All posts tagged: Narration

Notes and Queries by Elsie Kitching

Recently a colleague sent me this article from a 1926 Parents’ Review written by Elsie Kitching.  It contains such straightforward language from Kitching about Mason’s work that I thought the Mason Community might enjoy reading it.  All italicised words are in the original text.  Elsie Kitching is answering questions that we hear asked today. NOTES AND QUERIES. [Continued from page 130.] _________ III. I have read your letter with much interest.  May I say that we quite understand that you do not see your way to adopt a new system in a school which is already doing successful work on the lines for which it was started?  Miss Mason was herself entirely averse to offering a “system”—a set of good plans (or even of bright ideas!) which used in and for themselves should produce certain results, and for this reason she did not care to send the programmes for payment only, but only on condition that they should be carried out in the light of the Philosophy of Education which has been her contribution to the cause of …

Mining in the Archives by Kerri Forney

Several years ago at the national Charlotte Mason conference, Deani and Meghan Van Pelt presented a wonderful plenary session on the L’Umile Pianta, the magazine published for the alumni of Charlotte Mason’s teaching college in Ambleside, England. From their work on the Charlotte Mason Digital Collection,[1] they shared their experience of getting to know some of the people involved in the P.N.E.U.[2] through the pages of this periodical. I left the session with a desire to befriend Miss Pennethorne[3] too and with a sense that a gold mine was just beneath my finger tips if I would do the hard work of digging. In preparing for the conference this year, I finally started mining in earnest. It is joyfully ironic to me that what I am now employing in studying Mason and her world is rooted in my understanding of Mason’s own philosophy of teaching history. Her admonition from Volume One to“linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man and is at home in …

A Personal Reading Plan (I am not a professional. Try this at home!) by Dr. Cindy Swicegood

My life-long reading style could be described in one word: fast. (In recent years, I attempted to read James Sire’s How to Read Slowly—but I was reading too fast to learn how to read slowly!) The ability to read fast is very helpful when scanning the departure listing to find the gate for the flight one is about to miss or when looking for a reference to a particular person in that last chapter one read, etc. However, fast reading is not appropriate for the “one reading” insisted upon by Charlotte Mason—the reading that results in knowing (demonstrable by narrating). I have long been the person who could read a book and tell you that I really liked it, but not be able to recall a single detail from it. (I’m the same with movies.) I often read to my husband at bedtime; sadly, it is not uncommon for me to turn to the bookmarked place and have no recognition of the passages I read aloud to him the previous night. I am also sometimes the …

Practical Suggestions for Narration by Carroll Smith

We end this series on narration for those new to Charlotte Mason with some practical suggestions. I hope these suggestions help teachers and parents to get started with narration and to remove fears about how to narrate.  Please don’t hesitate to ask questions.  Although some may think, “what is all the fuss about narration?”  it is much more complicated and practical than is expected upon a shallow first look.  Building oral language through retelling or narrating is basic to our humanness. 8.  What are some practical helps for the 6 year old who has no experience with narration? Start with the child narrating his experiences. When a six year old starts her formal education, we mustn’t read a whole chapter of Little House on the Prairie and ask her to narrate; that is expecting too much.  The ability to visualize and sequence are key to the mental processes involved in narration and they can be developed through asking children to tell what they did that morning.  Encourage the child to see herself in bed first opening her eyes, …

More Thoughts About Narration by Carroll Smith

We continue this week with another blog on narration.  In this post I try to answer such questions as, is narration a fad; what are basic guidelines for narrations; what about preschool children; and what can parents do with preschool children?  I hope these are helpful and provide ideas for you to think about and maybe even discuss in your Mason study groups. 4.  Is narration just a Charlotte Mason fad or trend? Narration, the art of telling back as a means of knowing was not invented by Mason, but has been around for thousands of years in the oral tradition.  Prior to the prevalence of print with the invention of the printing press in 1400s, the oral tradition of narration or telling back was the tool used to convey knowledge and information to the next generation.  We need not consider the oral tradition as less substantial or a lower skill set because it is an ancient tradition.  Albert Lord (1964) tells us that “We realise that what is called oral tradition is as intricate …

Grandparents as a “Living National Treasure” by Linda Fern

Japan has a popular term for persons who are certified as “preservers of important intangible cultural properties.” They are called Living National Treasures.  The term isn’t stated in the law, but it has become familiar to all.  The “intangible cultural properties” in Japan include mastery of artistic skills in art, drama, music, and crafts. It is a bold proposal, but couldn’t grandparents aspire to the title?  Years of experience, growth in all areas of life, developing and honing mastery in one or more specific areas that enable us to share with our grandchildren must surely qualify as holding “intangible cultural properties.” Perhaps your childhood mimicked that of our children—camping trips, hiking, learning to fish and hunt, visiting historical sites, museums, engaging in nature—wildflowers, birds, trees, animals—and because of that a Charlotte Mason education is an extension of ‘normal’ for you.  Perhaps you didn’t experience most or any of the above, and that’s what you want—a relational environment rich in knowledge and experience—and you want your parents (the grandparents) to affirm and enlarge that environment and atmosphere. …

Golden Nuggets and the Grand Conversation by Dr. Jennifer Spencer

This blog was originally posted by Dr. Spencer for the Willow Tree Community School. I have written before about how all of the pictures that we post here can be a bit misleading. Of course, we do stay busy with activities that keep our hands and bodies working, and we do spend a great deal of time outside compared with other schools. A picture can capture all of those things very well. What it cannot capture is the inner-working of the mind. Anyone who has looked at our book list knows that we read. Copiously. Widely. And the books we read are challenging. We cover a lot of ground in a term, but the word “cover” can also be misleading. That word could imply that there is simply a list of “stuff” that the students have to read and do–answer a question here, write a paragraph there–and that is the end of it until we finish (and forget?) that list of “stuff” and start the next one.  This is what many people think of when they hear the …