Narration. I realized just recently that I never fully completed my post in OK So Here's The Plan about how we like to do Narration here at Sweetness and Light. So instead of leaving you all hanging, I thought I'd do a bit of housekeeping here at the blog and finish up some business!!
We (read I) really enjoy Narration as part of the home education process. If a child cannot narrate, they do not know. Period! Now if they are stubborn (have one) and refuse to narrate, or hem and haw about it, then they are just being lazy and most likely pulling a bit of a power struggle on you. This may or may not be the case in your situation, but at some point in your home schooling journey, one of your dear children will inevitably balk at narration (for lack of a better term)!
My concept is to call it something else while you get over this hurdle. Make it a game, like "Can you tell me how many ducks were following Mrs. Mallard to the Public Gardens?" Or "What did Lucy discover on the other side of the Wardrobe?" These kinds of questions are intriguing enough for the reluctant narrator to eek out a little bit of information so you can gauger whether they were really listening or not!
And isn't that what Narration is all about?? If they listen carefully and attentively the first go around, they will be able to narrate and truly know the piece in question. And as Charlotte Mason so aptly put it, "Knowledge is power..." To true, and to convey this to our little pupils while they are young, narrating back ANY bit of information will be like second nature and not something to abhor!
Here is a sample Narration from each of my schooled dear children:
The Ladybug: The Ladybug is like half of a ball, with six legs on the flat part. They are red or yellow, with black spots, or black, with yellow or red spots. When you touch a ladybug, it will roll on it's back playing dead. Then, after about a minute, it waves its legs in the air to try and get itself on it's feet. When she cleans herself, she begins with her front legs and then her middle and her hind legs, nibbling off every grain of dust. Once I thought I saw a ladybug cleaning itself.
In the Spring, the mother ladybug lays her eggs everywhere, on plants and bushes, etc. When the larva hatches it goes out to hunt for food. They are black with yellow and orange spots. They have six warts on each segment which makes them look very rough. They eat aphids and scale insects. They shed their skin several times and then they hang from a branch or something and shed their skin again. It is a pupa for a few days, and then when it comes out it is a full grown ladybug. It will find a little nook somewhere and hibernate there for the winter. In the spring, if it is a female ladybug, it will lay all her little eggs to start the life cycle again. (Narrated by Violet from Handbook of Nature Study, February 12, 2007)
Earth: Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only planet supporting life forms. As far as we know, Earth exists because of two reasons, it has liquid water on its surface and it supports life. God created the Earth to support life and designed it for us to live and survive.
The Earth is made up of six layers. The atmosphere, the crust, the upper-mantle, the rocky-mantle, the molten-metallic outer core, and the solid metal core. Earth's atmosphere is 125 miles high. It contains the troposphere, the ozone layer, and the stratosphere.
As Earth spins in its orbit, its axis slowly rotates. It takes twenty-four hours to make on day and 365 days to complete one orbit of the Sun. Earth has one moon and it illuminates the Earth by night as the Sun illuminates Earth by day. Narrated by Matthias from the Visual Science Encyclopedia, February13, 2007)
These Narrations are pretty simple, and only a small bit of reading was done for each so that the retention level remained high. Most of the children's narrations are accompanied by pictures they draw (which for the younger crowd is a narration in itself).
I look forward to hearing about how you approach Narration in your home school, it is a mainstay of our Charlotte Mason Education!!