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How do I have 2 children I am combining in one guide both orally narrate?

Heart of Dakota - Dear Carrie
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Dear Carrie,

We are enjoying Little Hands to Heaven with our 4 year old daughter so much! My 7 year old and 9 year old daughters are also nicely combined in Bigger Hearts for His Glory.  As my 7 year old is advanced in reading and writing and my 9 year old is more on grade level overall, they are combined nicely with one another!  The only area I am unsure how to handle with 2 children in one guide is oral narrations. How do I have 2 children I’m combining in one Heart of Dakota guide both orally narrate?

Each of them is a bit competitive!  They annoy one another when I ask them to narrate. For example, the younger one remembers a point and interrupts the older one to share it.  The older one gets frustrated by this. Should I read half of an assignment, and have one narrate? Then, should I finish the reading, and have the other narrate the second half? Or, since my older is almost 10 and is also doing the extensions, should I have her do narrations just from that material? Or, should I just have one narrate one day, and the other narrate the next? Help! Thanks for any help!


“Double Narration Dilemma”

Dear “Double Narration Dilemma,”

Charlotte Mason herself was often faced with this same dilemma when working with children! As always she had a clever way of handing this dilemma! She suggested having a red bean and a blue bean in your pocket for narration time. Then, she assigned each child a color of a bean. Randomly, she would pull one bean out at narration time, and the child assigned that color would narrate. In this way, whoever ends up narrating is the “luck of the draw!”

A few colors of beads or unifix cubes solves the dilemma of having 2 children narrate when combining them!

You can have as many colors of beans (or colored unifix cubes or whatever you can put in your pocket to represent various children) as you have narrators. If the same child has to narrate twice in a row, then that’s the way it is! Charlotte Mason did say that the other listeners can have a chance AT THE END of the narration to add any missed details (or a few subtle corrections done lovingly). Using this method, every child prepares to narrate!  This helps each child focus on the reading carefully every time, in case the parent draws his/her color bead and calls on him/her to narrate!

Hope that helps!


P.S.  To see where your children would place best in Heart of Dakota, click here!

P.S.S.  To read some thoughts about whether combining would work well for your family or not, click here!

P.S.S.S.  To see where summarizing comes into narrating, click here!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Suanna Sears

    What a fun bean idea. I have more than one child in various guides and sometimes I have just one of them narrate while the other gets a chance to add their thoughts at the end. I have my older ones both narrate, because their perspectives are different and I will hear completely different things that they remembered. I teach them that it’s not okay to interrupt the person who is speaking and they will have their turn to narrate and include the details the other person forgot.

  2. Oh good! I’m so glad you liked this idea! It sounds like you are teaching them to narrate so well!!! Narration should be an encouraging way to share one’s thoughts. You are doing a super job of helping your kiddos feel that way about narrating!

    In Christ,

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