I have always thought that narrations are an excellent way to incorporate writing and reinforcement into a school day; however, it seems to take my girls quite a long time to get a narration done. We will do history (which always takes more than 1/2 an hour - unlike the Hazell's schedule in the manual) and then I would ask them to narrate and the girls would spend at least another 1/2 hour to 45 minutes working on their narrations.
In order to speed things up a bit but yet still have them writing a bit, we use alot of lapbooks or lapbook pieces. They are still writing what they have learned but in smaller chunks and it isn't as intimidating for the two who are turned off by writing.
Last year we discovered History Pockets by Evan Moor. We used them for Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece. These are different from lapbooking. They are reproducible pages that we usually mount onto an 8 1/2x 11 sheet of cardstock and place in our history binder. Here is what we did yesterday.
We talked about the Punic Wars and rather than ask the kids to narrate about them, the History Pocket book had a sheet with it that told all about the Punic Wars and a second sheet that had a photo of a messagner riding through a Triumphal Arch. The kids were able to color the arch picture and then I asked them to answer just a couple questions about the Punic Wars. They wrote their answer on a small sheeet of paper and glued it under the arch. Here are Sweet Baby's sheets.
Sweet Baby commented to me the other day that, "It sure seems like I have more work to do this year." Of course I said, "Yes, you are in 2nd grade now, you need to do a bit more." She still wishes I would write for her but this year we are going to get out of that habit. So, to make the transition easier for her, I wrote the beginning of the sentence and had her "fill in the blank" on her Punic War page. I don't know if you can see it in the picture but I wrote:
"The Punic Wars were fought by", "They fought because", and "___________ won."
It was another good day here. I hope your day is wonderful as well.