Are we drifting away from Miss Mason? That Narration Thing.

arration is at the heart of a good Charlotte Mason approach to learning.  By the time a child has reached the age of 7 and is ready for school (in the gentle world of PNEU) he should be getting fairly adept at narration having heard the poem or passage only once. You see, this skill is rooted in Miss Mason’s discipline of habits – the habit of listening.

It occurred to me today as I packed away all the worksheets and workbooks, that we are drifting away from the living books approach and heading down the “it looks more like learning” approach of, dare I say, “school at home.” I am unconvinced that piles of completed worksheets are any indicator that the children are learning.

It is not what I intended and I am not sure it’s the right approach. I need to stop, step back a little, and have a think.

Some of the workbooks are very good in that they don’t just offer exercise pages but have beautiful pieces of art and added poems for discussion. The English for Young Catholic Books  and Great Saints In World History are especially good for this. (thanks to BWYA for the books).

But, although I rather like the Critical Thinking books I am wondering if we use them too much. Maybe I should spread their use out a bit to leave more space for stories and that all important narration.

I realise that Ronan isn’t that good at narration. He can answer questions about a story really well, but if I say, tell me what that was about, he get’s a bit wide eyed and can’t think where to start. I am not too worried about this, but I do think I need to get back to Miss Mason and her gentle art of learning before I end up being a teacher of a school at home , rather than a mother who home educates her children.

I’m re-looking at Ambleside and Mater Amambilis to see what I need to tweak and think about. I am out of the worst of the flare now so I think I should be able to sit and read to the children more- (I can see again for a start; that helps). I would hope that by the time we reach half term at the end of October I’ll be more or less getting back to the full curriculum I want to do with the children; that is more stories and less worksheets.

Ronan is a fluent reader now, so more of the reading can be passed on to him to read to the girls. I am sure that will help him absorb more information and improve his narration anyway.

So far they are not bored with the worksheets and workbooks so that’s good, and I don’t want them to get bored. All the more reason for shifting emphasis a bit.

We also need to get out more. There’s plenty of Autumn things to be doing. We already have conkers and pinecones piling up and some leaves for decoration and leaf rubbing. You see, I can still think like a home educator. All is not lost.

Now, must go and file those worksheets….

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3 responses to “Are we drifting away from Miss Mason? That Narration Thing.

  1. I needed a reminder in this area, too. Thanks.

  2. Interestingly, some children actually do better with worksheets. One of my sons eyes would light up with glee when he saw a worksheet or workbook. He’s extremely inclined towards math, though. Most of my other children would have done anything on earth rather than worksheets.

    But that is the beauty of home educating, isn’t it? Each child can learn the best way for their natural abilities, and we can use those other methods as a bit of a challenge for that child now and again. And we can really take advantage of life around us, instead of our kids sitting indoors just looking at it and hearing lectures about it from behind the classroom windows.

    • Funny you should say that Shana, one of my friends has a worksheet loving child. It’s the way it goes. And as you say the joy of HE/homeschool is we can adjust for the children.
      I’ve gone a bit Montessori with the youngest girls recently and getting all Classical Trid and Quad with Ronan. LOL
      Dearest Miss Mason just has to move over a little sometimes.

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