Here are three sample written narrations from one of my daughters. I am posting them to show the gradual progress of a child using the narration method without the use of grammar texts and writing programs. All spelling, grammar and punctuation errors are left intact.
Narration 1: DD is nine years old. She is just beginning written narrations. Notice she already knows basic punctuation because she has spent three years copying perfect sentences from her literature texts, while I would find opportunities to incidentally point out basic punctuation rules such as the capitalization of proper nouns, periods, use of quotation marks, etc…
Minn did not know she was nearing the St. Anthony falls, until sudenly she fell down about 16 feet and her 'on top swimming' left. About 80 miles more, the Mississippi split into the Missouri, there the twin cities ended, as well as Minn's museum.
Narration 2: Same DD is now 10 years old. Notice she uses sophisticated sentence structure because she is so used to orally narrating from her rich literature texts. I encourage her to sound like the author as much as possible. (not memorize) Her spelling has improved after practicing studied dictation for 1 and 1/2 years.
After Richard the second took care of Wat Tyler's rebellion, he was twenty two and he dismissed John Guant who had helped him rule while he was younger. After this the people came to despise their new king, for he would take advice from no one and banished all who tried to help him rule well. One of these men was Henry of Bolingbroke, his cousin. When Henry heard that Richard had broken his promiise and siezed John of Guant's land after he died, he became angry. John of Gaunt was Henry's father and, upon hearing this news , he came back from his banishment to take back his inheritance but really to take the crown of England. At this time, Richard was fighting in Ireland and he hastened back to England when he heard the news. However he was too late and Henry already had the throne. Tired and homeless, he submitted to his cousin and was in prison, deserted by all, until finally, it is suspected, he was secretly murdered.
Narration 3: Same DD one year later. She is now 11 and 1/2 yrs of age and her writing has blossomed beautifully. All errors are left intact. This was written right after she read the passage and the book was put away. This is the first year she has had formal grammar instruction.
When the Trojan War was over Ulysses and his companions made ready to sail to Sparta where his wife Penelope and his young son awaited his return. However he was driven out of his course by fierce winds to the island of the Ciconians, where, in a skirmish with the inhabitants he lost six men from each ship.
Following this event his ship came to the isle of the Lotus-eaters where Ulysses and his companions received a warm welcome and were taught how the lotus plant was consumed.
From there Ulysses ship was driven to the island of the Cyclops. Here dwelt the great one-eyed giants, the Cyclops. When they arrived at the island, Ulysses and his men disembarked from their ship and proceeded to investigate and search for provisions, bringing with them jars of wine as gifts to the inhabitants. In the interior of the island they discovered one of the caves of the Cyclops and, ignorant of the caves residents, entered in to pass the night. In the evening Ulysses and his companions were awakened by the sound of footsteps as the occupant of the cave approached. Cyclops are shepherds and with the giant came his goats and sheep, whom he milked. He then noticed the sailors who had retreated to the back of the cave out of fear. Ulysses stepped forward and, courteously introducing himself, begged hospitality. The giant demanded his name, to which Ulysses replied, ‘I am Noman.’
‘Then,’ replied the Cyclops, ‘because of your courtesy you shall be the last among you whom I shall devour.’ So saying he proceeded to take two of the men and, dashing their brains out against the side of the cave, consumed them.
The next morning, when the giant had left, having securely sealed the door with a stone, the mariners held a council in which Ulysses presented his companions with a solution. The next day, when the giant left, after consuming two more of their men, Ulysses and the remaining sailors took the giants staff and sharpening it to a point, placed it into the fire until it was red hot. They then hid it under the straw and, upon the giants return, thrust it into his great eye. The giant cried out in a great voice and the men hid in the interior of the cave. The following day when the giant opened the stone to let the goats out, Ulysses and his companions tied themselves to the goats and thus escaped.
When the Cyclops found that his victims had escaped, he cried out to the other giants on the island that he had been wounded.
In answer they asked, “Who has done this?”
“No man!” the giant cried out.
“Then, if no man has wounded thee then do not call us for thy doom must be of the gods doing and we cannot fight against them.” And the rest of the Cyclops retired unto their caves.
Then Ulysses cried out to the giant from his ship, “Know, oh Cyclops, that it is Ulysses who has brought this upon thee!” And the giant threw a great rock in the direction of the voice, and though it did not hit the ship it stirred the waters up and the ship was hard beset by their fury. But Ulysses managed to escape, and when he had brought his ship far out to sea, he cried out once more saying, “Know, oh Cyclops that thy missile has not wrought destruction upon us!” and he and his companions then left the island.
After this event, Ulysses and his companions continued onward until they came to the habitation of Scylla and Charbydis, against whom Circe had warned them. Scylla, the beautiful maiden who was turned into a vicious monster, was accustomed to reaching her six heads out onto any ship within reach, and taking six of the men to be devoured in her den among the cliffs. Charbydis, a terrible whirlpool against whose wrath even Neptune could not prevail, also lay in their path, and, when the mariners were watching out for it, they neglected to be on the lookout for Scylla, and she, taking advantage of this moment, captured six of their men and carried them away to her lair.
This child is not 'exceptional.' She is an average little girl (becoming a young lady) but has always been educated with rich literature and the methods of Charlotte Mason. I want to repeat that she enjoys her education immensely because she is not burdened with heavy grammar exercises, vocabulary memorization, spelling drills and textbooks. Her education is more rigorous than many, do doubt, but she feels it is light and takes delight in her lessons. This is because the soul is best nourished through beautiful ideas.