Should Charlotte Mason narrations immediately follow the readings?

Dear Carrie,

In our house, some time passes between reading and actually writing a narration in Heart of Dakota. Often my kids refer back to their readings. I understand that Charlotte Mason stressed the importance of their being only a SINGLE reading. So, here are my questions!  Does the written and/or oral narration need to follow the reading immediately? I am also wondering, can they refer back to the book?

Sincerely,

“Mom to 4 Precious Blessings”

Dear “Mom to 4 Precious Blessings,”

You asked some great questions, and I will be glad to answer them! Your first question is…

Does the written and/or oral narration need to follow the reading immediately, or does the time not matter?

The answer to this question really depends on the age of the children.  When kiddos are younger, it is advisable to have the oral and/or written narration immediately follow the reading. This helps them remember what they have read better. As kiddos get older, there can definitely be time between the reading and the narrating. In fact, Charlotte Mason advised spreading out the reading from the narrating more the older the kiddos get.  This is actually the more difficult skill, and it is  intended to be taught once students have had practice orally narrating.  Your second question is…

Can students refer back to the readings in the book as they are writing their narrations? 

This is another good question!  Due to the amount of names and dates in many of our readings, and the length of the readings, looking back at the reading while writing a written narration is helpful and advisable. Referring back to the reading helps so much with spelling and accuracy too! This is actually one of our spelling tips in our written narration skills checklist.  So, it is definitely alright for kiddos to use their living book as a reference for help in writing with proper spelling. Looking back at a reading reference-style wise is different than doing a second reading. Even though kiddos are referring back, it is still a single reading they are narrating from.  You’ve asked some excellent questions!  I hope this helps as you continue your journey with Heart of Dakota and Charlotte Mason!

Blessings,

Carrie

P.S. To find out more about Charlotte Mason and written narrations as a form of assessment, click here!

P.S.S. To find out more about training your kiddos in Charlotte Mason skills, click here!

Parent and Student Roles in Homeschooling Work with Heart of Dakota

From Our House to Yours

What are the roles of the parent and the student in homeschooling with Heart of Dakota?

Roles of the parent and student vary based on the student’s age, the assignment, and the guide.  Little Hands to Heaven through Bigger Hearts for His Glory have younger target age ranges of 2-9 years old.  In these guides, much of the work is teacher-directed or semi-independent.  Starting with Preparing Hearts for His Glory through U.S. History II, assignments are designated as “T,” “S,” or “I.” This helps facilitate the progression of skills, so students successfully take on independent work.  Gradually, from year to year, from guide to guide, students are preparing first for middle school work.  Then, they are preparing for high school level work.  Finally, they are preparing for college level work, should they so desire to go.

As they grow and mature, their role changes, and so does ours as their teacher.  Charlotte Mason was an advocate of having students take on independence as soon as they were able.  Heart of Dakota helps make this transition easier by planning for it in each guide.  So, my focus of this From Our House to Yours is to show how HOD’s guides are designed to help parents and students with changing roles.

Why are the letters “T,” “S,”, and “I” part of the boxes in Heart of Dakota’s plans?

Parents and children can easily see what needs to be done each day in Heart of Dakota’s guides. Two-page plans with boxes for each part of the plans make it clear what needs to be accomplished daily. As students mature, HOD guides switch to a 4-day a week format. Boxes of plans begin to note whether assignments are intended to be “T” teacher-directed, “S” semi-independent, or “I” independent. This helps kiddos learn to take on independence gradually and successfully. Skills that were teacher-directed in one guide, move to be semi-independent in the next guide. Likewise, skills that were semi-independent in one guide, move to be more independent in the next guide.

How do the plans being designated as “T,” “S,” or “I” work help both parents and students?

The plans in HOD’s guides make it clear what each person’s role is in each assignment. So, the teacher is doing the reading and the leading for the “T” boxes. The student is doing the reading and the following of directions for the “I” boxes. Finally, the teacher and student share the tasks in the “S” boxes. I’ve found the “T” boxes to be such a help to me for my son who wants to do everything independently. For him, it is a good thing we have planned teacher-directed tasks, or he would do it all without me! In contrast, I’ve found the “I” boxes to be a help to me for my son who wants to do everything with me. For him it is a good thing we have planned independent work, or he wouldn’t do anything without me!

So, what is an example of parent and student roles in Creation to Christ?

In Creation to Christ, the parent still does the reading for the Storytime part of the plans. I chose the History Interest Set, and it has been amazing!  So far, my favorite book has been Traveling the Way.  This little gem of a book was probably one I would have passed on, if I’d only glanced at the cover.  It just goes to show, you truly cannot judge a book by its cover!  Anyway, we thoroughly enjoy this time together! My role is to read aloud the history interest book, and Emmett’s role is to listen carefully to the reading.  After the reading, students move through the following rotation of follow-up skills in the plans…

  • give a detailed oral narration
  • rotate through the following 4 narration activities: an outline sketch, a short skit, a question and answer session, and an advertisement speech for the book
  • give a summary narration
  • make connections between the story and Proverbs
What is an example of parent and student roles in World Geography?

In World Geography, we both read Bob Schultz’s Practical Happiness on our own.  We annotate separately, using different colored pens/pencils.  Then, we meet to discuss the reading and our annotations.  I love this time together!  We have discussed so many timely subjects for a young teenage boy.  My role as a parent is no longer to simply read aloud, but to help my son grow and develop into a strong Christian man.  Pretty important roles for both of us!  We enjoy sharing our opinions about the devotion, and we have drawn so close to one another because of it.  It is easy to talk about our faith in the Lord because of this time together.  I’m so glad for these roles this year for both of us!

Finally, what is an example of parent and student roles in U.S. History II?

In U.S. History II, Wyatt watches Dave Ramsey’s DVD on personal finance, answering questions as he watches.  We meet together to discuss his answers and journal questions.  My role is to share our family’s approach to spending, to saving, and to budgeting.  I’ve shown him our monthly budget, as well as our checking and savings account.  We’ve talked about how we set aside money each month for special things.  We put homeschooling, new furniture, vacations, clothing, Christmas, birthdays, etc., in the category of being ‘special.’  Together we budget money for these special things ahead of time. Often times, we must work extra hours to save money for them as well.  My role is to help my son develop his own budget, linking his earnings to his spending and saving.  What an important role for each of us!

Changing roles for parent and student keep homeschooling fresh and exciting!

In conclusion, our roles as parents and students are ever changing as students mature.  This is a necessary part of helping our children grow into responsible adults.  The ‘T,’ ‘S,’ and ‘I’ part of the daily plans help both parents and students be successful with changing roles.  This is one thing I have truly loved about using Heart of Dakota!  From PreK through 12th grade, my role as a parent always bring fresh, new and exciting things to my day!

Likewise, my children look forward to the changes in their role as  students from year to year.  They value the independence they are able to take on, the say-so they are able to have, and the opinions they are able to express.  They also value the time with me, as we are meeting for important reasons.  Most of all, we both value the progress made – the encouragement and celebration that comes from children becoming successful young adults.  What a privilege to be a part of!

Riley’s 15 Year Old Birthday Breakfast  Celebrating Another Year of Growth

In Christ,

Julie

P.S. To read more about encouraging your students to do the independent part of the plans on their own, click here!

A Wonderful Idea From a Veteran Homeschool Momma!

Teaching Tip

What wonderful idea can you borrow from a veteran homeschool momma to occupy your little one?

Another thing that I have done which worked well for my little ones was an idea I got from Terri Maxwell. She suggested making a “Mommy Tape,” which today can be recorded many other ways than on a tape! However, the idea is still great.

How can you use your voice to occupy your little one?

I recorded myself talking and reading aloud to my little one as if I was in the room with him. I read aloud some simple Bible stories and nursery rhymes. Next, I counted out loud up to 20 and said the names of our family members.

Then, I asked questions like the following: How old are you? What color hair do you have? What color eyes do you have? Can you point to your chair? Can you point to your toys? I paused after each question to hypothetically allow the child to answer. After that I answered the questions. I prayed with my child at the beginning and end of the recording, making sure to use my child’s name. You can be as creative with the recording as you like!

How much time can you expect to gain by using a Mommy recording?

I recorded 30 continuous minutes. When the recording ended, my little one knew his playtime was up. I used the same recording for my little one to listen to every day. It was amazing how comforted he felt while listening to it! I could hear him answering the questions out loud during the pauses on the recording!

Where can you use the recording?

When my little ones were younger, I used it during their playtimes in their cribs. When they got a bit older, I used it during their playtimes in their rooms. A quiet enclosed space worked best for hearing the recording.

Try making your own recording!

This is a great summer project for the next school year! You could make a different recording for your child each year as he grows. You can also make more than one recording if time allows. Try making a recording today, and see if it comforts your little one.

Blessings,
Carrie

Have you trained your children in Charlotte Mason style skills?

Use coupon code LB-BYB for 10% off the Boy Set of read aloud books in Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory

Library Builder

Coupon LB-BYB 10% on this month’s Library Builder book set – The Boy Set Deluxe Package in Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory!

Heart of Dakota Boy Deluxe Set BeyondWe 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 LB-BYB on our website for the entire month of May to apply the savings to your order. The coupon applies to the Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory Boy Set of storytime books.   To view all of the books in this set, just click here!

This set of books contains nine read-aloud titles, one for each genre of literature that is scheduled in the storytime part of the plans in  Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory. Each book is used for 20 days of the plans.

How is the Storytime part of the plans in Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory used throughout the year?

(From the Introduction of Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory):

Storytime
Daily storytime sessions are based on literature that is read aloud from the
following nine genres: Biography, Adventure, Historical Fiction, Fantasy,
Mystery, Nonfiction, Humor, Realistic Fiction, and Folk Tale. Each type of
literature is read aloud for 20 days, except for Folk Tale which is read aloud
for 10 days.

The instructions and activities are written to be used with any literature.
This flexibility allows you to use your own discretion in selecting literature to read aloud to your students. The structure also allows you to select the
pace at which you’ll complete your read aloud selection.

Each 5 day unit in the guide includes the following reading activities in coordination with the read-aloud assignments:
*1st Day: introduce and study different types of literature
*2nd Day: model narration to foster comprehension
*3rd Day: identify and analyze a different story element for each genre
*4th Day: relate personally to one Godly character trait, compare
Biblical and book characters, and select one area to improve
*5th Day: practice narration by retelling the story in a variety of ways

Use coupon code LB-BYB to save!

To apply this month’s savings, just enter coupon code LB-BYB 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

Is dictation good for struggling spellers?

Dear Carrie,

Is dictation good for struggling spellers or just good for average to natural spellers?

My 10 year old daughter really struggles with spelling. I have used several curriculums with her, and she still has such a hard time. I feel like nothing has worked with her. My question is about dictation in Preparing Hearts for His Glory. Do you think would this be a good option for a struggling speller? Will dictation improve her spelling, or should I look into something else for her? She is well below grade level in this area and is also a reluctant writer. So, I know she will already struggle with all the writing she has to do this year. I want to build her confidence this year, and it seems like spelling lists have not helped her retain skills. She does have some mild dyslexic tendencies, but we have never had her tested. So, should I do the dictation with her? Is dictation good for struggling spellers or just good for average to natural spellers? Thanks in advance for your help!

Sincerely,

“Please Help Me with Spelling”

Dear “Please Help Me with Spelling,”

The Charlotte Mason method of studied dictation takes at least a year to truly see the fruit of it. It is a slow burn that pays big dividends in the long haul. It actually does work well both for natural spellers and for kiddos who struggle with spelling. We get to hear so many updates from families who use HOD; by email, by message board, and at conventions. So, I can say with confidence that even kiddos with learning challenges such as dysgraphia progress well with studied dictation. We hear from many families with kiddos who were poor spellers who are thrilled to be seeing some progress!

Consistent use of studied dictation has many benefits!

The method that we use in the guides is very important in the success of studied dictation. The consistent use of studied dictation also makes a difference. There are many posts on the board about studied dictation, so I encourage you to search and read them. If you do try PHFHG’s studied dictation, I would advise you to give it at least a year. I would also encourage you not to continue with another spelling program at the same time. Instead, try using studied dictation as your spelling program. I think you will be surprised at the progress your students will make. It is a method that has many benefits in the long haul for all types of spellers.

Try using studied dictation instead of a formal spelling program!

I can understand the hesitance to let go of a formal spelling program, as I had that same hesitance. With my oldest son, in order to tell whether studied dictation really worked, I tested him in Spelling Power. First, I tested him at the beginning of the year to give his spelling a “level.” Then, I used only studied dictation all year. At year-end, I tested him in Spelling Power again. I was surprised to discover he’d jumped several levels in spelling from using studied dictation (while not using Spelling Power)! This made a believer out of me. My oldest son only used studied dictation after that and has graduated high school.

I’ve seen the success of using studied dictation with my own children and hope you do too!

My next 3 kiddos have all only done the spelling/dictation within the HOD guides. While my second oldest son is definitely a natural speller, my other boys vary on their natural spelling abilities. My oldest is a great memorizer, but needed dictation to carryover his memorization of words to his writing. Though my second oldest is a natural speller, he needed studied dictation to improve proofreading and accuracy in his writing. He also needed to learn to listen carefully to a single reading of the dictation passage prior to writing. He has benefitted greatly from studied dictation in that regard. My third son has a more difficult time with spelling. Yet, he is consistently progressing, slowly but surely. My last little guy is a terrific copier but needs to learn to capture the word images in his mind. Studied dictation will be of help to him too! I share this to help you visualize how studied dictation could be of benefit to your own kiddos. I hope you see the benefits of studied dictation completed consistently over time. Thanks for asking this question!

Blessings,

Carrie

P.S. For more information about how students can study for dictation, click here!