Parent and Student Roles in Homeschooling Work with Heart of Dakota

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From Our House to Yours

What are the roles of the parent and the student in homeschooling with Heart of Dakota?

Roles of the parent and student vary based on the student’s age, the assignment, and the guide.  Little Hands to Heaven through Bigger Hearts for His Glory have younger target age ranges of 2-9 years old.  In these guides, much of the work is teacher-directed or semi-independent.  Starting with Preparing Hearts for His Glory through U.S. History II, assignments are designated as “T,” “S,” or “I.” This helps facilitate the progression of skills, so students successfully take on independent work.  Gradually, from year to year, from guide to guide, students are preparing first for middle school work.  Then, they are preparing for high school level work.  Finally, they are preparing for college level work, should they so desire to go.

As they grow and mature, their role changes, and so does ours as their teacher.  Charlotte Mason was an advocate of having students take on independence as soon as they were able.  Heart of Dakota helps make this transition easier by planning for it in each guide.  So, my focus of this From Our House to Yours is to show how HOD’s guides are designed to help parents and students with changing roles.

Why are the letters “T,” “S,”, and “I” part of the boxes in Heart of Dakota’s plans?

Parents and children can easily see what needs to be done each day in Heart of Dakota’s guides. Two-page plans with boxes for each part of the plans make it clear what needs to be accomplished daily. As students mature, HOD guides switch to a 4-day a week format. Boxes of plans begin to note whether assignments are intended to be “T” teacher-directed, “S” semi-independent, or “I” independent. This helps kiddos learn to take on independence gradually and successfully. Skills that were teacher-directed in one guide, move to be semi-independent in the next guide. Likewise, skills that were semi-independent in one guide, move to be more independent in the next guide.

How do the plans being designated as “T,” “S,” or “I” work help both parents and students?

The plans in HOD’s guides make it clear what each person’s role is in each assignment. So, the teacher is doing the reading and the leading for the “T” boxes. The student is doing the reading and the following of directions for the “I” boxes. Finally, the teacher and student share the tasks in the “S” boxes. I’ve found the “T” boxes to be such a help to me for my son who wants to do everything independently. For him, it is a good thing we have planned teacher-directed tasks, or he would do it all without me! In contrast, I’ve found the “I” boxes to be a help to me for my son who wants to do everything with me. For him it is a good thing we have planned independent work, or he wouldn’t do anything without me!

So, what is an example of parent and student roles in Creation to Christ?

In Creation to Christ, the parent still does the reading for the Storytime part of the plans. I chose the History Interest Set, and it has been amazing!  So far, my favorite book has been Traveling the Way.  This little gem of a book was probably one I would have passed on, if I’d only glanced at the cover.  It just goes to show, you truly cannot judge a book by its cover!  Anyway, we thoroughly enjoy this time together! My role is to read aloud the history interest book, and Emmett’s role is to listen carefully to the reading.  After the reading, students move through the following rotation of follow-up skills in the plans…

  • give a detailed oral narration
  • rotate through the following 4 narration activities: an outline sketch, a short skit, a question and answer session, and an advertisement speech for the book
  • give a summary narration
  • make connections between the story and Proverbs
What is an example of parent and student roles in World Geography?

In World Geography, we both read Bob Schultz’s Practical Happiness on our own.  We annotate separately, using different colored pens/pencils.  Then, we meet to discuss the reading and our annotations.  I love this time together!  We have discussed so many timely subjects for a young teenage boy.  My role as a parent is no longer to simply read aloud, but to help my son grow and develop into a strong Christian man.  Pretty important roles for both of us!  We enjoy sharing our opinions about the devotion, and we have drawn so close to one another because of it.  It is easy to talk about our faith in the Lord because of this time together.  I’m so glad for these roles this year for both of us!

Finally, what is an example of parent and student roles in U.S. History II?

In U.S. History II, Wyatt watches Dave Ramsey’s DVD on personal finance, answering questions as he watches.  We meet together to discuss his answers and journal questions.  My role is to share our family’s approach to spending, to saving, and to budgeting.  I’ve shown him our monthly budget, as well as our checking and savings account.  We’ve talked about how we set aside money each month for special things.  We put homeschooling, new furniture, vacations, clothing, Christmas, birthdays, etc., in the category of being ‘special.’  Together we budget money for these special things ahead of time. Often times, we must work extra hours to save money for them as well.  My role is to help my son develop his own budget, linking his earnings to his spending and saving.  What an important role for each of us!

Changing roles for parent and student keep homeschooling fresh and exciting!

In conclusion, our roles as parents and students are ever changing as students mature.  This is a necessary part of helping our children grow into responsible adults.  The ‘T,’ ‘S,’ and ‘I’ part of the daily plans help both parents and students be successful with changing roles.  This is one thing I have truly loved about using Heart of Dakota!  From PreK through 12th grade, my role as a parent always bring fresh, new and exciting things to my day!

Likewise, my children look forward to the changes in their role as  students from year to year.  They value the independence they are able to take on, the say-so they are able to have, and the opinions they are able to express.  They also value the time with me, as we are meeting for important reasons.  Most of all, we both value the progress made – the encouragement and celebration that comes from children becoming successful young adults.  What a privilege to be a part of!

Riley’s 15 Year Old Birthday Breakfast  Celebrating Another Year of Growth

In Christ,

Julie

P.S. To read more about encouraging your students to do the independent part of the plans on their own, click here!

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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/

5 thoughts on “Parent and Student Roles in Homeschooling Work with Heart of Dakota”

  1. Can you elaborate a bit more on what an “S” box looks like? T an I boxes are a little easier to implement but I don’t know how to make the semi-independent in a given box.

    1. Great question, Karie! “S” boxes are ‘semi-independent,’ meaning plans are shared between teacher and student. In CTC, one of the “S” boxes is the History Project. For this part of the plans, the teacher helps the student read through the history plans, gather any needed materials, and start the project. The student then completes the project on their own. The parent checks the completed project at the end. In WG, one of the “S” boxes is the Living Library. For this part of the plans, the student reads the living book. Then, the teacher skims the pages, as the student orally narrates. In USII, the Devotional is one of the “S” boxes of plans. For this part of the plans, both teacher and student read the devotional, flagging annotations or jotting them in pencil in the margin of the book. The student answers questions in the book or on paper/markerboard. Then, parent and student meet to discuss annotations and questions. You can think of “S” boxes as ‘shared’ work, where both parent and student have a role in the process. Hope this helps!

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