Are your expectations realistic as to how long your school day should be?

Teaching Tip

This is the next post in our series of things to check if your school day seems to be too long. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

When you think back to your school days, how long were they?

In public school, my days were close to 8 hours. I also had a couple of hours of homework at night and on the weekends. Of course, the school day at home can and should be shorter! But, what should our expectations be for a homeschool child?

Are your expectations realistic as to how long your school day should be?

Sometimes in our quest for the “shorter day,” we forget that school is meant to be a big part of our child’s day. It is meant to be very important! This means school is not something to “get over with,” so we can get on with our day. Instead, much of our day should be focused upon school.

Is school a priority at your house?

As your child’s teacher, teaching should be a priority and a focal point of your day. It is easy for meals, laundry, cleaning, and caring for little ones to become the focal point of the day. While these are all very important, school needs to be a priority. Molding your day around school takes a different mindset than molding school around your day. Plan for meals, laundry, cleaning, and caring for little ones in a way that doesn’t derail your school day.

How can you make school a priority?

Strive for 30 minute chunks of time to work with individual children. Then, take a brief 5- 10 minute break to move your other needed tasks along. Wait to do grocery shopping, baking, extensive meal preparation, and longer tasks until the afternoon. Strive not to answer the telephone, the doorbell, emails, or texts during school time unless absolutely necessary. Dock your devices and focus on school. Make the time until lunch very productive school-wise. Do your main teaching up until lunch. Then, after lunch finish up whatever remains. Save more independent subjects for students to do after lunch. Don’t drag school out all day. Make it a priority and finish in a timely fashion. Then, move on to your other tasks.

How much time does each guide take?

Little Hands to Heaven = 30 minutes a day (5 days a week)

Little Hearts for His Glory = 90 minutes a day (5 days a week)

Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory = 2 – 2 1/2 hours a day (5 days a week)

Bigger Hearts for His Glory = 3 – 3 1/2 hours a day (5 days a week)

Preparing Hearts for His Glory = 4 hours a day (4 days a week)

Creation to Christ = 4 – 4 1/2 hours a day (4 days a week)

Resurrection to Reformation = 4 – 4 1/2 hours a day (4 days a week)

Revival to Revolution = 4 1/2 hours a day (4 days a week)

Missions to Modern Marvels = 4 1/2 – 5 hours a day (4 days a week)

High School: World Geography = 6 1/2 hours a day (4 days a week)

High School: World History = 7 hours a day (4 days a week)

High School: U.S. History I = 6 1/2 – 7 hours a day (4 days a week)

High School: U.S. History II = 6-7 hours a day (4 days a week)

Note: In the guides from Preparing Hearts on up, an increasing portion of the day is independent. To be effective, work done independently will still need to be monitored and checked.

I hope this series of tips has been of help to you!

This is the last tip in our series of things to consider when looking at the length of your school day. Each of these tips I’ve shared over the past weeks have helped me so much through the years! I pray they may be a help to you too!

Blessings,
Carrie

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

Have you trained your children in Charlotte Mason style skills?

Is your child placed in the right guide?

 

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

Teaching Tip

This is the next post in our series of things to check if your school day seems too long. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

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.

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. Move toward doing the subject as written in the plans. 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. 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!

Blessings,
Carrie

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

Have you trained your children in Charlotte Mason style skills?

Have a Written Routine and Provide it to Your Child

Is your child placed in the right guide?

Have you trained your children in Charlotte Mason style skills?

Teaching Tip

This is the next post in our series of things to check if your school day seems too long. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

Did your students jump into an upper Heart of Dakota guide?

If so, it is likely some skills your child is being asked to exhibit were practiced in previous guides. This means there will be a learning curve as your child adjusts to what the guide is asking. This curve will be especially noticeable with Charlotte Mason style skills that may be new to your student. When you jump into an upper Heart of Dakota guide, extra time will be required at first for training in these skills. Additionally, you may want to check out our previous post Is Your Child Placed in the Correct Guide.

What Charlotte Mason style skills might require some training?

Skills like giving oral narrations and producing written narrations may be totally new to your student. Taking studied dictation and studying classic poetry may be new as well. Next, reading living books, creating notebook entries, sketching, and learning in a Charlotte Mason style fashion all might feel new too. In the end, if you don’t take time to train your child in these skills, it will be harder for your child to succeed.

Have you trained your kiddos in Charlotte Mason style skills?

Allow time in your schedule to give your children extra help in Charlotte Mason style skills. Your HOD guide will aid you in training your student in gaining these skills. Know that these skills do not develop overnight. They take training and time to hone. If you are new to Heart of Dakota, remember that your student may need to work up to the level of independence suggested in the guide. Always err on the side of giving help and encouragement to your child whenever needed. Finally, be patient, and you will eventually see fruit!

Blessings,
Carrie

How much time are you spending on language arts and math?

Are you encouraging your children to do the independent boxes of plans on their own?

Are you training your older children to read from the guide?

Is your child placed in the right guide?

Teaching Tip

This is the next post in our series of things to check if your school day seems too long. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help! Correct placement in Heart of Dakota is a big key to success.

Is your child placed in the right guide?

At Heart of Dakota, correct guide placement is so important! This is because we do not have one-size fits all placement advice. Instead, we look at each child as an individual to determine his/her best placement. One of the gifts of homeschooling is being able to meet our children where they are and teach from there. So, correct placement makes a huge difference in how successful your child is in school. It also makes a huge difference in how much time a guide will take each day.

Wise counsel will help you determine your child’s best placement.

This is where wise counsel comes in to charting a good path. Surround yourself with wise counsel on this important decision from those who have used Heart of Dakota with their children. These wise advisers can help you talk through an accurate placement plan for your child. Remember that each child is a unique individual with unique needs. This means that placement may look different for same-aged students. By following the age line on our program selection chart, you can see several possible options for each age.

Different family dynamics may result in differing guide placements.

Another factor in guide placement is family dynamics. Whether you desire to combine a student with another sibling is a factor in guide placement. Using our placement chart will help you determine whether children in your family could possibly be combined. Due to skill level some combinations work while others do not.

Different children in a family may have a different path.

Looking at each child as an individual means that different children in a family may have a different path. For example, one child may do Creation to Christ at age 9. Another may do the same guide at age 10. A third child may do the guide at age 11 or 12. Each of these placements will work, as long as the child is well-placed according to skill and family dynamics.

If a child is routinely struggling in a guide, it’s wise to check for correct placement.

If you find a child is routinely struggling with a guide, your child may be incorrectly placed. Or, if a guide seems way too easy, perhaps a move forward is needed. Sometimes changing guides is easier than tweaking guides for years to come. We are here to help with placement questions. To discuss your child’s placement, feel free to call us at 605-428-4068. Or, ask questions on the Message Board. As you ponder ask the Lord for discernment, and I know He will answer!

Blessings,
Carrie

How much time are you spending on language arts and math?

Teaching Tip

This is the next post in our series of things to check if your school day seems too long. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

Are you using Heart of Dakota’s choices for language arts and math?

If so, this will help keep your day balanced time-wise and skill-wise with the rest of the guide. The Heart of Dakota guide schedules a careful mix of subjects and skills each day. This schedule takes into account how much reading, writing, and math students are doing each day. So, by using HOD’s choices, your day is planned to be balanced.

Are you using some of your own selections for language arts and math?

If you are using your own selections, check how much time you spend on language arts and math daily. Be sure the time you spend on these areas aligns with time spent on these same areas in our guide. Otherwise, you will find your day going longer than planned simply due to differing language arts and math choices.

How much time should language arts and math take each day?

Language arts and math are the biggest time stealers in the day. They can easily take over the day, leaving little time for other subjects. So, strive to note how often we schedule writing, dictation, Drawn into the Heart of Reading, and grammar. Also, note how long these subjects are likely to take as scheduled in the guide. If you are not sure how long these subjects take, ask on the Heart of Dakota Message Board or on our Facebook page. Then, stick to a similar schedule. Take care that math does not overtake your day either. Balance in language arts and math is key to finishing your school day on time! So, strive for balance in these important areas and see if your day goes better!

Here are a few other past teaching tip posts that may also help you if your day is running a little longer than you would like:

Are you encouraging your children to do the independent boxes of plans on their own?

Are you having your child work toward the suggested level of independence in Heart of Dakota?

Have a Written Routine and Provide it to Your Child

Blessings,
Carrie

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Heart of Dakota