Pacing of the World History Literature Plans

Dear Carrie

Can you explain the pacing of the World History literature plans?
We’ve enjoyed using Heart of Dakota for many years, and we are looking ahead to World History. From the past year, I’m assuming students do written narrations for the literature plans. However, I am wondering how often written narrations are scheduled? Looking at the online sample week, I see it isn’t scheduled. So, I am guessing it isn’t weekly. Also, about how much literature reading is scheduled on average each day? I’m just thinking ahead to next year, and I’m trying to figure out if my son will be able to handle the reading pace. I think he will be up to a little more challenge, but I’m not sure how much of a challenge. Maybe I will have to slow the pace down, so it’s not so much each day. Then again, I’m always surprised at how much he grows each year in HOD. I may totally be overthinking this!
Sincerely,
“Ms. Please Explain the Pacing of the World History Literature Plans”
Dear “Ms. Please Explain the Pacing of the World History Literature Plans,”

We are enjoying the World History (WH) Literature box this year in our own home! I know it is hard to tell from the first week of plans online how the literature in the WH Guide is set up. This is simply because the first week is a training week for the varying components in the literature box. So, I’d be glad to explain the pacing. On Days 1, 3, and 4 the pattern, I kept the pattern quite similar with the literature box broken up into “Introduce,” “Read and Annotate,” “Select,” and “Reflect.”

Days 1, 3, and 4:  Introduce, Read and Annotate, Select, and Reflect

“Introduce” gives a little background or something to watch for or think about in the day’s reading. “Read and Annotate” assigns pages to be read and expects the students to annotate as they read. Often one annotation is given to the kiddos to help them learn to annotate better and to key them into important nuances within the narrative. “Select” requires students to select a passage to copy in their Common Place Book. “Reflect” is a written Literature Journal style reflection based on the day’s reading with topics ranging from Biblical/life applications to literary themes/elements to character motives/descriptors to Scripture connections/Godly character traits, etc. There is quite a bit of flexibility built into the length of the students’ responses to the “Reflect” part of the plans.

Day 2: Oral or Written Narrations

On Day 2, I have students do either an oral narration or a written narration. I alternate these narration types by week, and I include some given topics from the reading on which to reflect as a part of the narration.

Plan about 45 minutes to 1 hour a day for Literature.

Typically, we plan for the Literature box to take students around 45 minutes to 1 hour a day. Of course, faster readers may be done sooner, and slower readers will take longer. Rod and Staff Grammar/Essentials in Writing alternate daily, taking an additional 30 minutes daily. Together these comprise the “English” credit and take about 1 hour 15 minutes (up to 1 hour 30 minutes) daily.

We worked to make the design and daily assignments of the literature plans meet college entrance requirements.

I planned the times for Literature in the World Geography guide to be similar to the times I’ve outlined above. Again, I realize variances in reading speed will effect the actual time literature takes daily. We have worked to make sure that the the design and daily assignments of our literature plans meet college preparatory requirements, encompass needed literary skills, include classic works that are worthy of being read, and challenge students appropriately for the high school level.

It helps to remember public school students’ time requirements.

When thinking how much time literature is taking daily in your high school student’s schedule, it helps to remember that students in the public school sector spend 50 minutes in literature class 5 days a week and often have additional reading in the evening. Many high school students also have a required summer reading list of classics, and they are expected to read “x” number of classics prior to school beginning. With these things in mind, along with the fact that students are doing school 4 days a week rather than 5 with Heart of Dakota, you can see how much time literature is expected to take daily from a typical high school perspective. Therefore, we try to keep these things in mind as we write.

I pray the literature plans may be a blessing to your family!

I pray that the literature in our high school guides may be a blessing to your family! It was very challenging and rewarding for me to write the literature portion of the World History guide’s plans, as it was a very time consuming type of reading/writing/planning. Yet, my son who is doing the WH guide this year says he really loves the literature part of his day, and I love the morals, values, thematic and Scriptural application, and just plain old great classics that this year of plans contains! So, happy reading to you and your son!

Blessings,
Carrie

Do you have too much together time?

Teaching Tip:

Do you have too much together time?

When homeschooling your family, typically there is automatically plenty of “together time.” It is interesting to think about how constructive some of that “together time” really is. Sometimes there can be too much together time! Just as adults crave time alone, students do too. When we as teachers make everything a group activity, school can quickly fall into the category of too much together time.

Choose group activities wisely.

It is important to actually choose when to have an activity together and when to have students work alone. There definitely should be some subjects where a student is able to work alone in a quiet environment.

Be creative in finding quiet work spaces for your children.

You might have to get a bit creative in finding space for your students to have quiet work time alone. I know we had to use my bedroom for one of our older students as a work space! At the time, it was the only quiet spot in our busy household of boys!

Train your children to make good use of their quiet work time.

Often students need to be trained to make good use of their quiet work time. It is wise to keep track of your students when they are first trying to work alone. To help me keep track of my students, I sent my boys up to their quiet space with a timer. The timer was set for the length of time their work was supposed to take. I also set a corresponding timer downstairs to remind me to check on the child after the allotted time. When the timer rang, the child had to check in with me. If the child hadn’t successfully progressed, then he had to work near me for the next subject. This helped train my children to make good use of their quiet work time.

Train your children to be diligent workers.

Through this process, my boys have learned to crave a quiet work environment and to be diligent, independent workers. Try training your children to work alone, and see if they learn to desire a quiet work space too! You may find that when you balance together time and alone time your students will be more attentive during group time too.

Blessings,
Carrie

Placement for a Freshman New to HOD Who Struggles with Spelling and Writing

Pondering Placement

Where would you place a freshman new to HOD who struggles with spelling and writing?

This was our first year homeschooling. Spelling has been a constant struggle. No matter what we do, he doesn’t retain it. He reads well for his age (Chuck Black books), especially regarding his spelling struggles. As far as his writing…he can write….it just takes a LOT of effort on both of our parts. I’ve ordered R & S English level 5 for him. I chose not to deal with this until now, as he was unwilling to work on it. But, he finally came to me 2 nights ago and said he needed to learn about adverbs, adjectives, etc., so he could write better. Detoxing my boys from PS has been a much longer process than I anticipated. But, we have also made a lot of progress, so I know he will catch up! So, where would you place a freshman new to HOD with spelling and writing struggles?

Carrie’s Reply: I would be inclined to place him in either Revival to Revolution or Missions to Modern Marvels.

Thanks so much for taking time to share about your son!   It really helps to get a fuller picture of where he is at skill-wise. From what you’ve shared, I think I would be inclined to place him in either Revival to Revolution or Missions to Modern Marvels. This is because placement in HOD is very skill-based. Correct placement makes a huge difference in how successful a child is in his/her guide.

Writing, grammar, literature, and spelling are important skills wound in all subject areas.

Writing, grammar, literature, and spelling are a big part of HOD. This is because these skills are wound within all of the subject areas. Since our guides lean heavily in the Charlotte Mason direction in many areas, it helps so much if your child is comfortable with some of these skills gradually before working into the higher level of version of the skills later. We do want to place your son appropriately in writing, grammar, literature, and spelling to make sure that he gains the needed skills he is ready for in these areas.

I would lean toward doing Revival to Revolution, English 5, DITHOR 6/7/8, and The Exciting World of Creative Writing.

I would encourage you to take a good look at Revival to Revolution and Missions to Modern Marvels. See which would be the best fit in the areas of writing, grammar, literature, and spelling. I’d lean toward having your freshman do Revival to Revolution with the Extension Package and with Rod and Staff English 5 (as scheduled in Rev2Rev). I would recommend using the Drawn into the Heart of Reading Level 6/7/8 Student Book with the Level 7/8 Book Pack. He can also do Level 5 dictation along with The Exciting World of Creative Writing, as scheduled in Revival to Revolution. Your son would also do the Exploration Education Physical Science Advanced Version (which is high school level Physical Science). He would do the inventor study as well. I think this would be a good fit for your freshman.

Thoughts on Government, Fine Arts, Foreign Language, and Bible 

He would need to add something for government (as he wouldn’t get to that in our final two high school guides). As there is a composer study in Rev2Rev, you could add to it to award 1/2 credit in Fine Arts music appreciation. To award this 1/2 credit, you’d need to get to 70 hours. There will already be around 45-50 hours in the study as scheduled in the guide. Then, when your son reaches World History for his senior year, you could do borrow the Government from U.S. History I and put it in place of the Fine Arts elective. So your son would use Rev2Rev as is, except for adding government (possibly adding foreign language study and beefing up the Bible). Suggestions are given in the Rev2Rev for high school thread, if you do decide to go this route.

I think these recommendations would fit your son’s skill level well and still push him in many areas.

The reason I would lean in this direction is that I think it would fit your son’s skill level well and still push him in many areas. The grammar will be daily and significant, while the writing will be more than he is used to as we write across the curriculum all throughout the school day. He would do copywork daily as well in a variety of subjects and do written narrations. The literature study through DITHOR sounds like it will be a new set of skills too, which would be good. We want to solidify those important skills before jumping up into guides that assume these skills are in place.

Looking Ahead to the Following Years

Looking ahead to the following year, he could do MTMM with all of English 6 (as scheduled in MTMM), WWTB II for high school level composition (as scheduled in MTMM), and Drawn into the Heart with either some high school level classics of your own choosing or with a DITHOR Book Pack instead. He would also continue with studied dictation. This Bible in MTMM is credit-worthy, and you would add Economics (and possibly Foreign Language). There is a thread that explains how to do this as well for high school, should you decide to go that route. This guide includes Chemistry, which would need some supplementing. Or, you could borrow IPC for the science from the World Geography guide. As a junior, he would do the World Geography guide as written. As a senior, he would do the World History guide.

This overall plan would give him the needed core credits.

This overall plan would give him the needed American history, government, economics, geography, and world history credits for high school. It would also give him Physical Science, Chemistry, Integrated Physics and Chemistry, and Biology credits with lab for science. It would give him a credit each year in English. Math would need to be at his level each year to earn a credit each year there. That takes care of your core credits of history, science, English, and Math.

This plan would also give him electives.

In Bible, he would earn a full credit two years (from the World Geography and World History Guides) and a 1/2 credit in MTMM. He’d also earn 1/2 credit in logic, 1/2 credit in World Religion & Cultures, 1/2 credit in health, and 1/2 to 1 full credit in Fine Arts, either in music or art appreciation . He would gain 1/2 credit in foreign language in the World Geography and 1/2 credit in foreign language in the World History Guide too. I share this so you can gain a picture that it would be possible to follow this plan for high school and still have your son earn the credits he needs for graduation. If instead, you felt MTMM was a better fit, you could go that route instead for his freshman year. If you have questions as you pursue your options, let us know. We’d be glad to help!

Blessings,
Carrie

 

 

 

 

Why did you choose to carry The Reading Lesson and Reading Made Easy for phonics?

Dear Carrie

Why did Heart of Dakota choose to carry The Reading Lesson and Reading Made Easy for phonics?

Dear Carrie,

My daughter is 3 1/2 and loving Little Hands to Heaven! As I like to look ahead, I am currently researching phonics programs. I am looking at Reading Made Easy and The Reading Lesson. However, it is very difficult for me to decide what I want to use. This will be my first time teaching a child to read. I just don’t want to screw it up, lol! So, why did Heart of Dakota choose to carry The Reading Lesson and Reading Made Easy for phonics choices?

Sincerely.

“Ms. Please Explain Why You Chose the Phonics Programs You Did”

Dear “Ms. Please Explain Why You Chose the Phonics Programs You Did,”

When choosing Reading Made Easy and The Reading Lesson, we looked at SO many factors that affect how well a phonics program works. We also sorted through the many methodologies out there, although I’d seen and read much already about the various methodologies during my 11 years of being doused in a big variety of phonics programs during my public school teaching days!

Demanding a child’s fine motor skills to keep up with decoding skills can cause frustration.

I’ll be very up front in saying that if you are of the “writing as a way to learn to read” methodology or the “learn every phonics rule and drill it” methodology, then the two programs we carry will NOT suit you well. Then, you’d want to look at something like the Writing Road to Reading or the Orton-Gillingham method of phonics instruction instead. Our philosophy is that writing can actually come much later than reading. Demanding a child’s fine motor skills to keep up with the decoding skills needed to read can cause much frustration. Our own boys each read very early and wrote much later. Had I held them back, waiting for them to write each word as it was read (or learned), I would have made reading an overwhelming task at an early age.

We’ve discovered knowing some rules is beneficial, but using an eclectic approach to covering those rules works fine.

When teaching early readers, we’ve discovered that knowing some rules is beneficial. Using an eclectic approach to cover those rules works fine. Our experience is that not all children need to be able to recite every phonics rule in order to apply it. Many rules are just too tedious and have too many exceptions to be worth memorizing. For example, we used Alphabet Island for phonics/spelling with my first son. While the rule coverage was amazingly complete, little of the rules were retained. His learning to actually read didn’t come out of that experience. We had to use yet another program to teach that!

However, we do believe in giving a thorough treatment to phonics, rather than stopping as soon as kiddos are reading quite well. Programs such as 100 Easy Lessons drop kiddos off before phonics is finished, leaving a parent to fill a gap by finishing out phonics on their own (which can be done easily but requires some creativity).

We like that both phonics programs provide coverage that is complete enough without being tedious.

We chose Reading Made Easy and The Reading Lesson because we find the phonics coverage to be complete enough without being tedious. The combination of gentle introductions to the various rules applied right within the reading material gives kiddos an “I can do this” feeling. It gets them reading early in the lessons and keeps it entertaining without being overly flashy.

We like that both programs take into account children’s short attention spans and provide necessary reading material.

Both programs also work well with Heart of Dakota‘s Charlotte-Mason approach to short lessons that capitalize on kiddo’s short attention spans. Both programs provide stories right within the guide, having Teacher’s Guide and Student Book in one. This feature saves much time searching for developmentally appropriate books, since the reading material is already there.

We like that each phonics program focuses purely on phonics.

Each guide is just purely for phonics, rather than throwing in all sorts of other language arts skills too. This keeps the focus on learning to read and allows the parent to move more quickly or slowly through the program without feeling like they may be missing other skills if they change the pace. We’d used the Blue Book for LLATL with my oldest son early on and felt tied to its slow pace of learning to read due to the multiple other skills woven in the lessons. For that reason, we had to abandon it.

We like that both phonics programs transition well into the Emerging Reader’s Set.

Reading Made Easy and The Reading Lesson also transition very well into our Emerging Reader’s Set. This solves yet another difficult problem for parents. The question about what to do after phonics is easily answered by the HOD sequence from phonics program to Emerging Reader’s Set to independent reading using Drawn into the Heart of Reading.

We like that both phonics programs make teaching your child to read easy to do.

Reading Made Easy is more teacher intensive and The Reading Lesson is more open and go. Both make teaching your child to read something anyone can do, rather than requiring the parent to take a course first or wade through how much to do each day or how to pace the program.

We like that both phonics programs are highly recommended both by other homeschoolers and by reviewers.

Both of these programs come highly recommended by other homeschoolers and reviewers alike. Reading Made Easy is currently in Cathy Duffy’s Top Curriculum Picks. The Reading Lesson has won many awards as well. Both have been used to teach thousands of children to be good readers. My own mother (who was a first grade teacher for 25 years) really likes The Reading Lesson. She’s read it cover to cover and was surprised at how well laid out it is. She’s a tough critic! She also likes Reading Made Easy, but thinks The Reading Lesson could easily be used by anyone!

The teaching style of the parent is just as important as the learning style of a the child.

With all that being said, there are other good programs out there that work equally as well. The teaching style of the parent is just as important as the learning style of the child, when choosing a phonics program. If the parent is not inspired or doesn’t feel confident with their choice, then the phonics program most likely won’t get done.

We’ve discovered the best phonics program is the one that consistently gets done.

In the end, we’ve discovered that the best program is one that consistently gets done in the day-to-day. The two phonics options we offer make that possible. While many phonics programs are wonderfully in depth or very full content-wise, if they just sit on the shelf because they’re too overwhelming, the benefit is lost.

Parents often find the best phonics program is the second or third one they used.

I hope this gives you some good areas to ponder when choosing a phonics program for your situation. Interestingly enough, most parents find that their second or third phonics option worked best, after struggling with their first option. In truth this is largely due to the child just being more mature and more ready to read by then, and also due to the fact that the child has some phonics instruction under their belt to draw on when heading it a second or third round of phonics! For those parents who only used one phonics option, celebrate!! You are VERY blessed!

Blessings,
Carrie

Give your students two desirable choices.

Teaching Tip:

Encourage your students to keep a positive attitude.

As we near the end of our school year, my kiddos need extra encouragement to keep a positive attitude! It is possible that your students need encouragement too! Today, I’ll share a quick tip that works well to encourage students of all ages to cheerfully comply or obey.

Give your students two desirable choices.

To avoid power struggles, it helps to give students two choices (both of which are desirable to you). This means that while the child gets the power to choose, you also retain power because either choice is acceptable to you.

The choices strategy works especially well for young children.

This strategy works for kiddos of all ages but can be used repeatedly with little ones (all throughout the day). Here are some examples of providing two desirable choices to little ones.

At naptime you can say, “Would you like to walk up the stairs, or do you want me to carry you?” This diverts the child from the issue of not wanting to go to nap. Instead, your child will be focused on the choice of whether to walk or be carried. The napping is a foregone conclusion.

Or, for a child who is always asking for juice, you can say, “Do you want milk or water with your lunch?” This rules out other beverages and focuses on what you will accept as choices.

The choices strategy also works with older children.

With older children, you can ask, “Would you like to do math or science first?” For a child who does not like one of those two subjects, the choice allows them to delay the unloved subject. Then, when the unloved subject arrives, they know they chose for it to be in that order.

The choices strategy also works well with mature students.

For even older students, you can ask, “What is the most important thing you wish to do today during your free time?” Then, as a parent you can be sure to get that one thing in that day. This forces the child to prioritize and choose what is most important. It also helps the child realize that you worked to be sure that he/she got in what he valued that day.

Try giving your students limited choices.

Try giving your students limited choices, and see whether you notice a change. Hopefully, you’ll notice a more positive attitude which will help end your year on a positive note!

Blessings,
Carrie