One particular subject I have been rereading about is the Art of Narration. I have read about it before but have never intentionally applied for the sake of Charlotte Mason. I have always regularly had my children tell me what they learned in Primary and what they read in their scriptures that morning. Now I am seeing value in branching out to include narration in other aspects of our lives.
First off narration is essentially the telling back of what a child as learned either from a book, another person, or observing something in nature for example. Children are invited to retell what they learned. At first this my be difficult but over time children will learn to express themselves better. In Charlotte Mason this replaced endless workbook pages (which I doubt they had then anyway). Oral traditions of retelling are as old as time and narrations are a continuation of these ideas. I think perhaps we as a society are loosing hold of our oral traditions and oral story-telling ability?
Continuing on with Charlotte some of the benefits included:
- Mind filled with beautiful thoughts from beautiful words or visual observations
- Helps the child to retain the information learned
- Inspires a love of learning
- Strengthens mental powers
- There is no extra test, that is the test
- Trains children to listen the first time
- Improves there ability to express themselves
- Sets them up for being excellent writers
- Tell me about: the habits of the squirrel, Columbus' first voyage across the Atlantic, the last plague on Egypt and the first Passover, Heidi's visit with Peter's grandmother, etc.
- Explain how: a polliwog turns into a frog, a rose is pollinated, a sedimentary rock is formed, Pocahontas saved the life of John Smith, Jesus healed the blind man, the Magna Carta came to be written, how bread is made, etc.
- Describe our: trip to the shore, nature walk, visit to the fire station, planetarium experience, etc.
- Describe anything new you just learned from this chapters
- Tell me five things you learned about...
- Tell back the story (passage, episode, chapter) in your own words
- Ask or write six questions covering the material of this chapter (good for an older student)
- Draw a picture, map or likeness of....
- What did you learn about... in this chapter (The Wright Brothers, Sarah Noble, Abigail Adams, Martin Luther, Queen Elizabeth, Captain Ahab, Pinocchio, etc)
My husband and I have pledged that we will place an emphasis on this now. Even if I just had them narrate the book we are reading a loud it would make a difference.
Most of this information was gleaned from Karen Andreola's book mentioned above from pages 113 through 137.