8008 Cardwell Hill
Corvallis, OR 97330
By Emerson Sandow
One of the tried and true methods of committing facts or basic concepts to memory is to sing them to a familiar melody. The alphabet song is the obvious example, but the imagination is the only limiter. A few years ago, Doug Eldon, a former school teacher, (who homeschooled his three children in their early years) imaginatively created a set of earth science and life science books, workbooks and a CD, putting the information to many familiar melodies, to make a complete science curriculum or excellent supplement for your child, age 9-15, called Lyrical Learning. Mr. Eldon has some of his scientist friends help him in an advisory capacity to ensure accuracy and thereafter, he himself, and then his wife, Dorry, wrote the lyrics that provide the information in a musical setting.
Basic concepts or facts are first listened to in the songs, then mentioned and defined in the book and workbook and then the songs are listened to, so that the vocabulary and idea of the subject matter are clear and easy to assimilate. An example is the scientific method. It can seem to be a rather complex subject, so Doug sets it down clearly in the book and then when the song “The Scientific Method” which is given to the student so s/he is already familiar with the concept and can commit its parts to memory with the music. The book then explains the scientific method in more detail using some of Louis Pasteur’s work as an example.
Singing information is successful for a variety of reasons, as Doug points out: It keeps the student’s attention. It stimulates the entire brain – the left side responding to language; the right side responding to music. Repetition is more interesting and fun when one is singing and it takes less time to commit a substantial amount of information to memory. Imagine how easy a test can be if you can sing the subject information to yourself . . . no more test nervousness!
Tunes such as “Dixie”, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” and “Oh, Susanna” have been creatively arranged and recorded by Bobby Horton and the vocal carries the messages that Mr. Eldon has written.
Some examples of the scientific material include: Bacteria to Birds; Mammals, Ecology & Biomes and The Human Body and in the Earth Science category, Geology. Mr. Eldon has also recently provided a free update to the Bacteria to Birds segment, covering more detailed information about how scientists classify living organisms. As a humorous sidenote, Mr. Eldon mentions that a three-year-old girl was singing one of the songs from Lyrical Learning in the supermarket and although she did not understand the words, she certainly caught the attention of nearby adults! We hopefully assume she is in a homeschooling family! E.S.