Even though we are eclectic homeschoolers (meaning we don’t strictly adhere to any one method of learning), we often use Charlotte Mason educational principles. Some of those concepts include narration, living books, and copywork. We have just reviewed a resource that incorporates all of those principles and more: Write from History by Kimberly D. Garcia. Kimberly is a homeschool mom who has created this series of books in the Charlotte Mason style.
1600-1850, from Captain John Smith to the California Gold Rush
Historical Narratives, Primary Source Documents, Poetry, and Cultural Tales
Target age range: Grades 3-5
Price: $22.95 (ebook) or $30.95 (soft cover)
This is really a cross-curricular program because it combines history with the skills of language arts and handwriting. Students have the chance to improve their memory and narration ability while reading important historical documents like the Mayflower Compact or about famous historical figures like Benjamin Franklin. Some of our favorite selections are George Washington’s Farewell Address, Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, and Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s Ride.
Kimberly provides a thorough introduction to explain the concepts of studied dictation, paragraphing, and narration. The emphasis is on a gentle approach to learning that is very student-focused. Patience, consistency, and practice are key. She also provides a suggested schedule that makes things even easier for the busy homeschool mom’s planning:
Day 1 incorporates reading, oral and/or written narration.
Day 2 involves copywork and optional grammar study.
Day 3 involves studied dictation.
Day 4 involves oral narrations and copywork.
Day 5 includes studied dictation.
Obviously this schedule is easily tweaked to suit your needs. I appreciate resources like this that are truly flexible and require no prep time on my part.
I admit that we have mostly done copywork up to this point, mainly because I just didn’t think of adding in dictation. At least not “formally” in our studies. Big Sis has been writing grocery lists and to-do lists for me as I’ve dictated for a few years now. Now that we’ve gotten the hang of it in our homeschooling, we are adding it in on a regular basis. I really like having this book on hand so I can assign the reading and writing portions for Big Sis to complete independently. We then go over it together and work on dictation. It has been a good incentive for us to work on these skills in an interesting and purposeful way.
Although the age range is listed as grades 3-5, it’s really adaptable in my opinion. Big Sis is technically in the 6th grade this year, but she benefited from the readings included, as well as the cursive handwriting practice. This book has worked as a nice complement to our Notgrass history lessons from America the Beautiful.
Write from History is available in both manuscript (grades 1-3) and cursive (grades 3-5) formats. There are several historical time periods available from ancient history through modern history. I would like to get the whole series for each time period. They are an excellent fit for any history study or learning method.
Do you use Charlotte Mason methods in your homeschool?