A Charlotte Mason Narration Lesson
Before we begin A Charlotte Mason Narration 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 Narration Lesson
“They must read the given pages and tell what they have read, they must perform, that is, what we may call the act of knowing.” (Mason, vol. 6)
Firstly, narration is the act of knowing. It is the work of a child’s education. Simply put, narration is: read, tell, and consequently, know.
“He must generalize, classify, infer, judge, visualize, discriminate, labor in one way or another, with that capable mind of his, until the substance of his book is assimilated or rejected, according as he shall determine; for the discrimination rests with him and not with his teacher.” (Mason, vol. 3)
Charlotte Mason thought a child should do the work of his own education. We are training them to be critical thinkers and to stand on their own two feet.
“Narrating is an art, like poetry-making or painting, because it is there, in every child’s mind, waiting to be discovered…” (Mason, vol. 1)
Oral narration often comes naturally to a child, even at a very young age.
WHAT WE ARE USING
All of our school books! Living books with a narrative quality will be suited best for beginning narration. Charlotte Mason recommends beginning with the Bible, animal stories, or fairy tales, so this is where we will begin.
FABULOUS LIVING BOOKS
“Until he is six, let Bobbie narrate only when and what he has a mind to.” (Mason, vol. 1)
Charlotte Mason describes the Narration Lesson as occurring after every lesson. Also, each lesson lasts about ten minutes.
You can begin requesting a narration from your child when they are six. Start with one narration per day and work up to eventually narrating after every lesson.
Carroll Smith from childlightusa.com says, “For knowing to be real, we must be able to give it back…This richer, deeper way of knowing in which the child processes, assimilates, and gives back what she has read has a vital transformative power to nourish, grow, and steady the student for life.”
Ms. Mason seems to demonstrate that a child can easily learn the art of narration.
“’Let him narrate,’ and the child narrates, fluently, copiously, in ordered sequence, with fit and graphic details, with a just choice of words…” (Mason, vol. 1)
Oral narration has practical value for the child. It serves as the basis for public speaking. Typically, someone who can communicate very well orally, can also write well. Some suggest writing skills are enhanced by the ability to proficiently speak.
“On the whole, it is more useful to be able to speak then to write, and the man or woman who is able to do the former can generally do the latter.” (Mason, vol. 3)
“When the child is six, not earlier, let him narrate the fairy tale which he has been read to him, episode by episode, upon one hearing of each, the Bible tale read to him in the words of the Bible; the well-written animal stories; or all about other lands…” (Mason, vol. 1)
The ladies from A Delectable Education point out narration may come naturally to a child, but may not come easily.
STEPS TO NARRATION
- First, scaffold the lesson. Talk briefly about the last lesson, in order to recall to mind the story.
- Then, mention a few words that a child should pay attention to.
- Possibly write names or terms on the board that are new or challenging to remember.
- Next, read the short passage. Read it only one time. This hones the habit of attention.
- After reading the passage, ask the child to tell back what he has heard.
- Mama is to listen attentively.
- Don’t interrupt or correct. This would be disrespectful and the child may lose their train of thought, just as you would if someone interrupted you.
- Finally, Liz Cotrrill from ADE suggests to say, “thank you” to the child for the narration.
“Before the reading for the day begins, the teacher should talk a little (and get the children to talk) about the last lesson, with a few words about what is to be read, in order that the children may be animated by expectation; but she should beware of explanation and especially, of forestalling the narrative. Then, she may read two or three pages, enough to include an episode; after that, let her call upon the children to narrate,-in turns, if there be several of them. They not only narrate with spirit and accuracy, but succeed in catching the style of their author. It is not wise to tease them with corrections…” (Mason, vol. 1)
NOTES ABOUT NARRATION
- First, read one time to a child.
- Then, ask them to tell what they heard. If they can follow in sequential order, that is wonderful.
- Start when the child is six because this is when Charlotte Mason proposed a formal lesson should begin.
- Start with Bible stories, fairy tales, and animal stories, since these stories generally have a narrative quality.
- Lessons are short; they are no more than 15 minutes and are probably much shorter as you begin.
- When beginning narration for the first time, ask your child for one narration per day or per week. Gradually build up from there.
- Eventually, you want every lesson, every subject, everyday to be narrated by the child.
- Finally, a child in the upper elementary years will begin adding written narrations. However, the oral narrations are expected to continue daily.
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 Narration 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 NARRATION LESSON RESOURCES
- A Delectable Education (ADE) podcast on Narration
- Another ADE podcast of Q & A on Narration
- An article from childlightusa.com on Narration for the Newbie
- Know and Tell: The Art of Narration by Karen Glass
- An article from Carroll Smith on More Thoughts About Narration
- One more article Practical Suggestions for Narration
- Charlotte Mason’s Home Education Volume 1 pg. 231-233
Also, check out these previous blog posts in the series:
- A Charlotte Mason Pre-Reading Lesson
- A Charlotte Mason Recitation Lesson
- 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.