Sunday, November 25, 2007

The last week of November!

I'm getting ready to go to sleep, but before I do, I just had a few things to share about our week to come.

I have the rest of November/December planned out. I wanted to do this so I wouldn't have to think about much before Christmas. I am a bit concerned about pacing and the holiday activities, though. This coming week in particular will be incredibly busy as Riley's musical approaches with it's 8 gazillion rehearsals. (That's an exaggeration, but it will feel like it, once we add her 3 dance classes! LOL). She will be one tired girl come next Sunday!

Austin has a new change coming up with dictation. We use Spelling Wisdom, from Simply Charlotte Mason, and Austin has gotten to a point where he is struggling with the words within each exercise. I emailed the author and got her suggestions. Her main suggestion is not to do the dictation until he has studied enough and is sure he can spell the words and place the punctuation. Austin won't argue with this change, because he can't stand making mistakes. There is just no sense in continuing on the way we were, because he was missing the same words over and over in the copywork/dictation process. And I will have to sit with him and help him learn how to study words. He has the ability to know how words should look, which is how his ITBS scores in spelling are always so high. However, it is the recall - the processing from his brain to the paper- that causes him trouble. So we'll work on that specifically.

After the first of the year, we're going to focus more on our oral narrations. I am going to cut back on the amount of reading they are doing before they narrate. I have a big problem that I created within narration that I will have to try to correct. Through the process of using narration with the Story of the World books recommended in the WTM, I gave my children the impression that narration is about recalling facts only. I think this is why they give me blank looks when it comes time to narrate. It's not that they don't remember what I read (or what they read). It's more that they feel pressure to do the correct narration, rather than just talking about what was read.

I have been reading Awakening Children's Minds, and in the 2nd chapter, Laura Berk discusses narration as a natural stage in children's cognitive development. And I am watching it emerge in Reece, as she incessantly asks me to tell her about "tornado alley" or "what you looked like when you were a girl like me" or when she wants to tell me again about her "dog going potty on the newspaper". It's driving me nutso, but I think it reflects a developmental progression for her. She wants me to narrate things for her, and she wants to narrate things to me.

Big brother and sister, though, are afraid they will get their narrations 'wrong' because that's how I approached narration before - getting frustrated when they couldn't tell me all of the details from a section of Story of the World. So I have so 'un-doing' to do. But I think we can overcome. It will just take some time of reading together, probably, so we can discuss informally and naturally and let the narration take place that way. Until we can do that, there is no sense in assigning written narration.

Those are my 2 focal points moving into this coming week. I'm so good at talking about something, and worse when it comes to implementing it. I'll panic about not having enough stuff to put into their school notebooks. Or about the children not writing enough. And it distracts me. So, like in RDI, I will have to focus on the specific objective! :)

I hope everyone has a lovely week of learning, whether you do it at home or at a school building or office!


lisaquing said...

I am always impressed by the analysis you do when choosing your curriculum and methods. My approach is much more a "seat of your pants" approach. lol

I enjoy reading about it. The narration is a neat thing as it emerges and grows.

I finished my second disturbing movie of the weekend and now I am going to bed!

poohder said...

You said.. "so we can discuss informally and naturally and let the narration take place that way. Until we can do that, there is no sense in assigning written narration."
Brilliant assessment! I think you are doing the right thing!!

The Glasers said...

I agree with you on the studied dictation, emphasis on studied. David (teenager) is doing studied dictation on Mark Anthony's funeral speech. He takes a long time to study it, but he gets flawless results. That tells me he is truly studying. Pamela has the hang of it as well because sometimes she will stop me before a dictation to get one more look. She must be mentally rehearsing it for her to stop on a dime like that.

One way you can help your children get oral narration is to model it, making it sure to give it your own twist. If you are all reading the same book, you could all take turns narrating the same passage to show how your personality colors the narration.

It is hard when kids get the facts wrong in a narration. I have found that important information is often repeated throughout a book and reading the next passage might correct the problem. If David forgets something major, it is much easier because I will casually say, "I thought there was something about a howling cat." Most of the time, he will go "Oh, yeah, . . ." and then proceed to fill in the blanks.

Oral narration and studied dictation paves the way for written narration. I think of it as a developmental process. In fact, if they have the educational objectives up at RDI-os, it would be interesting to see if they emphasis early creative writing. I would be disappointed if it did.

JamBerry said...

I was just looking at the OS, and the first objective related to 'writing' isn't until stage 7 (of 12 stages), and even that objective doesn't require 'writing.' And oral narration precedes written narration in the OS too. Granted, the OS is still a work in progress, but it seems very CM-friendly!!