Narration is a way of testing your homeschooled children in a way that is low pressure and low stress. When your student narrates something to you, they tell you what they’ve heard back in their own words. Narration cards are cards with Charlotte Mason narration ideas on them that you can buy for a few dollars or make yourself. Let’s look at these cards more closely below.
What is Narration?
After a student reads a book, they should be able to tell their teacher about the characters they’ve heard about (this is called narration). A student can tell his or her teacher about these characters in many ways such as verbally, through writing, dance or STEM.
Because the testing method is a surprise, it makes testing feel less overwhelming for some students who might panic at the thought of a test. It can also be made into a game more easily and students might end up wanting to choose more than one card as they find the process so enjoyable (or the subject so worthy).
Children might seem a little rusty when they begin narration, but Charlotte Mason assures us they get much better and more adept at finding the words they require to tell the story they need. As such, narration can help a child with debating and public speaking, making them better able to express themselves when the time arises.
An Example of the Use of Narration Cards
If a student has just learned about Aslan in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, they can narrate his character using many methods. It’s a fun idea to choose the method of narration by choosing a narration card that specifies the method the child should use. For instance, after asking a student to describe Aslan’s character, they pick a card. The card specifies the narration method.
If the card says the method is oral and they are to sing a song or act out the character, the child has to comply, accessing their creative story-telling abilities.
If the card says the method is written and they are to write a poem, the child has to comply, trying to write out a poem that accurately describes Aslan’s character.
Where Do Narration Cards Come In?
Narration cards are cards that have different narration ideas written on them – depending on what grade your child is in. The narration ideas on the cards are supposed to get more complex, the older your children are. Here’s a breakdown of what you should be putting on different cards depending on what grade your child is in.
6th to 8th Grade
6th to 8th grade narration cards should have simple narration ideas in comparison to latter grades. Some ideas are:
Make a fun puppet show with the ideas you’ve just read about in a book
Get pencils and draw a scene from the book you’ve just learned, including a caption
Tell me five things you remembered about what we just read.
8th to 10th Grade
Write a poem about the book you’ve just read
Write a song about the ebook you’ve just read
Make a quiz based on the story you’ve just read
Pick two characters and tell me what’s similar and what’s different about them.
Mature students should be quite good at narration, so parents can expect more. By now teenagers should be great orators, ready to tell you their summary on demand. Some great ideas to put on narration cards for 10th Grade+ are:
Pick a scene you’ve just read about and make a movie script about it
Create a character map (how different characters relate to others
If you don’t want to make your own, you can buy these cards from Build Your Library. Each grade category costs only $2 or the whole set for about $5 which would be easier if you plan testing via this method through all grades. BYL also offers narration cards for different subjects, such as science, history, or biology specific cards.
Charlotte Mason narration cards help make your homeschooling education more fun by making testing into more of a game. It can teach your children great debating skills and give them more confidence when they try their hand at public speaking. Additionally, students learn how to express themselves through different mediums, be it poetry, STEM or art. Narration is already a great way of testing children and adding cards to spice up the way you do this makes things more fun for children and parents who are involved in the whole process.
Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.