Just Narrate, Don’t Compare

One day I ran across Appendix II in the back of Volume 3 – and it sent me into stress overwhelm. Here you will find pages of narration examples from students in Charlotte’s Parents Review school. It threw me into complete panic.

And why should that be? Because I began to compare. I knew my kids were not and could not narrate like the examples. Example, after example, after example, paragraph, after paragraph, after paragraph …….and, in case that didn’t depress me enough, there are more shining examples in Volume 6 – paragraphs, poems, lists of lots and lots of long names which the children knew…

I would wonder, were CM’s students that much smarter than my children? Was something wrong with my kids? Knowing the rest of the philosophy of CM, I dismissed that fairly quickly. So then we might say it is the books. But some of the books I used at the time were the exact ones CM used- Our Island Story, Pilgrim’s Progress, Scott’s, Plutarch….. So if it’s not the children, not the books, what is left? ME!  – the teacher. Was I missing something, not doing something right? I’ve thought and thought about it.

Over the years, I’ve settled myself about it… come to a peace about it.

I’ve decided that, for one, all I can do is all I can do. CM had her teachers prepare lessons. I do think this preparation of a formal lesson as the students work with a book is extremely fruitful. But where to get the lessons? Well, I didn’t have any at first. Over the years I have made them. But, I had what I had. And though my children may not be able to give back a host of names in their narrations at an exam time, I’ve seen the fruit of a well rounded CM education. It works and I’m truly satisfied with the outcome of a Living Education in my older children. Not perfect, had holes, missing things; but, filling and nourishing- it did its work.

Secondly, I came to the conclusion that CM probably put the best student narration examples in print. That is just human nature. It reminds me of blogging today. Best foot forward. Does anyone put the crummy stuff on a blog or Instagram? No.  That is ok. Putting the beautiful and the excellent up for view shows us the bar we are reaching for. We see all that we can be or could be, all that is possible. We are inspired by things that are good and lovely and complete, as it should be.

But this is not the norm all the time. A clean house, show-ready, is what we might shoot for, but is that spotless house practical or even in reach for daily living? No. That would mean you couldn’t cook supper- because having dishes and pots out is not picture-ready. Life is not reaching the bar continually at all times. Life is just … living.

In the same manner…just narrate, enjoy the process. Don’t compare.

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