If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Thursday, February 25, 2016


image courtesy of hearinghealthmatters.org
One of my favorite Charlotte Mason "tools" is the art of narration. Simply put, narration is "narration is retelling in your own words", allowing a child to tell you what they have learned. Narrations can be verbal, written, acted out, drawn/painted... so many options!

Narration is something I have used all along, and still use, even with teenagers. For example, I leave the kids notes every morning that I work. Today's note asked them to each read or watch something to do with science, and that I will expect them to tell me something about it later. That's a very simplistic approach to narration, one of the most basic. It is certainly easy to implement!

Sometimes I ask for more involved narrations, usually written. They can write a story, or a summary. The Girl writes a lot of short stories, and illustrates them. She's spontaneously made art projects that go with what she learned, such as a 3D frog life cycle collage. The Boy tends to be more straightforward in his approach—he'll write a summary, or an outline of facts. Sometimes though, he'll render an image of something he studied in Blender, and he has notebooks full of diagrams, conversion charts, and things of that nature.

Why use narration?

First of all, it naturally teaches the kids to summarize... at least a little, though as anyone who has listened to kids talk about their interests know, they can really give a lot of detail!

Secondly, telling back what they have learned cements it more firmly in their minds.

Thirdly, it is a form of feedback that can be expressed in so many ways. Tests don't generally allow as many creative approaches! And narration lets kids add in more of what they do know, even from ideas/readings/other things that may at first seem unrelated. Tests don't have that flexibility.

I'm eager to hear about what my kids learned this morning!

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