During my own homeschool years my mom always held what she called “Recitation” at the end of each school week. We have carried on this tradition and I find it an incredibly valuable homeschooling tool. So, what exactly is it? According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary the this is what Recitation means:

rec·​i·​ta·​tion // ˌre-sə-ˈtā-shən

Definition of recitation

1: the act of enumerating a recitation of relevant details.

2: the act or an instance of reading or repeating aloud especially publicly.

3a: a student’s oral reply to questions b: a class period especially in association with and for review of a lecture.

And according to the Oxford Dictionary it means this;

1: an act of saying a piece of poetry or literature that you have learned to an audience.

I like both of these definitions because that’s exactly what Recitation means for us. The kids have an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in a way that doesn’t just boil down to grades on a sheet of paper. Letter grades can be a very limiting tool to gauge a students knowledge, particularly in the elementary school ages. Demonstrations, narrations, and memory work provide the kids (and me!) evidence of learning and skills mastered. So you’re not sure if you kiddo is learning history? Have them tell back to you what they know! Write it down and then let them read it at Recitation.

Our Recitation is every Friday night and the kids and I recently discovered something about each other- it’s our favorite day of the week! After collecting science projects, math tests, art work, history maps and projects all week, each child gets their stack to show Husband. They start with the poem they are working on memorizing, then usually they show him their math tests (if they have one that week) and talk about what was hard or what was easy. Then comes the science demonstrations where lab reports get read aloud and crafts or projects are shown to Husband. For example, sometimes the project is just weather data, and sometimes it a big project that’s been worked on all week like a diorama.

All Azelie’s science reports collected here for the year
Azelie’s science project demonstration the ocean zones. She flooded it with water at Recitation to show dad and make it “more realistic mom” 😉

Even Pickle has caught on and loves to show all her “glue” projects to Husband. Even if it’s the third time he’s seen them that week, haha! Lastly the kids usually read aloud their books reports for whatever reading they have been assigned or from books Husband and I are reading aloud. Occasionally, the bigs will also play a piano piece for Husband. Whomever is not giving their recitation is encouraged to be a good audience member and listen respectfully, although sometimes we get great conversations going about a school topic, which provides even more learning!

C and A are running for officer positions in 4H and have to make speeches so they will practice those all week and give them at Recitation in order to be all set for Monday

I highly encourage making Recitation a big deal even if you choose to only show case poetry. We commit to it each week, no matter what, even if we need to shift it to Saturday. This gives everyone some accountability for all of us and a sense of pride in our work. After Recitation we celebrate by having brownies and ice cream and watching a movie as a family- it’s just the best!

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