Topic | Is it time for written narration?

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  • set42geo
    Participant

    This is our first year of homeschooling although I have been reading the SCM and AO sites for years, “doing” homeschool-type activities after school and during summers, hoping to have an opportunity to implement CM principles full-time.

    DH is supportive of homeschooling; however, I’m the one who has done the research, chosen the curriculum, and I set the schedule. I am also the breadwinner of the household, working full-time, while DH is the primary homeschooling parent. He says that because I’m the one who has done all the research, he is willing to follow whatever homeschooling method I deem appropriate. In preparation for our homeschooling venture this year, I printed off several articles and e-books that covered the basics of CM, and read and discussed these with DH. He says he understands and agrees with the CM principles, but I know that implementing what one agrees with and understands is not always easy. I try to be gracious and give him leeway to implement things his own way or to switch things up — he is the one at home, after all.

    Narration is my biggest concern right now. We have one child, a daughter in grade 7 who is a prolific writer. She loves to read, loves to write, is incredibly creative — and she hates oral narration. This morning as DH was driving me to work, I happened to sit in back with dd; she thought this was a real treat. I asked about yesterday’s history reading and she started telling me a bit about what she remembered. I probed to see if she remembered anything more, and she began fishing up details, not necessarily chronologically, and correcting herself when she realized she’d gotten things wrong or out of order. While not a stellar example of narration, I thought she was doing okay for being put on the spot. Then dh in the front seat started shaking his head and audibly sighing. Her face fell and her narration became even choppier and less coherent. He kept shaking his head and eventually told her she needed to pay more attention to the readings so she could remember better.

    It took every ounce of restraint not to take him to task in front of her. It’s been several hours and I’m still pretty peeved about it. This is not the type of support and encouragement I envision for her oral narration efforts.

    All of that background for this question: Given that she is an excellent writer, is it appropriate for her to begin written narrations before she is proficient with oral narration? I originally insisted on oral narrations only, despite her age, because I want her to be able to formulate and present information orally — I already know she can do it in writing. But given the lack of appropriate support and encouragement, I’m wondering if it will work better in our situation to let her write her narrations first in order to process the information, and then have her present the information orally once or twice a week.

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you,
    Sarah

    Melanie32
    Participant

    Hi Sarah. Is there no way your husband would be willing to read up a bit on Charlotte Mason’s methods himself? I think it would be very difficult to be the primary educator and teaching with methods that are unfamiliar to you. I also don’t think one can properly teach Mason’s methods without a decent understanding of how and why they work.

    Alternatively, SCM sells a set of videos that lay out a CM education step by step. They are wonderful! If reading is not his thing, these videos may be more up his alley.

    However, if you know that neither of the above is going to happen, I think it’s a great idea to have your daughter go ahead and start written narrations. She’s plenty old enough to do so and it will give her a chance to polish them up a bit. However, you wouldn’t want to have her begin completing written narrations for every reading. Most CM educators begin with one written narration a week and slowly increase to one written narration a day in the high school years.

    Is there any way that you could have her narrate to you orally in the evenings?

    set42geo
    Participant

    Hi Melanie,

    Thank you for the tip about the SCM video series. That could be a way to approach things. 

    I agree that it is very difficult to implement a teaching method that you don’t fully understand–it’s hard enough when you DO understand! Despite my rant above, I am very grateful to my husband for being willing to take on this role as primary homeschool parent. And, as a former martial arts instructor, CM’s gentle approach is quite foreign to him. He has made a number of adjustments already this year and is willing to make more as needed, provided I can explain the change and the reasons behind it well enough.

    I will talk to him about beginning to implement written narrations as a way to help improve dd’s oral presentation skills. She has been putting her thoughts down on paper since she was 5yo, so writing is as natural for her as speaking, and often more comfortable. Perhaps when she has produced some excellent written narrations she will feel more confident with narration in general, and better able to speak her thoughts. While I realize this is “backwards” per CM, I think it might work with dd because she mastered the mechanics if the written word long ago–spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc. At this point, writing doesn’t get in her way, fear of speaking does.

    But you’re right that we can’t expect her to write every narration every day. We’ll have to find a happy medium that maintains an appropriate level of expectation for both written and oral narration.

    Blessings,

    Sarah

    bethanna
    Participant

    Some parents have children record a narration on a voice recorder.  Using that technique occasionally may help her if she is bothered by someone waiting, looking, listening.  I never liked public speaking either. 🙂

    set42geo
    Participant

    Great minds think alike, Bethanna! This was a suggestion I made to my dh several months ago, but at the time he felt like this would cut him out of the process and make him irrelevant. With the new year and an impending switch to new books, this might be a good time to bring it up again, especially since he is more familiar with the teaching process and the many options he has for remaining relevant!

    Ruralmama
    Participant

    Could you sit down with your dh without your daughter and respectfully and honestly discuss narration?

    Also would he want to read a Charlotte Mason companion by Karen andreola? It has 49 short chapters each easy to read and does a wonderful job of communicating the spirit of Charlotte’s ideas in an easy to read and peaceful way. Maybe you could each read it and discuss it together. I am reading it now and learning a lot from it.

    set42geo
    Participant

    Hi Roslyn,

    I appreciate your suggestions, and I so wish it was possible to sit down and have a discussion about narration with him. I don’t know if it’s the way I say things or the way he hears things, but the best way to make sure nothing happens the way I want is to try to talk to him about it.

    “It’s not a good idea unless it’s his idea.” It sounds cynical, but adopting this mindset has helped our communication tremendously over the years. As long as we’re learning something together, he is open to new ideas. The moment I try to pass along something I have learned, his immediate response is to object and try to poke holes in whatever it is or to figure out his own (better) way to accomplish the same thing. It’s funny because this is exactly the same complaint he has about his mother. Apples and trees, I guess.

    I’ve always prided myself on being a patient person, but I’m finding that I really still have a loooooong way to go! Reading or watching new information together and then discussing it is the best route — although it is only effective if it’s not a re-hash of something we’ve already been over. Heaven forbid we waste time covering the same territory a second time….

    Our library system doesn’t have a copy of the book you suggested, but I’ll see if I can find something suitable that brings a fresh perspective for us both.

    Thank you,

    Sarah

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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