Narrations and Family Style Teaching: Why They Work Well Together


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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