Narratives play a crucial role in the Charlotte Mason Method. However, even if you aren’t following this method fully in your home education journey. It is such a powerful tool for engaging children in the learning process and fostering a deep understanding of various subjects. That is something that is worth considering adding. Whether you are new to homeschooling or just wish to understand more about this tool and how to implement it with your kids carry on reading to discover more about it.
Narratives – not just Narration!
Don’t get confused narratives and narration are two related but distinct concepts within the realm of storytelling and education.
A narrative refers to a story or recount of events, characters, or experiences, in written or spoken form. It encompasses the broader concept of storytelling, the plot, characters, setting, and themes. On the other hand, narration refers to the act of retelling or summarizing a story or information that has been previously encountered. It involves the process of recounting or expressing knowledge or experiences in one’s own words, whether verbally or in writing.
Narration is an active process that helps deepen comprehension, reinforce memory, and develop communication skills. While a narrative is a story itself, narration is the act of expressing or conveying that story back again to others or in written form.
What you will see below with our points of using Narratives in your homeschool is that Narration is part of that. But it’s not all. One of the mistakes that I often see is home educators thinking that these two are the same thing and not really understanding the difference.
Using Narratives from Living Books with Your Kids
Here are some ways that you can incorporate narratives or living books into your homeschool routines easily.
Find out what Living Books are and how you can use them with your kids with our Guide to getting started with Living Books.
Read Aloud Books
Choose high-quality books with captivating narratives and read them aloud to your children. Select literature that aligns with their interests and the subjects you are studying. Use expressive voices, pauses, and gestures to bring the characters and stories to life. Encourage discussions and reflections after each reading session to deepen comprehension and critical thinking.
Think that because your children can read independently reading aloud becomes nonexistent think again – read our article on the Importance of Reading Aloud even with your teens and tweens.
Don’t do what I did the first time I thought about this and confuse dictation and narration they are very different. Narration is not “copywork” or dictation from you. Instead, it’s a means for your child to retell or summarize what they have learned. After a reading session, ask your child to recount the story or provide a verbal, written report or even a comic strip of the key points or events they have just heard. This process helps them process and internalize information, develop language skills, and enhance comprehension.
Encourage your children to engage in storytelling. Provide prompts or themes for them to create their own narratives. This activity nurtures their creativity, imagination, and language development. It can be done through verbal storytelling, written compositions, or even illustrations. Check out our creative writing prompts for ideas that you can use with your kids.
It wasn’t until I was in my teens that I started to read biographies and I really feel I missed out. Not just because they are interesting but also because historical biographies offer insights into the lives and achievements of influential individuals. Discuss the character traits, challenges, and contributions of these figures, allowing your children to connect with history on a personal level.
Utilize historical fiction books that immerse readers in a specific time period or historical event. Abridged versions are great for younger kids, but you can also include them in listening to appropriate versions for older kids. Such narratives provide a vivid depiction of the past, making history more relatable and engaging for children. Encourage discussions about the historical context, characters, and themes presented in the story.
Incorporate Narratives Across Subjects
Narrative elements can be integrated into various subjects beyond literature. For example, when studying science, find books that present scientific concepts through storytelling or biographies of notable scientists. In geography, explore travel narratives or books that showcase different cultures and traditions. This has always been integral to my role as an educator.
By incorporating narrative elements in your homeschooling approach, you tap into the natural inclination of children to connect with stories and experiences. This fosters a love for learning, enhances comprehension, develops language skills, and encourages creativity and critical thinking. Embrace the power of narrative to create engaging and memorable educational experiences for your children at home.