Did you know that brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text? Neither did I, but when I learned that, I started seeing some great possibilities to let D,9, narrate his lessons in a creative way. Add in all the skills required to create a fun and relatively concise video, and you can see why I was super excited when I started thinking about practicing narration by making a video presentation as part of his school day!
Narration, for those who are maybe new to the game, or have been using an open-and-go curriculum, is really straightforward and an excellent way to gauge what your child is picking up. It requires that they tell you, in their own words, about the story, period in history, science experiment, or whatever other concept you’ve been teaching, in their own words and as tidily and free of “um”s as possible. You don’t require it for every lesson, or every chapter; instead you spread it across the various subjects and maybe 3-5 times per week depending on age. Any more than that and they begin to twitch and cringe when you ask them to do it.
I was compensated for my time in writing this post, and I received a short membership in order to try it out. All opinions are mine and those of the (extremely opinionated!) child who participated.
I am a firm believer in the benefits of narration. For those who are new to this blog, I have a 25 year old who was homeschooled through high school, a 16 year old who is beginning her last year before graduation, and a 9 year old who’s stuck with his mom for a few more years yet! We have used narration for all three children despite their different learning challenges and styles.
Why narration? It forces them to develop excellent recall, efficient use of language, and to be able to explain a concept to another person which shows that they have truly grasped the information. It’s also a heck of a lot more interesting that taking a test and circling correct answers or filling in the blanks! Narration puts the learning squarely in your child’s hands and encourages independent thought.
D can be very shy lately, so we discounted putting him in front of a camera and went instead for an online video making software called mysimpleshow that allows him to create the video with images and write his own “storyline”.
He is extremely computer savvy, but both of us really appreciated the intuitive style of mysimpleshow when it came to practicing narration by making a video presentation. Because it was so straightforward, D was able to focus on the information that he wanted to share and really enjoy his creative opportunities instead of muttering under his breath (can’t imagine where he gets that from!) and needing to ask for assistance.
We can both see so many possibilities for creating video presentations as a way to demonstrate knowledge! Imagine demonstrating a science experiment instead of writing out all the details on a plain piece of paper. Or writing a persuasive paper but in video form , with appealing pictures to add emphasis and humor. Sending the far-off relatives a weekly summary of what he’s been up to…..the ideas are churning away and D is up for the challenge!
I’m confident that Charlotte Mason, were she alive and teaching today, would have found a way to incorporate videos and other 21st century technology into her classrooms. Mysimpleshow is a wonderful fit for our homeschool and my son’s need for ever-advancing computer skills, and we plan to continue practicing narration by making video presentations for the next school year.
P.S. If you’d like to read more about the benefits of using video in your homeschool lessons or classroom, check out these posts by the creators of the software: