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    An Example of Written Narration

    October 19, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    [dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s been a while since I’ve shared any written narration samples, and I thought perhaps I ought to before we get really far into Lost Tools of Writing and adjustments in style and composition are made again. The example I’m sharing today is one of my favorites, from earlier this year, and it is definitely the fruit, not of Lost Tools, but of doing many, many progym variations over years. I really liked it, but of course I’m biased.

    Example of Written Narration

    This is a narration from the Henrietta Marshall’s book English Literature for Boys and Girls written by E-Age-13. The chapter discusses the fall of Constantinople and the events which led to the beginning of the Renaissance. The book, incidentally, is quite good! I’ve really enjoyed it — we’ve been reading about a chapter per week for over a year now.

    As I mentioned before, we’ve done lots and lots of variations over the years. This one is done in the form of a letter. I typed it up for this post, but it was originally written by hand — I think that writing by hand has a lot of value, so while he knows how to type, his daily narrations are still written down on paper. This is a first draft. Sometimes, we do refine his writing — and we will do more of that this year than we did last year — but many, many daily narrations are left as they are, and we merely discuss aloud how they might be improved.

    Dear Sydney:

    You may have already heard the dreadful news that Constantinople has been taken by Mahommed II. All of us students were forced to flee, leaving behind much of our belongings. But we saved many old Greek manuscripts.

    At present, I and many other scholars have taken refuge in Italy. We have shared our knowledge with them which we acquired from the Greeks. To them, this knowledge is new and strange, but among some it has been accepted. We have built a place where we can teach those who want to learn about the Greeks, and their way of thinking. I begin to suspect, from the numbers of men and women who are coming to us, that this will revolutionize Europe. I urge you to come to Italy and study under us. There are so many beautiful Greek concepts to learn about.

    But, I must not forget to tell you about the opposition that we are facing. There are some who reject and resent this New Learning. There have even been some quarrels between them and us which have ended in fights.

    I must end my letter for it is late, and I look forward to seeing you again.

    Yours Truly,

    Philip Aronax

    This took up about a page in his narration notebook. It’s simple, and I think what I loved about it was that he managed to capture some of the emotional tone of the time period.

    I can’t remember now how he came up with the name “Philip Aronax,” but it was an unexpectedly elaborate process. Ha.


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  • Reply Julie October 19, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I love the word choices he made (I urge you…). I wonder sometimes how a simple narration such as in Year 1 or even 3 becomes something more sophisticated like this. I have both Year 1 and Year3 students and my Year 3 writes some of her narrations, but they are still just basic retellings. I have to re-read the posts you wrote about the writing process.

  • Reply Carol October 19, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Well done, E. The elaborate process of choosing a name – ha! same story here.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 20, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      I keep thinking maybe we got the letter variation idea from you, Carol! It was either you…or the Forum. 🙂

  • Reply KarenC October 19, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Wow! I love this narration! I am also interested in learning more about this! I never thought to do a letter format. I love that! I am definitely working that one in. I remember reading that we shouldn’t have the child narrate EVERYTHING, right?? How do you choose what to have your children narrate? Every time I have my children narrate something, I can’t let spelling errors go, so we ALWAYS correct those. 😉 Thanks for everything you do to help us who are out here in the trenches with you!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 20, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      In her 20 principles, Miss Mason says that they write on “something they have read” — so unless it’s a very short parable or something, I do think it’s implied that they write on something. In this letter, he hit on most of the important details, I think, but the chapter was only a few pages. When he writes on Churchill, he writes on only a portion.

      Honestly, I let him choose. But, of course, he’s a very independent worker. I can already foresee that some of my younger children will have to be taught how to make a selection. I feel like that happened with him pretty organically — at first, we did really short passages, and worked up, that sort of thing.

  • Reply Ann-Marie October 19, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Brandy and E~ Your narration is thoughtful and artistic and proof that your diligence over the years bears great fruit!
    How long has E been doing written narrations, Brandy? We are new to it and my sons ages 11 and 13 do 1-2 per week now and we are planning on working up from there. Any tips for those of us who are newer to written narration?
    Thanks so much for sharing…it is lovely to see!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 20, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      He is a natural writer, so I started him on written narrations a year earlier than I will/have my other children. In AO, we are “supposed” to start written narrations in Y4, and only one per week. He started in Y3, but like I said, this is an area where he was a natural and ready. My current Y3 student does not do written narrations at all. So…doing the math that means this is his fifth year of written narrations. He does one per day, and this year we also added an ANI chart so far.

      As far as tips for newbies, I suggest reading through my progym posts, maybe especially this one.

  • Reply JoyH October 19, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Hi, Brandy!

    The article you posted on allergies was interesting, and I wanted to share a little of what I’ve learned in midwifery class related to it. Here are two articles about the effects of bacterial colonization of newborns—which sounds weird, but the bacteria they gain during a vaginal birth, and colostrum from breast feeding, affects their gut bacteria immensely. C/S are associated with allergies in children, and esp formula feeding d/t the effects it has on their intestines. Very interesting reading and I thought you might enjoy it with your interest in health.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel October 20, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Thank you, Joy! I love reading about allergies, and I will definitely read about these. It seems like there are a few contributing factors to allergies — there is the microbiome, for sure, but then there is also intestinal permeability — which might be connected to the microbiome, for sure. And then there are also ways of being exposed to undigested proteins that also cause severe allergies — a few years ago I shared a post where insect bites were causing anaphylactic allergies to red meat in some people because a protein very similar was injected into the blood stream at that time, causing the body to mount a reaction — which is really the only way the body can get rid of a whole protein in the blood stream, from my understanding.

      SO interesting to me!

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