Bible Time essential

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  • christine

    The best advice I could share regarding home education, and particularly CM method of doing so is that having the Bible time read alouds and having the children narrate naturally what they just heard makes all the difference in a day, and for life.
    I find it is essential since at the end of the day whether it was GREAT, or really bad 🙁 , you can know that God’s Word was shared together. Interestingly too, if Bible time/study is scheduled daily, it covers A L L of the wonderful other topics. Living Book, history, geography, science…the B I B L E has it all!!! Everything else is sprinkles on the iced cake! (or Tenderflake crust on the pie if you are a pie lover) 🙂
    Don’t miss Bible time. It’s awesome. We are gleaning tons from Numbers(just finished), and Deuteronomy (just started) in just 10-15 minutes each morning.
    In Christ,


    I totally agree with you, I never thought of asking for a narration from the bible reading that is a great idea, thanks. But how do you get your kids to narrate, my almost 7 year old try to repeat the last sentence I read identically word for word, and don’t mention anything else. Should I stop in the middle of the story and ask for a narration then instead of waiting till the end. Or should I probe the narration out of her. I’m having a hard time with narration in general. Any suggestions is greatly appreciated.

    If your dd is having a hard time with narration, start with rading just a sentence. If she just repeats it word for word (memorization, not narration), try doing narrations from Aesop’s Fables. They worked wonders for my narration-phobic son 🙂 Then, once your dd has gotten more comfortable with narrations, go back to having her narrate from your Bible time, just use a shorter section.

    Narration is a LOT harder than it seems! I am reading Orthodoxy by Chesterton, and while I am thoroughly enjoying it, it is HARD to narrate! The skill is not easy.

    Debi Z, CM mom to 11, ages 14-1


    I am very new to CM, and I love the idea of narration. I just don’t know if I’m implementing it correctly. Half the time, I feel like I am just giving an oral quiz. Is it okay to prompt with questions, or should I leave all the talking up to her? (P.S. My daughter is 7 years old.) Any advice in this area would be helpful!


    Hi, I really liked Diane Lopez’s recommendation in Teaching Children which says, in essence:

    1. Review the passage read previously.

    2. Present background material for the new passage – She has detailed instructions here, but for younger children it involves reading an accurate pictorial account from a Bible storybook. We use Catherine Vos’.

    3. Reading is discussed.

    4. I will quote here because I love this part, “The teacher then reads reverently, carefully, and with expression the incident of definite teaching directly from the Bible. The passage should not be too long and should be read only once.”

    5. Immediately following the reading the children narrate.

    I hope this is helpful.





    Here is a section about narrating from CM own book Vol 1.

    This was eye opening to me when I read it plus it is from

    the “horses mouth” so to speak =o)

    Be Blessed

    Angie in GA

    vol 1 pg 231

    IX.––The Art of Narrating

    Children Narrate by Nature.––Narrating is an art, like poetry-making or painting, because it is there, in every child’s mind, waiting to be discovered, and is not the result of any process of disciplinary education. A creative fiat calls it forth. ‘Let him narrate’; and the child narrates, fluently, copiously, in ordered sequence, with fit and graphic details, with a just choice of words, without verbosity or tautology, so soon as he can speak with ease. This amazing gift with which normal children are born is allowed to lie fallow in their education. Bobbie will come home with a heroic narrative of a fight he has seen between ‘Duke’ and a dog in the street. It is wonderful! He has seen everything, and he tells everything with splendid vigour in the true epic vein; but so ingrained is our contempt for children that we see nothing in this but Bobbie’s foolish childish way! Whereas here, if we have eyes to see and grace to build, is the ground-plan of his education.

    Until he is six, let Bobbie narrate only when and what he has a mind to. He must not be called upon to tell anything. Is this the secret of the strange long talks we watch with amusement between creatures of two, and four, and five? Is it possible that they narrate while they are still inarticulate, and that the other inarticulate person takes it all in? They try us, poor dear elders, and we reply ‘Yes,’ ‘Really!’ ‘Do you think so?’ to the babble of whose meaning we have no comprehension. Be this as it may; of what goes on in the dim region of ‘under two’ we have no assurance. But wait till the little fellow has words and he will ‘tell’ without end to

    vol 1 pg 232

    whomsoever will listen to the tale, but, for choice, to his own compeers.

    This Power should be used in their Education.–– Let us take the goods the gods provide. When the child is six, not earlier, let him narrate the fairy-tale which has been read to him, episode by episode, upon one hearing of each; the Bible tale read to him in the words of the Bible; the well-written animal story; or all about other lands from some such volume as The World at Home [See Appendix A]. The seven-years-old boy will have begun to read for himself, but must get most of his intellectual nutriment, by ear, certainly, but read to him out of books. Geography, sketches from ancient history, Robinson Crusoe, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Tanglewood Tales, Heroes of Asgard, and much of the same calibre, will occupy him until he is eight. The points to be borne in mind are, that he should have no book which is not a child’s classic; and that, given the right book, it must not be diluted with talk or broken up with questions, but given to the boy in fit proportions as wholesome meat for his mind, in the full trust that a child’s mind is able to deal with its proper food.

    The child of eight or nine is able to tackle the more serious material of knowledge; but our business for the moment is with what children under nine can narrate.

    Method of Lesson.––In every case the reading should be consecutive from a well-chosen book. Before the reading for the day begins, the teacher should talk a little (and get the children to talk) about the last lesson, with a few words about what is to be read, in order that the children may be animated by

    vol 1 pg 233

    expectation; but she should beware of explanation and, especially, of forestalling the narrative. Then, she may read two or three pages, enough to include an episode; after that, let her call upon the children to narrate,––in turns, if there be several of them. They not only narrate with spirit and accuracy, but succeed in catching the style of their author. It is not wise to tease them with corrections; they may begin with an endless chain of ‘ands,’ but they soon leave this off, and their narrations become good enough in style and composition to be put in a ‘print book’!

    This sort of narration lesson should not occupy more than a quarter of an hour.

    The book should always be deeply interesting, and when the narration is over, there should be a little talk in which moral points are brought out, pictures shown to illustrate the lesson, or diagrams drawn on the blackboard. As soon as children are able to read with ease and fluency, they read their own lesson, either aloud or silently, with a view to narration; but where it is necessary to make omissions, as in the Old Testament narratives and Plutarch’s Lives, for example, it is better that the teacher should always read the lesson which is to be narrated.


    Wow, thank you, Angie! That was exactly what I needed to hear! Every time I read or hear an excert of CM’s original works, it makes me want to get my hands on them! I have been doing narration completely wrong; miserable for me and my 7 yo daughter. I hope everyone is enjoying this forum as much as I am! I have been having such a hard time finding people in my area using this philosophy. This kind of information and experience sharing is exactly what I was looking for! Faith 🙂


    Dear Glori,

    Lots of great responses have been posted since I last wrote so hopefully you have gleaned lots of great info. (thanks ladies –it’s wonderful).

    Glori,responding to your first post, you can say to your 7 year old something like, “Great”, you told me the last line of that wonderful Bible passage. Thank you…now, I would like you to tell me what I read from the beginning to the end.” If they make a fuss about this, just start with shorter passages first and build up. Reviewing, as mentioned in one of the posts above, is a good thing to start concentration for the next passage, and prayer first before that helps too. All the best. Just make the whole time relaxing and fun. Not, “o.k. sit down, let’s do this Bible reading I want you to narrate after I read the passage.” But, in choosing, reading ahead, even five minutes before they hear it, will give you time to think about how you will read to them.

    Thanks for all the great postings Angie, hvfth99 and others. I moved from a place where there was a GREAT CM group to a place

    where there doesn’t even seem to want one 🙁 so this forum is a gift from God. Blessings, Christine


    We have been doing Bible Episodes that Penny Gardner has on her site. We have learned so much. Next year we will follow the SCM schedule for Bible as we will be starting over with Module 1.

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