We are enjoying Little Hands to Heaven with our 4 year old daughter so much! My 7 year old and 9 year old daughters are also nicely combined in Bigger Hearts for His Glory. As my 7 year old is advanced in reading and writing and my 9 year old is more on grade level overall, they are combined nicely with one another! The only area I am unsure how to handle with 2 children in one guide is oral narrations. How do I have 2 children I’m combining in one Heart of Dakota guide both orally narrate?
Each of them is a bit competitive! They annoy one another when I ask them to narrate. For example, the younger one remembers a point and interrupts the older one to share it. The older one gets frustrated by this. Should I read half of an assignment, and have one narrate? Then, should I finish the reading, and have the other narrate the second half? Or, since my older is almost 10 and is also doing the extensions, should I have her do narrations just from that material? Or, should I just have one narrate one day, and the other narrate the next? Help! Thanks for any help!
“Double Narration Dilemma”
Dear “Double Narration Dilemma,”
Charlotte Mason herself was often faced with this same dilemma when working with children! As always she had a clever way of handing this dilemma! She suggested having a red bean and a blue bean in your pocket for narration time. Then, she assigned each child a color of a bean. Randomly, she would pull one bean out at narration time, and the child assigned that color would narrate. In this way, whoever ends up narrating is the “luck of the draw!”
A few colors of beads or unifix cubes solves the dilemma of having 2 children narrate when combining them!
You can have as many colors of beans (or colored unifix cubes or whatever you can put in your pocket to represent various children) as you have narrators. If the same child has to narrate twice in a row, then that’s the way it is! Charlotte Mason did say that the other listeners can have a chance AT THE END of the narration to add any missed details (or a few subtle corrections done lovingly). Using this method, every child prepares to narrate! This helps each child focus on the reading carefully every time, in case the parent draws his/her color bead and calls on him/her to narrate!
Hope that helps!
P.S. To see where your children would place best in Heart of Dakota, click here!
P.S.S. To read some thoughts about whether combining would work well for your family or not, click here!
P.S.S.S. To see where summarizing comes into narrating, click here!
Heart of Dakota’s plans make it easy to see what must be accomplished each day!
This From Our House to Yours will focus on high school planned meeting times. High school is a new and exciting time for parents and students alike! Heart of Dakota makes this transition smoother in 4 ways! First, Heart of Dakota guides use easy-to-follow 2-page daily plans, just 4 days a week. Second, each credit includes detailed plans labeled “T” teacher-directed, “S” semi-independent, and “I” independent. This makes parent and student roles clear. Third, parents love the detailed course descriptions, suggested grading, and transcript helps. Fourth, students love the clear plans for each day’s work! Finally, you should always check your individual state requirements for high school. But, your student should typically earn all credits and electives necessary by doing HOD’s 4 high school guides!
So, now that we know the plans are complete, how do we as parents correct high school work?
Each high school guide’s introduction has detailed suggested grading for each credit earned. From this, we can make professional transcripts easily and inexpensively by using each HOD guide’s course titles and descriptions. We can also use the website www.transcriptmaker.com to input our student’s transcript details. I especially love this website because it figures my students’ GPA automatically! With all of this help, the only thing I’m left with is finding time to teach and to correct work. I’ve found one successful way to do this is to use planned meeting times!
What are planned meeting times?
I use planned meeting times to teach and to correct my children’s work. We set specific times to meet within the day. I’ve found 2-3, or even 4 planned meeting times work well. My kiddos often complete some work independently first, and then they take this work to our first meeting time. My first meeting time with my 9th grader using World Geography happens around 7:30 AM in the morning. He comes with his completed independent work from the night before. (As he is a bit of a night owl, he likes to do about 1 hour’s worth of independent work for the next school day the night before.) He also completes his Bible from 7 to 7:30 AM prior to the meeting. Our first meeting time includes going over completed work from Bible, the Living Library, Spanish, and World Religions and Cultures.
So, what does he share from each of these subjects?
For Bible, he reads aloud his answers to me from Rooted and Grounded. He also shares his prayer journal, unless it is more private. On days 1 and 3, I have him say his memorized Scripture verses for me. I also correct his Common Place Book entry if he had one. (If he had Practical Happiness, I read it on my own and so does he, annotating as we read. We meet at the third meeting time to go over the devotion.) For the Living Library, he reads aloud his sentence summary. I check to be sure it contains the main characters, main goal and action taken, main conflict, and the setting. Skimming the pages of the book’s daily reading is enough for me to see if he is on track for this 10% extra credit assignment. I also check any special assignments noted for this in the plans (i.e. if he was to star, cloud, circle, etc certain things). I correct his Spanish using the answer key, and I have him orally translate/read the odd problems aloud referencing the key as needed. For World Religions and Cultures, I have him hand me the book he read open to the first page’s reading. I skim the beginning, middle, and end of the reading. Also, I read the key idea in the guide. Finally, we either correct his bookmark together, or I listen to his oral narration with book in hand.
What does the rest of his day look like?
After the first planned meeting time, he checks off the Living Library, World Religions and Cultures, Foreign Language, and Bible boxes. They are done – hooray! Next, we discuss what he needs to do for his EIW composition or R & S English grammar part of the plans. He works on this independently then, while I do a planned meeting time with a different child. His next planned meeting time is around 8:20 to 8:30 AM, whenever he completes his composition or grammar. I correct his written work by having him read it aloud to me. He reads with pencil in hand, making any corrections he sees he needs to make first on his own. Then, I help him correct any mistakes using the grammar answer key or the EIW daily plans/rubric. We check the Composition/Grammar box off in the plans, and he is off to chores and breakfast!
How does he finish out the plans?
After breakfast, he completes his World Geography, Geography Activities, Literature, and Logic boxes. I pop in the living room to hear his oral narrations, correct his map work, edit his written work, discuss/check his literature, and check his logic answers. We love this time together, and the key ideas and answer keys make it fairly easy on me! If he had Practical Happiness, we meet on the couch go discuss our annotations. (It is more private there, and this is a special time 1 on 1 for us!) Finally, he completes his Science with lab and leaves it out on the counter for me to correct. (I’ve let him correct his own science the second half of the year, as I corrected it the first half, and he always did well. He loves science! So, I never worry about him skimping on this.)
His math is taught by my oldest son, as he loves it and is a business major! This was their idea – apparently I get somewhat tense teaching math, and they prefer doing it together without me. Who knew?!? Anyway, the math answer key makes this last subject easy peasy to correct. Then, drumroll, we are done! Usually by 1:30 PM or so. Not bad for 4 days a week of high school! Hope this helps you see how planned meeting times can provide both special 1:1 teaching time and time to correct work!
Think of the Heart of Dakota guides as a journey to enjoy rather than a race to complete.
Are you getting closer to the end of your school year? If so, you may feel like rushing or cramming things in to finish your guide by a designated time. I encourage you to resist that urge. Instead, think of the sequence of Heart of Dakota guides as a journey to be enjoyed each step of the way. One guide’s skills will prepare your child well for the next guide to come. So, it’s best to use each guide to its fullest along the way.
Do you feel like rushing or doubling up days to finish your guide on time?
You may have had a year full of life’s unexpected surprises, or maybe you began Heart of Dakota later in your year. Either way, there is little benefit to doubling up days or doing multiple days in one in order to finish “on-time.” However, there is a huge benefit to solidly teaching the skills that are wound within each guide one day at a time. This steady progress forward will help students practice and form skills they will need life-long!
So what should you do if you find yourself “behind” in your progress by “year-end”?
First of all, accept where you truly are in the guide. No amount of rushing will change that fact. Second, make a realistic plan to teach a day within a day until your designated break date. During your break, reassess whether your children are still correctly placed in their current guide(s). Most likely, their current placement will still be best. If you have gotten very far off track for an extended period of time, it is possible that your children may need to be placed in a different guide. Third, after your break, either pick the guide back up where you left off or begin your new guide(s). Steady progress forward pays big dividends.
What did our family do when we were “behind”?
I share this tip with you, because I know from personal experience what it’s like to be “behind.”
In one of our years of schooling, we were behind by 10 weeks by year-end. The year had started with some medical challenges that ground our year to a halt before it even began! My husband finally stepped in and set a finish date for school regardless of where we were in the guide. During our break, we reassessed our boys’ placements. Our older sons needed to move forward to a new guide. So, after our break, they did. Our younger sons needed to keep going in their current guides. So, after our break, they did. For our younger sons, we just picked their guides back up where they had left off. Once this decision was made, I felt a huge sense of relief! We felt like we had done what was best for our boys in a difficult year.
We would love to help you too!
If you need help deciding whether your children are correctly placed for the coming year, please contact us! We would love to help!!
Question: Hello to the Austin family! My 11 yo son is in Preparing… in Heart of Dakota now and doing great going full-speed! However, math is another story. Could you please help me with placement in Heart of Dakota’s Singapore Math for my son with a math disability?
A Little Background on His Math Struggles
My 11 yo son used another math program (ACE) this year and has 1 ½ books left before he is done with the 2nd grade level. This has not been the best math curriculum for him. But, we used it as he could do it by himself, due to other time constraints I had. I now have more time to spend with him on the subjects in which he struggles. I am considering the Singapore math Heart of Dakota recommends. My question is if Singapore can be used successfully with a child who has a math disability? Thank you for help in pondering this placement!
Reply: Thanks for sharing about your son’s math background!
This is an interesting dilemma. With the age of your son in mind, and considering the challenges he has had in math thus far, Singapore Primary Math could work well. The reason for this is because it is easier to move at a varying and/or accelerated pace through Singapore than it is with other programs that are more lock-step and have large volumes of daily work for each level.
Be sure to give the Singapore Math placement test first!
Singapore Math has a free and accurate placement test. I would definitely give him the placement test, by clicking here. Be sure to give him the placement test for the Primary U.S. 3rd Edition. I would begin with the 2A test and see how he does. I would be inclined to think he might begin in 2B, but with testing you will know better.
Be sure to assist your son during math time by sitting near him and drawing his attention to the word bubbles!
Since math is a challenging area, I think you will have to commit to sitting with him or being available nearby to help often as needed. Be sure to teach the Singapore method in the word bubbles of each lesson, as this will help! Then, I would move quickly through what your son knows and spend longer on what he does not. In this way, you could cover more ground. Be sure to use the U.S. Edition of Singapore, as the other editions have too much volume added to them which will slow you down.
Once you place your son, you can click here and scroll down on the following to order the needed levels of Singapore. This honestly may be a good option with only a semester or so of instruction time to move forward. I hope this helps!
My daughter with special needs is able to read, but spelling is a huge issue. I am wondering for a child that can’t spell if writing practice is counter productive? I’m worried having her write things out is actually reinforcing bad spelling habits. I’ve been having her do beginning dictation with Heart of Dakota. But, I wonder if written narrations, where she is creating ideas herself, is just maybe reinforcing poor spelling in her mind? I do correct it. But, she still sees it when she writes it wrong the first time, and she makes the same mistakes over and over. What should I do? I guess my question is, does having my child with special needs write create bad spelling habits? Thanks in advance!
“Please Help with Special Needs Spelling in Writing”
Dear “Please Help with Special Needs and Spelling in Writing,”
Thanks for sharing about your daughter! Charlotte Mason viewed the mind to function like a camera. As we see words spelled in written form over and over, we begin to think the word ‘looks right’ even if it is spelled wrong. That is why spelling programs that include misspelled words for students to correct are detrimental to truly learning proper spelling!
You are so right that writing a word and seeing it incorrectly multiple times fixes the “wrong” spelling in your daughter’s mind, until the wrong way starts to look right! So, whenever you do something where your daughter will write, copy a portion of it on the markerboard. She can then look at it to copy it on her paper correctly. Also, never have her copy so much that it wears her out. This will cause her copying to quickly go downhill, as I’m sure you know.
Or, if it is difficult for your daughter to copy from markerboard to paper correctly, you can write on paper instead. Just leave a space below each line for her to copy directly under your text letter by letter. Hope that helps!