About two years ago I started a Charlotte Mason Newsletter which I send out via email about once every month or so. One of the topics I’m often asked about is keeping notebooks in a Charlotte Mason context so late last year I started writing about this in the newsletter. Last month I mentioned that I’m happy to post photos here if anyone wanted to share some of the work their children had done and Miriam sent me some examples of her children’s notebooks.
‘My now 10 year old daughter and 8 year old son began keeping notebooks since the beginning of last year. We are very new to oral and written narrations, however, they are progressing steadily in their abilities and I am thoroughly enjoying observing how each one learns so differently to the other. I really see the benefits of note booking and written narrations and thus I plan to continue in this way. I feel this is a real transition stage especially for my daughter who is moving from oral to written narrations. Some days she only manages a few sentences, and other days she writes half a page! I am hopeful with continued practice she will gain more stamina and fluency. Please excuse the many spelling mistakes that riddle these examples! I thought it may be an encouragement to some parents to see that keeping notebooks is really not about perfection, so much as about enjoying the process and solidifying their learning.’
The first four were written by her daughter who was nine and a half at the time.
Below is an oral narration by Miriam’s 7 (now 8) year old boy which was recorded on her phone and then typed out for him to illustrate.
Miriam’s son chose the soldier picture for his notebook cover and coloured it in.
The beauty of the Charlotte Mason method is that oral narration begins at age six when a child who may not be reading or ready to write, (and many children are not ready until quite a bit later) is perfectly capable of retelling in their own words what has been read to them.
‘One of the reasons Charlotte Mason’s work is enjoying a renaissance among modern home education is that she made children’s desire to tell what they know one of the building blocks of her philosophy of education.
Narration (retelling what has been read) is the best and most natural way for a young child to organize and demonstrate the knowledge he gains from books…
Narration develops the power of self-expression and forces the child to use his own mind and form his own judgment.’ – Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola
Knowledge is not assimilated until it is reproduced and what the child digs for becomes his own.
Thanks to the Truss Family for giving us a peek into their notebooks. Well done!