What assignments/paperwork would CM require?

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  • Marideth

    I have 2 students in early elementary who take a few classes at our local Christian private school. They use the notebook method primarily. There is seriously an assignment for every. single. lesson. in every. single. subject. It usually involves pages where they are required to draw and color what the lesson was about, write their owns thoughts about the lesson and copy relative facts onto the bottom of the page. For devotional, history, geography, language, art, literature, science, you name it. IMO it ends up being quite overwhelming for the teachers, parents, and students, but has also left me feeling like I don’t require enough “paperwork”. Right now we do mostly oral narrations, lots of talking and maybe a coloring page here and there along with nature journaling, Book of Centuries, copy work and will start the Commonplace Book when they’re a little older. They also keep their personal drawings. I know she did written narrations for older elementary, for what subjects and when and how often? Any other assignments/paperwork/records that she would require? Thanks in advance!

    Karen Smith

    Charlotte Mason methods require very little writing for grades 1-3. They are expected to do copywork to practice their writing, to learn to look closely at the words being copied, and to see well-written sentences with living ideas modeled for them. Grades 1-3 also occasionally write numbers or equations for math. For nature journals, they can draw, paint, write, or any combination of all three. Grades 1 and 2 students may need an adult to write their nature observations for them.

    One of the reasons for so little writing in the early grades is because children are still developing the fine motor skills needed to write well. It is difficult to concentrate on what you are writing when you still have to think about how to write. Once they no longer need to concentrate on how to write letters and words, then they are required to do more writing.

    Beginning in 4th grade writing assignments start to increase. Typically, a 4th grade student would write down his own nature observations, keep his own Book of Centuries (if his handwriting is legible enough), have two prepared dictation lessons each week, and be required to do one written narration each week on your choice of subject.

    The number of written narrations required increases as the student gets older. A 5th grade student may be required to complete two written narrations each week. A high school student may do most of his narrations in writing.

    You may find our article Teaching Writing from our series on teaching Subject by Subject using Charlotte Mason’s methods helpful. Subject by Subject is also available as a free ebook in our store.

    Other articles and a video from our Learning Library you may find helpful:

    Narration Q&A will help you understand when to introduce written narration and what types of narrations to ask for at each grade level.

    Language Arts will help you understand how language arts are taught using Charlotte Mason’s methods.

    The Natural Progression of Language Arts is a video that explains the progression of language arts from 1st grade through 12th grade.


    Thank you! Your answer has helped very much.

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