What would you expect to find in a book about narration?
I want to share a little of my rationale for writing such a book in the first place. I put my eggs in the narration basket (so to speak) very early in my homeschooling endeavors. Within a few months of starting, I caught a glimpse of how powerful narration was, and it made such an impression on me that I determined to use narration all the way to the end of the process, to see what it would accomplish.
At the time, I did not know one single person who had done that. It was 1996. The internet was still in its infancy, and the Home Education Series had only been in print for a few years. It was Charlotte Mason’s own words, combined with my early experience, that convinced me to put my faith in narration. I want to share with you how that faith has been realized.
By the time my oldest child was ten years old, I was a dedicated convert. I was observing the benefits of consistent narration, and hearing about similar results from others who were using narration as well. I tried to encourage everyone I could to give narration a fair trial, and I think it was then (about 2000) that I first envisioned a book about narration. But, I still had a long way to go.
We started written narration. We moved into composition. My degree is in English, and I like to write, so I developed strategies for using narration to teach my children writing. I have three adult children who are fluent writers (and a 13-year-old just beginning the process you’ll find in chapter 7). I’ll show you how you can do it, too. I sent my children off to college, and they told me that they didn’t have to do as much writing there as I had made them do. Their college English teachers were deeply impressed by their ability to write. I have heard the same tale over and over again from parents who have used narration—even from parents who felt that their student’s narration and writing fell far short of the ideal.
That’s because narration is a powerful natural art. In Know and Tell, I propose to walk you through the process. First, I’ll give you some background and insight into the nature of narration and how it has been used by others (including Charlotte Mason, of course). I’ll show you how a six-year-old begins to narrate and develops that skill. I’ll give you tools to evaluate your narrator’s progress. I’ll give you step-by-step instructions into how to begin written narrations, and how to develop them. I’ll show you real narrations from real children, so you’ll have an idea of what others have done. I’ll show you how written narration can be developed into composition, and I hope I’ll give you the tools and the confidence to continue narration all the way through your child’s education.
I also have a chapter devoted to narration with special-needs children, and another about using narration in the classroom (it’s not just for homeschools!). I have testimonials from young adults, who share how narration prepared them for what they are doing now.
What I hope I have put into Know and Tell is the knowledge that you need to put narration into practice and trust the process.
Charlotte Mason wrote:
In the act of narrating every power of [a child’s] mind comes into play.
It is my hope that the scope of Know and Tell will give you a vision of that power, and help you to realize it with your own students.