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Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

The Many Faces of Narration

Narrations are often described as oral or written summations of what has been read to the student. That much is true, and I often ask my boys to give me narrations of things they have learned. However narrations can encompass so much more than that... My boys color maps every time we study any region, peoples or territory. I want them to have a strong sense of both place and time. Sometimes it may seem repetive as it is often the same land area we are studying, just the names of the peoples inhabiting the area has changed. After many maps, however, they will begin to know the area intimately and be able to picture it in their minds. Then when you talk about the Greeks, for example, they can picture the lay of the land. This is a hand-drawn map of the areas of the Greek civilization that Sam drew. To draw a map from memory is a type of narration.


I think the best type of narrations come spontaneously from your children. They read about something and feel compelled to draw about it or tell about it. This is a sketch of the Assyrian war chariots that Quentin was inspired on his own to create after hearing about them and seeing pictures in a book. Other times they will spontaneously tell me about things they have learned. Here is James telling me about explorers using a ball and a plastic toy figure.

I do a lot of hands-on demonstrations and projects. Today I had Quentin hold one end of a rope and I held the other end and lifted my arm up and down to create a wave in the rope. I then asked them to lay the rope on the table in the same pattern. Is this not telling back what they have seen? I then asked them to sketch the rope wave and I had them label it with terms to do with sound and light I explained to them. We will use these terms over and over again throughout our experiments with sound and they will grow to know them well. Later I will have them draw the same sketch from memory.

4 comments:

  1. Great visual narrations! K tends to do much of those too. Recently, she drew a flower and labeled its parts all on her own. I remember having told to draw a map of Europe from memory in my Western Civilization class. It's great practice!

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  2. I love your new header.

    "I think the best type of narrations come spontaneously from your children. They read about something and feel compelled to draw about it or tell about it."

    I agree totally. I love it when my girls decide to draw about something they've learned without any prompting from me - or when they act it out.

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  3. I love the depth of your studies - just excellent!

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  4. There are so many great ways to do narrations, I agree. I love all of your ideas.

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