I can’t really take credit for these ideas. They are al things I gleaned from the reading for my local Charlotte Mason discussion group. But then again that’s very CM of m, isn’t it? To get ideas from living books (and living blog posts — can you have living blog posts??) is what it’s all about.
Three Big Ideas about Narration
- We don’t teach them to think; we give them something to think about. Charlotte was a firm believer that kind are born fully formed. Unlike her contemporaries, she did not see kids as blank slates or as beings whose faculties need t be developed. They are born able to think and, as they learn to speak, able to narrate. In fact, narration comes quite naturally to kids. When they do something fun or watch a movie they like, they want to talk about it endlessly. That is narration. Charlotte did not invent a new thing with narration; she harnessed a power kids already have. Our job is to provide something meaty for them to chew upon. We give them god materials (living books, fine art, etc.) so that they have something worthwhile to narrate.
- Narration is about what you know, not what you don’t know. The modus operandi of schools today is for the adults to decide what it important and then ask to demand the children regurgitate it. Fill-in-the-blanks, true and false, reading comprehension questions all ask kids to tell us what we think is important. And if they can’t, they are deficient. Narration says not “let me look for what you don’t know” but “tell me what you do know.” It values what children do take from the material, even if it is not what we think they should take.
- A narration creates something new; narration is interpretation. No two people will narrate the same passage the same way. As we visualize a story, we may see the characters differently. We will get different things from a passage. And as we retell, we will make connections with what we already know and add our own unique spin to whatever we are telling.