This week I had the kiddos do some narrations for me to type and save. Hailey's got to be so long, that I will not be writing much else! Her first narration is about the American tall tale of Stormalong. This narration ended up being two fill-length typed pages! I am going to give you just a little bit of intormation on the purpose of narration, so you will understand why we do this. Keep in mind I am not a Charlotte Mason expert!
Narrations are given after each school reading, whether read to the child, or by them. The narration is simply the child telling back what he knows, or 'got' from the story. There are a couple of things narration is, and couple that it isn't. Narrations isn't comprehension questions, although it is a way to test the child's understanding. Narration isn't testing on knowledge, like a history test, although it does tell you some of what the child knows. Narration isn't for the teacher, it is for the child.
At its most basic, narration is a way for the child's mind to DO something with the new knowledge he has been given. Our minds are not recording machines, simply copying down what is stuffed into them. Our minds have to DO something with that information to remember it. Connections to other information, and the process of the mind making those connections, is the process of learning and remembering. Narration gives that power to children.
It is important to know that narrating is hard work. The child's mind does a lot in order to narrate well, and after a few years of this work, the child will be ready to begin written narrations, which are basically the beginnings of writing essays. The work of narrating orally in the early years paves the way for written compositions. So you can see that narrations fulfill the work of several processes- learning to write, remembering what they have learned, making connections, and reading comprehension skills.
Caiden's narration was much shorter. Remember this is not a test, so hers is not better then his! They both told back what THEY got out of the story, what 'clicked' with them, and they both did a good job composing their thoughts and connecting with their learning. Success for them both, even though one was much shorter! His was also a much harder selection to narrate, from his history book.
No one really knows where Stormalong came from. Some people say that Stormalong came from a place that ends with and 'ig' or an 'oog' or something like that. But all we do know is that he lived by the sea. One day Stormalong got out but before he could even say anything he could tell a knot on a ship from a knot in his mother's yarn. When he could talk he told him mom “I want to be a sailor when I grow up.”
But his mother said, “too many people in this family has been a sailer. You can not be a sailer. If my husband had stayed on shore I would not have been a widow.”
Then he decided to make a boat for himself. He picked up an old house that he knew that nobody lived in and then he set in on the sea. And before he could count to ten that thing floated down. And then when he went back in a little later his mom said, “where is that house?”
And he said, “it sunk.”
And then his mom said, “people bought that house and were going to fix it up for a sea house.”
And then he said, “I think I should be going now that I sank their house,” and for once his mom didn't argue.
So his mom packed him up a bunch of lunch and got the ladder which was made just for that purpose and climbed up on the ladder and gave him a hug and a kiss goodbye. And then he was off! On his journey. And then he went a little ways and he saw people that were signing up for a trip to china. And he said, “I would like to sign up for a cabin boy.”
And then they said, “Okey dokey artichokey!” and then they signed him up.
But before they signed him up he said, “oh, look, your mast is crooked”, and then he lifted it up. Because, in case we didn't already mention, he was thirteen and very very tall, taller then a boat. And then, they were off!
And they sailed and sailed and sailed for a long, long while. And then, the ship was stopped. And one of the sailors said, “on no its a kraken!”
And then the captain called forth all the men and said, “who would dare to go under the sea to see what is holding us back?”
And then everyone except for Stormalong took two steps back. And then he said, “I will go! Except for will somebody get me a knife so I can go see what it is doing?”
And then he saw a monster down there and it had one long tentacle grabbing the boat except it had a claw on the end. And then he saw one eye looking out from the darkness of the depths of the sea and then he saw from a familiar head which had lots of other tentacles to it, with claws. And then he got the knife and started cutting at his arms but the first time it bounced off like rubber. And the second time it did the same thing. But the third time it cut it off but the monster quickly attached two more arms to the bottom of the boat.
And then he had an idea. He threw the knife down and tackled the first arm and tied it into a figure eight knot. Then he took the other tentacle and put it in another knot. And then it quickly latched on two more arms, and he kept making knots and knots until the thousand arms that were on it were all in knots.
But then when he went back up,he saw that there were giant waves and he caused the giant waves tackling the giant monster. Then he got up as slowly as he could, then everybody cheered and hoorayed. Then he decided to go back. And everyone was familiar with him except for the cook. Because she had to make barrels and barrels and barrels of soup for him, because he was a growing boy, and a big one too!
And then he decided he should go, and then he built himself his own ship at his home. And it was huge! It was so big that sometimes it knocked stars from the sky. So he made it that he could lower the masts down. And he was bored with just getting normal stuff so one day he saw a whale! And he decided to be a whaler. And if they were too small he would throw them off.
And then they would have to go through a little place that was only 30 miles wide. So he told the men, get some soap and scrub it everywhere. So they scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. And they scrubbed so much that all the barnacles slipped and fell off. And then they went straight on ahead. And guess what? They made it!
And since he was a whaler, if the whales were less then ninety pounds he would throw it back and say, “I better let that poor whale grow up some more before I take that one on again.”
And then he started getting worried about the new steamships that were getting bigger and faster every year that went on. And then one day he saw one go “whoosh!” right past him. And the next time he saw them go right past him, he said, “I will take you on if I have a good wind!”
And he said, “we don't need a good wind, we've got coal and gasoline!” And then it whooshed past.
And then the next day their sails started to flutter. And then they started to whoosh. And then a giant hurricane wind came and the people said, “lower the mast, lower the mast, it is going to tear our sails up!”
And he said, “no I will beat 'em!” And then they whooshed past the other little boat.
And people saw him laying on the wheel of the giant boat with the masts all torn up, and they saw him laying on the wheel. And then he thought that maybe his mother was right, maybe he was just supposed to stay by shore. And some people think that that wasn't the end of him. Because then at the same time there was also a farmer named Stormalong and they maybe thought that he was him because he was so amazing that when there was a driest drought he worked so hard his own sweat watered the plants.
Narration by Hailey Snyder, age eight
The Story of King Stephen
After he died, they refused to let Matilda be the queen. So they made Stephen the king. But then some of the people wanted to have Matilda, and they fought. Lots and lots of fighting. And some people put people in prisons. They imprisoned people and they really did not like Matilda at all. The country did not like it at all either. And they built a wicked castle to imprison all the people in. So they had a very long fight.
But eventually some soldiers went to guard Matilda cause she got prisoned too. Then some people dressed up as white and took her away almost like robbers. Then they took her to a castle and then the two men decided to make peace. And throughout the land it was peaceful for a few years. And they also decided to make when the king died they made the son of Matilda king after that.
From Our Island Story
Caiden Snyder, age 7