Narration - How often? Several kids?

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
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Julie in MN
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Narration - How often? Several kids?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sun Sep 23, 2007 10:35 pm

lillie wrote:How do you pick and choose what and when to narrate? Do you just pick one subject to narrate like science (since they have to draw and write down one concept from the reading anyway), or do you have your children narrate for every subject like history, science, bible, read-alouds and reading time with "living books," as well as the occasional narration in PLL and ILL?

Then do they narrate every day and how often should they write it down?

Thanks so much for your replies and this forum!!
Hi Lillie,
Well, this is a very broad question, with I'm sure lots of viewpoints, so I'm just going to jump in & start the conversation :o)

To me, narration is a tool that I use when I want to prompt my child to remember, realize, or just think!

However, I don't think the one-on-one tutoring situation of homeschool requires narration to be used all day long. And in fact, I can't imagine that even Charlotte Mason had time to listen to (or read) the narrations of every one of her students, in every subject, every day.

At our house, if we have just had a great conversation about our read-aloud, then requiring a narration might spoil it for us. But if it's been a while since we read the previous chapter, I might spend more time on narration to make it fresh again. If we're going to make a notebook page on the same topic, then I skip narration or make sure it's very light prep before writing. I want to retain interest in the topic, and not create a negative feeling about rehashing it over & over.

I think the key is to use narration to help your child "own" the information (rather than his expecting the teacher to do that), and to replace the worksheet/test/forget method of assessing his understanding.

Anyone else?
Julie
Last edited by Julie in MN on Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
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Heather (WI)
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Unread post by Heather (WI) » Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:32 am

GOOD question!! I just wrote myself a sticky note and put it on top of my lesson plans this week, to remind myself to do more narration.

I think the best subjects it works well for are: Bible, history, and science, as well as literature, of course.

One thing we did (per MFW) in ECC, and works really well, was for Science--after reading a page or two spread (usually in the Usborne-type books), we would ask our child what they found most interesting on the reading, and have them tell us about it. I loved seeing what really sparked their interest, too!! And, that seemed like such a natural way to do some simple, oral narration.
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
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Lucy
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Unread post by Lucy » Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:53 am

Hi Lillie,

We have always done it in history per MFW because this is the subject that tends to have a lot of detail given at one sitting. We did do it in science during ECC and CTG. I like the way Julie describes it. This is very much how we have done it. Very casual, no pressure. Especially if they are going to write a history summary this always helped to make sure they had the main ideas. If they did not tell me some of the main ideas then I supplied them. I did not sit there asking a whole lot of questions until they go it right. Sometimes I even reread a paragraph or 2 to emphasis a main idea. Anyway that is how it has been helpful to us.

I have done it with read alouds only if I felt the content was difficult for them to understand. Sometimes I ask at the beginning of read aloud what happened the last time we read. No biggie to me if they can not remember everything. I just remind them and we read. Again very light and informal.

I would not stress about it and just look for times like after science, reading or history to have your kids tell you what you just read about. If you are just starting out you may want to tell them before you read that you will ask them at the end to tell you what you read about. Then be patient as this is natural for some but more learned for others.

Lucy
wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.

Julie in MN
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Narration with 3 kids?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:37 am

JoyfulDancer wrote:A friend I was talking to about MFW finally said to me, "But are your children really learning the history? Are they really remembering it?" I told her, "I don't really know." So today I asked them. My dc are 2 girls ages 12 and 10 and a boy age 7.5 (also a toddler, but I didn't ask him). We are nearing the end of RTR. Here's what they told me:

They hate narrating. We constantly struggle with this and, to be honest, I hate having to drag the narrations out of them every time. My oldest said she'd prefer to just have a textbook to read and a workbook to fill in on her own. If she had her choice of the MFW books she'd only read from Streams, since that has all the details in it. Then she'd only have to read one thing. She is a visual learner, very no-nonsense and direct. She used to refuse to use math manipulatives when she was younger. Now, she wants to just get down to work and finish all her schoolwork as quickly as possible so she can go do something interesting. This is also the child who is constantly challenging me about everything.

The 10yo needs to have something to do with her hands or body while listening. She tends to make up things to make her narrations more interesting, which is frustrating to the 12yo, and concerns me about how to handle that. The 7.5 yo is still learning how to concentrate and repeat back, but tends to want to play and not pay attention. He always wants to go first and narrates about the last thing I read.

I'm not so concerned about those two, but my oldest is another story. She'll be in 7th next year and doing most of her work on her own, including science. Maybe I should just get an Abeka history book set for her and be done with it. Or maybe I should have been having her write her narrations each day or something. Maybe I should have her read Streams to herself and then write about it. But, ugh, then I have to read and correct her work every day.

Has anyone dealt with this kind of issue? I just don't know what to do, if anything. Got any suggestions for me?

Thanks,
Laurie
Laurie,
12yo girls, bless you for enduring...

I'm a very visual person (unlike my son) and I can't remember a lot via just listening. So I was thinking about what would work for *me.* I think it'd be nice if she could have her own copy of some books to follow along with as you read? Or another option would be to encourage her to jot down notes as you go along. That would be a great skill for the future. I sometimes drive speakers/teachers nuts because I take so many notes (which I may never look at again, but need to do to process what I hear) -- those who are more auditory can't imagine that I'm really paying attention while writing so much, and vice versa.

For independent reading, Usborne-type books are easy ones to let kids explore on their own. But if your dd wants to read Streams and you don't, maybe that would work, too? She could even report back to you & younger sibling the bits suggested for RTR. Also, Streams does have activities after each chapter, and you could get their tests although they're designed more for high school.

As for kids who totally want to go to textbooks/workbooks, I don't think they usually want to do that for the sake of understanding and remembering; often it is just to "get it done and forget it." I hesitated to allow my kids to do that completely, because I want to develop worldviews and perspectives with them, but maybe as one piece of the puzzle it would be fine?

As far as disliking narrations, by 7th my son would often just take notes and then type up his summary as a sort of "written narration," rather than duplicating the oral and written summaries. He types quickly and it goes faster than narrating out loud. Although if I found his written summaries were getting skimpy or had errors, we'd go back to more narration. (He's kinda like your middle one.)

Just some random thoughts,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

cbollin

Re: Narration with 3 kids?

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:52 am

Laurie,

are they remembering it? They will remember some of the activities, and names, and all of that. They'll remember castles, and knights and there was some guy named shakespeare. For the age and stage of learning they are, they are learning. Honestly, what workbook pages from 6th grade and younger do any of us "remember"? what weird game or experiment or field trip do we remember? To this day, I remember 4th grade field trip to colonial williamsburg and watching them make candles. I remember the maze at the gov'n palace.

Next year it won't be Streams. That book is completed in RTR. It will be something else that she wants to read and yes, you can let them read on their own a bit more if that works better. just make time to process it with her. I personally wouldn't let a 12 y.o make a curriculum decision about "abeka style of textbook" vs "chronological" history program. All people are different in how they select curriculum.

I might have them narrate in separate times or something and tell the oldest to let other tell a bit more and sit there respectfully. Simply ask the other child "is that your part of the story, or from the reading." "Oh ok. just making sure I didn't miss something. keep going". There have been time with my oldest and her hormones that I taught parts of CTG at different times of the day to both kids! I'd teach to oldest first and learn the material, then it would take me about 5 minutes to teach it again to middle gal. {agreeing with julie:"Laurie, 12yo girls, bless you for enduring.")

but when your younger child is adding to the story, you have finished with a creative language arts lesson and history with younger kid. good job mom!

I don't know how you are doing narration, but it shouldn't be huge time issues. I don't think that having her write all answers for narration will solve it. But if you wish to change the way "notebooking" is done and find standard Q &A stuff for her to do, maybe a compromise? get the SOTW activity guide book for volume 3 (even though it isn't part of MFW) and see if she'd like to answer questions from there, or have other stuff to answer.

I tend to start with the easier books and let the youngest kids finish first. Then I tell the oldest "our turn to read a bit more." Maybe it would work in your situation to let oldest take the hardest book and go read for a bit while you read other books to younger. maybe not?

remember, part of the reason to use different approach is to help a wide variety of learners in the same family. Even my oldest who reads everything and would be happy to just read it all at once, enjoyed the little break to look at pictures and see that stuff. There were times where she'd read from one of the older books and then for her "narration time", she'd naturally start looking over sister's shoulder "oh oh oh,yeah and this and that and this and that". got narration done. Another thing that helped was that grandparents picked up the usborne books too (which will get less coverage in years 4 and 5 by the way) and enjoyed them. I've wondered if that helped my oldest to see they aren't baby books.

Another reason to use multiple resources is to get more than one perspective. In EX1850, I was glad to use more than just G. W. World, or SOTW.

-crystal

baileymom
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Re: Narration with 3 kids?

Unread post by baileymom » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:57 am

I let my DD (13) start reading Streams on her own, about 10 weeks or so into this year (RtR). She narrates it back to us. BUT, I don't really call it narration all that much, for fear they will realize it's "schoolwork" and stop. They have always just told me about what they're reading...

One thing though, like Julie, I'm visual and have to often write things down to remember...so now that I'm not reading Streams aloud, I find myself not learning as much as I did earlier in the year or with CtG. I could try and find the time to do it on my own...but usually, with my very large family, plans like that don't usually get accomplished.
Kathi - graduated 1, homeschooling 6, preschooling 2, growing 1

TriciaMR
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Re: Narration with 3 kids?

Unread post by TriciaMR » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:19 am

My tip on narration... and I don't know if it would work with. I have 10 yo. dd and 5 (turning 6) yo. twin boys. We've been reading Stories from the Millers in the morning this summer. I have the kids narrate back (getting the boys practicing before we start 1st this fall). So, I'll start with one and say, "Okay, what happened first?" or "What did little Laura do?" and that will get the ball rolling. As they come to a natural pause, then I'll turn to the next one and have them continue. If they struggle, I give them a hint ("So then dad Miller said what?"), and that usually gets it going again. I usually start with my youngest ones, and then have the oldest finish. But some days, I do it the other way around.

It might give your son more incentive if you said, "Okay, what happened first?" or "Remember, so-and-so was doing such-and-such, then what happened?" Before you read, you could tell them, "After I read, you are going to take turns telling me what happened. Today I'm starting with <son>. And you're not going to retell the whole thing, but just some of it, so that each person gets to tell a different part of history."

Definitely talk to the oldest about listening respectfully to the younger ones. I've had to work on that, too, with my 10 yo. Pull her aside and say, "I know your sister embellishes her history narrations, but I think it helps her remember the story better. I'd like you to try to listen respectfully. That means no huffy breathing, no rolling your eyes, no drama. You will look at her with a smile on your face and be polite. You will let me talk to her about her embellishments."

-Trish
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klewfor3
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How do you handle narration with multiple ages?

Unread post by klewfor3 » Tue Sep 08, 2015 6:02 am

We are using Ex-1850 this year and my 2nd grade dd has now joined the cycle. A problem that is quickly surfacing this year is that my oldest ds (6th grade) wants to get school done as quickly as possible while my 2nd and 4th grader can't get enough (so sweet).

When it comes to narration, is it necessary for EACH child need to narrate after EVERY reading?

How can I give my 6th grader the ability to get school done at a faster pace? He and I are not trying to eliminate anything, we are just wondering if it is possible to give him freedom to work more independently. For example, his best friend had a bday party the other day my ds was told to come over whenever he could (it was another homeschooling family)and so my ds woke up early to get school done. I met him in the schoolroom and worked with him, but ended up re-teaching a lot to my younger kids. Not ideal, but I guess you do what you've got to do.

To add to our pace issues, I also have a 2 year old running around :) so I have to take a lot of quick breaks to get him resettled or give him my attention. My other two don't mind at all, but it is harder for my oldest.

I would love any advice.

Thanks,
Kathy
Kathy
Mom of Tyler 13, Paige 10, Brooklyn 9 and Chase 3
God bless us!
We've used:
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MFW 1st (both versions)
MFW ADV
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CTG
RTR
Expl-1850
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ruthamelia
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How do you handle narration with multiple ages?

Unread post by ruthamelia » Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:28 pm

klewfor3 wrote:We are using Ex-1850 this year and my 2nd grade dd has now joined the cycle. My oldest ds (6th grade) wants to get school done as quickly as possible while my 2nd and 4th grader can't get enough (so sweet). How can I give my 6th grader the ability to get school done at a faster pace?

When it comes to narration, is it necessary for EACH child need to narrate after EVERY reading?

To add to our pace issues, I also have a 2 year old running around :) so I have to take a lot of quick breaks to get him resettled or give him my attention. My other two don't mind at all, but it is harder for my oldest.

I would love any advice.
Kathy
Hi Kathy! I'm not sure what the "right" way is to do narration with multiple kids, but what I do is ask for pieces from each of them, usually starting with the youngest. Repeating what someone else has said doesn't work, so the oldest really has to be paying attention to fill in details that the younger ones missed.

Increasing independence for your 6th grader sounds pretty important as well! I'll just share how it works for us and maybe a piece or two will fit your situation. My almost 12 year old nephew is a diligent and hard worker, but really likes to move through his schoolwork at a steady pace, while the younger ones don't mind dallying much more. The 12 year old actually sets his alarm for 6am so he can be done with piano practice by 6:30 and start digging into his work!

Each week I copy the grid and write all of his individual assignments on it for the week. Math pages, English and writing lessons, typing, etc. Then he is free to move through each day entirely on his own schedule. He can do subjects in any order he wants to, except for the "together" items which are Bible, history reading, music, and the occasional activity. Usually these all get done in one or two chunks of time during the morning. That way everyone can do them together, but it doesn't keep him doing school into the afternoon waiting for the younger kids to be ready for these subjects. If there are notebook pages, maps, copy work, or other items related to the "together" subjects, he sometimes does them on his own in advance and sometimes waits until after doing the related reading together.

While he is working through all of his independent work, he asks any time he needs help. For example, when he's ready to do spelling, he just lets me know, and as soon as is reasonable we do that together. He has full access to the teacher's manual (we're in RTR) and has usually read it more thoroughly than I have! I try to look through all of his work weekly when I am making up the next week's list, but occasionally there is something I want to see at the time he does it, so I note that on his list and he shows it to me as soon as he is finished with it.

I'm sure this wouldn't work well for every student, but it does for him. His 9 year old sister is much more social and wants a lot more interaction during school. However, I write out her assignments for the week in the same way, and she is becoming more independent about choosing what order to move through subjects, recognizing what she has left to accomplish, and making sure she completes all her work for the day. Rather than reading for herself things like art or vocabulary, she wants "taught" a little more traditionally, so when she gets to a subject like this, the 7 year old usually gets added in,so they do more subjects together than the oldest does.

I hope some of that makes sense, and that perhaps something is of use to you!
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abrightmom
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Re: How do you handle narration with multiple ages?

Unread post by abrightmom » Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:47 pm

I don't believe it is necessary for every child to narrate after each reading. :-)

If I were in your situation with my current group of kids I'd allow my oldest to work independently on history and science if he wanted or needed to. He could read, follow up with the note booking pages and then follow up with a narration if required. I do think Bible is best done as a family most of the time. He could certainly work on his memory work independently though. Copying the grid may be a good tool to use with your budding independent worker or simply give him a checklist that reflects what is on the schedule for that day. You could highlight the portions that he must do with the family.

It's an interesting season of life for you! There is a balance between asking this dear oldest to learn to wait patiently and accommodating his growing need for independence. I'm sure there is a workable solution for your family and you'll have to try some different approaches. :-)
-Katrina-

DS15, DS14, DD12, DS8

klewfor3
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Re: How do you handle narration with multiple ages?

Unread post by klewfor3 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:34 am

Thank you for your replies! I haven't copied the grid before. I am going to have to try that and see how it works!

Just a question, for English and Math (we do ILL and Singapore) can my 6th grader do those subjects independently? I still go over the lessons with him and "teach" those subjects. Do you just have them ask questions if they need help? Also, the history and science readings we do together and I read aloud. Could he read those by himself and do his own work? Honestly, that makes me nervous. If so, this will definitely change how I've been doing this!! It's a little scary!

This is new territory for me, sorry for all the questions.
Kathy
Mom of Tyler 13, Paige 10, Brooklyn 9 and Chase 3
God bless us!
We've used:
MFW-K
MFW 1st (both versions)
MFW ADV
ECC
CTG
RTR
Expl-1850
Currently using 1850-Modern Times (2016/2017)

Julie in MN
Posts: 2928
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
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Re: How do you handle narration with multiple ages?

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Sep 14, 2015 11:49 am

klewfor3 wrote:Just a question, for English and Math (we do ILL and Singapore) can my 6th grader do those subjects independently? I still go over the lessons with him and "teach" those subjects. Do you just have them ask questions if they need help?
Hi Kathy,
With Singapore math, I normally suggest parents teach the textbook, because it's too easy for a student to do the workbook without learning the new techniques presented in the text. However, a 6th grader is probably at the level where he can NOT solve Singapore problems without having Singapore techniques on board, so it might work as long as you feel sure he's not skipping the textbook (it would likely become obvious after several months have passed, but best to catch it earlier). He will be moving to more independent math next year, with the DIVE CD teacher.

For English, 6th graders are usually pretty independent with the Grammar book. With ILL, I'd either teach the lessons while the other kids have book basket etc., or if done independently on paper, then go over the work for accuracy - it can be easy to skip that and let mistakes be reinforced. (Correcting papers later might take just as long as doing lessons together, not sure?)
klewfor3 wrote:Also, the history and science readings we do together and I read aloud. Could he read those by himself and do his own work? Honestly, that makes me nervous. If so, this will definitely change how I've been doing this!! It's a little scary!
The MFW Family Cycle is really designed to be done with a parent, so you've been doing a god job. The reinforcement provided through narration replaces other types of reinforcement that all learners need, from taking notes to taking tests. Of course, there are times in most of our lives when we have to think outside the box, and a student who needed to work on his own could substitute the narration with more notebooking or conversation with dad or other methods. But just reading something once is not usually enough for long-term memory on its own, I think.

Also for history and Bible in particular, MFW does not have a textbook or workbook type interpretation all laid out for the independent learner, because MFW allows the parent to lead their own family through interpretation. If at all possible, I'd do those two subjects with the family, or at least with a parent, at least most of the time. The actual reading parts for those 2 subjects really shouldn't take more than an hour of family time a day, 4 days a week.

I'd encourage the oldest to have some toleration, but if narration by everyone is slowing things down too much, then you could do a collaborative narration with each student contributing another line or two, or take turns each day (some randomness would keep all students alert each day). Then the older student could head off if a great family discussion gets going but doesn't seem essential. I know David Hazell once told me that when he had too many chatty kids, he'd write their interesting questions on the marker board for later discussion.

Just another mom's opinion. I'm a big fan of parents as teachers and think it's the best part of homeschool, but there have been times we've had to adapt, as well.
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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