A Charlotte Mason Recitation Lesson
Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Recitation Lesson …
First, I explain why I’m focusing subject by subject. Also, I include Charlotte Mason quotes because I find her original lectures on education to be awe inspiring and helpful.
Next, please keep reading to see the break down of implementing lessons, the schedule, and resources I’m using that fit our family. Finally, I share the wealth of quality Charlotte Mason resources I have found helpful, from those mothers who have gone before me.
PREPARING THE FEAST
“Our aim in education is to give a full life. We owe it to them to initiate an immense number of interests.” (Mason, vol. 3)
There are MANY subjects included in a Charlotte Mason education because she believed in spreading a wide feast. Sometimes, it feels a bit daunting for a new homeschooling mama.
Therefore, I’m attempting to learn, digest, and absorb how I’m going to be teaching each subject. I have decided to compose a blog post on each subject for Form 1B (roughly first grade). This will help me prepare to teach my oldest son in the Fall.
“The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.” (Mason, vol. 1)
A Charlotte Mason Recitation Lesson
“The child should speak beautiful thoughts so beautifully.” (Mason, vol. 1)
The Meriram-Webster Dictionary defines recitation as: the act of reading or repeating aloud in public. According to a podcast by A Delectable Education (ADE), recitation is beautiful thoughts, spoken beautifully.
“All children have it in them to recite…” (Mason, vol. 1)
Charlotte Mason observed children could easily pick up recitation. Therefore, it is a wonderful subject to include, especially from a young age.
“Let the child lie fallow till he is six, and then, in this matter of memorizing, as in others, attempt only a little, and let the poems the child learns be simple and within the range of his own thought and imagination.” (Mason, vol. 1)
WHAT WE ARE USING
A Charlotte Mason Recitation Lesson pulls selections from: poems, parables, Bible passages, Psalms, and hymns. With this in mind, we are using:
- A Child’s Garden of Verses
- A Child’s Book of Poems
- Parables from Nature
- Hymns from hymnsathome.com
- Notebook (to record recitation pieces. It is advised to keep a record of what is recited, so we can occasionally revisit them)
Charlotte Mason describes the Recitation Lesson as occurring three times a week. Also, each lesson lasts about ten minutes. Additionally, the recitation lesson should follow the mid-morning play break. This was a great way to ease back into lessons.
According to this Parent’s Review article, as children begin reading, they loose their expression. Recitation helps restore their expression. Charlotte Mason says:
“…in the coming days, more even then in our own, will it beehove every educated man and woman to be able to speak effectively in public; and, in learning to recite you learn to speak.” (Mason, vol. 1)
We are particularly looking forward to recitation because my oldest son doesn’t always speak carefully. Sometimes, it is difficult for others to understand him. His tone of voice is low. Therefore, I believe this “children’s art” of recitation is going to serve a practical purpose in his life. Recitation forms the basis for public speaking.
Perhaps most importantly, recitation helps provide a service to the listeners. It can bring understanding, arouse emotions, and demonstrate the heart of the piece’s author. Finally, recitation helps others understand what is read.
“The gains of such a method of learning are, that the edge of the child’s enjoyment is not taken off by weariful verse by verse repetitions, and, also, that the habit of making mental images is unconsciously formed.” (Mason, vol. 1)
Even as adults, it can be challenging to learn something we are not excited about. Allowing the child to choose poems, staying within the child’s range of imagination, and keeping a positive tone about the lesson, can help the child stay engaged in the Recitation Lesson.
Finally, recitation can also be fostered in the reading lessons. During a reading lesson, especially as the lessons progress slowly at first, the emphasis should be from the beginning on clear and perfect enunciation.
“Recitation and committing to memory are not necessarily the same thing, and it is well to store a child’s memory with a good deal of poetry, learnt without labor.” (Mason, vol. 1)
First, memory and recitation are not the same. Memory comes incidentally from the art of recitation. Often, memory happens by the way, however, it is not the end goal of recitation.
“Half a dozen repetitions should give children possession of such poems.” (Mason, vol. 1)
Memory may naturally occur, because the child has heard and repeated the piece six or so times.
RECITATION GOALS PER TERM (ABOUT 12 WEEKS)
Alternate each lesson below, each week, in order to gain familiarity with the readings.
FOR EXAMPLE- WEEK ONE: read a poem for the first lesson, a hymn for the second lesson, and a passage from the Old Testament, for the third lesson that week.
- One poem (child chooses the poem)
- Two hymns (learn the words, without singing)
- It is recommended to choose Christmas hymns when appropriate.
- One Psalms (Psalms 150 is recommended)
- One Passage of six verses from the Bible (Old Testament plus one from the New Testament)
- One passage from Joshua Chapter 1 and St. Mark Chapter 6 are recomended
STEPS TO A RECITATION LESSON
“The teacher reads with the intention that the children shall know, and therefore, with distinctness, force, and careful enunciation; it is a mere matter of sympathy, though of course it is the author and not himself, whom the teacher is careful to produce.” (Mason, vol. 6)
For this example, we are discussing a poem.
- First, give a short explanation of the poem. Introduce new words the child may be unfamiliar with. Also, show a picture if one is included.
- Next, read the poem. Remember, you will read this about once a week. Other types of pieces should be read for recitation (such as a hymn and a parable).
- Read the poem again the following week.
- Then, a couple of weeks later, read the poem line by line.
- Ask the child to repeat back the first line of the poem with you.
- Also, if a child can read the poem, they can read the poem one line at a time.
- Finally, try to work on clear pronunciation, understanding, and intonation. The teacher should model these while reading to the child as well.
The following Do and Don’t List come from a Parent’s Review Article on Recitation: the Children’s Art which is recommended by ADE.
NOTES ABOUT RECITATION A “DON’T LIST.”
- Don’t imitate the stage or exaggerate in voice and gesture.
- Avoid tragic or sentimental pieces.
- Don’t give lessons in the presence of a third person.
- Try not to praise your child excessively.
Now, for the “DO LIST.”
NOTES ABOUT RECITATION A “DO LIST”
- Do have your child be careful about pronunciation.
- Let pieces be learned, bit by bit, after a careful explanation is given.
- Ask the child to stand while he reads.
- A piece once learned should be occasionally repeated.
Finally, one of my favorite references regarding recitation: “In tone, not in noise, good recitation consists.” (Recitation: the Children’s Art)
It is also suggested one hour per month, to “sit around a fire” and read or recite some pieces learned.
Finally, I have come across some outstanding resources in learning about a Charlotte Mason education. I’m so happy to share them with you! Some of these are sources I return to daily because I’m preparing to teach my children. Additionally, I list specific resources for a Charlotte Mason Recitation Lesson.
GENERAL CHARLOTTE MASON RESOURCES
- A Charlotte Mason Soiree Educator Courses (free and amazing!)
- A Charlotte Mason Soiree Facebook Support/Discussion Group
- Charlotte Mason’s Home Education Volume 1
- Volume 2 Charlotte Mason’s Parents and Children
- Charlotte Mason’s School Education Volume 3
- A Delectable Education Scheduling Cards
- Another Delectable Education Curriculum Templates
CHARLOTTE MASON RECITATION LESSON RESOURCES
- A Delectable Education Podcast on Recitation
- A Parent’s Review Article on Recitation: the Children’s Art
- Recitation by Form/Grade Details
- Hymns from hymnsathome.com
- Poetry Anthology like A Child’s Garden of Verses
- Another Anthology A Child’s Book of Poems
- Parables from Nature
- Bible – this gorgeous set is on my wishlist!
Also, check out these previous blog posts in the series:
- A Charlotte Mason Drawing Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Poetry Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason French Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Math Lesson
- A Charlotte A Mason Picture Study Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Special Studies Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Nature Lore Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Nature Study Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Geography Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason History Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Literature Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Writing Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Bible Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Summer
- 29 Charlotte Mason Inspired Preschool Books
Thank you so much for checking in! Finally, please stay tuned for the next ‘A Charlotte Mason Subject Lesson’ post.
All of the quotes mentioned in this blog post, come from Home Education by Charlotte Mason. The Living Press published my favorite version of her books. Finally, I TRULY recommend any parent read Charlotte Mason’s books! They are truly treasured words I believe I will be reading and re-reading for many years to come.