Who would have thought that such an ordinary activity such as ‘talking’ can play a big part in providing our kids with a good education!  When we tell someone something it increases our retention up to 80-90%.  Obviously we want our children to be telling us the things they are learning!!

We talk a lot in our family – sometimes formal situations where I have planned what to trigger a conversation, and other times more informal just because we are together and interested in each other’s lives.



This is simply getting our kids to tell us back what they did, or read, or heard.  Initially our kids jump all over the place as they remember different snippets but eventually they are able to give you a sequential account – and add other pieces of information as well, making their retell a representation of what they know not a word for word recital of what they’ve read.

Prompt questions

After the kids have finished telling me, I often would give at least one guided or prompt question.  This is to help the kids take their thinking deeper than they did on their own.


Once I have heard the kids retell, we would often delve into a discussion.  My interest in the topic would have been piqued and I ask them a question to help me understand the topic (not in the sense of testing them, but rather in the way that they know something that I don’t so I ask a question).  I may well share my perspective and a discussion would go on from there.  Sometimes other kids would join us.

Talking to myself: Notetaking

Though having discussions has been a major part of our learning style, we don’t always have the time for someone to talk about their learning.  Especially when we have more than one child wanting to talk.  Notetaking is about having a conversation with yourself – you jot down what you think is important, what you want to remember, you add reflective thoughts or questions.  This is a key to becoming an independent learner – though that can take years to develop.

Family conversations

Much like discussions that I’ve already mentioned, family conversations are an important talking opportunity.  I want to list this separately so I can highlight the significant opportunities that happen outside of our structured, or intentional learning times.  Family conversations happen around the dinner table, in the car, after a movie or as we cross paths down the hallway!

Talking is only the beginning

Often this discussion leads to them going and either researching further or creating something to represent their learning.  How much discussion we have after a lesson or experience will depend on their development or the purpose of the lesson I want them to grasp.

How much discussion we have after a lesson or experience will depend on their development or the purpose of the lesson I want them to grasp.  Initially we do most of our recording via talking / narrations – meaning once we’ve talked about it, that is it, lesson over!  As they get older and more competent in writing and researching the y are more likely to go and record differently.

We can get so caught up in ‘doing homeschool’ that we ignore the very basics of family life that give our children the very educational experiences we desire.  Talking helps transfer information from what they’ve heard, to what they know – this is learning!  And it just happens – just by being a family.

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