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 projects 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!



How can you challenge your child to take a more active role in his learning?

Teaching Tip:

As your year progresses, are your children becoming more comfortable with their HOD guides?

As the school year progresses, I am reminded of a tip that is helpful as children get further along in their guides. This tip is especially targeted at students in Little Hearts for His Glory through Preparing Hearts for His Glory. As your kiddos travel through their guides, they will become comfortable with the patterns in their particular guides. They will begin to instinctively “know” what to do when they come to certain parts of their day. As your children’s comfort levels rise, they are ready for more of a challenge.

How can you challenge your child to take a more active role in his learning?

When your child seems comfortable with the guide, it is time to start letting him take a more active role in his learning. One easy way to do this is to allow your child to look at the daily plans and get out his own materials. Once your child excels at getting out his own materials, move on to letting your child read directions from the guide.

Allow your child to read directions right from the guide.

Allowing your child to read directions right from the guide helps him prepare for the learning coming that day. Reading directly from the guide is also great preparation for what is coming in future guides too. Future guides begin labeling boxes in the plans as ‘T’ = Teacher Directed, ‘S’ = Semi-Independent, and ‘I’ = Independent. As your child matures, the move toward more independence will be encouraged and expected.

Allowing your students to read directly from the guide has many benefits.

Reading directly from the guide allows students to become more self-propelled learners. It also allows students to take more responsibility and ownership for what they are learning! So, once your students are ready, start letting them read directly from the guide. Begin with only one or two boxes at a time. See what a change you notice as your children enjoy taking ownership of their learning.

With growing independence comes greater accountability.

Just be careful that you don’t let your children’s new ownership nudge you out of too many areas! It is still important to oversee and check each part of your children’s school work. Accountability becomes even more important with independence.


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!


PS: Curious about high school grading? Check out this article!

School day too long? Check your times for each subject with the author!

Teaching Tip

Approximately how long should each subject take?

Great question! The Heart of Dakota message board lists approximate times for each subject in each of our guides. If your day is too long, these lists can help in pinpointing time stealers. Simply jot down the start and end times for each subject for a day or two in the guide you are using. Then, compare your times to the times provided in the links below to find your time stealers. You can see information for each of our guides in the board posts linked below!

  • Little Hands to HeavenRevival to Revolution suggested times can be found here.
  • Mission to Modern Marvels suggested times can be found here.
  • World Geography suggested times can be found here.
  • World History suggested times can be found here.
  • U.S. History I and U.S. History II suggested times can be found here.
What do you do if a subject is consistently taking too long?

First, look over the plans for that subject. Ask yourself whether you are changing or adding to the subject in any way. Then, move toward doing it as written in the plans and resist the urge to add to the subject. Additional helpful tips are often given in the “Introduction” and the “Appendix” of the guide. Refer to the tips that pertain to the subject you are targeting.

Second, note whether the subject is coded as ‘I’ = Independent, ‘S’ = Semi-independent, or ‘T’ = Teacher Directed and then move toward doing the subject as coded in the plans.

Third, check whether your child needs additional help to do the subject as written. Then, do any training needed to help your child be more successful with that subject in the plans. This training can take time as you gradually move your child toward success.

Fourth, check to see if the subject is a weak area for your child. Plan to be available to help whenever your child is working on a weak area.

Do you enjoy following the clock, or do you prefer a less structured approach?

Either way, doing a time check periodically can help your days run more smoothly. See how your day compares to the times suggested for each subject in the links above. Then, follow the steps to pinpoint any time stealers. Try it, and see if your days improve!


PS: Check out these other articles if your school day is running longer than you would like…

Have a Written Routine and Provide it to Your Child

Is your child placed in the right guide?

Keep your child’s school day steadily moving.

Teaching Tip: 

Keep your child’s school day steadily moving.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize the need to keep my kiddos moving along in their school days. In my early years of teaching, I was the queen of lingering over subjects and taking bunny trails. Things changed as my kiddos got older and I added more children to my school day. I realized I was enjoying the lingering much more than they were! They still perceived all of my bunny trails as “school”… no matter how fun the trails were!

Boys are finishers by nature.

Especially if you have boys, it may help you to realize that boys are finishers by nature. Task completion gives them great pleasure. If they have no idea how long a task may stretch on, they may quickly lose the will to finish! So, with this in mind, anything extra you add to their day may not be welcome… no matter how fun you think the addition is!

Do what is in the HOD guide and leave the “fun extras” for free time!

I now do only what is in each box of the HOD guide. Then, to wrap it up, I read each key idea. I choose to linger only over our Bible or character discussions. This leaves free-time for my boys to pursue the fun extras! My boys are happier, and we finish earlier.

Is it possible you have been lingering too much or taking too many bunny trails?

Consider whether you may be lingering too much or taking too many bunny trails. If so, ask yourself how much your children enjoy the trails. Do the extras leave them too worn out to finish needed subjects in the HOD guide? Try less lingering and see what you think. You may find everyone is happier and finishing earlier!