In the summer of 2016, Karen Glass, author of Consider This: Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition, was researching her upcoming book on narration. On her way to a conference in Charleston, she stopped by Harvest to get insight from our teachers into how we have used narration in the classroom. She also interviewed Tammy Glaser about creating the right atmosphere for children with challenges that may get in the way of narration. Ms. Glass made audio recordings of what we had to share and extracted from those recordings block quotes found in Chapter 9 of her book.
Today Know and Tell is a #1 New Release in Language Arts Teaching Materials at Amazon!
Know and Tell: The Art of Narration is a handbook about narration -- "what it is, how to begin, and how to develop it across years of education." As we know from our personal experience of the power of narration, this book should be in the hands of anyone who teaches children in school, at church, at home, and almost anywhere. Why? Narration is a process that, when applied consistently, can empower students to think clearly and become excellent speakers and writers if they give it a chance. Her book helps readers understand four stages of narration and offers a wide variety of examples of narrations in each stage. She even interviewed adults who shared how the ability to narrate has helped them after graduation.
Narration is knowing and telling. Glass explains, "We tell because we want to relive an event or allow others to experience something with us.... At its heart, narration is a relationship-building exercise.... The child forms his own relationship with the material he is narrating, and as his relationships become broader and deeper, he begins to perceive the relationships that exist within knowledge itself.... Narration becomes the key that builds our relationship with knowledge, developing our thinking skills, and gives ups the power to collect our thoughts and relate them accurately and effectively, both in speech and in writing."
We just finished term finales (exams) and below are two examples of experienced narrators perceiving relationships within knowledge and expressing them in writing. Both illustrate the creative nature of narration because, according to Glass, "each child's mind, working on the material at hand, reproduces a version that is unique to that individual." The middle schooler on the left recalls a Shakespeare play studied three years ago and applies the style Franz Schubert used to vivify his lieder in notes and music to words. The high schooler on the right invents a scene from Plutarch's Life of Julius Caesar in style of Shakespeare who had only addressed the last month of Caesar's life in his play. Both are done without notes.
In the final chapter of her book, Glass concludes that narration is a marketable skill. A person who can narrate well has learned to pay attention to what is heard and read. Last spring, we witnessed the power of narration at Camp Leopold. We had a group that followed instructions so well that they made it through the Team Challenge without error and finished the entire compass drill. During the debate, which our students had never participated in as a group, both sides listened to each other, collaborated, and came up with ideas agreeable to one another. A substitute instructor led the night walk and admitted to us that star-gazing was not his area of expertise. The elementary class showed him prominent constellations, stars, and planets and narrated the myths behind their names. Several of our 4H students won ribbons even though it was their first time in competition because of their ability to communicate knowledge. We often hear from families and people in the community of how well our students express themselves. Glass explains, "A person who can accurately describe what is wanted, give clear directions, or understand what she is told is a person with excellent communication skills.... She has the skills employers are looking for."
We hope that anyone interested in helping children develop strong oral and written communication skills will read this book. Narration, as outlined in Know and Tell, deserves a fair trail!
This year Harvest has expanded what we offer outside of school hours. Please make sure to send an extra snack with your child on days in which the school day is extended. More details about each opportunity is below the schedule.
4-H Friendship Club - Students aged 7 to 18 can become members of 4-H for a $10 sign-up fee. There may be additional costs depending upon the project selected. Each member will receive a T-shirt and a membership card that permits free entry into the Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fair and the SC State Fair on designated 4-H days. Please contact Tina Proffit, Jenn Connors, or Mary Margaret McCaskill at the Clarendon County Clemson Extension Office at (843) 430-1222.
Archery Club - Students in third grade and above may participate in archery but only fourth grade and above can compete in DNR matches. The club lead coach, Kristie Anderson, and assistant coach April Anthony instruct the archers every week. Casey Connors leads and Allie Strickland assists as substitutes as needed. Coach Anderson and Coach Connors are certified by SC NASP as instructors. Students are not required to buy bows but, if they want to, please contact Kristie at (803) 387-9459 concerning what bow can be used on the range. Required supplies are closed-toe shoes, a lined hardcover or leather journal, water bottle, and snack.
Chorus Club - Students in fifth grade and above may participate in chorus club. Tammy Glaser guides the singers in the group singing, Solfa, reading music, and music theory. We plan to sing a wide variety of music. Please include a snack in your child's lunch.
Violin Lessons - Harvest students and children, teens, and one adult are taking classes from concert violinist Johanna Pressley every Thursday. Lessons are $10 per week and are payable to Johanna (not the school).
Before School Care - Extended morning care costs $40 per month. Contracts are available from the office. Please contact our headmaster Angie Bruner at (803) 574-1004 for more information.
After School Care - Extended afternoon care costs $100 per month. Contracts are available from the office. Please contact our headmaster Angie Bruner at (803) 574-1004 for more information.
We have several opportunities for families to learn more about our school and philosophy of education by helping out with the biweekly feast and/or attending large room meetings. The feast is a banquet of ideas drawn from the “riches” of the curriculum — art, handwork, nature study, music, citizenship, and service. This “break” from the rigor of academics is a multi-sensory way to practice the habits of attention, listening and seeing, remembering, neatness, and service. Large room meetings are designed to help parents learn about our unique style of education and support parents who volunteer for the feast. If you would like to volunteer, please call the school or email Tammy.
Tuesday Feast - We encourage parents to arrive at 1250 in case students in elementary and above finish our study of Shakespeare early.
* Picture Study - We start off with picture study which connects students to three artists every year. Picture study requires the careful observation of a great work of art, usually a painting, done so carefully that a student can describe it vividly from memory when put away. Three artists are studied each year, beginning in first grade, so that a student who spends their entire school career at Harvest will know the work of thirty-six artists. We are studying the seventeenth-century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer this term.
* Handwork - We transition to handwork, the neat and careful use of hands, materials, and tools to make some beautiful thing. The aim is for a student to develop a skill through slow, careful instruction. We are learning the Japanese art of origami (the transformation of a piece of paper into a sculpture) this term.
Thursday Feast - We encourage parents to arrive at 1150 to have time to read the plan for the afternoon.
* Composer Study - We begin with composer study, the careful listening to a great musical composition done so carefully that a student can describe details noticed about the music (instruments, pace, volume, dynamics, mood, pitch, etc.) Three composers are studied each year, beginning in first grade, so that a student who spends their entire school career at Harvest will know the work of thirty-six composers. We are studying the eighteenth-century German composer Georg Telemann this term.
* Citizenship - We then focus on citizenship, where we study great characters who are a blend of strengths and weaknesses, virtues and failings. We learn what to avoid and how to avoid it as well as what is good and how to do what is right. Primary classes read Claire Dillingham Pierson’s lively animal tales with morals woven into the plot. Elementary classes study Stories from the History of Rome by Emily Beesley which prepares them for Plutarch’s Parallel Lives in middle school and above. Students in the upper grades also read Charlotte Mason’s Ourselves, a basic diagram of human nature that helps them overcome obstacles and avoid pitfalls on the path of life.
* Service - Half of the school applies citizenship in the local community. One group visits our friends at Lake Marion Nursing Home with our service dog Maci. Another group does a variety of service projects at Harvest. These groups go on the nature walk the next week.
* Nature Walk - The other half of the school goes on a nature walk somewhere in the county for nature study, the careful observation of nature done so carefully that students can sketch, draw, or paint what was seen later in the week. Nature study lays the foundation of science because observation is the key habit of the scientific method. Before they reach high school, students have firsthand knowledge of living things, processes of nature, and nonliving things. This group does service the next week.
Large Room Meetings - Once a month, on the first Tuesday of the month, we invite parents, guardians, volunteers, and homeschooling adults interested in learning more about Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education. The first few meetings will focus on immersing into the riches of the curriculum that we enjoy during the feast (picture study, handwork, composer study, citizenship, and nature study). After that, we will explore other principles of how we guide children at Harvest. Since we learn best by reading, narrating, discussing, and experiencing, those who come to the large room meetings get to understand what their child’s day is like by being immersed in an hour of it.