Sunday, March 17, 2013

More on Memorization - Using Evernote

As I have mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Evernote for homeschool planning.  I have a notebook for each year of school, and I keep my plans for that year (PDFs, files,  links, checklists, bookslists) all divided into notes by subject.  It makes it so easy to have all those disparate resources in one place, easily accessible and filed by topic and age.

Another way I'm using Evernote this year is for our memory work.  I read a long while back about the Simply Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System, and it seemed like a wonderful way to organize all of our memory work, not just Bible verses.  Since we would be using it for so much, I knew we would quickly outgrow an index card file, so I planned on using a binder to contain it all, with dividers marked as suggested by SCM (evens, odds, days of the week, days of the month, daily).  I had it all set up and ready to go...and then I realized how much simpler it would be to keep it all paperless.  And what better way to organize it all than in Evernote?


So I have a Memory Work "notebook," with individual notes in place of the dividers.  Within these notes are all the hymns, folk songs, poems, prayers, sayings, verses, and so on that we have learned--song lyrics,  poems, music files of the songs we own, YouTube links for the songs we don't.  Each day, I click through the notes and we recite or sing the assignments for that day.  Tomorrow's memory work, for example, will be the following:

Daily - "Hymn of the Republic," "Ave Maria" (chant version), Pledge of Allegiance, Charlotte Mason motto, Emily Dickinson's "It's All I Have to Bring Today," Carl Sandburg's "Between Two Hills," Tennyson's "The Owl"

Even - "I've Been Working on the Railroad," Tennyson's "The Eagle," Carroll's "The Crocodile"

Monday - "Hark the Herald Angels Sing"

The 18th of the Month - "Asperges Me," Stevenson's "The Gardener"

This all takes about five minutes a day, usually during breakfast because the littles love singing along and listening to the "big kids" recite.  I love that it's all right there for me to just scroll through, and it's very easy to cut-and-paste the files back and forth between notes as needed.  I plan later on to include art prints and music selections from past studies, as well as our Italian songs, poems, and nursery rhymes.  The convenience and simplicity of this system is just wonderful, and I imagine using it in this way for many years to come.

40 comments:

  1. I too, am running out of space in a card file!

    I have evernote, the free version, but have not done much with it lately. I think if I were to shift over to something like this - and I think I would like to, I would need to upgrade...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sara--I have the free version as well, and I'm able to fit all I need on it. And like I said, I use it for tons of homeschool planning, bookmarking, and more. If I'm remembering right, there's just a monthly upload allowance, which I have only hit once, and that was when I was uploading several very large pdfs...so music files, images, text, and whatnot haven't been a problem so far. Good luck if you end up trying it out. It has been really helpful for us here!

      Delete
  2. i use evernote off and on, but i might try to do a better job about using it efficiently! if i do, and i post about it, i'm totally linking back to you as my inspiration ;)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Are you able to use evernote if you are on an area where you can't access the internet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Barbra--Yes, I think you can: http://blog.evernote.com/blog/2011/08/10/did-you-know-how-to-access-notes-without-an-internet-connection/

      Delete
    2. Going to try and set this up but not sure how to get audio into Evernote.

      Delete
    3. Mrs. Mandy - Do you mean like mp3 files? To attach an audio file, you click on the little paperclip icon on the toolbar just above the note, and then you can choose which file from your computer you would like to attach. Once it loads, a clickable image with a little play arrow will appear in the note itself, and you can play it straight from there. For songs we don't own, I just insert a hyperlink to a YouTube video. There is also a little microphone icon in that same toolbar that lets you record your speaking/singing right then and there to add to the file. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  4. Do you set up different notebooks for odd/even, days of the week and monthly, or do you just move them around under headings within one memory notebook in Evernote? We have memory binders for each child with hymns we've learned so they can see the music but it seems all of your memory work is oral. Do I have that right? I have an iPad and Evernote account but have not fully utilized it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Amanda! I have one "notebook" titled Memory Work, and then a separate "note" for each of the dividers in SCM system (Daily, Odds, Evens, etc.). Into that note, I paste each selection. When it needs to be moved from Daily to Odds, for example, I just cut it from Daily and paste it into Odds. Does that make sense? (If not, let me know!) And yes, ours is oral. I don't allow my kids to look at the lyrics--I have them sing from memory. I do, however, play the mp3 for them, so they have something to sing along to. And I have the lyrics in the note for my own reference. ;)

      Delete
    2. Thanks, I couldn't see your screenshot very well from my phone. Seeing it on the bigger screen gives me a better idea. So you have a note for each of the review days of the month plus daily, etc. and your memory work is filed that way. I was thinking a different note for each item, but that makes more sense. Thanks for sharing! I am so impressed with your homeschool, especially with so many littles and all 7 and under.

      Delete
    3. Yes, the only reason I decided not to do a note for each item was that it would require more clicking, which can slow us down. But I think you could do it that way as well, with notes for the items, then notebooks for the dividers, then a "stack" of notebooks as the whole "binder." :)

      Delete
  5. Wow! I never thought of doing it in Evernote, but I LOVE the ability to link straight to the audio or video selection. Thanks so much for sharing. This is brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm not familiar with Evernote, but it's a great idea to include everything all together - do you know what the difference would be if I used something I already had? Could this work, for example, in a Word document or a notes program? What makes Evernote such a good choice for you? Thanks for thoughts! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christie,

      In my opinion, there are a couple essential aspects of Evernote that make it perfect for this application:

      :: You can organize your information into notebooks and notes that are independently clickable. So, for example, you see how my notes are lined up there on the left in that top image? I can click from daily to odd to Monday to the 23rd without having to scroll or search at all. That's important for ease of use.

      :: I can embed images, mp3s, links, and pdf documents right into the note. So I can play my hymn and folk song mp3s from right inside Evernote. I can also have a pdf of song lyrics embedded in.

      And a non-essential but very handy bonus: It is portable since it's in the cloud! So I can do memory work while we're in the car on the way to an appointment/meet-up, which I very often do.

      So, a notes program like One Note would probably work. (I haven't seen One Note, but I think it operates the same as Evernote? Not sure.) I wouldn't try to do something like this in Word because the file would get unwieldy and becomes less and less functional the more "notes" you add in.

      Hope that helps!

      Delete
  7. Hi Celeste!
    Since you originally wrote this post, and now that you are doing several years of AO at the same time, have you made any adjustments to how you do your memory work in EVernote? Really, it would all be family work except the poetry, so maybe more students doesn't really change anything. Just wondering, over time, if you've had to tinker with anything?

    I was trying to do keep the memory work in Evernote, but couldn't keep up with rotating everything so often, so now I just have a note for our monthly songs. I would like to make some improvements now that we have this down. I just need to get in a rhythm of updating and moving things:)

    So helpful to read all your documentation of how things work in your home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jenny!

      Yes, we are still doing our memory work just this same way. The kids do their memory work together other than poetry, and I just keep each person's poems in the appropriate note and then the person whose poem it is recites when called on. I haven't really changed anything at all. I will say, though, that I don't find myself using the Evens-Odds as often as we used to--I now just switch things straight from Daily to a Day of the Week note and the once-weekly review is enough for us before moving it to monthly. It also cuts our memory work time a bit. ;)

      Let me know if that was unclear (it might very well might be!) or if you have other questions! :)

      Delete
  8. I enjoy seeing what works for families over time. We hadn't really added anything to the monthly tabs yet, but a 10 min review was turning into a LONG task. I can see where skipping even/odd would help.

    Where I've landed so far is to put our monthly songs into Evernote and listen during lunch. If we get a chance, we listen to old playlists. We review Scripture each morning as a family after we read the Bible together. We've been doing poetry reading and review at lunch, before our monthly songs. It's all working well right now, but as we start to accumulate more review, I've been wondering a sustainable way to go over that.

    We are hoping to have some family sing-alongs around the campfire this summer to enjoy our folksongs, and we spend Sabbath morning singing our hymns together. We'll see what stand the test of time;)

    Blessings to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. monthly songs= our new folksongs (AO list and your American list) and hymn we're learning

      Delete
    2. Yes, as you go along, there is more and more to review, and it does take a bit longer. I budget more than ten minutes for our memory work now--more like fifteen daily, including "recitation" (which is what I call reviewing past selections) and "memory work" (which is what I call what we're currently learning). We usually do it all at once, along with calisthenics (what I call "Memory Work and Movement" ;)).

      We do, however, do songs at another time: hymns during Morning Prayers and folk songs in the car. :) I plug my phone into the van speakers, pull up Evernote, and play our songs from there, and the kids sing along. That cuts quite a bit of time off of our reviewing--it would be much longer if we were reviewing songs too.

      Anyway, thank you for sharing how you're doing it! I have plans to make a CD of our favorite folk song versions and our favorite hymns and just have them playing in the car any time we're out. I love the campfire idea! :)

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the clarification. Yeah, the songs add a lot of time. This would definitely make it more manageable. I think somewhere you wrote that your recitation is poetry, Scripture, Shakespeare?? Can you tell I've been looking for ideas?! :) I like the playlist of your favorite version on CD! I have been using car time for audio books, but it's getting tough to hit all age ranges adequately. Often the Littles tune out b/c it's over their heads (then they start making noise). We regularly land on Your Story Hour Bible. It's been a great way to cement Bible stories. We've also done some audio Spanish. Anyway, I should throw in some music. That would be fun for all.
      Blessings~

      Delete
    4. Yes, that's right, other than hymn and folk song, we always have selections going in Bible, poetry, and Shakespeare. We also memorize prayers (one new one about every month), but that is part of our morning/evening prayer time, so they aren't included in our Evernote memory work.

      And I am with you on audiobooks in the car! I love listening there, but then the baby starts fussing, the toddler starts shrieking, and my preschoolers and telling jokes and giggling...and none of us can here! Songs keep us all entertained and it's okay if there's a little background noise. ;) We do audiobooks on long trips, though, because the littles usually nap. :)

      Delete
  9. Might I mention some favorites in the songs category? Wee Sing around the Campfire is a family favorite for decades! Tom Chapin is a great folk song writer/singer (brother of singer Cat's in the Cradle!) We find his songs super fun and a must have on car trips. Hope you try them out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the recommendations, Susie! :)

      Delete
  10. I am intrigued by your system. I do have some questions. Simply Charlotte Mason's Scripture Memory System seems set up to begin with all the children memorizing one Bible verse. How do you modify this system to memorize at least multiple categories of items, hymns, poetry, prayers, folk songs, etc? How do you further modify it to accommodate having children in different years/grades? How does it look when you begin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are always learning something in each category. So each day, we go over our current selections: each person's poem, our hymn or folk song (we alternate days), a Bible passage, and a bit of Shakespeare. Then we do our review of previous pieces using the filing system. Once we've learned one of our new pieces, it gets moved from Daily to Odd/Even and we replace it with something new in that category. And once pieces are moved into the review section, I don't distinguish by category or by person. I hope that makes sense!

      Delete
    2. This is very helpful. Thank you!

      Delete
  11. This is so helpful. Thank you!

    Years ago, Evernote overwhelmed me, since I usually prefer to manipulate papers, rather than digital files. I am giving it more thought, though. I'm always annoyed with the time it takes me to grab my iPad or computer mid-memory work to pull up a music file or YouTube; Evernote is awfully appealing in that way.

    Do your children ever see their previously memorized work in writing? What do you consider to be the benefits/drawbacks to giving a child an individual "memory work" binder, filled with print-outs of the work (s)he has memorized. For example, as a passage or song is memorized, a printed copy of that work goes into the child's special binder. I can see my daughter loving something like this for personal use and reflection, not for reference during memory work/review time.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Another thought, Celeste: do you keep a categorized master list elsewhere? I think I would be confused long-term about our memory work if I didn't have a master list divided into categories. I suppose if I made a binder for each child, this would serve that purpose; in the binder, I could utilize category dividers/tabs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Maria! I too usually prefer paper over digital for our schoolwork. But the wonderful thing about having our memory work "binder" in Evernote is that it comes along with us. We very often do our memory work in the car, and I love having that option. I also find it works so smoothly to have those digital files linked right there, as you mentioned.

      I print out copies of each selection we are working on for my kids' binders, so they see it in print while they're learning it, but after that, I usually discard the copies. My children illustrate the poems they have memorized and add them to our family poetry binder, so we keep those, and it's a lovely keepsake. I don't think there are any drawbacks to keeping previously-learned pieces except for the paper clutter aspect. ;) I do think my kids would enjoy that, though, and I'm going to consider that for the future.

      I do have a categorized list--I keep it here on the blog actually!
      http://joyouslessons.blogspot.com/p/memory-work-index.html

      Hope that helps!

      Delete
  13. This might be what it takes to get me to delve into Evernote! This looks brilliant, and I have been wondering how to fit longer things into a card box. :p I like that you can have links, too. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha -- It seriously is so streamlined doing it this way, Helen! And it makes it easy to do our recitation on the go (like, on the drive to the beach ;)).

      Delete
    2. Do you do it on your phone? A tablet? My desktop is clunky, which is why I have never jumped in to making it happen.

      Delete
    3. For me, it's easier to set up the notebook on my desktop/laptop (since that's where I store my mp3 files, etc.), and then once it is set up, I can access it from my phone and/or tablet. But you could set it up on your mobile device also, I think.

      Delete
  14. I need to re-visit Evernote (again!). How often are you copying and pasting? Each day it seems like, or more like once a week? Do you retire things out of the 31 days as they are fully memorized?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, they stay in the 30 days for good, which is how they get reviewed. I am only copy and pasting maybe once a month -- just when we have finished learning something and it moves from Daily into one of the Date notes. Does that make sense?

      Delete
    2. Yes thank you! I think where I'm getting confused is just with how memory work "works". I thought that something new comes in each day, a single new verse or poem for example (and so each day something moves out into Tuesday and then every Tuesday something new comes in and the old gets moved to a number and then it stays there until it's memorized and then it's either kept in rotation for practice or retired.) But it sounds like you start off, let's say, with a set of memory work in the daily category (your verse, hymn, song, etc.). The poems are also in the child's binder so they can read and memorize on their own. You work on each piece until it's memorized by the kids (all kids?) and then it moves to day of the week and a new item replaces it (yes!?)? So a longer hymn or Bible passage might sit in Daily longer than the pledge of allegiance. I've been trying to so hard to get something going for memory and recitation and I fear I'm overthinking it. Currently I've been sitting in front of my old Evernote account trying to figure out how to make a stack (wah! precious time!.

      Delete
    3. Yes, Karen -- that's exactly right!

      And although you certainly CAN use stacks, I don't -- I just created multiple "notes," one for each category, in one Memory Work "notebook," and I cut and paste the selections into the notes. But that's just one way to do it! :)

      Delete
    4. Many many thanks Celeste. I think I now see how I can do this in my home. And I think I have at last begun a small, modest Evernote system for homeschooling (still working on the stacks!). :)

      Delete