Whenever you get together with family or friends, the conversation usually includes some variation of “Remember when?”

“Remember when we went canoeing and Mom had one foot in the canoe and one on shore and then she sorta did the splits real slooooooow?”

“Remember when we tried to cook an authentic Italian meal and dirtied almost every piece of cookware in the house?”

“Remember when we toured that cave and a bat flew right over our heads?”

Good times make good memories…and of course we remember them because we were there!

When I look back at my school years, though, I don’t honestly remember much. That’s a shame, especially since I spent 2160 days of my life there and the whole point of going was to remember stuff! But let’s face it, textbooks and homework assignments just aren’t that memorable.

You know what I DO remember about school?

I remember when my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Springs, let us hide bread slices in light places and dark places, moist places and dry places to see how long it took before they were all gross with mold.

I remember when my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Cathey, brought a coffee-dyed bedsheet and some broomsticks to school while we were studying Plains Indian tribes and let us build and decorate a teepee on the playground.

I remember when my high school choir director took us to competitions around the state, and we sang on the streets and drew a crowd on our way to the restaurant.

A textbook tells us what was important to someone else. A memory tells us something that was important to US.

Whenever children participate in their own learning process, they create a personal memory–a snapshot from their own life–that their mind associates with all they’ve learned to create an unforgettable educational experience.

When children participate in their own learning process, they create a personal memory--a snapshot--that their mind associates with all they've learned to create an unforgettable educational experience. Click To Tweet

The experience does not have to be elaborate, time-consuming, or expensive. It just has to be memorable.

  • Go someplace out of your ordinary routine. Visit a local business. Tour a museum, the zoo, or a local park.
  • Do something out of the ordinary. Cook a food that relates to something you’re reading. Dress up in homemade costumes and reenact an event in history.
  • Get dirty! Plant a garden. Build something. Play mad scientist and mix up an experiment. Take a jar to a pond to collect water then look at it under a magnifying glass or microscope to see what’s really in there.
  • Make family memories. Family read-alouds are among my children’s favorites. They remember every book we read together…but not a single television show we watched.

The days are long, but the years fly by. Pack them full of family memories. Have fun learning together! Each memory you make will draw your children closer and give them a personal reason to remember what you’re trying to teach them.