Funny Father-Assigned Memory Work

in 4GRD, Blabber, Memory Work, Tips

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By Strebe - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

I listened to a school lecture about memory work.  In fourth grade, we memorize population and electoral college data for the largest states (by population).  When asked, our director said that this was information that had come up in conversation in her life and was embarrassed not to know.  Same for the population and square mileage data for the continents.

This is not my life.

So, I asked my husband about it.  “Yeah, that hasn’t come up for me either.”

“Should we replace it with something more useful?”


I asked him what that material might be.  I was thinking plant identification.  Periodic table.  Town mayor, state senators, legislatures…nope. “I want them to know all the major football teams by location, mascots, how they’re doing this year, and any well-known quarterbacks.  Also, in March, they should know the top basketball teams in the brackets.”


My husband is not sporty.  He plays….nothing.  I asked him why.  “I have to relate to adults that I only see twice a year.  I have to teach them things they don’t want to know.  I have to correct things they don’t want to change.  Sports is the great equalizer.  No matter what your race, religion, sex, or socio-economic level, you either follow a team or are married to someone who follows a team.  If I can engage that person, they relax and anything I need to do or say happens more easily because I am less of an outsider.”

He’s not wrong, right?  If you want to make sure you can engage any adult and make friends, you have to talk sports and be their friend.  You can’t be obsessed with one team.  You like the Cowboys?  HOW can you support the Cowboys when they blah, blah, and so on.  Nope.  Impersonal knowledge of major sports is where it’s at.

So, I didn’t replace their memory work yet, but we’ve already baptized me into the tribe. Hubby buys me sports t-shirts (he says wearing the underdogs give you credibility; everyone supports a winner, lame) and I am regularly briefed on the teams I wear.  It’s amazing.  People talk to me all the time.  I had a whole pack of staff at Goodwill rush me because, “People wearing a San Francisco shirt shouldn’t have to lift their own bags.”

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Molly April 28, 2016

Love it! First homeschooling post in a long time that I’ve shared with my husband.

I too find it very interesting, her given rationale for choosing memory work. Is this rationale wide-spread? If yes, it reinforces my belief that so much of “school” is chosen for logistics/practical purposes.

Question: may I ask why you removed “Busy Mom-essori Lesson Plans, Checklists for 3yr olds”? I didn’t use this year (trying to learn HOW to homeschool, so 3 year old was placed in morning nursery school program NON-Montessori regrettably because you know finances) but am considering trying to model next year with him at home. Thanks for any answer you may have time to give!


2 admin May 1, 2016

I accidentally deleted them! I rearranged the navigation on the site and lost them. I will see if I still have the original documents and I’ll post them again. Silly.


3 Melanie April 16, 2016

This is great! I’m making the adequate changes for next year


4 Kristin April 15, 2016

Husbands really can bring an interesting real-world perspective. His logic makes sense to me. The team shirts anecdote is too funny! I’ve noticed it’s also a great ice breaker when traveling–kind of fun to see someone else at Disney wearing your more obscure team’s cap too.


5 les April 15, 2016

So this is how some of the memory work is chosen?? Very interesting…


6 admin April 16, 2016

Yes, she said that it was something that “educated people” seemed to know. She wants the memory work to be useful at some point.


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