Enjoy Your Everyday Heart of Dakota Life

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A Heart of Dakota Life

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days which God gives him – for this is his part. Ecclesiastes 5:18

Every day is a gift to be enjoyed to its fullest!

Every day is a gift God is giving us to enjoy and live to its fullest. The only life we can enjoy is our own! It does no good to think to ourselves, “I’d enjoy my life if I had your life.” Nor does it do any good to tell ourselves, “I’ll enjoy my life later.” Life is meant to be enjoyed now! With Heart of Dakota, our everyday life is already quite enjoyable. The guides Carrie has written naturally add variety and fun to the day. But sometimes life is complicated, and it can tend to be stressful. Do you feel stressed and long for simpler days? Well, the good news is in the ‘labor’ God has given us as homeschool moms, we have much control over our everyday life!

Ideas to help you enjoy everyday life to its fullest!

Today I thought I’d share a few things I’ve found that help us enjoy our everyday Heart of Dakota life to its fullest. They may seem small, but they have a great impact on our attitude and approach to life. Some of them may appeal to you, and others may not. But, hopefully they will jump start your dream of how you want your homeschool days to be set up to be filled with joy!

How can you start your day with joy?

Creation to Christ Notebook• I spend 10-30 minutes in my bed first thing with a favorite devotional of mine to start my day right. Devotionals that I find encouraging and joyful are helpful in setting a happy tone for the day for me.

• The boys and I meet in our pj’s in my bed one on one in the morning to do a ‘slow start’ to school. We usually do our Bible time together there and go over any independent work completed as ‘homework’ the night before.

• Starting our day with Christian praise music playing in the kitchen gives a cheerful tone during our chores and showers. Creating Christian playlists as a family makes sure everyone gets to look forward to hearing favorite songs each day.

How can you keep enjoying your day during homeschooling?

Snacks and Drinks• Having a time for snacks and drinks mid-morning and another time mid-afternoon keeps our bodies fueled for the day. Hot cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles and coffee for me are favorites, along with air-popped popcorn with different toppings.

Using our whole house to homeschool keeps us all comfortable and gives variety to the day. Cuddling up on the couch in the living room with the fireplace on for Storytime readings is cozy. Using the kitchen for science experiments, the dining room table for seatwork, or the CD player upstairs keeps us moving. My son even set up an impromptu blanket area by the fireplace for Storytime last week – what fun!

candles - enjoying your day• I like to light candles and put them on the tables we use for homeschooling. Getting different candles and letting the boys pick their favorite scent to light at their work area has been lovely. The birthday sprinkle candle from the dollar store has been the most beloved!

How do you finish your day with joy?

• We like to hang the best day’s work in strong magnet clips on the fridge. When Dad gets home, we share our work with him during supper. This is especially effective with younger children!

• Stickers… yes, kiddos do still love stickers on their work! Monster trucks are a favorite for one of our sons. For older kiddos, positive comments such as “Way to go!” or “Fantastic!” written on their papers are encouraging too!

• Planned meeting times where each child shares his work with me gives individual attention. It also gives time for me to correct work, so we start our next day with yesterday’s work totally done.

Snap pictures of your happiest Heart of Dakota homeschool moments. Print them to hang on the fridge or load them for a slideshow on a digital photoframe. This is a visual reminder of how much we have enjoyed our homeschooling with Heart of Dakota through the years.

In conclusion, these are just a few ideas to help you consider how you can best enjoy your everyday life with Heart of Dakota! The first step to enjoying our everyday life is just remembering to be grateful for the lives God has given us. This ‘labor’ of love we call homeschooling truly is a blessing meant to be enjoyed. Take time to enjoy your life today rather than waiting for tomorrow. Happy homeschool mamas make happy homeschool children – so do what you can to approach each day with joy!

In Christ,
Julie

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Heart of Dakota

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Author: Julie Grosz, M.Ed.

Some passions of mine are homeschooling with Heart of Dakota, cooking with All Recipes, reading Jane Austen in a bubble bath, singing along with lyrics that strike a chord, making family traditions, creating organization out of disorganization, and writing words - in emails, posts, and books - that glorify God. I'm a teacher and an editor by trade. Here's a quick rundown of my numbers... 24 years of teaching (7 public school, 17 homeschool), 6 years of college (4 undergrad, 2 graduate for my masters in education), 17 years of editing for HOD, 47 years old, 23 years of marriage, 3 sons who are almost 19, 15, and 11 - and I believe that should about 'sum' it up! You can view my blog here - https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/

10 thoughts on “Enjoy Your Everyday Heart of Dakota Life”

  1. Thank you for such an encouraging word! I am so blessed by this blog and Heart of Dakota and a great reminder to appreciate the gift of homeschooling.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad to hear you found this encouraging, Stephanie! It is my greatest prayer that the Lord will use this blog as an encouragement to you hardworking homeschooling moms. You deserve to be encouraged, yet often time encouragement can be hard to find. May the Lord continue to bless your homeschooling with HOD, Stephanie!

  2. Thank you for these great ideas, Julie! This has been an especially difficult season for our family, as we have been told that our 5th (unborn) baby has Trisomy 18 and is not expected to live. We are earnestly praying for a miracle!!! I have struggled with infusing the school day with joy this school year, as I have been very ill, but God has given me peace and a hopeful heart. I love the idea of reading a devotional in bed each morning, and starting my day a little more slowly. I would love to have a list of some of your favorite devotionals to add to my collection.
    Thank you for being a part of this blog, and for all that you do for HOD in the name of Jesus.
    God bless,
    Jenny

    1. Oh Jenny! My heart goes out to you right now! I am grieved to hear of your precious unborn baby and have prayed for you and your family. It is no wonder you’ve had difficulty infusing joy in your school day. I remember days such as this struggling with my Dad’s pancreatic cancer. On the darkest days, I’d cry, cry, cry. But then somehow, the Lord would give me peace too! He does that. Life can be taken one day at a time, and if that’s too hard, one moment at a time. Looking too far ahead can be too hard, and we’re not meant to bear any more than today holds. That is how I approached difficult times in the past, and it is still how I try to tackle them now.

      I’ve had some devotionals I’ve felt like weeping when I finish! I just loved them that much!!! A few of them are “100 Ways to Simplify Your Life” by Joyce Meyer, “Trusting God Day by Day” by Joyce Meyer, and “A Mom After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George. After my Dad passed away, I was looking to find joy again. A book I loved was bought for me by my dear sis, Carrie, and it is “The Happiness Dare” by Jennifer Dukes Lee. But, if these devotionals don’t speak to you, there are many more! Carrie and I went to Crossroads one day just to look for devotionals. We pulled about 30 off the shelf that looked interesting, and we read a chapter from each. We ended up going home with a handful and from these came some of my favorites. So, if the devotionals I suggested aren’t your cup of tea, a plan B would be to go to a Christian bookstore and spend an afternoon finding a handful of your own to try! There will be a winner in the bunch, I am certain!

      One last thing I’ll mention – Christian music. That really has gotten me through some dark days. Sometimes it is the slower heartfelt hymns that appeal, and other times I need a praise song. I put my favorites on a playlist, and that gets me going and in the right frame of mind to face the day. I hope something here helps, Jenny! You are in my prayers – never forget, the Lord is faithful. He loves you so much. He will love you through the toughest times, no matter what.

      Love in Christ,
      Julie

      1. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! I truly appreciate your ideas and your support. I am used to being in the role of encourager – the Lord has certainly been teaching me a great deal during this season, as I find myself accepting help and encouragement from others (which is very hard for me!) Whatever the outcome, God is in complete control, and we continue to praise Him, even through our tears.

        God bless you,
        Jenny

  3. Jenny,

    I am so sorry that you are struggling with your health and the health of your precious baby. We will uplift you and your family in prayer as you walk through this valley in your lives. The Lord hears our prayers, and I know He loves you and your children so much! He is taking you through this one day at a time. I know He will carry you in His arms when you cannot be strong. One devotional that I have been reading lately is called Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus by Karen Ehman & Ruth Schwenk. I am not all the way through it yet, but I have really been encouraged by the ones I have read. It is a very brief devotional, taking only a few moments to read, but I often find my mind returning to what I read off and on throughout my day. As the devotional says… It is helping me “pause, refresh, and recharge.”

    Blessings,
    Carrie

    1. Thank you so much for your care, support, and prayers. What a blessing to be able to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ when we are passing through dark valleys! The devotional that you mentioned sounds very good – short passages to ponder are desirable for us busy moms!

      God bless,
      Jenny

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