A Parent’s Survival Guide to Recitations

It's a new year. Let's talk RECITATIONS. It's part of the Oakdale experience. For students, it means memorizing a selection of Scripture and something else that embraces the virtues and all that is true, good, and beautiful. Most of the students have completed their first recitation for the 2017-18 school year, but before you breathe too easily, there will be another coming up in the next few months. Here are some helpful hints in helping you to survive and even enjoy the experience.

  1. Know your student's recitation date. The recitation schedule is located on the Oakdale website in the parent portal under the documents.
  2. Choose early. Most students, especially younger students, need help in selecting a piece. Guidelines for age-appropriate selections are also in the documents folder located in the parent portal, along with a few resources.
  3. Choose wisely. Recitation isn't competition. We're going for a successful experience here that will help to build your kid's confidence over the years. Choose something that they can manage to do well. Some kids are going to be naturally better than others. You may have a younger kid who can fly through it and an older kid in your family who struggles. Focus on individual successes and building over the long haul.
  4. Start working! Successful recitations are usually done by students who have paced themselves, working on sections at a time. If you start early enough, just a few repetitions a day should be all that is needed.
  5. Try multi-sensory memorization techniques. Walking, standing, bouncing a ball, tapping feet, singing, and motions might all help your student with his memorization. Our brains like to get synapses firing with multiple input pathways, and these techniques can really be helpful – especially for young kids. Have your child practice with and without, so when it comes time for recitation at school, he is just as comfortable standing still as he is moving.
  6. Utilize "down" time. Sitting in the orthodontist's waiting room, in the car on the way to and from school, five minutes before bed and even during teeth-brushing, there are a lot of opportunities to work on recitations during our kids' days. My older kids used to put a copy of their recitation in a page-protector and tack it up in the shower for 10 minutes of daily practice.
  7. Remember...it's just another day at Oakdale. For a student who goes to all the way through Oakdale, that's 28 recitations over 14 years. Wow! Chances are, at some point, even the most reliable kid will have a "moment." Don't panic! Teachers are there to prompt and give hints. Even after what seems to be a particularly rough go, the lesson can sometimes simply be that life does in fact go on and probably by mid-morning, everyone will have forgotten. It's okay.
  8. On a practical note: If your student gets particularly nervous, go with a light breakfast and pack an extra snack that day. Some foods are helpful in calming nerves before performances, so try bananas or mild tea, or even peppermint gum on the way to school.
  9. Enjoy it! These are precious experiences and something to treasure – not to dread.

In short, recitation is a great experience and something that will help to sharpen your student's mind and enrich his soul. Hopefully, your soul is enriched as well.

In His service and for His glory—RG

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