Narrations and Family Style Teaching: Why They Work Well Together

October 9, 2015


One of the many problems faced by homeschool families is the regular struggle over the best ways to combine children of various ages/levels in as many ways as possible. This is important because it allows the teaching parent(s) a way to consolidate the numerous reponsibilities required in handling multiple roles: parent, spouse, teacher, neighbor/member of a community, etc. Family style teaching is to incorporate as many opportunities to combine lessons as possible.


Narrations lend themselves well to this effort, since they allow for younger children to respond to a book in a way that is more appropriate to them and older children can express their thoughts at a high level.



For example:


Assignment: Read the first chapter from The Wind in the Willows.


Have your student(s) complete a narration following this reading.




The following list shows how varying the type of narration allows a child from every age/skill level to complete the assignment.



All Levels


  • Tell about Mole and Rat's adventures in the boat. (Oral Narration)

  • Draw a picture of any scene from this chapter. (Picture Narration)

  • Reenact the picnic scene with Mole, Rat and Otter. (Reenactment Narration)

  • Tell or dictate three questions you would ask after reading this chapter. (Question Narrations)

  • Are Rat and Mole friends? Explain how you know this. (Discussion Narration)



Late Early to Mid-Elementary Level


  • Tell all about Mole. (Dictated Narration)



Mid-Elementary+ Levels


  • Write a narration describing Mole and Rat's adventures in the boat. (Written Narration)

  • Create a chart with twelve sections by dividing a sheet of paper into thirds vertically and quarters horizontally. Write the following character names in the far left (first vertical 1/3) column: Mole, Toad, Rat, Otter, going down. Use the middle section (vertical 1/3) to write a physical description of each character and the last section (vertical 1/3) to write a short description of each character's personality. (Diagram/Chart Narrations)



Upper Elementary+ Levels


  • Write a list of events in sequential order for this chapter and then, using this list, write a summary narration. (Resumes, Summary Narrations, Precis)

  • Write a description of either Mole or Rat. You may include an illustration, if you'd like. (Descriptive Narrations)



Upper Levels


  • Write a Historical Background Paper on Kenneth Grahame. Be sure to cite your sources.  (Historical Background Papers)

  • After the completion of The Wind in the Willows, choose one character and write a character sketch for him. Be sure to cite your sources. (Character Sketches)

  • Write an essay on either one of the following themes found in The Wind in the Willows: home or adventure. Be sure to cite your sources. (Literary Analysis Essay)



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