Jacob can do really well in school when he wants to. He has totally amazed me lately with his ability to remember things. I knew Caleb has a great memory, but Jacob always plays around and seems not to listen. Surprise! He does hear!
Since Awana has started back up for the school year, we've incorporated it into our school studies again. First thing each morning, the boys sit at the table with their Awana books and look over their verses. Caleb reads well, so I don't have to be right on top of his work, but I do work with him on everything. Jacob is learning to read, so I have to read each story to him and go over each verse word for word.
Jacob learned his first verse (John 3:16) in two days. We practiced it all last week to be sure he wouldn't forget it when he had book time at church. As it turned out, the Sparks didn't work on verses much last week. I think they were getting into their groups for the year and learning what to do. When I asked him if he said his verse, he told me, "No, Crazy Kevin said we didn't have to say them." (Crazy Kevin is the Sparks director.) Instead of just working on the same verse all week, I decided we'd go ahead and start working through his book. He could recite his next verse (1 John 4:14) after I had read it to him only 2 times! When we went over both verses today, he could say them both with no help. So we went on to his next verse, Psalm 147:5. I figured he might need to hear it several time and practice saying it with me, but he went right on after just two readings and said it all word for word. We reviewed his other two verses, which he said without any help, then repeated the new verse again. No problems whatsoever! Wow! If he continues on at this rate, he'll finish the book in no time!
Caleb is doing really well with his verses, too. I gave him (well, both of them) a card file box and a stack of index cards. I'll write their new verses on the card, with the references on the backs, so they can recite them and check to see if they're right. They file the card away by book (J for Jeremiah, John, and 1 John, etc.). Later when it's time to review, they know right where to find them. In the past I would write Caleb's verses out on large index cards with different colored markers. Then I'd cut the verses into phrases of 3 or 4 words for him to put in order. After a day or so, I'd cut them into smaller sections, until by Friday they'd be down to individual words. By then he can put the whole verse together. He loves puzzles, so that method really works for him. I'm not sure if I'll need to do that with Jacob, though. He seems to get things quickly by just hearing them. Caleb is more of a visual/kinesthetic learner like I am.