I hope you have enjoyed Maria’s posts on recitation in a Charlotte Mason education – That They Might Delight in Knowing and Ruminating on Recitation. In our conversations on the topic, I told her about how important I thought recitation is and about how many times I have heard my grown children pull out a line or two from things they recited many, many years ago. About how I’ve seen those lines comfort them in distressing times or make them laugh during light-hearted occasions. But I do have one regret. I wish that I had kept better records. Such a simple thing, yet in the busyness of the day-to-day schooling, most of the time I left the keeping of that information to them and I didn’t oversee it. Yes, their recitation pieces are now in their hearts yet many have been forgotten. Yes, there are those that are recorded in their copywork as well as in my homeschool records but much has been lost over the years.
I asked Maria if she would put together a simple yet helpful sheet of guidelines for recitation and then a log for each student so that mothers could have a clear way to keep a record of those beautiful words. Besides, I do still have 2 students at home myself, teach a large group at TBG, and am always encouraging other moms in this living subject! Below you will find the recitation helps that she so graciously designed for me to share with you. Please don’t feel like you need to have every type of recitation going every term. I don’t think there was EVER a time when I did. Just let it be a guide and a reminder of the many varieties of this discipline and strive to maybe add a little more each year. I hope that this will be a convenient way for you to understand, schedule, and record all the wonderful words that your students will delight in. And please share any feedback you might have about the forms!
Teaching from peace,
Update note from Maria Bell:
As my study of the practice of recitation continues, it is my aim to represent the work of Miss Mason and her colleagues authentically and purposefully. In recent months, a closer look at more of the Programmes available for review has clarified that various formats were used in the selection and scheduling of recitation texts (e.g., a parable versus consecutive verses of Scripture, one hymn versus two or three, the use of holiday-specific hymns, one psalm versus two or more, a number of poems versus a specific number of lines of verse). In consideration of these findings, the newly revised guide presents term formats which aim to capture this variation in the Programmes.
Of special note:
– The guide for Forms V-VI leaves much to the discretion of the teacher. While exam
questions for these forms suggest certain texts would have been recited during the
term, the content of the Programmes does not specify; thus, I have not drawn
further conclusions but simply left these areas to your discretion.
– Beginning in Form 3 and noted in Forms 4, 5, and 6, the Programmes indicate
students were reading poetry in their foreign language studies with an instruction
to “learn” one or more. It is not clear whether these foreign language poems were
included in formal recitation work.
– While there is evidence of Euclid propositions being recited during number lessons
in the upper forms, there is no evidence that these were recited during a formal
repetition lesson as part of the recitation curriculum. In consideration of these facts,
Euclid has been removed from the guidelines for Forms 5-6. I would like to
thank Richele Baburina for fruitful conversation to this end.
Finally, it cannot be emphasized enough that recitation is rooted in principles, not a system.
In all of our work, Miss Mason’s caution from Volume 6 is especially fitting for recitation:
“Every enthusiastic teacher knows that he is obeying the precept—‘feed my lambs’—feed
with all those things which are good and wholesome for the spirit of a man; and before all
and including all, with the knowledge of God,” (246).
I printed off this phenomenal guide and realized there are only 10 years of learning-forms on the complete tracker for the parent. Is there ever going to be 2 additional slots in the forms 1-4, to “match” CM’s forms to “grade levels”? Thank you so much for creating this AND for sharing it freely!
Hi, I would love to see these guidelines and logs for students on recitation…the link above is not working for me. Is there another way to obtain these from you? Thank you very much. I am enjoying looking around your site.
Thanks for reaching out, Christi! I needed to update that link, so I really appreciate it! Please try clicking on the box again – the link should now work.
Thank you Nancy for your quick reply and updating the link for us! I just printed the guidelines -these are going to be wonderful to have, I sincerely appreciate! Thank you 🙂
Thank you for these posts on recitation. They were very helpful regarding the purpose, value and the implementation of recitation in our schedule. I am struggling, though, on how to “do” recitation with a Form 2 student who is not a fluent reader, without reading it to her and having her say it back. She has dyslexia and while I don’t want her to miss out on this part of the feast, I am not sure how to implement it with a non reader. Do you have any thoughts?
Mariana Mastracchio says
So thankful for this resource and for your revision Maria!
Hi there! Thank you for these resources. As I looked at the “recitation term guidelines” I am struggling to picture how to implement this in day-to-day life. It says for Form 1 there ought to be 2 OT, 2 NT, 1 psalm, 2 hymns, and 1 poem in a term. So that is 8 recitation pieces in what I assume is a 12 week term? So do you have your child recite multiple pieces a day? Or do a rotation where you do each piece about every week-and-a-half? It seems like so many pieces to keep straight! Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.
Maria Bell says
Hi Megan! It certainly does seem like a lot of content at first glance. I am glad you asked about it, so that I can hopefully help with any uncertainties you may have about starting recitation because of this. Firstly, if you have a look at the PNEU timetables (i.e., the daily schedules for each form/grade, linked below), you will see that recitation, called “Repetition,” required only ten minutes in the school day, and in my experience, it often requires even less time than this. The main idea is that the child is reciting once each day of the school week, and that each recitation “lesson” includes only one piece. For a typical five-day school week, this would mean selecting five passages for a Form 1 student, for example. You could work it a few different ways. One way might be this: 1 OT passage and 1 NT passage and one hymn are recited in the first half of the term; the second OT passage, NT passage, and hymn are recited in the second half of the term, where the psalm and poem stay constant for the entire length of the term. Another way might be to recite only OT passages in the first half of the term and only NT passages in the second. Overall, the most important thing here is ideas and growing in knowledge and understanding; if we overload the student’s recitation schedule with too many passages in a given day or week, the ideas may be lost in the shuffle of it all. I would recommend sitting down with the pieces you have selected (excepting the poem, which is the student’s choice) and then looking over the entire term to determine the best way to portion it out weekly and daily for your family, keeping in mind the guiding principles and the examples from the PNEU. Please let me know if there is anything further I can clarify for you.
Maria Bell says
Thank you so much for this! May you please share more on how to implement the recitation of Euclidean Proofs?
Maria Bell says
Hi Erika! Thank you for the question— it is so interesting, this recitation in geometry class, isn’t it? Charlotte Mason Poetry has lesson notes posted for a geometry class in which this proof recitation is called for: http://charlottemasonpoetry.org/notes-of-lessons-geometry-class-iv/ . If you read through the notes, you’ll find the recitation, though not strict memorization, is required of the students at the end of the lesson, after a good bit of work and has taken place and understanding has been established. I hope this is helpful! Do let me know if there is anything else I can clarify.
Debi Z says
I’d love to hear about how you do recitation with your community group! I have 3 form 3 children and 3 form 1 (along with 1 form 2 and 2 high schoolers) so hearing how others do this with large numbers of students would be super helpful to me!
Hi, Debi! We are still learning about this in our community group. Here is one example – for poetry, a stanza was assigned to each student from Coleridge’s Pixies poem. Over the course of 2 weeks, I first read the entire poem out loud and we talked a little about it. Then every day, each student read out loud or to themselves their stanza. They were to figure out how to most clearly read the poem, where the emphasis should be, what some of the words meant, etc. Then, when we gathered together 2 weeks later, we had the students recite their stanzas in order – so we read through the entire poem. Many had the words in front of them. For Shakespeare, their passages will be much longer and they will have many more weeks to be reading through it. Most everyone will have the Shakespeare committed to memory by the time we share our recitation pieces. An interesting exercise would be to record how they first read their pieces and then record them after they have worked with the words for a few weeks – quite an astounding difference, of course! I will also say that coming together and reading lines of a long poem can be a very moving experience for everyone. Does that help?