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).