Narrations: A Charlotte Mason Companion: Ch. 20-23

Chapter Twenty: The Three Period Lesson – This is one of Maria Montessori’s ideas that Karen Andreola has adapted and used in her homeschool.  In the first period of a lesson, the focus is on naming: “This is a….” In the second period, the focus is on recognition: “Which one is the….?” And in the third period, the focus is on pronunciation of the word: “What is this?”  This is something that we can do with our little ones especially for early skills that fit this pattern of knowledge – color and shape recognition, numbers, letters, etc.  It could be done quite naturally with a good picture book like “I Spy Shapes in Art.”

Chapter Twenty-One: Vocabulary: “Words, because they represent ideas, have the power to sway nations, touch and inspire individual lives. It seems that through the centuries, wherever Christians have lived in community, education has resided – first, to teach the Word, and secondly, to contemplate and consider the words and lives of others.” (p 164). Enrich your child’s vocabulary by using interesting words and by reading whole and beautifully written books.  “Older children who are good readers ahve become good readers not by vocabulary worksheets but by wide reading and much reading. A rule to remember is: Wide reading – Wide vocabulary” (p 165). “If books that are a little challenging are placed in the hands of children, the childrenw ill be continually increasing their vocabulary” (p 166). And Mom, use the rich vocabulary that you have developed in your conversations with your children.  It takes practice to remember to pull out those big words, but “It is time to load the ship with haste and embark on our voyage!” is much more interesting than “Get in the Van! Now please!

Chapter Twenty-Two: The Servant Spelling: There is no need to start teaching Spelling until a child is 8 or 9 AND reading well. At that point, begin to  keep a personalized spelling list for your child and  have them study just four to six words a day from it.  These words should be the ones that the child has recently misspelled in assignments or in other things that they have written.  These words are the ones that you had to spell for your child to finish his letter to Superman. Have your kid learn to spell every word of something they are memorizing anyway … like scripture or a poem. Use copywork to help solidify the words in their minds and as another way to put the words to learn in front of them.

Chapter Twenty-Three: Simply Grammar: “When a child is surrounded with good and proper language, the direct teaching of grammar need not begin until fourth or fifth grade (at age nine or ten)…. If Mother speaks clearly and decisively, she is giving the child valuable language lessons. All the reading aloud she enjoys doing every day – as her children listen attentively – is doing verbal wonders, naturally, to teach English.” (p 177).  When you do begin to teach grammar, begin with a program such as Simply Grammar by Karen Andreola and use it to teach through a series of guided conversations.

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