20 Narration Thoughts for Charlotte Mason Educators

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You are reading 20 Narration Thoughts for Charlotte Mason Educators, contributed by Heather Mac, originally published on Joyful Socks Mom

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I hope that you would all agree that both home educating and learning the skill of a Charlotte Mason education are worthy, contemplative tasks.  I have believed for some time that both home educating and applying Ms. Mason's principles to our family learning environment are almost art forms, rather than just merely an acquired skill.   What I mean is that as students ourselves we  need the motivation to learn, a passion for great thoughts and ideas, as well as an artful desire to create a beautiful canvas of learning in your home.

A great cornerstone in Ms. Mason's teaching philosophies centered on both narration and the working of great ideas and thoughts.  The method of good narration hinges on the digesting of good living books, read slowly and thoughtfully, while building on a child's natural ability to weave exciting tales from what the child has observed.

The slow and methodical teaching of both children and ourselves, demands we artfully build the fine ideals and skills of observing, and contemplating.  She also sincerely advocated that the mother, whose charge it has become to educate in the home, was to attempt to do for herself what she was doing for her children.

It is with this last idea in mind that I present you with some thought-provoking words and philosophy on narration, in the hopes that you will seize the opportunity for a moment of gentle learning for yourself that will inspire you to carry on in the education of your most precious blessings, your children.  Grab a nice cup of tea, relax and breath in some lovely thoughts to keep you inspired in narration.

20 Narration Thoughts for Charlotte Mason Educators:

1. "As knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced, children should "tell back" after a single reading or hearing: or should write on some part of what they have read." Volume 6, page 155 - Charlotte Mason

2. "The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists." - Charles Dickens

3. "A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others." - Abraham Lincoln

4. "No two persons ever read the same book." - Edmund Wilson

5. “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
Mark Twain

6.  "A single reading is insisted on, because children have naturally great power of attention; but this force is dissipated by the re-reading of passages, and also, by questioning, summarising, and the like." Volume 6, page 155 -Charlotte Mason

7. "Narration allows room for a student to form a reason able opinion or put into words his personal perspective based upon what impresses him most in his reading." ― Karen Andreola

8. "There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world.  Love of books is the best of all." - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

9. "Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality." - Beatrix Potter

10. "You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." - A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

11. [Discussing narration] "Here on the very surface is the key to the attention, interest, literary style, wide vocabulary, love of books and readiness in speaking, which we all feel should belong to an education that is only begun in school and continued throughout life." A Philosophy of Education, -Charlotte Mason

12. "A soul occupied with great ideas best performs small duties." 
- H. Martineau

13.  "As your children grow comfortable with the concept of telling back in their own words, you can introduce higher expectations. Keep in mind that improvement in narration will be a process that requires practice, just as any other skill does; so encourage growth, model your expectations, guide as needed, but try not to criticize or discourage the children." - Sonya Shafer

14. "A teacher who loves learning earns the right and the ability to help others learn." - Ruth Beechick

15. "A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.  Ideas have endurance without death." - John F. Kennedy

16. “Do not be deceived by the superficial simplicity of this method! When you read a story, paragraph, or chapter to a child and ask him to narrate what he has heard, powerful mental 'wheels' must spring into motion. The knowledge that he has passively gathered must now be sifted and sorted. His mind must recall the beginning, and then 'what comes next,' event by event. He must be sure the order of his knowledge is correct, and that nothing important is omitted. Then, he must find words to give shape to his knowledge. It is not uncommon for children to imitate the vocabulary and style of the author himself. Nevertheless, by using the words to tell 'his' version of the story, he makes them his own.” - Karen Glass

17.  “A man on a thousand mile walk has to forget his goal and say to himself every morning, 'Today I'm going to cover twenty-five miles and then rest up and sleep.”
Leo Tolstoy,
War and Peace

19.  “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”
C.S. Lewis

20.  “[A woman's] education should be as varied and perfect as possible. If for no other reason to enable her properly to educate and rear her own children. Whatever grand truths are planted in the mother's mind may take root in the next generation, and there grow, blossom, and shed their perfume on the world. The child receives the mother's very thought by intuition. If the mother's mind is weak and narrow in its range, the child is affected by this fact long before it finds meaning in the mother's words. But if the mother's mind is cultured and refined by study until her thoughts are grand and far-reaching, the child's soul will grow and expand under the mesmeric influence of these thoughts, as the plant grows under the influence of the sun.”
Karen Andreola

Here are a few of my favorite books to further inspire your meditations on the gentle art of learning:

Joyfully Learning with You,

The Joyful Socks Mom 

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