Narration Questions

precomposition skill oral narrationQ. Narration seems too easy. Surely they would learn more if I also had them do workbook pages and activities to connect their reading with other school topics?

A. In general, homeschooling is concentrated work- we leave out a lot of time-wasting activities, and we move ahead as quickly as our child(ren) can, so it should take less time than a public school day. I also think children learn more when they make their own connections.

Narration is simple, especially at the beginning, but this simplicity is deceptive. It’s free. It takes no extra tools, equipment, or materials, and this makes us suspicious. We think learning can’t truly be occuring with this sort of minimalist approach, but with apologies to Dr. Seuss, I think we have confused regurgitation with learning. About learning:

It comes without ribbons! It comes without tags!
It comes without packages, boxes or bags!
It comes without word searches! Without tests False or True!
It comes without worksheets or reports overdue!

The difference between narration and workbook pages is immense.
Workbook pages take longer just because it’s tedious and time
consuming to write. Workbook pages are a recent innovation (the
last fifty years or so, really), and were designed as a method for a teacher to see the work of a large group of students, not because
they are a better way for the children to learn about literature. They are appropriate for a subject like math, or to practice a foreign language, but they are a tool with limited use, that’s all.

Narration takes less time, but the brain is actually working harder. Basically, narration is a series of oral essay questions. The simplest of narration questions, ‘tell me what we read,’ requires the responder to think through the information, order it, weigh it, recall it, review it, classify it, and often draw conclusions from it.

It may seem easy, but more is going on beneath the surface than you may realize.

You may wish to look over some of our other posts on Charlotte Mason and language arts

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