I would like to expound on narration today because we don't want to skim over it. Chapter 16 talks about narration starting small. The Companion says, "Passages read aloud for narration are kept short in the beginning. Much later, a whole chapter will be narrated. It is a gradual work..."
In my experience, narration begins when children are young in such an informal way. "How did you sleep?" I ask my toddlers. And they tell back. Although children are not really narrating any text at this age, they are using vocabulary and explaining something back to you. That's important. Ages 2 and up...ask a lot of questions and wait patiently for responses. I always follow this rule for myself: Ask politely, and wait patiently.
As your child gets older start reading very short poetry, Verses, or simple text. Then close the book and ask your child to tell you about what you just read. I believe narration is also GREAT at teaching the habit of attention. Even listening perfectly for 2 minutes is wonderful!
In this chapter:
Schedule it in- Karen Andreola suggests we schedule our children to narrate once or twice per week. "Write it into the teacher's planner weekly", she says. In homes with a larger group of children, let each child take a portion to narrate.
Listening- Just as I mentioned about simple questions at lunch or supper can prompt casual narration.
Balking at narration- Did you see this question? What to do if a child "balks" at narration. Karen Andreola's response is, "If narration was commonplace he wouldn't balk". Such a simple answer. As your child grows, narration WILL be commonplace in your home if you practice casual narration as he/she grows :)
No balking qllowed- She suggests not allowing balking, not to even tolerate it. I believe this quiet authority is what guides children. "Drawing out children with the gentle positive force of the invitation..." I liked the words "gentle and positive" in regards to narration.
Vary the narrating-Charlotte Mason's schools offered a rich variety of opportunities to narrate. Picture study, drawing a picture of what they "see" when they hear a piece arranged by Mozart, writing in nature notebooks, are all forms of a child's narrating.
One reason for balking- Young children are so used to being read to without the "work" of narrating back. Let us remember we are not asking for any formal narration until our children are over the age of 6.
This section says, "Is this forcing children to learn? In a subtle way, yes, because it is something he is required to perform." I loved that. In my experience with narration, my children have not see it as work. Hard at times, yes, but not work. I have required narrations of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders. Every single time I ask them to "tell me" ,I see they wheels turning. It is simply amazing! I am quite strict about only reading the text once. Children under 3rd grade, I always tell them, " I am reading this once so listen.."
By 4th grade, your child will know the routine! That is the best part of homeschooling. You get the be their teacher every single year and they know what you expect.
Lastly, Critique. This is critical, I believe. Keep narration time positive! This is so important in the earlier years.
For my older students, I will sometimes correct pronunciations and details but I respectively wait until the end.
There are no chapter questions here but tell me your thoughts on narration. Is it new to you? Do you see the real benefit in narration? Talk about narration to me, friends...