The instructions and video below outline an easy-to-use system to help your family members develop the habit of memorizing and remembering Scripture. By spending just five or ten minutes a day, you and your children can learn and retain hundreds of verses.
First, a word about memorizing, or recitation. The Charlotte Mason method of Recitation is not cumbersome, yet works amazingly well. The method is simply this: once or twice each day read aloud the verse or passage you are memorizing. As the words become familiar, the family members should join in saying the parts they know. Continue the one or two readings a day until all family members can recite the Scripture together with confidence.
It doesn’t matter how long the passage is. In fact, your family should memorize longer passages regularly. Simply once or twice each day read the entire passage through until everyone can recite it together. Don’t worry about how many days it takes for everyone to memorize the selected Scripture. Hiding God’s Word in your heart is not a race; it’s a lifelong habit.
- Not sure what to memorize? See our Verses List for suggestions. Our recommended verses are also available as free download of printable verse cards.
- A big thanks to Helen Jimmie who created and shared this PDF template of tabbed divider cards you can print and cut out: Divider cards with tabs
- A Windows 8 app (now also web based), Scripture Box, has been created by a homeschool dad to make the whole process automatic.
Step One: Get an index card box and forty-one tabbed dividers that fit inside it. It doesn’t matter if the dividers have letters on them; you can flip them over and use the other side for labeling.
Step Two: Label the dividers as follows and place them in the box in this order:
- 1 divider — Daily
- 1 divider — Odd
- 1 divider — Even
- 7 dividers — Days of the Week (Sunday, Monday, etc.)
- 31 dividers — Numbered 1-31
Step Three: Copy onto index cards (or slips of paper) any verses your family already knows. Record both the reference and the text of the passage. If you don’t know any yet, don’t worry — you will very soon. Place the verses you already know behind the numbered dividers, distributing them evenly.
Next write cards or papers for verses you want to memorize. Put one verse card or paper behind the Daily divider; this will be the passage you’ll work on memorizing first. Then stack the rest of the verses to be learned in front of the Daily divider to learn at a later time. At the beginning, you won’t have any verses in the Odd and Even or Days of the Week slots. Don’t worry, they’ll fill in; see the next two steps.
Step Four: Each day you will say together the verses behind four dividers:
- Odd or Even
- Day of the Week
- Date of the Month
So if today is Tuesday, the 3rd, you will say the verses behind Daily, Odd (because 3 is an odd number), Tuesday, and 3. The next day (Wednesday, the 4th), you will say the verses behind Daily, Even, Wednesday, and 4. Keep in mind that only the verse behind Daily is a new one that you are memorizing; all the others are just review.
Step Five: As you master the verses behind the Daily divider, advance that card and move the replaced verses farther back in the box. So when you have memorized a Daily, move it behind either the Odd or Even divider. Move the verse that was in that Odd or Even slot back to a Day of the Week slot. And move the verse it replaces in the Day of the Week slot back behind a numbered divider. You can then put a new verse or passage to memorize behind the Daily divider and you’re ready to go again.
In this way, you will review a new verse every day, then graduate to every other day, once a week, and finally, once a month. Use the system every day of the month and you will review all the verses you know every month of the year! Of course, not all months have thirty-one days; the verses behind 31 will be reviewed seven months out of the year. We recommend putting verses that you know quite well behind that number since it gets reviewed less frequently.
When you have advanced enough verse cards that you have one placed behind each numbered divider, start at 1 again and add another card to each. Soon you’ll have several cards behind each numbered divider. And eventually, you’ll have memorized so many verses that you’ll have enough cards to expand to two boxes! What a wonderful milestone that will be!