From Our House to Yours
Flexible Pacing for Homeschooling Little Ones 4 or 5 Days a Week
We have now used Heart of Dakota from PreK through 12th grade! One of the things I love best as a busy homeschool mom is the flexible pacing. Back in 2004, I began homeschooling with just one guide, Little Hands to Heaven. Wyatt was 4 years old, and Riley was 5-months old. When Wyatt reached Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory at 6 years old, Riley began Little Hands to Heaven slowly at 3 years old, and that was my first time to do two guides at once. The following year Wyatt began Bigger Hearts for His Glory, Riley was still finishing Little Hands to Heaven, and Emmett made his grand entry into this world as baby #3. For these first 4 years of homeschooling, we homeschooled 5 days a week, and I was so very thankful! Each day had just enough homeschool to keep my sons happy and content.
I preferred to homeschool 5 days a week when all my children were little.
When my children were under age 8, I preferred to homeschool 5 days a week. I had almost forgotten why when I asked a young mom how staying home was going. Well, pretty good, I guess. We get up at 7 AM when baby wakes up. I dress the children, feed them, take them on a stroll, play with them, have them watch a short video, do puzzles, read some board books, and then it’s 9:30 A.M. I don’t know what else to do, so we just do it all over again… and again… and again… and then we are just looking at each other like, what now?!? Honestly, we are just so glad to see Daddy walk through the door! That is when I remembered why I loved homeschooling 5 days a week with little ones! Our days were just the right balance of homeschool and free time.
I preferred to homeschool 4 days a week when my oldest son started Preparing Hearts for His Glory.
Once my oldest son started Preparing Hearts for His Glory, he was on a 4 day a week schedule. He began to take on more independence, not only in homeschooling but in life in general. Wyatt loved to lead his younger brothers in playtime, and they loved to be led. He came up with endless games to play, outdoors and indoors. They couldn’t wait to see what he came up with next! A new day was dawning. I was no longer the sole form of entertainment. In fact, I’d taken a backseat to big brother. I began to realize I’d truly enjoy a 4 day week. If I could just get everyone on board with a 4 day week, life would be grand!
I liked going half-speed and full-speed with several guides to move toward a 4 day week.
As each of my children saw all the fun Wyatt was having in HOD, I started them homeschooling on the youngest side of the age range of the guides. I wanted to have special mommy time with them anyway. Riley was on the youngest side of the target age range when I had the epiphany I’d enjoy doing homeschool just 4 days a week. So, for Riley, it made sense simply to move toward doing school 4 days a week. For awhile we did a January to December homeschool year for him, where he’d start a new guide in January. As he is my artistic, creative child, I spread out his Creation to Christ… and Resurrection to Reformation years. I went half-speed, then full-speed with Creation to Christ. Then I went half-speed, full-speed with Resurrection to Reformation. Voila! He reached Revival to Revolution at the start of 7th grade.
I knew I wanted to go 4 days a week with my youngest son from the very start.
When my last little one started Little Hands to Heaven, I knew I wanted him to be on a 4 day a week schedule. As it turns out, it’s just a math problem to be figured out to make that happen. And oh, how I love a good math problem! There are 4 days of plans for 35 weeks for Preparing Hearts through U.S. History II. That equals 140 days of school each year (which is really 5 days of school planned in 4 days to save us a day, so if you’re from a strict 175 days of school state, you’re still ‘getting it in’ and can always spread it out to 175 days if you feel you must, but I digress). Okay, back to the concept of 140 days a year so you can homeschool 4 days a week with everyone once your oldest reaches Preparing Hearts.
I liked this schedule for doing Little Hands to Heaven through Bigger Hearts for His Glory for 4 days a week.
I planned for 135 days a year, to account for easing into younger guides and to account for the increased sick days little ones often have. It works out perfectly to do 135 days a year, doing 4 guides in 5 years with the schedule below.
1st Year: Little Hands to Heaven, Units 1-27
2nd Year: Little Hands to Heaven, Units 28-33; Little Hearts for His Glory, Units 1-21
3rd Year: Little Hearts for His Glory, 22-34; Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory, Units 1-14
4th Year: Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory, Units 15-34; Bigger Hearts for His Glory, Units 1-7
5th Year: Bigger Hearts for His Glory, Units 8-34
*Note: You can always do 140 days of school each year with your little ones, if you prefer. Just start your little one on the same day as your olders, but start slowly, taking an extra 5 days to ease into the guide. Or, spread out the end of the guide at the end of the homeschool year, so everyone finishes together. Easy peasy!
Heart of Dakota is very flexible!
I have been very thankful Heart of Dakota is so flexible through the past 17 years! If you happen to have little ones starting Little Hands to Heaven alongside older ones doing HOD guides 4 days a week, this is one plan you might enjoy! No matter what, HOD has flexible pacing, as guides are not planned according to specific days of the week, months, or holidays. With 365 days in the calendar year, there are endless pacing possibilities! Hope this gives you one more way to ponder!