Homeschool mom of 4 who doesn’t want to combine… tips? Scheduling ideas?

Dear Carrie

I am a homeschool mom of 4, and I am not comfortable combining, so what tips or scheduling ideas do you have?

Dear Carrie,

I am a homeschool mom of four children ages 7, 5, 3, 2. I’m excited, and after much research I am set on Heart of Dakota! However, I need some encouragement that it is possible to homeschool four children without losing your sanity. I really want this to be an extension of peace in our home. I’m not comfortable with combining them in the same programs, (2 and 2). So, any tips or scheduling ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Sincerely,

“Please Help Me with Scheduling Ideas for 4 Without Combining”

Dear “Please Help Me with Scheduling Ideas for 4 Without Combining,”

I’m not sure if you have had a chance to check out the scheduling thread. That may be worth a peek, and you can click here to check it out!

When working with LHTH, LHFHG or Beyond, I like scheduling 30 minutes to do the left side of the daily plans in one sitting for each guide. During this 30 minute session, I start with the history (or Bible) reading first and then end with the box on the left side of the plans that looks like I could get the kiddos started and they could finish on their own. Often that is scheduling the bottom left-hand corner box.

I minimize interruptions by planning ahead, and I teach the 30 minute left side of the guide in the morning.

During that 30 minutes time, I make sure I won’t have interruptions. I don’t answer the phone, put in a load of laundry, or leave the child’s side. Any kiddos who need me come to me, however they are NOT to interrupt unless it’s a severe emergency. I makes sure about scheduling the baby to happily play with toys in his crib or playpen for that 30 minutes. I make sure the older kiddos are working independently. Often scheduling the middle kiddo to listen to a book on tape, to finish his chores, or to do an educational computer game works well. I also try to make sure to get my 30 minutes left side of the guide time in for each of my kiddos in the morning. This takes the pressure off because I’ve already finished a big chunk of the day’s plans by lunch then.

I start with something independent, so I have time for grooming for baby and me.

Since I’m not a morning person, I take that into account and scheduling my kiddos to start with something independent the first part of the day helps. That way, I have time to get the baby (and me) dressed and groomed. I can check everyone’s rooms and make sure everyone has eaten before launching into my teaching for the day. Yet, my kiddos are already underway during that time doing their first subject pretty independently. Additionally, I like scheduling the kiddos to have at least one or more subjects out of the way before joining me for their 30 minute left side session.

I like to to plan 45-60 minutes of playtime for my 4-6 year olds after breakfast.

I do like scheduling my 4-6 year olds to play an extra 45 – 60 minutes in their room after breakfast in the morning too. This gives me time with my olders to quietly work on their tougher subjects before the little ones descend upon us for the day.

We enjoy a morning recess 45 minutes each day and eat lunch together.

We all do still like scheduling a morning recess together for 45 minutes every day. Usually, we typically go out around 11:00. Also, we all eat lunch together, which my oldest begins getting ready while I’m finishing with the youngers. (We keep it very simple following the weekly menu on the fridge).

It also helps to do the LHTH toddler/preschooler earlier in the day so that the little one feels like he/she has had time with mama. Once he’s been with me, he’s more content to go play. Otherwise, that little one is begging for my time all day! Hope these tips help!

Blessings,
Carrie

Don’t interrupt the flow of the reading.

Teaching Tip:

What is a “living book”?

Heart of Dakota’s curriculum is full of living books. Each living book is typically written by a single author who is very passionate about his/her topic. These books stand out for their conversational, narrative style and their ability to make almost any subject come to life. Living books are read in smaller segments slowly over time to allow your students to “live” with the books.

As you read aloud a living book, don’t pause during the reading to explain or question.

In a Charlotte Mason style living book reading, it is important not to stop and explain or question during the reading. You may be tempted to define difficult words, explain what is happening, or question your child to be sure he/she is understanding. While you may think you’re helping your child comprehend better by doing these things, you really aren’t!

Interrupting the flow of the reading makes it more difficult for the child to comprehend and make connections.

Charlotte Mason says that stopping during a reading to explain or question actually interrupts the flow of the reading. This makes it more difficult for the child to comprehend and make his/her own connections. So, whenever you feel the urge to pause during the reading to “help” your child, resist the urge and read on!

Reading without interruption, helps develop the habit of attention.

As your child learns to attend to a single reading, your child will be developing the habit of attention. This is a much needed habit to cultivate and isn’t one that occurs naturally in all kiddos. Try making a point not to interrupt the reading and see if your child eventually begins to attend better. I know I have been pleasantly surprised with my own boys when I tried this essential step when reading aloud!

Blessings,
Carrie

How do learning styles affect a child’s ability to orally narrate?

Dear Carrie

How do learning styles affect a child’s ability to orally narrate?

Dear Carrie,

We just started using Heart of Dakota and are enjoying it. I am just wondering how learning styles affect a child’s ability to orally narrate. What if a child is not an auditory learner? Can this complicate their ability to answer and respond to questions? My daughter is a hands-on, visual learner. She struggles to answer questions after I have read a history lesson to her (LHFHG). Is this typical for her age (6) as she learns to concentrate on listening carefully? Or would it be a sign of laziness? Or should I attribute it to her learning style? Should I give her a break when it comes to remembering what she has heard? I know that Charlotte Mason insisted on only one reading before narration. Should I just keep encouraging her to listen more carefully?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Explain How Learning Styles Affect a Child’s Ability to Orally Narrate”

Dear “Ms. Please Explain How Learning Styles Affect a Child’s Ability to Orally Narrate,”

Narration is different than answering questions. Narrating upon a passage means having the child tell back in his/her own words what was remembered from the passage that was just read. The questions at the end of the chapters in History Stories for Children or History for Little Pilgrims actually aren’t leading to narration. They are more just question and answer sessions. The questions in these cases are an extra bonus part of the readings. I don’t consider these to be hugely necessary at this stage of learning. Especially when the reading has been spread out over more than one day, your child should not be expected to remember the answers to those questions that are delayed in the asking. The activities that follow the reading (in the other boxes of the LHFHG day’s plans) are those that I would consider more appropriate and necessary skill-wise for students to complete.

In contrast, the Thorton Burgess questions are more like narration prompts or starters.

On the other hand, the Thornton Burgess style questions are meant to lead to narration. These questions are what I would consider to be narration prompts or narration starters. Each day of the Storytime part of the plans has a specific skill focus. This means that each day hits a different set of skills, all of which are very important to building narration, discernment, vocabulary, writing, and a host of other skills.

Though a child’s learning style may affect how he orally narrates, children of all learning styles can learn to narrate well.¬†

A child’s learning style may affect how well or how easily a child narrates, but kiddos of all learning styles can learn to narrate well. While auditory learners are good listeners, this doesn’t mean they will easily sift and sort through what they heard in order to organize a lucid narration! Though visual learners benefit from seeing and reading their own textual material leading to better narration, it doesn’t mean they won’t be able to narrate well until they can read their material themselves. While kinesthetic, hands-on learners benefit from acting out the story to help retell it (as we do in the Storytime box of the plans, or in writing or typing their narration as we do in later guides), this doesn’t mean they can’t learn to be great narrators unless those techniques are used. I know this is true because it has been true for my 4 sons.

Though my sons have their own learning styles, each can learn to orally narrate well.

My oldest son is a bodily, kinesthetic learner. Yet, he is good a seeing the big picture. This makes him a natural oral narrator, even when he just listens or reads without any bodily motion. My second son is a detailed, artistic child. He is not auditory, but is very visual. His sense of detail leads to him being a good, detailed oral narrator (whether he is listening or reading the material himself). My third son is an auditory child. He loves anything audio or read aloud, yet he was my briefest narrator for several years. Now, he narrates very well, which just means that it took him some time to come along in the narration department. My youngest is also auditory, and he is coming along well but taking his time to work up to any length.

All children can learn to orally narrate well, regardless of their learning style.

As you can see, though we have different learning styles represented at our house, success in narrating doesn’t necessarily correlate to their learning style. I share this so you can be assured that all children can learn to narrate regardless of their learning style, with regular practice. We build this practice into all of Heart of Dakota’s guides, so you can be sure that we will help you lead your children toward becoming better narrators one step at a time.

Blessings,
Carrie

 

Don’t skip the thought bubbles in the Singapore math textbook.

Teaching Tip:

With Singapore math, how do you know what to emphasize each day?

If you are using Singapore math, it can be a bit confusing sometimes to know what to emphasize. Typically there is one main concept for each day of plans. So, how do you decipher what that concept is? Here is one tip that we have found helpful.

Don’t skip the thought bubbles in the Singapore math textbook.

The “word bubbles” or “thinking bubbles” in each textbook lesson are very important. These bubbles are drawn next to children in the textbook to show what they are thinking. The children are sharing the thinking process your child is to go through as he/she solves the problems in the lesson. Many times this process is a bit different than the way you learned to do problems like these.

The Singapore method of thinking is found within the word bubbles.

It is worth the extra time it takes to decipher the process the thinking bubble is showing. This is because the Singapore method is “talked through” in the thinking bubble. So, read the thought bubbles aloud as you go over the textbook lesson with your child. Help your child discover the process being described in the bubble, and then apply it in the lesson’s problems.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the thought bubbles in the textbook, now is a good time to start!

So, if you haven’t been paying attention to the word or thought bubbles in the textbook up until now, you may want to start. I didn’t notice how important these were until we went up higher and higher in the Singapore Primary math levels. When my next little ones started Singapore though, I emphasized these from the beginning! Try it and see what a difference it makes over time.

Blessings,
Carrie

What should I do for Drawn into the Heart of Reading our last 2 weeks?

Dear Carrie

What should I do for Drawn into the Heart of Reading for our last two weeks of Bigger Hearts?

Dear Carrie,

So next week my son will be finishing up his realistic fiction project and presenting it. Then, I will only have two weeks left of the Heart of Dakota‘s Bigger Hearts manual. So, does that mean I do nothing for DITHOR for the last two weeks? Read the folk tale books for fun? I am just trying to figure out those last two weeks and how I could fit folk tales into that time slot? Thanks! This is our first time with Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR), and we love it. My son has done wonderfully with the projects, and we look forward to using it in the future!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help with the Last 2 Weeks of Drawn into the Heart of Reading”

Dear “Ms. Please Help with the Last 2 Weeks of Drawn into the Heart of Reading,”

How exciting that you are close to finishing Bigger Hearts! I am so glad that you have gotten a chance to use and enjoy DITHOR too. Since you are only two weeks away from being done with Bigger, I can see a couple of options working for DITHOR.

Option 1: Use the folk tale unit when you start Preparing Hearts.

One option would be to set aside the folk tale unit to start when you begin Preparing instead. If you chose to do this, then DITHOR would just drop out for the final two weeks of the Bigger Hearts guide.

Option 2: Read the folk tale books without doing the DITHOR unit.

A second option, if you feel your child may outgrow the folk tale books as a reader before you begin Preparing Hearts, would be to read the folk tale books while you finish Bigger Hearts (but not do the DITHOR unit). If you chose this option, your child would finish reading the Folk Tale books over the break before you begin Preparing. Then, when you do Preparing you would move onto the next book set and get to do the folk tale unit from DITHOR along with the new folk tale books in the next book set.

Either option would work! Happy reading!

Blessings,
Carrie

Follow-Up from “Ms. Please Help with the Last 2 Weeks of Drawn into the Heart of Reading”

Thank you Carrie! I think we will enjoy some cuddle time and just read those books together the last two weeks and start Preparing’s Drawn into Heart of Reading with folk tales too. Best of both worlds, and we can enjoy those great books! Love DITHOR and look forward to many more years with it!