From Our House to Yours
A ‘Day in the Life’ of Resurrection to Reformation and World History
What does homeschooling with multiple Heart of Dakota guides look like? I am asked this question a lot! For much of my homeschooling life, I taught three Heart of Dakota guides. However, now I teach just two, since my oldest has graduated. I thought it might be fun to do a ‘day in the life’ of Resurrection to Reformation (RTR) and World History (WH). This will be a series, as it is easier to describe a day in segments. Keep in mind everyone’s ‘a day in the life’ will look differently. That’s the blessing of homeschooling! But, maybe this will give you some ideas of how you’d like your ‘a day in the life’ to look!
Our ‘day in the life’ of RTR and WH starts the night before!
As children reach middle school and high school, work load and length naturally increase. Rather than completing a day’s plans all in a row, we like to break it up into segments. This helps us enjoy each part of our guides more, and it allows time for scheduled breaks. One of the things I didn’t like about public school as a mother of boys was the amount of time in a row that students sit, confined in desks, in small rooms. I wanted to avoid repeating that! Ironically, one way to do that has been to borrow a public school habit of ‘homework.’ However, our ‘homework’ consists of simply completing selected “I” independent assigned work from tomorrow’s HOD daily plans. So, our ‘day in the life’ of RTR and WH starts the night before!
Homework can be completed any time after our homeschooling is done for the day.
Once we have finished our homeschooling, homework for tomorrow can be completed any time before bed. Our sons love this flexibility! Depending on what they have going on each day, they can move their ‘homework’ accordingly. If they have a basketball game at night, they do their homework in the afternoon. If the weather is beautiful in the afternoon and they decide to play nerf guns outside, they do their homework at night. I hear them making plans together each day. They remind each other, “You better get your homework done because we have basketball tonight!‘ Or, “Right when we get home from nerf guns, let’s get on our homework, so we have time to watch a Hogan’s Heroes.” I didn’t have this flexibility until I was in college! I love that they have it earlier. Likewise, I love that they are learning to manage their time well.
First, I meet with each child to discuss whether they want to do homework.
Prior to starting our homeschool year, I meet with each child to ask if they even want to do homework. My youngest son had tried his hand at homework the year before in Creation to Christ. It didn’t work for him. He often forgot to do it, and I wasn’t going to remind him. So, partway into CTC, I took the homework option away. I let him know he could try it again next year. Fast forward to this year with RTR. Well, when asked, he definitely wanted to do homework! He’d noticed his older brothers often finished before he did, even though their guides had more to do. This was because they did homework. Being able to do homework is a privilege that can be given or taken away. In our home, being able to do homework is considered a blessing! So, both sons chose to do homework.
Second, I meet with each child to decide what they will do for homework.
I have a few rules for homework. First, it must be for tomorrow’s day of plans; it cannot be saved from today’s day of plans. We found if parts of the daily plans are saved for homework that night and something comes up, they don’t get done. Then we are behind. So, homework must be for the next day’s plans in the guide. In this way by doing homework, we are actually ‘getting ahead’ in the plans. Second, homework must be “I” independent. I am not teaching at night, as I enjoy teaching during the day. I have more energy! So, homework cannot require me. Third, homework is not corrected by me until the next morning. For these reasons, my child in WH chose to do his Bible Quiet Time and his Living Library for homework. My child in RTR chose to do his Science.
Third, if homework is not completed the night before, it is completed right after we finish our homeschool day instead.
Sometimes something unexpected just comes up, and homework doesn’t get done. If this happens, the homework that would have been completed the night before just gets moved to be completed right after we finish our homeschool day instead. So for example, if we are on Day 3 of the plans, and the homework for Day 3 was not completed the night before, Day 3’s homework gets moved to the end of Day 3’s homeschool day. If this happens repeatedly due to the child not being responsible enough to complete homework, the child is not ready for homework. The homework option can then be removed and reintroduced the next year. This natural consequence is motivating; my youngest son has only missed homework twice this year in RTR. On both those occasions, he set his alarm clock earlier in the morning and did his homework before we met for the day.
Try offering a homework option if your children are older!
If any of your children are placed in Preparing Hearts for His Glory on up, try offering a homework option! We first assign “I” independent work in Preparing Hearts. Be sure to train your children how to properly do the “I” boxes before letting them be done as homework. I find about 2-4 weeks into the guide, our children are able to begin homework. If your children have not done HOD previously, you may need to take longer to train them how to follow the plans, as HOD’s guides incrementally move skills from teacher-directed to independent, from guide to guide. So, that wraps up my first segment of ‘a day in the life’ of RTR and WH!