Family Time Sharing Together When Doing Separate Heart of Dakota Guides

From Our House to Yours

Do you have family time sharing together when students are doing separate guides?
Roman feast in Creation to Christ history activity box
Roman feast in Creation to Christ history activity box

Absolutely! In fact, there are natural times within the day when it just makes sense for our family to share learning. The Roman feast Emmett prepared for his Creation to Christ history activity gave us the perfect time to get together. Emmett dressed in Roman attire and prepared a simple meal. He set places for each of us, explained each course, and served us. Putting his own personality into it, as he often does, he found Roman music online to play in the background. Providing entertainment was another part of the plans in his guide. So, Emmett theatrically read some of his favorite poetry (into a microphone, of course)! He also became our Roman tour guide, giving us an ‘audio tour’ of life based on his storytime City reading.

Riley shared his Essentials in Writing composition with the family as part of the entertainment for the Roman feast.
Read aloud essay in World Geography high school with Essentials in Writing

Riley chose to write his Essentials in Writing essay about the differences between dogs and cats. I really wanted him to share this with his brothers. We own two dogs and one cat, so I knew his brothers would love this essay. Riley worked hard on this composition piece, and all that was left for him to do was a final edit. Reading aloud an essay is a wonderful way to catch mistakes! So, for many reasons, it made sense to have him read aloud his essay during the Roman feast.

Wyatt shared his Economics “Enterprising Entrepreneur” project with the family as part of the entertainment for the Roman feast.
Research assignment in USII for Economics
Research assignment in USII for Economics

Wyatt chose to research Donald Trump for his Economics “Enterprising Entrepreneur” assignment. His research was focused on Donald Trump’s real estate success and business savvy that led him to the White House. Part of his grade was to present his project to an audience and allow them to ask questions afterwards. Sharing is easier when others share something too, so adding it to the entertainment of the Roman feast was perfect.

Guard against a few things when planning family sharing times within multiple guides.

There are a few things to guard against when planning for family sharing times within multiple guides. First, adding a lot of additional time to the day causes students who have more work to get behind. This may result in things being skipped in the guide they are actually responsible for completing. Or, it may result in a longer day, which makes being involved in the next family sharing time a negative.

Having everyone do everything in every guide adds unnecessary time to the day and confuses intended roles.

Second, having everyone do everything in every guide adds unnecessary time to the day as well. It was Emmett’s turn to lead the Roman feast. His brothers had their turn years’ back when they completed Creation to Christ. So, Emmett was in charge leading the event, and his brothers simply shared in the ‘entertainment’ part when called upon. The older two siblings were folded into the primary event of the Roman feast. In this role, though they may have thought they could lead it better, their place was on the sidelines. Being the encouraging audience was their role, rather than being the ‘star of the show.’

One must remember, Creation to Christ is not the guide they are completing. Likewise, when it was Riley’s turn to share his Essentials in Writing essay, his siblings took on the role of being the attentive audience. They were to be the encouragers, not the editors. Editing is Riley’s role in this Essentials in Writing assignment. Finally, when it was Wyatt’s turn to share his Economics Enterprising Entrepreneur presentation, his siblings took on the role being the attentive audience. Their role was not to interrupt but to listen. Time for a few questions was provided at the end, and that was the time for them to talk.

Time Wasters Versus Time Savers in This Particular Family Sharing

Waster – making the Roman feast a separate meal on the weekend with extra groceries VERSUS…
Saver – making the Roman feast our lunch for the day using what we have on hand

Waster – searching endlessly for poetry on the Internet or in books VERSUS…
Saver – reading poetry already part of the Creation to Christ Appendix

Waster – having everyone dress up for the feast and plan the meal VERSUS…
Saver – having only Emmett dress up and plan the meal, which was part of his responsibility in his guide only

Waster – having my middle son in World Geography share random things he is learning VERSUS…
Saver – having him read aloud his Essentials in Writing assignment and edit it, which he needs to do anyway for his plans

Waster – having my oldest son in U.S. History II share random things he is learning VERSUS…
Saver – having him read aloud his Economics “Enterprising Entrepreneur” assignment, which is a required part of his plans

The only ‘expert’ in the sharing is the one carrying out the plans in his guide.

Respect for the one who is carrying out the plans within the guide is a must. There is no room for ‘tips’ on how to improve, for interruptions that distract, or for additional knowledge being shared. A positive sharing experience can quickly become a negative sharing experience if someone else is ‘always the expert.’ The only expert in the sharing is the one sharing. It is their turn to shine when it is their guide. Others will have a turn to shine when it is their guide’s assignment to do so. These are a few of the staples for creating an encouraging, safe environment to share learning together. Hope it gives you all some ideas!

In Christ,
Julie

P.S. If you want to read more on this topic, Carrie has excellent commentary on this. Check out her post from our message board to the commonly asked question “How will we be learning as a family, if we do separate guides?

Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 3

From Our House to Yours

Can you encourage personal style within the provided structure of Heart of Dakota’s plans?

Without a doubt! As I shared last week, the opportunity to include creative personal style is already part of Heart of Dakota’s plans. So, how are both included then you may wonder? Well, the daily plans provide specific guidelines for each school subject, which gives structure for each assignment. Structure might include questions that must be answered, topics that must be addressed, key words that must be included, etc. So, specific parameters are given, but they need not take away the creativity of personal style!

How can students get creative with their personal style then?

Glad you asked! Personal style is included in a living books approach to homeschooling, and Heart of Dakota uses a living books approach. Narrations have structure, like which book to read, which pages to narrate upon, and which kind of narration to give. However, they still encourage personal style. Students can choose what to retell, how to retell it, and when to connect it to an author’s style. In contrast to Heart of Dakota’s living books approach, a textbook and workbook approach includes a more robotic response. Likewise, assessments in textbook and workbook approaches include one right answer only questions – not much personal style allowed there! Instead of this dry approach to learning, Heart of Dakota includes varied assessments within the daily structure of the plans.

Do you have some examples of personal style being encouraged within the structure of the plans?

Absolutely! This week, let’s chat about my son, Wyatt, who is using Heart of Dakota’s U.S. History II. I’ll start with the ‘Key Word’ Written Narration assignment. Wyatt is my ‘big picture’ narrator, so including key words in his oral narrations is something he does quite naturally. Writing 4-5 paragraphs in response to his America: The Last Best Hope II reading is something he does well now. But at the start, we worked together to learn the ins and outs of the structure of the plans. Underlining each required element of structure helped nothing to get missed.

Initially, I assigned points for each structure noted in the plans. For example, 10 points for choosing key words, 10 points for including key words in the writing, etc. I didn’t assign a grade for this as he was still learning how to follow the structure of the plans. But, if he received 40 out of 50 points, he could see where corrections needed to be made. A few months into the guide, this point system was no longer necessary. Spending time helping him learn the structure of each assessment set him free to add his own personal style! Once all the structured elements are included, personal style can then be added, and that’s when the fun begins!

Key Word Written Narration Assignment
US II: Key Word Written Narration Assignment
US II: Key Word Written Narration Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•a key word list must be made
•key words must be included in written narration
•written narration must be 4-5 paragraphs long
•key words used must be highlighted
•written narration must be read aloud
•narration must be edited using Written Narration Skills checklist

 

Personal Style:

•decide which key words to use
•chose own topics to narrate upon
•determin how to include key words such as names, dates, places, actions, and/or quotes
•pick to write in print or cursive
•chose to read aloud written narration to me

A Few Things to Remember:

Key words are to be chosen by the student. If the key words aren’t the words you’d have chosen – for personal style – let it be! However, structure demands key words are pertinent to the reading and included in the narration. Likewise, students need not be made to write in cursive. But, if the writing isn’t legible enough for the student to read it aloud, it must be fixed.

Living Library ‘Triple-Entry Journal’ Assignment
US II: Key Word Written Narration Assignment
US II: Living Library “Triple-Entry Journal” Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•meaningful passages or quotes should be flagged
•triple column entry format must be used
•1st column must include quote
•2nd column must include the context
•3rd column must include personal commentary

Personal Style:

•determine to use own quotes or passages
•pick own personal reaction to share in commentary
•decide to write quotes in cursive and context and commentary in print
•chose to read aloud triple-entry journal assignment to me

A Few Things to Remember:

This is an extra credit option in the plans. So, if the quotes chosen aren’t your favorite – in the name of personal style – let it be! However, structure demands the triple-entry journal format is followed. So if any portion of the assignment is missing, it must be completed to be called ‘done.’

Key Decisions in U.S. History II History Activities Assignment
USII: Key Decisions History Activities Assignment
USII: Key Decisions History Activities Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•specific question must be answered
•a decision from provided options must be chosen
•chosen decision must be supported and explained
•Key decision actually made in history must be read at end

Personal Style:

•determine which decision he would have made
•chose to support his chosen decision by explaining why he would have not chosen the other decisions
•decide the length of his explanation
•chose to read his decision aloud to me

A Few Things to Remember:

One of the decisions listed was actually the decision made in history. However, in the name of personal style, if the student chose a different decision, that’s absolutely fine! That’s the goal of this assignment, to show how decisions made in history are not always easy. Nor are the decisions made always right. However, structure demands one of the given decisions is chosen, explained, and supported.

British Literature Journal Assignment
USII: British Literature Journal Assignment
USII: British Literature Journal Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•ponder the questions in the Introduction
•read and annotate given pages
•include given annotation
•must reflect in writing upon given questions in British literature journal
•need to  view Pride and Prejudice DVD

Personal Style:

•determine his own annotations to make
•chose how much detail to include in his answers in his journal
•decide whether to write in print or in cursive
•pick to read aloud his British literature journal assignment to me

A Few Things to Remember:

This isn’t a quiz! So, if your student didn’t make the annotations you would have – for personal style – let it be! However, structure demands annotations are made and questions are answered. If all of the questions are not answered in writing, the assignment isn’t ‘good enough’ until they are.

The past few weeks, I’ve shared assignments from Creation to Christ, World Geography, and U.S. History II. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed seeing how the structure of Heart of Dakota’s plans still encourages personal style! I hope you can embrace not only the solid academics structure provides, but also the joy personal style can bring. Have a wonderful week, ladies!!!

If you would like to read the previous 2 posts in this series, here they are:

Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 1

Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 2

In Christ,
Julie

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Heart of Dakota

Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 2

From Our House to Yours

Can you encourage personal style within the provided structure of Heart of Dakota’s plans?

You certainly can! In fact, as I shared last week, the opportunity for personal style is already part of Heart of Dakota’s plans. You may be wondering, then how are both included? Well, the daily plans provide specific guidelines for each school subject, which gives structure for each assignment. Structure might include which kind of oral narration to give, how many sentences to write, what headings to use, etc. So, needed parameters are given, but they need not squelch the creativity of personal style!

If you would like to see last week’s post (Part 1), click below:
Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 1

How can students get creative with their personal style then?

Excellent question! Well, blessedly personal style is a natural part of a living books approach to homeschooling. Better yet, a living books approach to learning is already included in every Heart of Dakota guide! Narrations have structure, like which book to read, which pages to narrate upon, and which kind of narration to give. But, they also encourage personal style. Students can choose which parts to retell, what manner to retell them, and what connections they’ve made. This is the opposite of a textbook and workbook approach, which includes a more encyclopedia-like ‘facts only’ response. Similarly, the different assessments included in the structure of the plans are the opposite of ‘test and forget it’ assessments.

Do you have some examples of personal style being encouraged within the structure of the plans?

I sure do! I’m so glad you asked because this is what I wanted to share with you in my weekly check-in. Let’s chat about my son, Riley, this week, who is using World Geography this year. I’ll start with the Living Library one-sentence summary assignment. This assignment is harder than it seems! In fact, as Riley is my detailed narrator, trying to respond to his reading with a one-sentence summary is difficult. At the start of the guide, he chose the option to write 3 sentences on scratch paper first. Then, he took each of the most important parts from the 3 sentences and consolidated them into one sentence. Twenty-three units into the year, he no longer chooses to start with 3 sentences. In fact, he has become adept at writing a one-sentence summary with every part the guide asks him to include.

This assignment is the perfect follow-up to his Living Library reading. It does not ‘get between the child and the book,’ as Charlotte Mason would applaud. Keep in mind, this isn’t a required part of earning credit, but rather a way to earn extra credit. So, as a follow-up to the already extra reading of the Living Library, the assignment is kept appropriately short.

Living Library One-Sentence Summary Assignment
Heart of Dakota World Geography Living Library
World Geography Living Library One-Sentence Summary Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•a one sentence summary must be written
•the main character(s), the main action taken, any important conflict, the goal, and the setting must be included

Personal Style:

•option to write 3 sentences on scratch paper first
•chose what to include in summary
•chose to read aloud summary to me

A Few Things to Remember:

This is an extra credit option in the plans, so if the summary isn’t the exact sentence you would have written – in the name of personal style – let it be! However, structure demands the summary is limited to one sentence and includes the main character, a main action taken, a conflict, a goal and a setting.

World Geography Written Narration Assignment
World Geography Heart of Dakota Written Narration
World Geography Written Narration Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•read assigned Mapping the World with Art pages
•needs to be 3-4 paragraphs long
•must be read aloud to try to catch any mistakes
•need to stick to the topic, support it with details, write in the author’s style, include a strong opening and closing
•must use the Written Narration Skills in the Appendix to edit

 

Personal Style:

•pick his own details to retell
•decide whether to write 3 or 4 paragraphs
•chose whether to write in print or in cursive
•pick his own way to open and close his narration

A Few Things to Remember:

This isn’t a quiz! So, if your student didn’t write what you’d have written – for the sake of personal style – let it be! However, structure demands reading, writing at least 3 paragraphs, reading it aloud, including noted parameters, and editing. If it’s not legible enough for the student to read aloud, that’s not ok either. This is just one more reason not to skip this step!

Geography Activities Assignment:
World Geography Heart of Dakota Activities
World Geography Activities Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•need to watch DVD Scenic Cruises of the World
•must make bulleted list of important things to experience or see
•need to make lists for 3 provided topics

Personal Style:

•decide his own details to include in his bulleted lists
•pick whether to write list in phrases or in sentences
•decide whether to write in print or cursive
•chose to read his notes aloud to me

A Few Things to Remember:

This isn’t a composition assignment for English credit. It’s a response to a DVD viewing of geographical places being studied. So, if your student didn’t write complete sentences or certain facts – for personal style – let it be! However, structure demands the DVD is viewed and bulleted notes are written pertinent to each provided topic.

World Religion and Culture’s Assignment:
World Religion and Culture - Heart of Dakota
World Religion and Culture’s Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•must read the assigned pages of the book
•need to answer each of the provided questions
•must answer the questions over multiple days as assigned

 

Personal Style:

•chose how much detail to include in his answers
•decide whether to write in phrases or in sentences
•chose whether to write in print or cursive
•pick to read his answers aloud to me (he orally shared his page numbers/quotes for #2)

A Few Things to Remember:

This isn’t a composition assignment for English credit. It’s a response to a DVD viewing of geographical places being studied. So, if your student didn’t write complete sentences or certain facts – for personal style – let it be! However, structure demands the DVD is viewed and bulleted notes are written pertinent to each provided topic.

Next week, I’ll share Part 3 of this series on personal style within the structure of the plans. That final post will be in regard to my son, Wyatt, who is completing U.S. History II this year. Hope you had a good week, ladies!

In Christ,
Julie

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Heart of Dakota

Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 1

From Our House to Yours

Can you encourage personal style within the provided structure of Heart of Dakota’s plans?

Absolutely! In fact, the opportunity for personal style is naturally part of the plans already. How are both included, you may ask? Well, the daily plans provide specific guidelines for each school subject, which gives structure for each assignment. This type of structure might include how many sentences a written narration should be, what topics need to be narrated upon, which timeline entries need to be made, etc. Structure gives needed parameters, but it need not squelch the creativity of personal style!

How can students get creative with their personal style then?

Good question! Well, the good news is personal style is completely a natural part of a living books approach to learning, and a living books approach to learning is part of every Heart of Dakota guide. Narrations include structure in the plans, such as which books to narrate upon, which pages within that book to narrate upon, and which kind of narration to give. But, they also encourage personal style by letting each student choose what to retell, which parts to give more attention, and what connections are made. This is the opposite of a textbook/workbook approach, which include “just the facts ma’am.” Likewise, the varied assessments included in the structure of Heart of Dakota’s plans are the opposite of a worksheet, quizzes, and tests only plan for assessments, which include just one right answer.

Do you have some examples of personal style being encouraged within the structure of the plans?

Well, yes I do! Glad you asked because this is what I wanted to share with you this week in my weekly check-in! Let’s start with my son, Emmett, in Creation to Christ.

Timeline Entry Assignment
Creation to Christ Timeline Entry Assignment - Unit 23
Creation to Christ Timeline Entry Assignment – Unit 23

Structure in the Plans:

  • 3 timeline entries must be made
  • specific pictures must be drawn
  • captions must be written

Personal Style:

  • drew his own pictures
  • colored the pictures how he wanted
  • chose to write his labels in either cursive or print

 

 

A Few Things to Remember:

This isn’t a drawing assignment, so if the timeline pictures are not of art quality – in the name of personal style – let it be! However, structure demands the right 3 things are drawn labeled with the proper captions.

Geography Travel Log Assignment
Creation to Christ Geography Travel Log
Creation to Christ Geography Travel Log

Structure in the Plans:

Personal Style:

  • chose his own Travel Log template
  • decided on his own 3 topics to write about
  • chose his own picture to draw

A Few Things to Remember:

This isn’t a quiz, so if your student didn’t write a summary of what was learned – in the name of personal style – let it be! However, structure demands the 3 written topics and the 1 drawing must be pertinent to the geography reading.

Poetry Appreciation Assignment:
Creation to Christ Poetry Appreciation
Creation to Christ Poetry Appreciation

Structure in the Plans:

  • required to read the poem pausing at punctuation marks
  • write the given stanza
  • must follow the steps to watercolor paint

Personal Style:

  • chose his own way of doing the painting
  • decided on his own small picture to draw
  • chose where to place his index card

A Few Things to Remember:

This isn’t an art appreciation assignment (it’s a poetry appreciation assignment), so if your student didn’t paint a jaw-dropping picture – in the name of personal style – let it be! However, structure demands the steps for creating the painting and the steps for creating the card be followed. A ‘perfect’ model was not given for him to look at. This encourages the personal style as opposed to exactly duplicating someone else’s painting.

Part 2 – World Geography Next Week!

Next weekly check-in, I’ll share Part 2 of this series on personal style within the structure of the plans in regard to my son Riley, who is completing World Geography this year. Then, the following weekly check-in, I’ll share Part 3 of this series in regard to my son Wyatt, who is completing U.S. History II this year. For now, I’ll just sign off saying… Happy Homeschooling to all you lovely ladies!

In Christ,
Julie

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Heart of Dakota

Living Books Bring History to Life

From Our House to Yours

The “Living Library” set of books in USII brings history to life.

In USII, Wyatt has been reading I’ll Watch the Moon for his living library selection. This book is a page-turner that just cannot be put down! The characters have so much depth to them, and his favorite is a holocaust survivor who brings hope and peace to all who know him. There are some hard things to read in this book! But then life is hard sometimes, especially in the aftermath of the holocaust. He worked ahead and did multiple journal entries each day at the end of the book because he just had to know how it ended. I’ll Watch the Moon is a gem of a book that is a rare find – thank you Carrie for choosing so carefully! To read more  about the “Living Library” books in this guide click here.

US II - Detailed Highlighted Written Narration
US II – Detailed Highlighted Written Narration

In USII History, Wyatt has been learning about “I Like Ike,” the end of the Korean War, Billy Graham, and McCarthyism. He did a detailed high-lighted written narration about his reading from America: The Last Best Hope. Answering some wonderful critical thinking questions really got him thinking deeply about what he read. The critical thinking question “State Department Worker: What should you tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?” put him in the role of decision maker. Reading the actual outcome is always interesting as well!!!

Writing a good research paper in World Geography takes . . . research!

In World Geography, Riley wrote a persuasive essay for Essentials in Writing Grade 10. He researched and wrote about the dangers of chewing tobacco. We know some young adult men not much older than Riley that chew tobacco, and it really worries Riley. It would be wonderful for them to stop! His essay explains the dangers of chewing tobacco, and he did an excellent job researching it. I like that he can choose his own topics within the realm of the requirements of the assignment. This allows him to be personally invested in his essay right from the start!

World Geography - Notebooking
WG – Labeled picture of Davis’ invention of the backstaff

World Geography History has had Riley learning about Davis’ polar journeys, Hudson’s and Baffin’s Bay, and Raleigh’s Ed Dorado. He drew and labeled a picture of Davis’ invention of the backstaff, which allowed navigators to have more accurate latitude readings. An important quote from Davis was also copied in the notebook. Earlier he wrote a written narration about Martin Frobisher as well. He is truly loving learning about all of these brave explorers!

Watercolor paintings in Creation to Christ are a great connection to the poetry of Robert Frost.

In Creation to Christ, Emmett first learned about Alexander the Great conquering Persia and then moved on to learn about Alexander’s entire empire. He used strips of paper to make his own ancient map of the places he has been reading about. He also drew the famous horse Bucephalus. Timeline entries on the Peloponnesian War, Philip of Macedonia gaining control of Greece, and the Reign of Alexander the Great were added to his notebook as well. He researched Olympia, which was so fitting as the winter olympics are soon beginning here! Don’t you just love it when the Lord makes neat connections between HOD history and real life like this?!? Finally, he drew the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Creation to Christ Watercolor Robert Frost
Watercolor of a sunset to go with Robert Frost poem “Acceptance”

One of his favorite activities this week was painting a lovely sunset to go with his Robert Frost poem “Acceptance.” He also enjoyed adding to his plant notebooking booklet. Researching and drawing the dead nettle plant, as well as copying a Bible verse beneath it, added another lovely entry to his growing plant book. Finally, we all enjoyed getting together at our house to watch the Superbowl!

What a terrific week! Hope you had a good homeschooling week too!!!

In Christ,
Julie