Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Narration, Dictation & Memory Work

Over at Happy To Be At Home for the rest of the summer, Joy, Toni and I will be hosting a Mr. Linky for everyone to share their homeschooling curriculum plans, ideas, reviews, and tips. We hope everyone will come join us so that we can all learn from each other.

One of the most useful things we implemented in our homeschool this past year was narration, dictation, and memory work. Isabelle just blossomed with these three areas as part of her daily routine. We will definitely be continuing these skills throughout our years of homeschooling.

Narration was easily implemented into our schedule. Every day Isabelle was assigned 30 minutes of reading time to be spent reading from an assigned book. The books were historical fiction that corresponded with some aspect of what we were studying in history.

Two days a week she had to do narration from the current book. In the beginning, she would just narrate what she read about to me and I would write it down as she spoke. For a few weeks, I had to ask her some leading questions to help move her along. Once she got the hang of it, she would narrate to me, and then write down what she said herself. This really helped her retain what she had read. It was also an immense help in improving her writing and grammar skills. We could have done it everyday, but I also wanted her to feel the pleasure of just reading a good, living book everyday.

Dictation and memory work were tied together throughout the year. Dictation was done three days a week, and memory work was done on one or two of those days in correlation to the dictation. This was our typical schedule:

  • Monday - Bible passage dictation - (3 weeks out of the month she would memorize one verse from that day's passage)
  • Wednesday - Poetry dictation - (These were classic, scholarly poems from some of the greatest poets. One week a month she would memorize some lines or a stanza from one of these poems.)
  • Friday - Fun poetry dictation - (These were fun poems by poets such as A.A. Milne and Shel Silverstein. One week a month she would memorize the entire poem and recite it for me.)

One of the greatest experiences to stem from her memory work involved Alex and Olivia. I had been hoping to spend some time with them throughout the year memorizing a few bible verses. I had planned on this taking quite a while for each short verse. However, I didn't have to do any work. They were both anxious and excited to memorize right along with their sister. I don't know how much they've retained, but they sure did memorize one full verse every week.

The other huge benefit of dictation was the improvement in Isabelle's spelling, vocabulary and handwriting skills. I don't think there is a better tool for those three things, even though she still continued to study them as individual subjects also.

I am really looking forward to expanding on these three things next year. A large part of my planning this summer will revolve around choosing the books for narration, Bible passages I'd like to be learned/reviewed, and poems for dictation and memorization. Because I have always been a huge lover of books and poetry, I am really looking forward to the hours I will spend planning this. Once I have it all planned out, I will post my list.
Don't forget to head over to Happy To Be At Home to share your homeschool curriculum, schedule, lesson planning, curriculum reviews, or anything that might help other homeschooling moms have a better homeschool year.


Michele 4:04 PM  

This sounds wonderful! :) It is great to see an example of the narration that Susan Schaeffer Macaulay talks about in "For the Children's Sake."
Michele :)

Candace @ A Garden of Blessings 7:37 PM  

Kate, You would love Ambleside!

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