So how do you know what your child knows?
Do you do exams?
What notes do your children write?
These are just some of the regular questions new homeschool parents ask. We have found that narrations answers all of these questions.
Narrations are the “re-telling in their own words” the information or details of the story or chapter just read. Narrations require the child’s detailed attention while listening in order for them to retell the story. Many children remember more details if they are aware that after the story or chapter is complete, they will need to write, draw or tell back what they heard and understood.
Most young children find writing challenging and difficult. Moms who help write what the child dictates or helps with a copy version that the child can copy carefully, will find that words flow easily as the child narrates orally. Older children enjoy typing on the computer as the spell check can highlight errors and they can type quicker than handwriting with a neat printout.
Notebook pages are pre-printed pages with lines for young children, some with borders, clipart, headings and place for illustrations. These pages give an incentive to write as the page provides some inspiration. Young children find that the few sentences they write will quickly ‘fill up’ the lined area and they are less daunted by this than a large blank page. Studies show that colour and illustrations help with memory recall and the clipart and photos or other visual layout on notebook pages assist them in remembering the information.
Notebook pages can be specifically tailored for the theme studied or can be general. I have found that with a little planning, I can make specific pages for the themes covered in the next few weeks and the children quickly start writing when I give them their pages.
Before I started using notebook pages, I found both my girls reluctant and hesitant, often requesting to do oral rather than written narrations. Now they enthusiastically write and illustrate and are keen to show dad their completed page when he comes in.
I have also found that making place for a minibook (more about these sometime soon!) the children write even more than just filling the spaces on the lines. Combining lapbook elements with notebooking is a real hit! I’ll share more about this next time!
Till then, happy homeschooling!