For those new to the Charlotte Mason method, there is sometimes a struggle to "switch over" to the very different ways of conducting lessons. Personally, I studied it for a while before I dove into it. Even after I'd been doing it for months, I was still doing research on various aspects of the method. So I understand the struggle.
A few days ago, I posted the WHYs of narration. Today, I will be sharing the how-to's of narration, copywork and dictation. These form the basis for a language Charlotte Mason language arts program.
Narration is used to train the child in focused attention.
- Read to the child. This may be scriptures, a poem or a book. Read it only once. The child should be grasping the information in a single telling.
- After the reading, have the child tell you about what was read.
The younger the child, the more simplistic and "disconnected" their thoughts. Their narration skills improve as their brain develops. While you don't want to pressure them with comprehension questions and demands for more, if they are "stuck" it doesn't hurt to prompt them "What did the thief say to his master?" or "Where did they find the treasure box?" to get them going.
Copywork is used for teaching proper handwriting skills and the beginnings of grammar and spelling.
- Give the child a sentence, poem or passage, depending on her age and ability. She should copy it exactly as she sees it with all the capitals, punctuations, spelling, etc.
- Give the child a poem or passage at the beginning of the week. The child should read and re-read (and perhaps practice writing) the material until he feels familiar with all of the grammatical aspects: punctuation, capitalization and spelling.
- Once the child is comfortable with it (I usually ask on Friday), read the passage, one sentence at a time, as the child writes it. Mistakes are corrected by you as they are made. Simply erase the mistake and write the correction without drawing attention to the mistake. We don't want to draw attention to the incorrect version as the child will focus on and commit the wrong version to memory. We want to create the "picture" of the correct version in their minds.
Do you already using these tools? Did you see something here that is "new" to your thoughts on narration, copywork and dictation?