It is amazing! When I first heard about this I thought, "No way. Why would you want to put your child through that? What if they try but fail? Could anyone seriously recite all that information?" I have proofed three additional children, in addition to Madeline, over the past couple years. They can do it, and it blows my mind. My policy for our family is for memory master to be a requirement for their 4th, 5th, and 6th grade years. If they want to do it before then that is fine, but I won't push it. I think there is a maturity level that is necessary to make it their own. I do not have the time or capacity to drill the information with them constantly. I will help out if asked and we review every week as a family. But, it is their responsibility to be memory master ready. Now, I still get nervous when it comes to proofing time but I know this is an invaluable experience for them. The purpose of the experience is to become a master, which doesn't mean it has to be absolutely perfect. At first this seems contradictory or a little ambiguous. But when a child starts rolling out the information, it is obvious whether they know (have mastered) the material. It is not possible to cram for this. It needs to be in long term memory, no short term processing. There are high standards, but it is not a terrifying experience because it is with people who love you and are cheering for you. I think this is also where the maturity level needs to be assessed again. It may be that they try but do miss too many and fail. Will they be able to handle that? Will I be able to handle that?
The lessons learned, hard work put in, tears cried, and studying instead of playing are all worth it. It seems that in our modern culture and education system, self esteem is a big issue. Yes, I want my children to feel good about themselves. I want them to be self confident. I want them to know that God created them perfectly and has great plans for their life. I believe that the most effective way to instill self esteem in a child is to give them a hard task, watch them have to really struggle or work at it, and conquer it. They can see through the telling them that they did a good job all the time, especially if it is a false congratulations. But they know when they have worked hard and really accomplished something. And let me tell you, memory master is difficult.
Madeline still has her big proof left, with her tutor. I think she'll make it, but will be so grateful when this is done. I can't wait to see how the foundation of all this fascinating information she is memorizing blossoms in her future studies.