Teaching Tip: Do you partner with your child?

Teaching Tip:

Do you partner with your child?

One of your roles as a teacher is to partner with your child in his/her education. So, what happens when your child is running behind, or is frustrated, or has gotten a late start? It is up to you to determine how this affects the day. When this happens at our house, I have two choices. I can either be very upset, or I can partner with my child. If I choose to be very upset, I am setting a mood of frustration for the day. If I choose to partner with my child, there is a sense of relief. Through the years I have learned that partnering with my kids is the better plan of action!

What does partnering with your child mean?

Partnering means that I jump in and do whatever it takes to get my child back on track. I am not a skipper by nature, simply because I know everything in the guide has a purpose. So, instead of skipping things, I look for ways to complete the assignments while allowing the child to catch up.

What are some ways to partner with your child?

Partnering with my child may mean I do the grammar lesson orally, rather than having the child write part on paper. Or, it may mean that I sit right beside the child for a subject he is supposed to do on his own. In this way, I can quickly help him move through that subject. Or, maybe I get out needed books or get everything ready for the next few subjects. This minimizes time lost getting books out or finding the correct page. It could be that I just clear and correct, putting everything away to minimize clutter.

To save time, I could allow a child to read on his/her own something I was meant to read. Or, I might have a child do just the odds or evens in math to catch-up there. Maybe I have my child save a subject to do in the evening. Or, I might have a child orally narrate into his iPod or narrate to a sibling instead of to me. Perhaps, we might have the poetry discussion during lunch while we eat. Or, I might write my child’s responses in the Student Book for Drawn into the Heart of Reading as he dictates them. These are all ways you can creatively jump in and help your kiddos get their day back on track.

Partnering with your child often saves the day!

Partnering together often saves the day! It shows your child that you are on this journey together. So, the next time something derails your day, don’t let it dictate your day. Instead, partner with your child to take the day back!

Blessings,
Carrie

How can my son better comprehend Child’s History of the World?

Dear Carrie

How can I help my son better comprehend and enjoy Child’s History of the World?

Dear Carrie,

My 11 year old fifth grader is using Heart of Dakota‘s Preparing Hearts . He narrates Grandpa’s Box well, but he struggles to comprehend the reading of Child’s History of the World (CHOW) . The last time we read I had to go back and explain what was happening. He just can’t seem to follow it. I know many people rave about how easy and enjoyable CHOW is!  For this child, it just is not that way. We are hitting the section where there will be a lot of CHOW. I’m just not sure what to do. We’ve currently taken a break from it. He’s reading books he is able to engage with like Bound for Oregon. I’ve not heard or read anyone else having this particular struggle with this book. How can I help my son better comprehend and enjoy Child’s History of the World?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help My Son Better Comprehend and Enjoy Child’s History of the World”

Dear “Ms. Please Help My Son Better Comprehend and Enjoy Child’s History of the World,”

I can see wanting your son to better comprehend and enjoy Child’s History of the World (CHOW). While CHOW is a narrative telling of history, it’s important to remember that it is still a telling of history (meaning it is full of names, dates, and places that really raise the reading/listening level of the text)! This means that CHOW is a much more difficult book than a narrative story like Bound for Oregon. Both have their purposes.

The difference between narrative historical fiction books and narrative nonfiction history spines.

Books like Bound for Oregon are historical fiction, with one character who you stay with throughout the book. This makes it very easy to stay with the storyline without much effort. Books like CHOW are filled with different “characters” and places from history every single day. They are much more work to listen to attentively and harder to narrate from, because you really have to have cultivated the habit of attention to be able to narrate from a book where the characters and places are always changing! This is the habit we must seek to cultivate. You can see, as I’m sharing about the differences between the two types of books, that they are fulfilling two different sets of skills. So, to neglect one or the other type of reading means that the child will then be missing a whole set of accompanying skills.

We are gradually working a child up in their reading/listening level with books like CHOW.

Readings like CHOW are more similar to what children will be reading in history and science texts as they progress through their academic subjects (even though CHOW is much more narrative than a typical text). CHOW forces a child to grow and stretch as needed to be able to handle more difficult readings in this vein with each successive year. We are gradually working a child up in their reading/listening level gently guide by guide with books like CHOW, rather than making a huge jump in these areas when the child hits high school. Incremental steps are always better than a big, huge leap forward in requirements!

We expect the readings/listenings in CHOW to be challenging, but you can use a markerboard to help.

So, with this in mind, just be encouraged that we actually expect the readings/listenings in CHOW to be challenging. We expect the child to slowly gain in this area throughout the year. So, what should you do to help your child? First of all, it is a good idea to list any major names and places on a markerboard before the reading and read them aloud to your child, having him repeat them after you. This is something Charlotte Mason herself advocated.

Your child can read CHOW on his own and use the markerboard as a reference as he narrates.

Next, as your child is in fifth grade, you can have him read CHOW on his own. If he can read Bound for Oregon on his own, he can read CHOW on his own. It is often true that children narrate better when they read something themselves. It is true for me too! As your son gets ready to narrate, have the markerboard there for him to refer to the names and places as he narrates. Don’t jump in and explain the text to him, no matter how much you want to (as this actually helps you understand the text better but also means you are doing the work of sifting and sorting the information to make meaning, which is the work we need him to do)!

You can do the Preparing guide’s follow-ups after reading, making sure not to give personal commentary.

Then, do the follow-ups in the Preparing guide. Don’t embellish or give a bunch of personal commentary. I know this is hard, as it is second nature for us to want to share our own connections or summarize for the child, but instead let the child share (even if it is very painful or very short). Otherwise, you are truly getting in between the child and the reading. If he cannot figure out an answer to a question in the Preparing guide, both of you should skim the reading for the answer and then you can run your finger under it and have him read just that brief part out loud. Often, kiddos feel they are not getting the “right” answer, so they no longer want to share. They would just rather wait for you to supply the answer. This is an alternative to that.

You can have him narrate after reading a few pages at a time, if need be.

If needed, you can have him narrate after he’s read a couple of pages. Then, have him read a couple more and pause and narrate again. If he shares anything, find a way to compliment him. Work to compliment his answers rather than asking for more information right now. Even a sentence or two is alright when you are learning a new skill. You could just respond, “Oooh that sounds interesting!” Or, “Really? I didn’t know that!” Or, “Wow, I had no idea that _____ (and then repeat back a bit of what he said)!” Or, “That sounds exciting!” Or, “I never knew that _____ (and share a bit of something he mentioned). Or, “Oh that makes me want to know more!” Or, “Now, you’ve got me wondering what will happen next. I’ll be interested to hear more about this as you keep reading!”

He is seeking your approval, and he needs to be able to share his own connections without worrying about being ‘wrong.’

It will come, but it won’t happen overnight. Right now he is in the stage where he is seeking your approval, trying to find the answer that you feel is “right”.  All children do this when the material is difficult. He has to learn the freedom to share his own thoughts and connections, as he grapples with difficult material, without worrying he’ll be wrong.

In Short…

So, in short, I’d go over the names and places on the markerboard before he reads (making sure he repeats them to you before starting so he has proper pronunciation). Next, he should read CHOW on his own, pausing every couple of pages to share a sentence or two narration about what he read. Compliment his sharing, whatever it is, and don’t ask for more right now. After reading a couple more pages, he should share again (just a couple sentence narration). Don’t prod for more – just compliment.

Last, do the follow-up in the guide. Don’t add to the follow-up with commentary, just do what is there. Help him skim for answers if needed. Run your finger under the answer for him in CHOW to read it aloud, but don’t answer for him. If he doesn’t share much, do not have him reread. Just keep moving forward each day, keeping the lessons short and sweet. You will see progress, but it will take up to 9 weeks. So, be patient! Just know the growing pains you are experiencing are expected, and you’re not alone.

Blessings,
Carrie

Update from “Ms. Please Help My Son Better Comprehend and Enjoy Child’s History of the World:”

Dear Carrie,

I wanted to let you know how it is going. I now only write a few names on the markerboard as I realized that a lot of the big/unfamiliar names have pronunciation keys right in the book. So, we just look over those before we start. He reads 2 pages (with me sitting right there) and then narrates what he has connected to in that section. He then goes on and reads the rest of the chapter and narrates again at the end.

I am excited and amazed that reading it this way, he is starting to connect with this book!!! He is picking up on the little funny things that Hillyer notes about the characters. For example, he got quite a kick out of Socrates’ wife dumping water on his head. He even got Socrates’ pithy little response, “After thunder, expect rain.” That’s amazing for him! I am thrilled that we have continued on with this and have found a way to help him read, enjoy and learn from CHOW. Thanks, again, Carrie, for your specific helps that have helped me approach this from a different perspective.

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help My Son Better Comprehend and Enjoy Child’s History of the World”

 

 

 

 

 

World Geography for Open-and-Go, or Revival to Revolution for Best Placement?

Dear Carrie

Should my son do World Geography to keep it open and go, even though he places best in Revival to Revolution?

I’m a mother of 7 children. We use Heart of Dakota with all of our children. We tried some different things with our 13 year old son, and we’re so glad to be back! My son is finishing up Resurrection to Reformation. He didn’t do the extensions.  He’s using Revival to Revolution’s physical science.  We didn’t do RTR’s IEW writing. (Failure on my part!) In truth, he hasn’t had much formal writing. He will be 14 in August. This next year will be his freshman year, and I’d like him to use Revival to Revolution. I love HOD’s open and go feature. When I consider the things we’ll need to modify, I start to panic that it won’t get done. So, my question is, should my son do World Geography, even though he places best in Revival to Revolution, so we could keep the open and go aspect?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Choose Between Open-and-Go World Geography or Better Placement Revival to Revolution”

Dear “Ms. Choose Between Open-and-Go World Geography or Better Placement Revival to Revolution,”

If you are finding RTR to be a good fit for your son, then it may be wise to move into Revival to Revolution for his 9th grade year. Since he hasn’t had much in the way of formal writing instruction or formal literature instruction, I’d lean toward doing RevtoRev for those areas along with the DITHOR Level 7/8 Book Pack. However, from what you’ve shared thus far, a more independent type program may be needed in those areas for the time being. With that in mind, you could definitely borrow the literature and writing from the World Geography guide to use with RevtoRev. Both may be a challenge, but they would be more independent and be on grade level for high school.

I would do either the BJU Literature or the novels with DITHOR 6/7/8.

If the literature looked too overwhelming in the World Geography guide, you could potentially do just the BJU lit. text without the novels or do just the novels with DITHOR 6/7/8 without the BJU lit. text. Either option would downsize how heavy the literature is but still keep your son moving forward in this needed area.

I would do R & S English 5 all year to cover his bases well and follow up with R & S English 6.

For grammar, I would do English 5 all in one year as planned in RevtoRev. English 5 is a key year in Rod and Staff and will cover his bases well in this area. Even if you stall out and need to take more than one year to do English 5, it is good to keep going on through it until you finish it. It is a terrific level of Rod and Staff. We will definitely want to follow-up with English 6 after that!

I would omit Storytime and do the Extensions.

You can omit the Storytime and do the Extension books instead in RevtoRev for high school. If the reading in the Extension Pack looks too heavy, he could instead do the Storytime books rather than the Extension package. He could look at both sets to see which appeals more.

I would consider doing IPC from World Geography for science.

For science, since you have already done the science in RevtoRev this year, you could consider doing the IPC from the World Geography guide for science as well. This would be a good first year of high school science for your son. If he is headed toward a science degree, he should follow the science path of the high school guides. He could consider doing Physics instead of the Astronomy and Geology for his senior year if desired. But, you will know much more about his interests for college once you get to his senior year.

I would address government later in his junior or senior year.

You could hold off on doing Government for now, as getting formal literature and writing in will be much more important for his first year of high school. If he is college-bound we have to make the lit/comp/grammar a primary focus this year. We can always address the government part later, adding it in his junior or senior year.

I would add Spanish as a foreign language credit.

I would also consider adding the Spanish from World Geography to his day to get him started on needed foreign language. Getting Started with Spanish is short and sweet and an easy way to begin that credit.

So, his credits would be as follows:

U.S. History I (1 full credit)
Fundamentals of Literature/Composition (1 full credit)
Integrated Physics and Chemistry with Lab (1 full credit with lab)
Math (1 full credit Algebra I hopefully)
Spanish I (1/2 credit)
Bible (1/2 credit – if you add additional free time Bible reading to the RevtoRev plans or sub this out with World Geography’s Bible. The World Geography Bible is worth 1 credit but will be quite a bit more intensive. If he liked the Bible in RTR, I would probably stay with the Bible as written in Rev2Rev.)
Fine Arts: Music Appreciation (1/2 credit)

Blessings,
Carrie

 

Do your children visualize words on their “mental blackboards”?

Teaching Tip:

Do you have a child working on spelling or studied dictation?

Is your child working through the spelling lists in Beyond or Bigger Hearts? Or, is your child working through the studied dictation passages in the guides that come next? Either way, today’s teaching tip is for you!

Visualizing words on a mental blackboard is one key Charlotte Mason skill for spelling.

One of the skills we are working toward is for the child to be able to visualize words on his/her mental blackboard. Capturing the correct spelling of a word is much easier if the word really stands out in a way that the mind can quickly “capture.”

Using a black marker on a white surface helps the mind “capture” the word.

Whenever you have to write a word for your child to visualize, it is good to use a black marker on a white surface. This can be a black marker on a white index card like the spelling cards for Beyond or Bigger Hearts. Or, the same technique works for words you may desire your child to focus on within the dictation passages. These words can be written on a whiteboard with a black marker for the child to study prior to having the passage dictated.

Tracing difficult words using a black pencil on a white page helps students “capture” the word too.

Another technique that works is to have the child trace any difficult words within the dictation passage using his/her black pencil. Having the words outlined in black on the white page helps kiddos mentally “capture” the word too! Try these tips and see if they help your child with spelling and dictation. I know these tips have helped mine!

Carrie

Placement Help for a 13 Year Old Son with an Extremely Busy Mom

Pondering Placement

Placement Help for a 13 Year Old Son with an Extremely Busy Mom

We’re new to Heart of Dakota, and I’m trying to place my 13 year old. His reading isn’t super strong. However, he’s not a struggling reader. We’ve had no previous exposure to dictation or narration. I’m an extremely busy mom with a baby on the way in 6 weeks, and I have difficult pregnancies. I have a 3 year old too. I’ll be teaching my 6 year old to read and starting Little Hearts for His Glory. We also live on a ranch with horses and chickens and a lot of responsibilities. We’ve already done some of the Apologia elementary sciences but not Land Animals. So I am wondering with my family dynamics and my son’s ability if starting him with CTC would be right or too easy. I originally wanted to start him with Revival to Revolution but am now thinking that would be way too hard. Help!

Reply: Placement Help for a 13 Year Old Son with an Extremely Busy Mom

I’d be glad to help with placement for your 13 year old son! From what you’ve shared, I would agree that placing him in CTC would be the best fit in pretty much every area. I would lean toward placing him in English 5, as CTC does only the first half of English 5 (with the second half in RTR). You can do much of it orally or on a whiteboard, with just a portion assigned to be done on paper each day. I do think it will be good for him to do Write the Best as scheduled in CTC for writing.

I would recommend Drawn into the Heart of Reading 4/5.

If you haven’t had much in the way of formal literature instruction, I would lean toward using Level 4/5 of Drawn into the Heart of Reading for one year. After that I would bump him up to Level 6/7/8 the following year. Even if you haven’t completed all of Level 4/5, I’d still move him up. Just make sure when you switch to Level 6/7/8, you do the genres you didn’t get to in Level 4/5 first. In that way, he’ll receive a balanced reading experience.

I would recommend doing the science as written in CTC, but add the Biology 101 DVDs.

As far as the science goes, I would lean toward doing it as written in CTC, however you may wish to add something like the Biology 101 DVDs for him to watch on the 5th day of each week, just to raise the content level a bit (since your son will be on the older age range of the guide).

I would recommend adding the CTC Extension Package for your son.

You’ll need the Extension Pack for your son in CTC, but not the Basic Package. This is because of your son’s age, and also because you will be doing another HOD program with a read-aloud already for LHFHG. In that way, you won’t need to do multiple read-alouds each day.

I think your 7 year old might enjoy The Reading Lesson for phonics.

I think you have a good plan coming together! As far as your 7 year old in LHFHG goes, you could consider The Reading Lesson with the downloadable CD for helping him learn to read. It is a good incremental approach and can be done cuddled on the couch in just short sessions each day. The downloadable CD is hugely helpful and entertaining.

I am sorry to hear about your difficulty pregnancies and pray for your babe and for you.

On a sidenote, I’m so sorry for your difficult pregnancies. I have had those too with every pregnancy I’ve had… bedrest and long hospital stays with babies finally coming early around 34-35 weeks (which was always a blessing for me to get that far). I pray for your babe to be here in God’s perfect timing.

Blessings,
Carrie