Topic | narration, notebooks, & planning

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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  • Heather


    I have been enjoying scm for a few weeks now. It has been a great blessing to me. I had studied cm methods several years ago, implemented some ( mainly copy work ) with our oldest son, who is now 19. We have been blessed with 4 more children in the past 8 years.

    Our 8yo boy is a very busy “man”. He works hard, plays hard etc. His nature is “to do something”. He builds with legos, and saws and cuts a lot brush in our timber. He has built his first tree house, mostly unassisted. He had speech delays and still has some difficulty with certain sounds and garbles some words. I have said back the word so that he may hear it correctly and left it alone. He has struggled with reading, which I have decided will be best taught through writing. I have just begun narrations with him. (I am reading everything to him at this stage). He is very direct in his narrations and to the point. For example if I ask him to “tell back” a passage that was very descriptive of the wind and may have been three long sentences. I might get one sentence without a lot of the adjectives. Just “it was windy” or something of that nature. I have been very gentle in asking this from him to allow him time to develope in the area ( his 6 year old sister can rattle a page off)as he does get frustrated quite easily and I do have his heart in it. If I shorten the reading to maybe one sentence I will get much closer to what was actually read. I would appreciate any insight from you all that may help me build up this skill. I am considering working with them seperately so he does not have her to make a comparison to. Is this a sound approach? Or should I make him “deal with it”. I had compensated by asking only a short narration from him and he seemed to accept that without feeling inadaquate to his sister.

    At what age/skill level do you begin to require notebooks of narrations? I have recorded some of their oral narrations and kept them here and there. Should I create a notebook for each of them at this point? Ages dd6 & ds8.. Does anyone here use notebooking methods? Please share any insght you may have in this area.

    I have struggled greatly with planning. I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to “figure it out” and then have no energy left to implement! I get completely overwhelmed and find housework to do..which is not hard. I would really like to change this aspect of our homeschool. I am following the planning series and had a big eye opener on part two. I listed 18 subjets and had all but two listed to be taught in each grade. I didn’t realize how self defeating I had been in my urealistic expectations of myself and my children. Our state law (Missouri) requires 1000 hours of core instruction in five mandatory subjects. 600 of these must be conducted in the “classroom”. I realize from looking over this site and reading articles that I can combine subjects to meet the requirements put forth by law and still create the atmosphere of learing that I want taking place in our homeschool. I know this “revelation” will greatly help! Thank You Sonya! God Bless you! It just helped so much to have a direction to “think on”. I think it is similar to letting the children “live with a book” for awhile. Taking it slowly does not come naturally and the fact that you have spaced the steps for me has kept me from burnout in yet another process of learning.

    With Gratitude,

    Heather in MO


    Heather, we use some notebooking (and lapbooking). My daughter is 8 (soon to be 9).

    The notebooking is different each time.

    Sometimes she simply copies something from a book.

    Other times she narrates/composes and I type it out & she makes an illustration.

    Other times she narrates AND writes it.

    Recently, I had her compose a paragraph about Jamestown. I wrote what she said, typed it up, cut out the sentences and let her arrange them logically. We discussed how to edit it. Then I made the corrections on the computer.

    I offered her some appropriate images, the text we had worked on together, and let her come up with her own “report” using Publisher. My daughter is highly creative, and likes this kind of graphic design (albeit on a very simplisitic level). This too went into our history notebook.

    So notebooking can be very flexible to suit your child and to offer variety.

    But since your son is so hands-on, are there other ways he could express his narrations? Not every time, maybe, but sometimes let him make a diorama? Build a model?

    And as long as your son is grasping the main ideas (albeit leaving out a lot of details), I think his narrations are okay. Some of us think that way — cut to the chase without flowery descriptions. 🙂 There is a place for it too as long as he’s not leaving out important facts.



    I agree with Jimmie. Some children are going to give long verbose narrations. I have one of those. 🙂 Sometimes I worry because he doesn’t seem to grasp the forest for all the trees he comes up with. But I also have a “just the facts, ma’am” narrator. He can boil down a chapter into four sentences. 🙂 BUT he really has a skill for picking out what was important and telling it sequentially. This is also a valuable skill in narration. His narrations are shorter than his younger brothers’. At this point, I just don’t worry about that. The point of narration isn’t really to reproduce exactly what the author wrote, but for the child to process the material himself, to take it INTO himself and buzz it around and then have it come out flavored with HIS personality. That shows that he is really digesting the material and not just parroting back. And it is OK! This child’s personality is just this way.

    I would personally not push written narrations yet. I’d wait another year and let his oral narration develop a little more. There is nothing wrong with giving him a notebooking page and letting him do what he wants with it, but as he struggles with verbal expression a little NOW, adding writing IMO would exacerbate that. For some reason it seems many little boy brains just really struggle with thinking up what to write and then trying to put the pencil to the paper, both at the same time. If you want as he continues to develop, you might ask for the first sentence of a narration on paper and let him finish orally. I would gradually start increasing the amount you read before narrating, though, to see if he can develop that ability to identify the main facts and present them in a logical order, even if he doesn’t use a lot of the descriptive language.

    I also think you might try an occasional alternate method with him. If you let him design and act it out with legos or action figures, what would he do? How about drawing? Does he show more expression in another way?

    I personally love notebooking, I think it gives a lot of opportunity for varieties of narrating. For example, I have a son fond of doing a newspaper-report style narration. But I don’t really require it–I have materials available and that is an option. But my oldest, just the facts boy just doesn’t like any of that either. Just let him tell me straight up so he can go on to the next thing, lol.

    Michelle D


    Thank you ladies for your replies. It is always refreshing to gather ideas from other “moms in the trenches”. I will listen for the important parts of a reading and evaluate his ability to get the sequence right. I do think that is a most important lesson taken from narration. Who knew “I” would be learning so much on this journey!!

    Blessings to you!!


Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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