In the Spotlight: 4 Charlotte Mason-Inspired Hymn Studies

More Than A Charlotte Mason Moment 

In the Spotlight:  4 Charlotte Mason-Inspired Hymn Studies in HOD

Charlotte Mason loved hymns so much that her students learned three hymns every term. At Heart of Dakota, we share Ms. Mason’s love of hymns! In fact, we include hymn study in 4 of our guides. Rotating Charlotte Mason’s inspirational subjects such as hymn study makes each year fresh, helps students enjoy each inspirational subject fully, and maintains a nice balance of inspirational and disciplinary subjects. It also helps cover many Charlotte Mason inspired skills that might get overlooked if they were attempted to be done every year! Charlotte Mason inspired subjects such as poetry study, nature study, composer study, picture study, Shakespeare study, and more, all make their way into certain Heart of Dakota guides. However, hymn study has such a special place in our hearts that 4 of our guides include it. Furthermore, 3 of them are now Heart of Dakota published!

Bigger Hearts for His Glory’s Hymn Study

Hymns for a Kid’s Heart: Volume I is our first hymn study, and it is part of our Bigger Hearts guide. Authors Joni Eareckson Tada and Bobbie Wolgemuth collaborated to create this special study of 12 hymns. Each hymn begins with an inspirational true story about its hymn-writer, which provides context for deeper insight of the hymn. Children learn each hymn by singing along with other children’s voices with an accompanying fully orchestrated CD. Printed simple sheet music makes it easy for children to practice and follow along as they sing. Tenderly written devotionals with Scripture connections further deepen the hymn study and help children understand more about God’s character and grace.

Missions to Modern Marvel’s Hymn Study

One of the most common questions we get asked when children finish the hymn study in Bigger Hearts is, “Will we get to do another hymn study like that again?!? My children loved it!” Well, the answer is ‘yes!’ Missions to Modern Marvels uses Hymns for a Kid’s Heart: Volume II as  the praise music portion of students’ Bible Quiet Time. Bible lessons from Explorer’s Bible Study: Quest – Faith at Work, a prayer focus, and Scripture memory work further round out their Bible Quiet Time. Instilling the habit of a daily Bible Quiet Time from an early age is one of the most important ways to encourage a lifelong desire to meet with the Lord each day. With richly orchestrated music, true stories, prayers, and Scripture, Hymns for a Kid’s Heart: Volume II is an inspirational part of MTMM’s Bible Quiet Time that simply feeds your child’s soul!

World History’s Hymn Study

In our World History high school guide, hymn study is part of students’ daily Bible Study. Using The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study: Old Testament Survey, students use their Bibles to answer questions and delve more deeply into what God is saying and revealing about Himself in His Word. Students also have memory work and keep a daily prayer journal, but one of our favorite parts of their Bible Study is the hymn study. Using Selah’s Greatest Hymns CD, students enjoy listening to and singing along with 15 wonderful hymns. Liner notes for each hymn give either a little background on the hymn or give a personal note about the hymn from one of the members of Selah. This particular Selah CD is so highly recommended so many places (and is so beloved by our mother and sisters) that it just had to be included as part of this Bible Study!

U.S. History I’s Hymn Study

Finally, we include our last hymn study in our U.S History I high school guide. Similar to World History, students use The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study: New Testament Survey and keep a prayer journal for their Bible Study. They also listen to hymns as part of their Bible time, using When Morning Gilds the Skies. This hardback volume and accompanying CD includes 12 fully orchestrated hymns performed by Joni Eareckson Tada, Jon MacArthur, and Robert & Bobbie Wolgemuth. Beautiful lyrics, intriguing histories, Biblical wisdom, and inspirational messages are also included for each hymn. This set of hymns focuses upon the glory of heaven and on the eternal hope that we have in the Lord, making it a natural complement to the study of the New Testament.

One Parent’s Story While Using the Bigger Heart’s Hymn Study

We are doing Bigger Hearts for His Glory and just having a wonderful time! I am really seeing the Lord use the Bible studies, history and storytime to touch my boys’ hearts. One day this week after school, my son was having his afternoon alone time. At one point, he ran up and asked me how to spell the word depths. “Hmmm” I thought. “I wonder what he is up to?” After an hour, I called for my almost 9 year old to come upstairs for something. He said he was in the middle of something really important. I wondered what it could be. Well, he had spent the afternoon writing his very own hymn of worship to the Lord. I wanted to share it below with you!

The Name I Love to Hear

Jesus Christ is my Savior’s name. I will worship Him always.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the name I love to hear.

Jesus Christ you know it all. I am small to your power.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the name I love to hear.

Jesus Christ is my redeemer. You saved me from the depths of sin.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the name I love to hear.

Jesus Christ..I am His and He is mine. I love Him and He loves me.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus is the name I love to hear.

Though I feel called and am committed to homeschooling as long as the Lord directs us to, I sometimes really wonder how homeschooling will affect my boys. Well, I know the Lord used this as a clear affirmation that what we are doing with our kids DOES matter and it DOES make a difference. An eternal difference! Thank you for allowing me to share my testimony not only on HOD and the impact it is having on my kids, but most importantly to our Almighty God who is worthy of ALL praise and glory!

In Closing… Scripture Connections to Singing Hymns:

Early Christians often sang hymns, so why not join them in that joyful practice?  In closing, I wanted to share some Scripture connections that speak to the relevance of singing hymns. Hymn study is a not-to-be-missed part of Heart of Dakota! It is my prayer that, if you are still reading this lengthy post, you would consider singing along with your children in these hymn studies. What an incredible way to study hymns and bring God glory as you do, praising Him together in a way you likely could never do, if you weren’t homeschooling!

Ephesians 5:19… as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,

1 Corinthians 14:26:  What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Acts 16:25:  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

James 5:13:  Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Psalm 71: 8:  My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.”

In Christ,

Julie

If I give dictation a try, how do I decide if it’s not working?

Dear Carrie

If I give dictation a try with my struggling speller, how do I decide if it’s not working?

Dear Carrie,

I need helping seeing the bigger picture. I’ve read so many rave reviews about Heart of Dakota‘s studied dictation, and I WANT to trust the process! My 5th grader is a great speller, and I will do level 5 dictation with him. But, my little one I’m not sure about. He’s been in school for the past 6 months, and he has an ‘A’ in spelling. He can study for the test and do fine. However, by the time he has to write the word in a sentence in a few weeks, he’s forgotten how to spell it. If I remember right, my older son really turned a corner in his spelling during 3rd grade. I’m holding out hope my youngest will show some real strides in spelling too. Anyway, if I give dictation a try, how do I decide if it isn’t working?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Give Dictation A Try”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Give Dictation A Try,”

There are so many terrific skills wound within studied dictation that I think it is definitely worth a try.  The kiddos have to capture the whole image of a sentence or a passage in their minds, looking at the sentence as a whole as well as capturing the individual words and their parts. This really trains kiddos in the habit of seeing correctly spelled words within the context of writing. This, after all, is the ultimate goal of learning to spell! We want kiddos to carry over their spelling to their writing. So, practicing spelling words within the context of writing sentences makes sense. This is one good reason to give dictation a try!

Studied dictation strengthens auditory skills, so give it a try!

Studied dictation also forces kiddos to strengthen auditory skills as they listen to the parent read the passage only once. The kiddos learn to listen for the purpose of repeating perfectly from a single reading. Prior to writing, they then repeat back what the parent said, which strengthens the skill of holding a phrase or sentence in the mind long enough to be able to repeat it back without error and then write it. This is one more reason to give dictation a try!

Studied dictation strengthens proofreading skills, so give it a try!

After writing the phrase or sentence, the kiddos then proofread their work before checking it against the model. This is a terrific way to form the habit of proofreading their written work! It truly makes good proofreaders out of kiddos over time. Last, they check their own work, training them in checking their work against a correctly written model. They become precise checkers with continual practice. This is yet another reason to give dictation a try!

Studied dictation helps students practice immediate correction, so give it a try!

When kiddos miss a passage, they mark any mistakes on the passage and immediately correct the mistakes on their own copy. So, yet another skill practiced is immediate correction.  The following day, when the child must repeat a passage, he/she pays much closer attention to whatever was missed the day before. This, in essence, finally causes the incorrect mental picture of a word in the mind to be rewritten or mentally corrected (replacing the old incorrect image with a new corrected image).  This is the mental work that must be done in order for a poor speller to fix his/her poor spelling habits. It is also something the good speller does naturally. This is still another reason to give dictation a try!

Studied dictation is one of my all-time favorite Charlotte Mason skill builders!

I must honestly admit that studied dictation is one of my all-time favorite CM skill builders. It has so many skills wound within a 5 minute lesson, and it pays such big dividends in so many ways in the long haul. With my oldest son, we began studied dictation as a third grader. He still did studied dictation in high school, but today he is an excellent speller, proofreader, and writer. He never completed a formal spelling program beyond grade 3.

Plan to give studied dictation at least a full year to see its fruit, so please do give it a try!

My second son has never had any formal spelling beyond what is in the HOD guides. He has also done studied dictation since grade 3. He is a terrific speller, proofreader, and writer as well.  My next 2 sons were not naturally great spellers or writers. However, I will tell you they both have made huge leaps in this area by using studied dictation. I will warn you that dictation is a slow burn. So, if you embark upon using this method, plan to give it at least a full year to begin to see the fruit. Once you do though, I think you will really be pleased! So, please, do give dictation a try! I think you will be glad you did!

Blessings,
Carrie

Setting Up for Bigger Hearts for His Glory

From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for Bigger Hearts for His Glory

So, I’ve placed my children, had my Heart of Dakotabox day,‘ and am setting up for Bigger Hearts (Bigger). My first step is to read through Bigger’s Introduction, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. This helps me envision my year and understand what my guide covers. As each Introduction includes options (i.e. one large binder or several smaller binders, etc.), I like to note my chosen options in the margin of the Introduction. This way, I can easily make my shopping list later based on my notes. Likewise, it is important to read through the beginning pages and “Getting Started” section in the Appendix  of Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR). Finally, reading the Introduction of Italic D or Cheerful Cursive also offers much insight!

Setting Up the Front of My “Bigger Hearts for His Glory” Binder

First, I make a color photocopy of my Bigger cover and insert it in my binder. If you don’t have a color copier, black and white looks nice too! Second, I print the Introduction of the guide off the Internet (click here). I use the Table of Contents as my attendance record, noting the dates we completed each unit (i.e. Unit 1:  Sept. 2-6, 2019). Third, I print the first week of plans (click here), which is a nice overview. If your state requires a completed portfolio for meeting with a principal or umbrella school, the Introduction and first week of plans give an excellent overview of what is covered. (Carrie gives permission for the Introduction and First Week of Plans to be printed or copied for portfolio compilation. However, any other photocopies or retyping of plans would be a copyright infringement.)

Label History Notebook, Timeline, History Activities, and Poetry Tab Dividers 

Next, I label tab dividers for my binder. My goals are to show what my child did and how he progressed in skills. So, I label my first tab “HISTORY NOTEBOOK.” Behind this tab, I place Bigger Heart’s history notebook pages inside page protectors. Next, I label my second tab “TIMELINE.” I place my child’s Bigger Heart’s timeline (when completed) behind this tab. Then, I label my third tab “HISTORY ACTIVITIES.” I place any of my child’s history-themed art projects, history activities, or geography activities that happen to be flat here. Next, I label my fourth tab “POETRY.” I place any written assignments from Poetry Day 4’s poetic devices’ activities here. If my child copied and decorated the poems instead of doing cursive, I also place the copied poems here. (If my child would enjoy it, I have him make a special cover for his poetry booklet.)

Label Language Arts, Science, Math, and Extensions Tab Dividers

I label my fifth tab “LANGUAGE ARTS.” Here, I put my child’s Storytime written work, bookmarks, and typed narrations. If my child did DITHOR, I either choose some completed workbook pages to include, or I just keep his entire DITHOR 2/3 Student Book. Likewise, for the cursive workbook, for the R & S English 2 or 3 written work, and for the spelling/dictation written work, I either choose a handful of completed pages for the binder, or I just keep the entire workbook and notebook(s). Next, I label my sixth tab “SCIENCE.” I place my child’s completed science notebooking and written experiments here. Then, I label my sixth tab “MATH”and include any completed math activity pages or worksheets. Finally, if my child is doing the extensions, I label my seventh tab “EXTENSIONS.” I place my child’s paragraph summaries and completed pictures/captions here.

Extra Tab(s) for Those Who Take Pictures and Actually Print Them

If you take pictures and also print them, you can include another tab called “HANDS-ON.” Behind this tab, place printed action photos of hands-on activities. Things like Geography Activities, History Activities, Science Exploration experiments, Bible Study gross motor skills activities, DITHOR kickoffs or final projects, Math hands-on lessons, and/or the hymn study singing can be included. Or, you can label the tab “OTHER” and put pictures of anything special, like you reading the history, hymn study, or devotional to your child. However, ask me how many times I have gotten that done in three trips through Bigger? Zero. So, if you don’t get this done, no worries! I DO have many pictures taken, and I DID have them on a slideshow in a photoframe for awhile. So, if you don’t have the time, don’t do this. Your binder without any of these extras will still be amazing!

Spelling/Dictation Things to Either Do at the Start or to Do As They Come Up in the Plans

If I want to do everything at the start, using the Appendix for SPELLING, I write the spelling words one at a time in a black Sharpie on white index cards. I jot the unit number in the top right corner of the first card, put a colored index card or divider between each set, and place them in a recipe box. (Otherwise, this is an easy thing to do each week, and to start you can just do the first week!) If my child is doing DICTATION and I want to use photocopies of dictation instead of the Appendix, I photocopy the passages. For only Level 2, I cut these out and glued them to index cards, so my child could focus on just the day’s passage.  However, this is just a personal preference, and not a ‘have-to’! I also label a wide-lined composition notebook ‘DICTATION.’

Bible Memory Work and Vocabulary Work Things to Either Do at the Start or to Do As They Come Up in the Plans

For BIBLE MEMORY WORK, I either hole-punch 35-40 index cards and put them on a metal ring, or I get a small 3-ring binder and index cards. For VOCABULARY, I follow the directions on Unit 1, Day 3, of the daily plans to either get a composition notebook and label 2 pages for each letter of the alphabet, or get a card file with index cards and alphabetical tabs. I’ll need between 35 and 105 index cards, with the number of cards needed based on how many of the 1-3 weekly vocabulary words I choose to have my child do.

Copywork, Grammar, Storytime, and Math Things to Either Do at the Start or to Do As They Come Up in the Plans

For COPYWORK, I choose either a lined notebook or loose-leaf paper and a binder.  If I chose a notebook, I label it ‘COPYWORK.’  Next, for English GRAMMAR, I choose either a lined notebook or loose-leaf paper and a binder.  If I chose a notebook, I label it ‘GRAMMAR.’ For STORYTIME, I label a sticky tab or jot in the Storytime box of plans how many chapters or pages to read each day (i.e. if my Biography Storytime book has 100 pages, according to Day 1’s Storytime plans, I divide 100 by 20 days of reading, and make a note to read about 5 pages a day). The last choice I need to make is for MATH. I can choose for my child to write directly in the textbooks/workbooks, to use loose-leaf paper, or to use a lined notebook.  Again, if I chose a lined notebook, I label it ‘MATH.’

Setting Up for Drawn into the Heart of Reading

If your child is using DITHOR, you can either set this up at the start or do it as you move through the plans. If I do this at the startI fill out the DITHOR 2/3 Student Book “Reading Calendar.” Using HOD’s “Optional Book Recommendations,” I fill in the page numbers to be read each day. For example, if my son is using the DITHOR Level 2 Book Pack, I see ’15 days’ next to Biography: Amelia Earhart. So, I divide the total number of pages or chapters in Amelia Earhart by 15. As there are 15 chapters, I just write “Ch. 1” on ‘Day 1’ of the Reading Calendar, “Ch. 2” on ‘Day 2,’ and so on. I might do this for each genre or just the first one to start. Also, I might choose my first genre kickoff in my DITHOR Teacher’s Guide.

Label Sticky Tabs to Mark Places in the Bigger Guide

Next, I label sticky tabs to mark places in my guide. I label the first tab “DAILY PLANS,” placing it on Unit 1, Day 1. Then, I label the next tabs “SPELLING” or “DICTATION” and “POETRY,” placing them in the Appendix.  If I’m using the Emerging Reader’s Set, I label another tab “ER SET” and put in the Appendix. Likewise, if I’m using the third grade math, I’d label another tab “MATH” for the Appendix. Or, if I’d rather not reference my Appendix, I’d just jot the third grade math page numbers in the “Math Exploration” box of plans.  If I’m using DITHOR, I label 2 tabs “DAILY PLANS,” placing one in the teacher’s guide and one in the student book. Likewise, if my child is using the extensions, I label another tab “EXTENSIONS.” Finally, if using the library for Storytime suggestions in the Appendix, label another tab “STORYTIME.

Special Items for Bigger Hearts for His Glory

There are a few special items needed for Bigger. By this time I already know which items I’ll need, because I wrote them in the margin of my Introduction earlier. Some things I’ve noted are a world map or globe, and a U.S. map. I also noted a children’s Bible for Bible Study. Finally, I noted a Webster’s dictionary for Vocabulary. One final thing I like to do is make a photocopy of the Appendix’s “Narration Tips: Teacher’s List” and “How to Narrate: Student’s List.” Carrie does give permission to photocopy these. I keep the teacher’s list for me to reference and the student’s list for my child to reference. However, you can always just put another tab in your Bigger guide and label it “NARRATION TIPS,” if you’d rather.

Shopping for Supplies

Carrie’s plans use readily available household supplies, and many options are suggested. For example, the plans may call for either a bean bag and a basket, or a rolled up pair of socks and a plastic bin. I just skim the Art and Science plans every month or so, to look for the one-off supply. However, to get ready to begin Bigger, I just stock up on usual art supplies, like crayons, markers, glue (sticks and liquid), scissors, construction paper, tissue paper (colored), tape (masking and clear), a ruler, a yardstick, playdough, paints/paintbrushes, cotton balls, yarn/string, etc. I also stock up on index cards, page protectors, and a few catalogs. Finally, I’ve found a flashlight, deck of cards, CD player (for Hymns for a Kid’s Heart), bouncy ball, paperclips, paper plates, food coloring, marker board with dry erase markers, and q-tips/toothpicks are also nice to have on hand.

Sorting Resources into “Things We Need Now” and “Things We Need Later” Bins or Totes

One of the last things I do is get two canvas bins.  I use one for ‘things we need now’ and the other for ‘things we need later.’ As I read through each box of my first week of Bigger’s plans, I put each needed resource in the bin  for ‘things we need now.’ I put the remaining items in the bin for ‘things we need later.’ Throughout the year as we finish using resources, I put them in the back of the ‘things we need later’ bin, and I move the next books or resources we need into the ‘things we need now’ bin or tub. This way, my ‘things we need now’ bin only contains what we need for each week. Another benefit is the ‘things we need now’ are always mobile! Likewise, I put many art supplies in a tool turnabout, so these are mobile too!

In Closing

As you can see, the steps you take to set up will vary based on your personal preferences. I’m writing this post so the end result is a lovely 3-ring binder portfolio with tabs alongside completed notebooks, workbooks, and/or card files. This will be a wonderful way to show what your child has done, should you be asked to do so! It will also be a wonderful way to remember the precious time you spent in Bigger with your child/children! However, there are obviously many options. For example, instead of one large binder,  I sometimes choose several small 1 or 2 inch binders (i.e. one for history, one for science, one for the rest, etc.). Usually, I base this on my child. If he prefers several small binders, we do that. Or, if he can be better organized using (and having to keep track of) just one large binder, we do that. So remember, just have fun setting up your year how YOU’D like – either all at the start, or as you move through the guide!

In Christ,
Julie

 

Our guides take advantage of the beginning of the school year” enthusiasm!

Teaching Tip:

Our guides take advantage of “beginning-of-the-school-year” enthusiasm!

If you are considering placing your child in one of our guides, here is a tip that is good to know. I planned each guide to take advantage of the enthusiasm the start of a new school year brings. So, at the start of a new guide, we really hit the skills hard and build on them incrementally throughout the year. This means the first week of plans is a good indicator of how difficult a guide is overall.

Rather than beginning with review, our guides jump in and get going right away!

Rather than starting with review, and beginning with easy things, our guides jump right in and get going right away. The benefit of this approach is that kiddos can work on mastering the skills in our guides all year long. This approach is good for the parent too, as you can see where you need your student to be by the time the guide ends.

Time spent training your students during the first week is time well-spent.

During the first week, it is helpful to spend some time training students in what the guide is asking. Since each guide has a definite pattern and repeating set of skills, time spent training students to complete the guide successfully is time well-spent.

As students discover the pattern of a guide, the guide takes less time.

As students begin to sense the pattern of a guide, they get into a rhythm. Things begin to fall into place. As the year progresses, students are able to complete their work in less time. As students master needed skills, the quality of their work improves too.

If your start to the year is rocky, hang in there!

If your start to a new guide is rocky, just hang in there! It should get better as you go. Your children should seem to thrive more as time passes. It is how the guides are designed to work! If for some reason your children continue to be overwhelmed in a guide, it may be time to rethink their placement.

Blessings,
Carrie

July Library Builder: Save 10% on the World Geography Girl Living Library Package!

Library Builder

Use coupon code JULY-LIBRARY for 10% on this month’s Library Builder book set: The World Geography Girl Living Library Package!

We are excited to continue our Heart of Dakota Library Builder book set promotion! On the 1st Wednesday of each month we will be promoting one of our book sets with a 10% coupon code. For this month’s special, use coupon code JULY-LIBRARY on our website for the entire month of July to apply the savings to your order. The coupon applies to the World Geography Girl Living Library set of books.   To view all of the books in this set, just click here! (Scroll down until you see the “Living Library with Kisses from Katie” section.)

How are the Living Library sets used in World Geography?

(From the package description in our online store):

“The books in this package are not intended to fulfill your student’s high school literature credit, as students are scheduled in the ‘Literature’ portion of the World Geography guide to read separate higher-level literature to fulfill that need. Instead, the books in this package were chosen to make geography come alive and to help students experience various places around the globe through the pages of these books. This set is highly recommended, unless you need to economize, however it is not required to earn credit in World Geography.”

To see a credit and grading breakdown for our World Geography guide, have a look at this!

Use coupon code JULY-LIBRARY to save!

To apply this month’s savings, just enter coupon code JULY-LIBRARY on our website when you check out! We hope these books will be as treasured to you as they are to us!

Have a great rest of the week!
Heart of Dakota

PS: If you’d like a more in-depth look at what using World Geography looks like in your home, have a look at this article!

Explore the World in a Whole New Way… World Geography for High School