Why does Heart of Dakota use different writing programs each year?

Dear Carrie

Why does Heart of Dakota use different writing programs each year?

Dear Carrie,

I just wanted to ask why Heart of Dakota uses different writing programs each year? I like all that I see in Heart of Dakota, and I’m quite a researcher!  However,  I was wondering what the benefits are of using different sources from one year to another? Write With the Best, IEW, The Exciting World of Creative Writingthey are all so different. I just wondered why one writing program isn’t chosen to continue with year after year?  Thanks in advance for answering my question.

Sincerely,

“Ms. Wondering Why Use Different Writing Programs”

Dear “Ms. Wondering Why Use Different Writing Programs,”

You are correct!  We have purposely chosen to use different writing programs from year to year in Heart of Dakota. Writing has a definite progression of skills and certain types of writing that are easier to accomplish than others. So, we keep this in mind as we move through the guides. Various writing programs also have different strengths and appeal to different types of learners, which is something that should not be overlooked. Can you imagine if all of our great writers had been exposed to only one particular writing “program” that they all were required to use year after year?  Would it produce as much variety as we see in great writing, or could it instead feel stifling to some writers?

Writing is a highly creative and personal process.

It’s important to remember that writing is a highly creative and personal process. While it does have certain skills that need to be taught, it also requires much more individual expression and output. Thus, it requires a different approach than subjects like math or English, where a certain set of skills are taught and an exacting output is required. In math and English it makes perfect sense to stay the course with a single program. Yet, in writing, it is true that “variety is the spice of life” (and the spice of writing)!

Different writing programs have different strengths.

Having the freedom to choose among the different writing programs available, let’s take advantage of the strengths within each program. Students then can be exposed to a variety of writing experiences and writing approaches. Yet, students can still maintain solid skill progression when formal writing programs are integrated with the writing across the curriculum as scheduled in the HOD guide. Our approach also allows us to be better balanced in seeing the writing program as just one piece of the HOD puzzle each year. This helps us create a puzzle that is put together piece by piece, year by year, so one cohesive picture emerges.

The result? Each student’s own beautifully crafted puzzle. Not the same exact puzzle as another student’s puzzle. But rather a uniquely personally crafted puzzle, with different pieces taken from different writing programs that when put together, create one original masterpiece. Then, a writer is born. So, let us start putting together the pieces of the puzzle to make some new ‘masterpieces’ today!

Blessings,
Carrie

Consider your child’s personality when scheduling artistic subjects

Teaching Tip

Consider your child’s personality when scheduling artistic subjects.

Do you have a child who loves to take his/her time when doing any assignment that requires drawing?  If so, you may wish to consider placing subjects that require drawing or artwork as the last subject.  One of our sons really enjoys doing each art-related assignment meticulously. While this results in beautiful work, it can also make this mama want to constantly hurry him along! This results in stress for both us.

Schedule art-related subjects last in the day.

The solution for me was to schedule any art-related assignments within my son’s HOD guide after lunch.  This was when he did his last subjects of the day.  In that way, my son could take as long as he wanted to complete the assignment.  He’s on his own time then, and I am not rushing him. This is because I try to be done with most formal teaching from his HOD guide by then.

Various assignments can fall into the artwork category.

Notebooking assignments and lab sheets for science often fall in this category.  Timeline entries and Draw and Write entries fall in this category for us too. The painting assignments in CTC, the composer study in Rev2Rev, and the nature journal in MTMM are also in this category.

Even if you don’t have a child who is artistic, any assignment with drawing typically takes more time.

Once you figure out which drawing assignments are taking more time, consider placing these last in the day.  This will help keep the rest of your schedule on-track. And, when your child is on his/her own time, he will be less likely to drag an assignment out.  Try a schedule redo and see if it helps your day run more smoothly!

Blessings,

Carrie

In general, what is the overarching Biblical philosophy of Heart of Dakota?

Dear Carrie

What is the overarching Biblical philosophy, in general, of Heart of Dakota?

Dear Carrie,

I’ve used Heart of Dakota for preschool and kindergarten and plan on using it for years to come. From what I’ve used, I especially enjoyed the Family Time Bible in Little Hearts. It really showed the foundation of the Bible as history. Not having used other levels, I’d like to wrap my head around the flow of Biblical teaching. I especially want to see how it will help me disciple my children and introduce them to a hurting world. So, I guess what I’m wanting to know is the overarching Biblical philosophy, in general, for Heart of Dakota. I realize this is a broad question! But, I like where we’ve been, I just want to look forward to where we’re headed. Thanks in advance!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Wanting to Know the Overarching Biblical Philosophy for Heart of Dakota”

Dear “Ms. Wanting to Know the Overarching Biblical Philosophy of Heart of Dakota,”

What a good question!  One that is near and dear to my heart. Our overarching Biblical goal at HOD is to include God’s Holy Word every day in as many areas as possible. This is so students do not see Bible as a separate subject but rather as a part of everything they do. We want children in the Word often and repeatedly throughout the day. Our goal is for them to understand that the Bible is to be open often. It is meant to guide them in all things.

We want our children to seek direction from God’s Word.

We also desire for children to seek answers and direction for living from God’s Word. Additionally, we want them to learn to love His Word with all their hearts, souls, and minds. Likewise, we want them to understand the Bible is ‘God’s Words’ to us on how to live our lives to glorify Him. There is no greater goal on this earth than to strive to worship and glorify our Savior with our lives. We write each HOD guide in the hope that it will help our children in this goal.

The Bible is inerrant, God-breathed, and applicable to daily life.

We believe the Bible is inerrant, God-breathed, and applicable every day in all we do. We believe it reveals our desperate need for a Savior and God’s grace, which God poured out on us through His plan for our salvation by willingly sacrificing His only Son.  Jesus’ sacrifice of His own life on the cross paid for our sins and provided a way for sinners like me to enter heaven. Belief in Christ Jesus as God’s Son, fully man and fully God, is the only way to heaven.

The Bible is the source for all answers, and we point our children to Scripture as often as possible.

We believe in the virgin birth of our Savior and our need for Him to save us from sin that has been in the world since the fall of man. We believe that we are created in God’s image and are created to glorify Him. This is what is set forth in God’s Word. It is what we teach as we point children to the Scripture as the source for all answers. Devotions are never done without turning to God’s Word. Scripture passages and verses are a part of every devotion time. God’s Word is the ultimate focus of all things Biblical within HOD.

Our website’s “A Look at Each Subject Area” describes the Bible in general within HOD.

As you asked for our overarching goals in Bible, I’ll include our description of Bible Study from our “A Look at Each Subject Area,” which is on our website:

And finally, we come to the most important area in our programs: Bible study. While homeschooling our first son, we found it too easy to place Bible into one time slot and study it as a separate “subject.” This made the Bible seem to be of equal importance as all of the other academic subjects. We want our children to know that the Bible is special and that it’s more important than anything else. To do that, we integrated the Bible throughout our day as much as possible.

Our programs weave God’s Word throughout virtually every part of homeschooling.

Our programs weave God’s Word throughout our readings, our poetry, our history, our science, our writing, our music, our study of English, and our memory work. Using this method, our children learn to use God’s Word to measure their thoughts, words, and deeds all throughout the day. Our programs also have a daily Bible study time, which we pray will train our children in the habit of seeking God’s Word daily. As students grow and mature, our programs also include a daily Bible quiet time, which we pray will train our children in the habit of starting each day personally with the Lord.

Glorifying God is a goal that matters for eternity, and we want our children to have real time in their homeschool day to do so!

In the hustle and bustle of the homeschool day, it is easy to forget that our most important goal is to help our children glorify God with their lives each day. Our programs strive to be a daily reminder of that goal. Glorifying God is the only goal that matters for eternity, and in Heart of Dakota, we strive to make that a priority.

Blessings,

Carrie

Try a mid-morning checkpoint for your older students

Teaching Tip

Try a mid-morning checkpoint for your older students.

Do you have any students in the guides from Creation to Christ on up?  If so, it is very helpful to schedule a 30-45 min. mid-morning checkpoint to meet individually with your student.

What do you do during the mid-morning meeting?

During this mid-morning meeting, I go over any work that the student has completed.  We fix and correct the work as we go over it.  I ask any questions noted in the corresponding boxes in the guide. I also have my student read aloud any written narrations or give any oral narrations scheduled for that day.  After we go over each completed box, I check it off in the guide and read aloud the key idea.

How do you close the mid-morning meeting?

At the end of the meeting, I do one of the ‘T’ boxes (such as Biblical worldview, composer study, art appreciation, devotional Bible study, composition, grammar, poetry, etc.) These ‘T’ box titles vary from guide to guide. For high school students, I go over ‘S’ boxes instead, as often there are not many ‘T’ boxes.  I end the meeting by quickly pointing out the unchecked boxes that are left to complete.  I clarify and give any guidance on those boxes, so my student understands what is left to be done.

What is the purpose of having checkpoints? 

The mid-morning checkpoint helps keep me on top of my student’s day.  It helps ensure my child does not fall far behind.  Later, while my boys are eating lunch, I check any work completed since the mid-morning checkpoint.  The checkpoint after lunch shows me whether my child has completed all needed work.  It also points out whether I need to briefly meet with my student after lunch to make additional corrections.  Then, I can have the child put any checked worked and corresponding materials away.

Try a mid-morning checkpoint with your student. 

If you don’t have checkpoints in your day for your older students, you may want to consider adding these in to your day!  Try it and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

How Best to Approach Typed Key Word Oral Narrations

Dear Carrie

How should we best approach the key word typed oral narration in Missions to Modern Marvels?

Dear Carrie,

My daughter is using Missions to Modern Marvels this year, and she is loving it!  For those of you new to Heart of Dakota, I highly recommend it! Now for my question. My daughter has used Heart of Dakota for many years, and she is excellent at giving oral narrations – too good maybe actually.  When it came to the day I was to type the key word oral narration she gave, I had a hard time keeping up with her. I didn’t want my typing speed to slow down her oral narration, but I couldn’t keep up.  She also wanted to refer to the manual now and then for key words.  Is that alright? I guess my question is, how should we best approach the key word typed oral narration in Missions to Modern Marvels?  Thanks in advance!

Sincerely,
“Ms. Please Help with Key Word Typed Oral Narrations”

Dear “Ms. Please Help with Key Word Typed Oral Narrations,”

One thing my hubby did for the typed key word oral narration day was to have my son record his narration on his IPod.  My hubby told my son to try to include most of the key words suggested in the guide in his narration. He allowed him to stop and start the recorder in order to get most the words included. It took my son quite awhile, but he really got into it and actually did a good job including all the words eventually. It also was much easier to type from the recording, as the parent can pause the narration and catch up with the typing or replay as needed. This makes a typed narration much easier to do!

It’s fine to look back in the book for key words, but don’t narrate directly from the book!

Doing a typed narration like this works well if you have a child who has been narrating for awhile, like your daughter. Just make sure the child isn’t looking right at the book as he/she is narrating!  I will admit that my son did have to look back in the book while stopping the recording to see what some of the key words noted in the guide referred to. But, I didn’t think this was all bad either, as it drew his attention to the names and places and forced him to use them in his narration. It also gave time for the parent to catch up on the typing for the typed narration!

Keep in mind, giving key word oral narrations is a higher level skill.

Giving a key word narration that is also meant to be a typed narration is definitely a higher level oral narration skill. So, this wouldn’t be as appropriate for a younger narrator who still needs immediate parental feedback. However, it would work for those who have been narrating awhile and are ready for the next step.  We’ve been doing it this way ever since for the typed narrations and enjoying it immensely!

Blessings,
Carrie