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EFSAP Memory Expansion Program Review by Jennifer King

Meadowbrook Educational Services, Inc.

I have always loved to learn and the goal for our homeschool is that our children will also develop a love of learning. It’s easier said than done though; especially when there are struggles in the process of learning. When it’s so hard to focus and pay attention to what is before them, learning becomes anything but fun. So I was so very excited to be given the opportunity to review the Memory Expansion Program from Meadowbrook Educational Services, Inc. For this review we received a box of magnetic squares and also a larger box of foam squares, in a variety of colors. Also included was a magnetic “board” to lay out the colored squares within sessions.

This is an interactive program. The exercises within this program are meant to help children learn while also strengthening their skills in attending, focus and concentration even amidst distractions (and are there many of those in our little home). The purpose of this program is to help our children learn how to remember and work with information while strengthening their skills in listening and following direction. Without a doubt I know these are very important skills for my children to have.

The Interactive Exercises for Sequential & Working Memory manual which was provided for this review was simply astounding.  I found quite a bit of information to encourage the use of this program as well as very detailed instructions regarding how to use this for the greatest benefit. I learned so much too about how cognitive skills are built. The manual provides recommendations on how to schedule your work, set behavior goals, keep the children actively involved, and even how we (the instructor) are to speak. If you aren’t familiar with these terms, there is no need to worry because this manual also provides all you need to know about sensory memory, what focus really is, auditory sequential memory, and how each form of memory can benefit from this program. This can be used with children from 5 years old all the way up. My oldest son even used this with me and had so much fun (he is 10). I cannot say enough how impressed I was, and how much I have learned, since I just began reading the manual.

It’s amazing how much goes into preparing our children to learn. I admit to having neglected this part of learning with my children. But this program covers that too! I just love how they speak about the “window for learning”.  This is the time our body is relaxed and our mind is alert; this is also the time that we are most able to focus and attend to learning. For those who struggle with visual and auditory processing, there are a couple methods they include to help teach our children how to engage (these are grounding/focusing techniques). Have we prepared our students to learn? They offer some very informative and telling insight into this with Preparing Your Students to Learn.”  As a lover of classical music this really encouraged me to use it more to prepare the way for learning. With a couple different exercises to assist them in relaxing and to have focus of their mind’s attention. This is something that I honestly had never considered before and as we have engaged more in preparing to learn, I have seen greater learning take place.

On the first day I used this with my children (my boys are 10 and 7, my daughter is 5) we completed both the Visual Digit Span test as well as the Auditory Digit Span test. We used the forms provided in the appendix to track each one of my children’s results and then took a break for the day. Exercises range from concentration to chunking to sequential memory and visual sequential memory exercises. There are also a variety of advanced sequencing memory exercises; this program includes a script for each exercise so that you know exactly what to say and do as you go through the various aspects of this program.

The following day we began our sessions, about 10-15 minutes with my younger two and a half an hour with my older son. We did this once a day, four to five days a week; with my older son I increased our time a bit each day since the program recommended up to 1 hour per day for his age.  As recommended, we began each session with grounding exercises (Brian’s Back or the Reading Flower) for about 2 minutes. From there we would begin our exercises. One visual, one auditory exercise for each session.

My oldest son impressed me, being able to remember and order up to nine blocks at a time. My daughter has been able to recall 3-5 and my other son is able to remember 6-7 in a session. As for me, I can recall between 4-5 blocks. I think I need to use this more myself. Regardless I am quite impressed with how this really has taken my kids, all three big ones, to a whole new level when it comes to memorizing things. And even their recall has improved since we began using this. I love this program and we are going to be using this for some time!

-Product review by Jennifer King The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2016