Kids Listening to Music While Doing Their Work

Dear Carrie

What are your thoughts on your kids listening to music while doing their work?

My kids listen to their own music playlists. I would prefer classical music, if anything. I find it distracting, personally. How can you fully concentrate on something you are reading with music that has words? I guess my question is, what are your thoughts on your kids listening to music while doing their work?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with Kids Wanting to Listen to Music While Doing Their Work”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with Kids Wanting to Listen to Music While Doing Their Work,”

This is a great question and is one we have grappled with too over many years of homeschooling! We give our boys a lot more autonomy in this area once they get to high school. Prior to the student reaching the high school years, my husband and I have decided that music is distracting to the rest of us who are nearby, often slows the student down, makes the student less able to listen to the teacher’s voice, and also often affects the child’s work negatively causing them to lose attention to detail and rush through their work to get to the music.

High school marks a change in our response to our kids listening to music while doing work.

Prior to high school, we have our boys dock their iPods during school hours. Once they get to the early years of high school, we let them listen to music during inspirational type subjects. When they get to the later years of high school, we don’t monitor it and let them choose what they think is best as to when they listen to music and when they do not. They are required to wear ear buds/headphones when listening. With these few guidelines, we have had good success with making music an option during schoolwork.

Blessings,
Carrie

Do you have a plan for checking school work?

Teaching Tip:

Do you have a plan for checking school work?

It is a good idea to have a plan for checking school work as part of your school day. Otherwise, the work will just pile up and may never get checked!

How do you handle checking work for younger students?

At our house, with our younger kiddos, we just check their work as we go through the day. We have them make needed corrections right away. They put away their work and their books as soon as they finish. This helps keep the clutter down.

How do you handle checking work for older students?

With our older kiddos, who have more independent subjects, we needed a more organized approach to checking work. So, we assigned each student a separate place on the kitchen counter to pile his completed work. Our older kiddos hand their work in open to the page that needs checking or closed with a sticky note marking the page. Our older boys also hand in any needed answer keys from the answer key shelf for us to use in checking.

Once work is checked, what happens next?

When we check something, we mark any errors. If there are few to no errors, we give the page a star or a grade. Then, we place the checked work in a new pile in a different spot. At our house, we move work from the counter to the right of the oven to the counter to the left of the oven. This provides an easy way for our boys to see what work has been checked.

How does this method allow us to stay on top of checking?

In this way, we can check work throughout the day as time allows. Our boys can see at a glance, depending on which side of the counter something is on, if their work is checked. Before putting work away, our boys make any needed corrections. Then, they either show us the corrections or turn the work in to be checked again. This helps us stay on top of the checking and keeps clutter to a minimum. It also keeps us from skipping the checking, as the piles are there as a reminder!

Ponder your plan for checking work.

Take a few moments to ponder your plan for checking work. A new plan might really change how you feel about the clutter of school work at your house. Then, try your plan and see if it helps your day go more smoothly!

Blessings,
Carrie

Encouragement for Meeting NCAA Requirements and Foreign Language Credits

Dear Carrie

Can you provide encouragement for meeting NCAA requirements and explain how to count foreign language credits?

Dear Carrie,

My son will enter 9th grade using World Geography. I’m planning ahead. He’d like to play baseball in college, and I need some help with NCAA. I’ve called them for a list of approved curriculum, but they can’t give me one. My son wants to continue with how he’s been learning with Heart of Dakota and not have to go to a textbook. I want that too. I’ve talked to the NCAA homeschool department with questions. They’ve reassured me they just will be looking if the courses are college prep. If they have questions about resources (living books vs. textbooks), they aren’t going to throw it out.

I’ve worked on the core course worksheets. I have found the course descriptions etc. in the front of the WG guide to be invaluable. The thoroughness of the information passes the scrutiny of anyone who is evaluating the courses for content. One exception is the 1/2 credit per year of foreign language. I guess I just need encouragement and wonder how to handle the foreign language?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Give Encouragement for Help with NCAA & Foreign Language”

Dear “Ms. Please Give Encouragement for Help with NCAA & Foreign Language,”

You asked for encouragement!  I have some. I wanted to first briefly share the story of a family who emailed us about a similar topic. The family of more than 10 children has been using HOD with their two oldest since they were in the third grade. The second oldest son was a heavily recruited football player who received many academic scholarships and football offers. The family shared that they received nothing but praise from the numerous colleges he was accepted into (over 25) for the quality of his education and how it was reflected in his test scores, transcripts, and essays.

After being accepted into numerous NCAA universities, he signed with the NCAA college of his choice. The family emailed us to share how thankful they were for HOD, and its part in where their sons are now. We truly love this family, and we were so happy for them and their children’s success, praise be to God!

Encouragement for Meeting NCAA Requirements

I share this to encourage you that schooling with HOD through high school with thoughts of college sports and NCAA requirements in mind is possible. What the Lord desires for our children will come to pass, as nothing can circumvent the Lord’s plan!

Counting Foreign Language Credits

I will also mention that as far as counting foreign language goes, you can easily award a full credit in the year the student completes the credit rather than listing foreign language as a half credit each year for 4 years. So the student could list a full credit of Spanish I as a sophomore and then a full credit of Spanish II as a senior.

Course Descriptions and Grading Aid in Helping You in This Process

Also, the course descriptions and grading for each subject at the beginning of the guide are excellent for proving where you got your grades, as you have already discovered. You can print those pages from the HOD website to turn in. Most guides have over 50 pages of descriptions in the Introductions which are hugely helpful in this process. They were written to aid you in college entrance. We are excited for your son’s future, and we can’t wait to see what the Lord has planned for him!

Blessings,

Carrie

Sometimes life is the lesson.

Teaching Tip:

Sometimes life is the lesson.

As I write this tip from our hospital room at Mayo, I am struck by the thought that sometimes… life is the lesson. Through the years, we have had a chance to talk with so many families struggling with health issues. Trying to school through seasons or years of illness can be such an effort. Yet, in times like these… life is the lesson.

Are you struggling with trying circumstances?

Many families like ours are struggling with trying circumstances. Our son Greyson has been in and out of the hospital since last September. We often are headed on the 4 hour drive to Rochester at a moment’s notice. We don’t return home for days and weeks at a time. Our longest hospital stay was 30 days in a row. We know many of you have weathered trying circumstances too. You give us hope that we are not alone.

It is easy to despair that very little school is getting done.

At times like this, it is easy to despair that very little school is getting done. Yet, during this time of illness… life is the lesson. Our son Greyson has had to practice patience, self-control, and selflessness. He has discovered that he can walk through hard things with Jesus at his side. Grey has learned his joy comes from within and that it’s not based on his circumstances. He’s learned the power of prayer and the importance of having a sense of humor. Grey has learned to deal with frustration, pain, hunger, and fatigue by resting in Jesus. These lessons will help him all through his life.

Our boys left at home have learned life lessons too.

Our boys left at home have learned life lessons as well. They have learned the importance of flexibility, cooperation, and diligence even when no one is watching. They have had to set aside their own interests and work together to get things done. Our older boys have practiced parenting, cleaning, cooking, laundry, and teaching skills. They have had to balance work, college classes, and running a household. Our youngest son has had to adapt to a variety of teachers, while the HOD guides keep the daily structure for him. And most importantly, the boys have all learned to pray more than ever before. These lessons will stay with our boys all through their lives.

I have learned life lessons too!

As a parent, I have learned life lessons too. I have learned that I am not in control, but God is! I have learned to face each day as it comes and that God is sufficient for that day. I still struggle with worry and overthinking things, but over and over I lay those worries at the Lord’s feet.

Out of times of hardship much teaching naturally occurs.

If you are facing health struggles, remember that out of hardship much teaching naturally occurs. Your children will watch and learn as you go through struggles. You don’t have to do it all perfectly as you struggle. Just point your children to the Lord. He is enough for whatever comes!

Blessings,
Carrie

Third Grade: A Change in Attitude and in Work

Dear Carrie

What kind of change in attitude and in work do third grade students experience?

My sister-in-law was homeschooled and has graduated 3 kids. Now, she has 3 more she is still homeschooling. She once told me that around 3rd grade all of her kids just had a less positive attitude. My oldest is now starting 3rd grade in Heart of Dakota. I don’t really tolerate complaining or outbursts. But then, she has enough self-control to control those things. I can tell she is frustrated sometimes. This is usually when she is not doing school, but when we are talking about whether we will do it tomorrow. While we are actually doing school, she seems to have a really good attitude and enjoy it.

In school, since she is older, she has more work to do than her younger sisters who are in Little Hearts for His Glory. Some of my older daughter’s work in Bigger Hearts is not easy for her. I guess I have increased what I am expecting of her. For example, I am now trying to encourage her to use better penmanship. Is this just a normal transition? It is really hard for her to sit down and focus on something with 3 younger siblings running around. During some of her work the younger ones are off doing other things, like watching a video. I know she is jealous they get to do that. I guess my question is, what kind of change in attitude and in work do third grade students experience?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with What Changes to Expect with My Third Grade Student’s Attitude and Work”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with What Changes to Expect with My Third Grade Student’s Attitude and Work,”

There are definitely several things to keep in mind in looking at kiddos’ ages and stages. One is that grades K-2 are typically grouped together with K being a bit of a transition from the “fun” of preschool to the “work” of formal school. This is followed by 1st grade where kiddos are often ready for a bit more “real” school and are better prepared to handle a bit more attention-span wise. Then, in grade 2 they are even more ready (and grade 2 is not as much new as grade 1), so they seem to handle grade 2 better. After that comes the next big step up in grades 3-5. :D

Third grade is a change because there are many new skills.

Third grade is almost all new with many skills the kiddos have never had before in all areas. The day lengthens and more is expected. So, third grade is often a crucial year. It is hard work for the kiddos. Add to that the fact that they are often coming off of a care-free summer, and the workload and mental activity seems even more stressful because it is almost a direct contrast to what their summer days felt like. Plus, if you add to that a new wake and sleep cycle, new eating times, and less free time, you can easily see why our little 8-9 years old aren’t exactly “skipping through the tulips” in the initial weeks of school (no matter how fabulous the curriculum might be)! :D I must admit to having a bit of a transition myself when we head back to school after summer! :wink:

Third grade is an opportunity to shape and mold good habits.

As a public school teacher, I taught quite a few different grades, but 3rd grade was my longest stint at 9 years. I loved third grade because you have such an opportunity to shape and mold good habits, train kiddos to be attentive, work on character, and really see a difference in the child by year-end. On the flip side, it also can be an opportunity to battle with kiddos daily if you look at this as a daily battle of the wills instead of a training opportunity. :D That is why this year will be so important not only academically, but also character issue-wise. It is where your little people learn how to be big helpers and good listeners. They learn how to work even when they may not feel like it. They can begin to be trained in daily obedience and in curbing their wills to glorify their Father in heaven rather than seeking to glorify their own wants and needs. It is a huge transition year that takes much parenting and much patience! :D

Devote needed time to character and academic training, and you will make huge strides with your third grade child!

If you happen to have a third grade child, I encourage you to settle in for the long haul. Know each day will be new training ground. However, by the end of the year, you will have made huge strides forward if you devote the needed time to character and academic training. The fruit of this daily training will follow you into the next guide and the next guide after that. By the time you walk through these important middle training years, you will also have built a close relationship with your child. :D

This is the opportunity homeschooling affords us, and it is not an easy one because it takes much time and effort! I wish each of you the stamina to do what is needed each day and the patience to train your children both academically and spiritually. As we travel this road together, let’s remember that we have the added blessing that each day is made new through our heavenly Father. So, if you’ve had a hard day, you can remember that tomorrow is a new day! :D

Blessings,
Carrie

Update from “Ms. Please Help Me with What Changes to Expect with My Third Grade Student’s Attitude and Work”

Carrie, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your experiences! Just yesterday we had one of those heartwarming moments! My 8 year old and I were curled up on the couch for her read-aloud time. She hugged me and said, “Mom I’m so glad you’re my teacher! I think you are the best Mom and teacher for me.” That encouraged me. It is more work, and she is really growing and that is good to see. I pray for character. I can see that this time is really critical in developing her character. May God give me inspiration, patience, wisdom, and peace. And again thanks, I cannot say how much I appreciate your wisdom along this homeschooling journey!