Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Narration and Discussion Prompts

During the summer of 2008 I made a lot of forms.  I published many of them over at  my old planning notebook blog.    But Chari and I decided that we should collect many of our old articles and other resources over here just so we could easily find them when we want them.

Here is my set of Narration Cards which I just recently found again while digging through my closets.     I simply cut them up, grounded them on pretty cardstock, and covered them with clear contact paper (my laminator broke years ago and for some reason contact paper feels better tactilely to me anyway).

The narration starters are from various sites I've looked at during the years, and I added a few of my own. 

PDF of Narration Cards 

On my original post someone commented that they were going to use some of them along with Dinner Conversation Starters.   That made me start thinking.... always a dangerous pastime!   But one of my main agendas during Morning Time is getting the children talking.  I know this isn't a big agenda for many people who have trouble getting the kids to be quiet, but I think kids learn more from thoughtful conversation with their parents than almost any other way (or at least, that's what I remember from my own growing-up years).

Anyway, I started thinking that I could easily start a card file for discussion topics.    There are huge amounts of Journal Writing Prompts all over the internet.   Some are stupid, but some are interesting.    Here's even a prompt generator

Though many of the Regents Essay Topics require the young person to express opinions on subjects which he hasn't yet earned the credibility to speak authoritatively upon, those are the very types of questions which often show up in SAT writing exams and the like, so discussing some of them orally might be helpful in working on the basic 5-paragraph essay with my high schooler.

My thought is to paste some of these writing prompts in a document like I did with the Narration Starters and then print them out as cards that I can pick from.  

Just a few ideas!   During all this planning I want to remember this quote from Charlotte Mason

..Let us be careful that our disciplinary devices, and our mechanical devices to secure and tabulate the substance of knowledge, do not come between the children and that which is the soul of the book, the living thought it contains.


  1. These are wonderful, Willa. I'm enjoying these posts on the nuts and bolts of homeschooling. Thanks.

  2. I've seen these various narration prompt ideas, but have never done anything with them because I _knew_ it would end up 'just another box' hanging around (and probably not getting as much use as I'd like). But I recently upgraded to a new phone, a smart phone, and went looking for 'choosing' apps. In the end I priced one called 'List Pickle'. I've put all the prompts in there, so now I have them conveniently—and if we don't use them very often, there won't be a box getting in the way...(as well as a list of the folk songs we know, so that when we want to sing, we don't always wind up singing the same two or three).


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