The Two "n" words - Narration and Notebooking

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gardenmama28
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Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:27 am

The Two "n" words - Narration and Notebooking

Post by gardenmama28 » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:46 pm

Hi everyone, we are about 5 weeks into Bigger, and I need some advice. My daughter really dislikes the two N words - narrating and notebooking. She is a creative girl who is also a kinesthetic learner. What can I do? Every single day in Bigger we are either narrating or notebooking or both, and while she will do it, she gets no joy out of it. I want her to get joy out of her schooling, but right now she is not.

She asked me today, "mom, did you like all the copying when you were in school?' and I truthfully answered her that I really didn't have to copy much when I was in school. I remember doing lots of projects and creative writing in grade 3. I asked my sister who is teaching grade 3 this year how much copying she has her students do, and she said it is only about 1-2 sentences per week!!!! Rather than up to 10per day if you count grammar. Her students do a lot more creative and original writing, which I am sure my daughter would enjoy more. Any ideas on how to approach this would be appreciated.

LynnH
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Re: The Two "n" words - Narration and Notebooking

Post by LynnH » Sat Nov 07, 2015 9:46 am

We didn't start HOD until Preparing, but I just wanted to clarify a few things. First when you say narrating you mean oral narration correct? I just ask because you talk about writing, but there isn't written narration in Bigger. Also are you doing most of the grammar orally as suggested? That will make a difference how much written work she is doing. The point of copywork is so that they learn the correct ways to formulate sentences, it helps with their spelling and exposes them to words they might now naturally write on their own. My son was in ps up through 4th grade and it is true they didn't do copywork as Charlotte Mason taught it, you also saw the results of letting them free write/creative write all their work. The spelling and sentence structures were horrible. They were never corrected. The thought was it was better for them to just freely write and not worry about grammar. I use to bind all the "books" the kids wrote for my son's teacher and I was horrified by what they were encouraging as far as writing. I saw in my own son how long it took for him to break the bad habits he learned in ps as far as writing went. HOD wants them to have a solid foundation of understanding how sentences go together and also get plenty of practice seeing things and writing things the correct way before they start doing written narrations and creative writing assignments on their own. The creative writing starts in Preparing. Is she struggling with the drawing that goes with the notebooking? Since she is creative can you encourage her to make her drawings her own while still following the instructions in the box?

You said she likes projects and hands on things. There is lots of that in Bigger-does she enjoy those boxes? Does she enjoy the books you are reading to her? I am just trying to figure out if there are parts of the day she does enjoy, since you say she is not getting joy out of schooling. If she enjoys the other boxes then I would just tell her that there will always be things you like and things you don't. I think it would be the rare student that enjoys every single subject and activity in the school day. My son really likes HOD and would never want to do anything else, but there are subjects he just does because he is supposed to do them, he wouldn't tell you that he enjoys them. There are other boxes he does enjoy. I have always emphasized with him the things he does like.
Mom to:
dd 22 college graduate and employed as an Intervention Specialist
ds 18 US2, Loved Preparing, CTC , RTR , Rev to Rev, MTMM ,WG, WH and US1
http://www.graceandfur.blogspot.com/

Carrie
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Re: The Two "n" words - Narration and Notebooking

Post by Carrie » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:37 pm

gardenmama28,

These past posts may be of help to you as you ponder the philosophy behind writing within our guides. I spent 11 years in the classroom as a public school teacher (with many of those years teaching third grade) prior to homeschooling my own 4 boys the last 15 years. So, I am familiar with the expectations you are mentioning for third grade students and with the creative writing push and its pitfalls at that early age. The threads below will help you see why we follow the progression of language arts skills that we do within HOD.

Link: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4595&p=34061

Link: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3155&p=23243

Link: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8059&p=58756

Another thought I had was that I wondered about was the age of your daughter and whether you feel she is well placed within Bigger Hearts? It is possible that if she hasn't done Beyond Little Hearts it could be better fit for her. So, that is something we could consider as well, just to allow her to grow into the writing and the level of rigor within Bigger Hearts. If you get a chance to share a bit more about her age and previous school experience that may help too as we try to discover the best fit for your little girl. It is possible that we could keep a few areas from Bigger Hearts and fit those together with Beyond to get a better fit for her. Or, perhaps just a little tweaking in Bigger is needed, as Lynn mentioned in her post? We'd love to hear back when you get a chance. :D

Blessings,
Carrie

gardenmama28
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:27 am

Re: The Two "n" words - Narration and Notebooking

Post by gardenmama28 » Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:02 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, Lynn and Carrie,

We did do Beyond last year ..... I feel confident that she is placed correctly according to her skill level - the work is not too hard for her - just uninspiring. She has excellent fine motor skills and printing - her cursive looks like a photocopy of the workbook examples.

We are doing most of the grammar orally and I only have her write one section per day as suggested. Grammar she does not mind - she actually enjoys it because she gets to use some creativity in choosing words to fill in the blanks. We don't do any written narration - only oral.

I have researched HOD and Charlotte Mason's philosophy extensively so I understand the reasons why copying is encouraged rather than creative writing. I really want my daughter to like the program because I feel like the books are excellent....

I'll give and example of what I am thinking.... that rather than copying a map from a book on where the explorers travelled, I feel like she would be more inspired to draw an original picture of how she envisions a colony to look, or compose a journal entry of a puritan child, etc.

She likes the science experiments, and map work and geography etc, but not the notebooking that comes with either history or science. She loves the read aloud stories, and she enjoys listening to the history stories as I read them. So far we are not doing the Bible section because the kids are in AWANA and already memorizing 2-4 verses per week. We are also not getting done poetry but I am hoping to add that in this week.

Carrie
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:39 pm

Re: The Two "n" words - Narration and Notebooking

Post by Carrie » Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:12 pm

gardenmama28,

I happened to be online today for something I needed while writing, so I'll just take a few moments to respond.

Thanks so much for popping back to share a bit more about your daughter! That does really help give a fuller picture of where she is at and where her strengths are. :D

It sounds like she does like much of the program, which is great! It also sounds like she is appropriately placed, which is great as well. :D

It is not surprising that the two parts of the guide that she is balking at are the notebooking assignments. This is because those assignments are actually the more difficult parts of the program, as kiddos must copy and sketch to complete the assignments. The assignments are longer and can seem challenging to students at first. It also the area where I see the most growth in my own boys as the year progresses. We are doing Bigger Hearts right now with our fourth little son and are at week 27. We have seen him make huge gains in the notebooking area this year, but I can definitely remember the challenge of those assignments that he had in the first half of the guide! :D

I can see your daughter's creative bent with the suggested notebook assignments you mentioned she might enjoy, and while you can definitely change the notebook assignments to suit your purposes, it is good to consider what the purpose of the assignment is meant to be. In our guides, the notebooking assignments are meant to cement actual facts and to help students represent real places and true scientific information. So, in changing the assignment to a creative one, the student would be missing out on the facts and instead be creating his/her own version of history. The good news is that the daily history projects as well as the unit projects in DITHR are designed to meet the creative need that your daughter has. The poetry is also a creative, higher level thinking subject that feeds that need too. :D

My second son is a hugely creative child, and it may encourage you to know that he uses his creativity wherever he can during his school and also often branches out from something he learned in school to make his own projects, creative writing assignments, poetry, drawings, etc. long after school is done. :D For example, during Bigger Hearts he loved illustrating the poems. He made beautifully creative art projects and really did a great job with his science lab sheets. Sometimes he would write his science procedure in speaking bubbles with some humor interlaced with the facts. Often he would add additional creative touches to the history and science notebook pages. Right now, he is junior in high school, and he chooses to draw an illustration of how he envisions something from the book beneath his literature journal entry every day. He has chosen to do his timeline in for high school in a color palette of only 3 colors, varying their intensity and how he mixes the colors so that his timeline has a certain flow and feel to it. He gives amazingly detailed narrations, painting pictures with his words so you can literally visualize what he is saying. His maps often have hand-drawn decorative borders. His science lab sheets often include wondering questions at the end that he wonders about and just decided to jot down. He has loved the history projects through the years, as they are right up his creative alley. He takes joy in interpreting poetry and definitely has favorite subjects. Yet, he still has areas that are not his favorite. He does those areas well, and without complaint, but they are not as inspirational to him. I share this so you can see that HOD works well for a creative child, but it does not guarantee joy in every subject. :wink:

For now, if you desire to help your daughter with her notebooking pages, you should certainly do so! You can draw alongside her on your own paper, or help her with hers. If you feel it propels her along to outline some things for her or to guide her with any needed mapping, feel free to do so. Over time, she can take over more of the assignments herself. Sometimes, all a student needs is to feel like the assignment isn't so long, and with you helping it will go more quickly. I think that as time passes and your daughter gets used to the level of work required for the notebooking assignments, she will eventually be less overwhelmed with the work and more comfortable with what is expected.

If you think back to the early stages of any new task that you were asked to do, you will probably remember feeling similarly to the way your daughter feels now. New tasks are a challenge, and until we gain some proficiency with them, they continue to bring trepidation instead of joy. It is encouraging that your daughter seems to be enjoying most of the guide. :D It is not surprising that she is finding challenge in the notebooking and narrating areas. Most kiddos do! As mommas we want our kiddos to love every part of their school day, but the truth is that there will always be areas that are not their favorites. Often these areas are the ones that are the hardest for the child. So, for now, just jump in and help her make those assignments that are not her favorite move along as quickly as possible. Do some of the writing for her if needed, and let her finish out the rest. Help her color some areas if needed. Enjoy the parts of the guide that she loves, and keep steadily progressing in those areas that are less enjoyable. :D

Even when I taught in the classroom, no matter how fabulous my lessons were, there were always children who didn't love what we were doing at one moment of the day or another. This is because kiddos all have areas that are their favorites and other areas that are not. If we change things to always teach toward a child's area of strength, or change things to teach to the child's passions all of the time, the child quickly learns that he/she does not have to do a task unless he/she enjoys it. Ultimately, that type of thinking does not build a child's character and does not serve him/her well in life. We all know that there are things that we don't enjoy doing that still need to be done (and done well). This is the type of thinking that I try to instill in my own boys when they come up against something that is a challenge or isn't their favorite. Often just helping them through those tough areas make the tough area more palatable (sometimes even enjoyable)!

Third grade is a transition year even in the public school. It is full of new things, more reading, more writing, and more rigor. Second grade is often much of a review of first grade, which makes third grade seem all the more different. Be encouraged that the ground work you are laying in Bigger will make Preparing a joyful experience. This is where the real teaching and learning of skills begins to pay off! :D

Blessings,
Carrie

StephanieU
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Re: The Two "n" words - Narration and Notebooking

Post by StephanieU » Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:27 pm

Just a couple of things I have thought about:
1. In public schools, they often spend a good amount of time on fill in the blank worksheets (or similar). Personally I find the copying similar to these types of assignments in that it is regurgitating information. But, I think the notebooking is often better at helping children retain what they learned OR creating something they will look at later and learn from again.
2. As for the Bible box and Awana - I recommend you at least read through a little bit of it. My daughter is also in Awana (T&T Ultimate Adventure 1). She memorizes and completes a lot of sections each week (she has actually already completed all 8 discoveries and is working on Silvers and Golds already). But, we at least talk a little bit about the character trait each week and do the Day 5 Bible study. We definitely aren't doing the memory work, but I think the character traits are very different than what is in Awana. I am finding the questions on Day 5 go much deeper than the Search Sites in the Awana handbooks. And the character traits really help talk about the good and bad of the people we are studying about in history (and in the Bible). We can shine light on their positive character while mentioning that they weren't perfect and sinned in other areas of life. So I highly recommend at least doing a light covering of the Bible box even with Awana.
Mom to 4
DD (13) MtMM (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, RtR, and Rev2Rev)
DS (11) RtR (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, and CtC plus some of LHTH)
DD (9) Preparing (completed LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, and Bigger)
DS (4) LHTH

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