…HA!