Are you tempted to hibernate during this winter season?

Teaching Tip:

Are you tempted to hibernate during this winter season?

This time of year in South Dakota can really be a time when we’re tempted to be on the couch and hibernate! However, with 4 boys in our family, movement is a necessity.

A scheduled recess after lunch gets the kids moving.

We’ve found that it really helps to have a scheduled recess right after lunch. This works well because lunch is a time when we are all sitting down together for a scheduled break already.

Recess can be outdoors.

If we are heading outside, lunchtime is usually the warmest part of the day. So, after lunch is an ideal time to head outside. When our boys were younger, we told them unless it was raining, they would be going outside for recess no matter what. This cut down on the discussion as to whether it was too cold (or in the spring/summer too hot) to be outside. We just made sure to dress appropriately for the weather.

Recess can be indoors.

As our boys have gotten older, we have also added indoor recess options. The boys play ring toss, beanbag toss, mini-basketball, bulzibucket, mini-frisbee golf, ramp shot, nerf guns, etc. Sometimes they play board games.

A recess makes the rest of the day go better.

A non-negotiable recess time really makes the rest of our day go so much better. Our boys look forward to being together for recess. Even our older boys enjoy the break from school! So, how about you? Do you make sure your kiddos have a recess break as a part of their day? Try it and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

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