Charlotte Mason skills learned in high school give students strong study skills in college!

More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment

Charlotte Mason skills learned in high school give students strong study skills in college!

I was looking back at past posts on our Heart of Dakota (HOD) Message Board. In the HOD Weekly Check-In posts, I found a random past post I’d done about my oldest son’s week in USI. Reading this post, I realized how all of those Charlotte Mason skills my son learned in HOD still help him so much in college! I just was struck by how well Charlotte Mason skills prepared him to study and succeed in college. Below, I’ll share my 2016 post about USI, and then at the end I’ll share how I’ve seen these skills help my son study well in college.

The Study Skill of Giving a Topic Oral Narration Using Notes

This week Wyatt has been learning about The Second Continental Congress and the Declaration of Independence in history. He prepared to give a topic oral narration by listing topics as starting points for a new part of the narration in his US1 HOD History Notebook. Phrases of names, dates, places, etc. that were important were jotted down to help jog his memory. He then referred to these notes as he narrated orally. This activity has so many important skills in it! They are skills I used in college often, and I am glad he is leaning to utilize them already now. He now takes notes and refers to them as he speaks very naturally. It just flows, and he is at ease as he speaks.

The Study Skill of Responding to Critical Thinking Questions

Another great activity is his responding in writing to critical thinking questions from Great Documents in U.S. History. So much more depth is brought out from the readings by the pondering of these critical thinking questions. Then, reading actual Great Letters in American History alongside these assignments – well, what could be better than the actual letters, word for word, written by these amazing people from history themselves! It is like being transported back in time and really being able to ‘know’ that person through his/her very thoughts and words put to paper.

The Study Skill of Researching A Topic and Supporting Your Opinion

A Noble Experiment has Wyatt researching various court cases and their findings, and he finds it incredibly interesting. It appeals to his sense of right and wrong, and he is beginning to see the importance of being able to ‘support’ your opinion by citing the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc.

The Study Skills of Watching Presentations, Taking Notes, and Sharing What You’ve Learned

The USI History Notebook is not just a place for Wyatt to record his thoughts and written answers. It is also a beautiful visual reminder of that which he is studying, and every picture, portrait, document, historic memorabilia, etc. has its purpose and is used in some way, shape, or form for assessing what he has learned. This week, after Wyatt watched his American Testimony DVD, he referred to the beautiful pictures in his USI History Notebook as he orally narrated about each portion of the DVD he’d watched. Being comfortable speaking while referring to diagrams, photos, documents – this is a key skill he’ll need for whatever future job he will probably have. He is already becoming quite comfortable with it, and I can envision him giving a power point presentation with notes quite adeptly someday.

The Study Skill of Conveying Your Thoughts and Opinions in Writing

Being an accomplished writer that can convey thoughts and opinions clearly in an accurate interesting way – this is becoming a lost skill for many teenagers. NOT SO, with HOD! The steady diet of completing Charlotte Mason style written narrations inspired by reading timeless living books has made responding in writing to a topic quite easy for Wyatt. Now, this was not always so. I only have to pull out his beginning fledgling written narrations from CTC to be reminded of how far he has come. But, oh, it is so exciting to me to see the progress!

The Study Skill of Internalizing What’s Been Learned

Where many high school students stare at the blank page with no confidence of how to begin, he can begin writing immediately. Why? Because having completed countless oral and written narrations in the past, he knows from experience one must THINK about what one is reading while one is reading it to be able to respond to it afterward. Pretty important stuff if you ask me. So, oral narrations with index card planning, critical thinking questions, and written narration assessments all work together to help our dc learn to internalize and respond to what they have read in an active thoughtful way. So much better than completing a multiple choice quiz every time.

How These Study Skills Help My Son in College

My son just finished his sophomore year of college. He has taken 18 credits each semester. Some of these credits were earned by taking courses. The other credits were earned by taking CLEP or DSST tests. Either way, he uses the study skills he learned in HOD for both. As he reads his college material, he takes notes. He takes notes as he listens to his professors or watches DVD presentations (just like he did for USI’s American Testimony DVD assignments). From these notes, he writes essays (just like he did for his topic narrations in USI). He has to give an overview (i.e. written narration) and share his opinion citing research or court cases to support it (i.e. opinion narration). Throughout all of this, he is taking quizzes and tests. The scores he receives show he has internalized what he has learned!

A Special Webinar with Jeff Myers

These study skills all came together during an Educational Leadership webinar with Jeff Myers and fellow students. Each student had to write one question for Jeff Myers, based on the materials they’d read. During the live webinar, Jeff chose some of the students’ questions to answer. Jeff chose Wyatt’s question! Wyatt was so excited! Jeff spent nearly 30 minutes answering it and interacting with Wyatt and the other students as he did. It was just such a neat moment! After this, Wyatt wrote an essay on what he’d learned, citing his notes and supporting his opinions with references to the reading material and webinar. So, rest assured, HOD’s Charlotte Mason-inspired skills do much to help your future college students! Even on quizzes and tests – because they truly have the skills to internalize what they have read and what they have heard.  What a blessing!

In Christ,

Julie

Is Heart of Dakota college worthy?

Dear Carrie

Is Heart of Dakota college worthy?

I guess rather than this being a question I’m asking Carrie now, this is my answer to a question I used to have for Carrie. I’ve been meaning to share this, but I have just been so busy. Anyway, my oldest graduated after completing 9 Heart of Dakota programs. I know the question comes up – is Heart of Dakota college worthy? The answer is ‘yes!’ My first HOD kid graduated, and she received a full scholarship for tuition and books at a private Christian college. That is for the first four years of college, completely paid in full. She has friends going to the same school, and none received the kind of scholarship she did.

My daughter received high scores on the ACT, and we give Heart of Dakota the credit for that!

She did score very well on the ACT and that helped. So, I asked her what she thought helped the most with the ACT. She said that honestly it was HOD. I sort of expected she was going to say it was me making her study, hahaha! But, apparently nope; it was HOD. She said it really helped her with the language on the test and interpreting the questions in particular. That turns out to be a huge thing for these tests. Also, she had a very rich transcript and that was because of the wide coverage HOD gives in terms of credits you can claim legitimately for their study. That turned out to be huge in terms of making her stand out.

My daughter was well prepared for college, and we give Heart of Dakota credit for that!

The other question people have is, will they be able to make it in college? Well, I think HOD helped us there. She is scoring very high so far, and she was very worried she would not be able to cut it in college having been homeschooled. Now, she is completely confident because she is seeing she was very well prepared. All the writing and narration in HOD and the organization she learned in how to study really helped her. And by the way, she keeps on coming home and telling me that she has yet to read a story for her English course that was not covered in HOD. So, I’d say that is a big plus in the choosing of material within HOD.

My daughter initially struggled with choosing a major, but we think the spiritual content in Heart of Dakota helped her with that!

I want to also say that she struggled with choosing a major. I think HOD and the spiritual content helped her there as well. She ended up picking something completely different than she was thinking. But, I can see it is definitely a full circle God thing. She is going to get a degree in Christian counseling and specialize in the area of adoption. As she was adopted herself, I think HOD helped her to have more of a mission focus along the way. She has big goals and plans to go on to the PhD level, so apparently HOD gave her a love for learning.

I am a mom of six, and I’m so glad HOD teaches children how to learn to be independent!

Ok, having said all that, I am a mom of six, and we have had a lot of tragedy during our homeschooling years. I would say I am really a very average and somewhat easily distracted teacher. A lot of her schooling was very independent. But, isn’t it great we can choose a curriculum that really teaches them how to learn and be independent?!? Ultimately, that is the goal. Thank you Carrie, Julie, and Mike for all of your help along the way. Next year, I have three more graduating with HOD. It’s good to know it really was enough, and they really are prepared for the real world.

Sincerely,

“Ms. Thank You Heart of Dakota for Preparing My Daughter for College”

Dear “Ms. Thank You Heart of Dakota for Preparing My Daughter for College,”

It was wonderful to hear an update on your kiddos and so encouraging to read about your oldest daughter’s experiences – coming from an HOD background as she headed into college. As homeschool moms, we want to be sure that we are preparing our kiddos the best that we can for what lies ahead, and that burden can feel heavy at times!

We celebrate with you, and we thank you for sharing your story!

It helps to hear stories from moms who have finished the homeschool journey as you have with your oldest daughter. We celebrate with you in that accomplishment!! I know that you have more kiddos to go yet, and I pray the Lord will walk with you and uplift you as you travel the homeschool road. I’m so glad to “see” you again! It seems like yesterday I was talking to you on the phone about putting your older kiddos in Bigger Hearts!! I also remember the blessing of meeting you at convention. Oh my! I often wonder where the years go. Thank you for taking the time to post an update to encourage all of us!

Blessings,
Carrie

Nervous About Homeschooling in High School to Be Ready for College

Dear Carrie

I love Heart of Dakota and am excited by what I see is to come each year as we progress!  I especially see much progress now that I have each of my students placed properly, which is exciting to me! However, when I look far ahead, I get nervous about homeschooling in high school so my students are ready for college. So, how does HOD prepare students for college? How does HOD high school take a student from simply doing what is planned to being able to take a syllabus and knowing how to complete work more independently?  Thanks in advance for taking time to calm my nerves about homeschooling in high school!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Nervous About Homeschooling in High School”

Dear “Ms. Nervous About Homeschooling in High School,”

This is such an important topic that is near and dear to my heart!  Many truly amazing homeschool moms feel they cannot homeschool through high school.  Let me put your fears to rest! You can, and Heart of Dakota can be your best help!  I’ll begin by sharing that at HOD it is definitely our desire to prepare kiddos as best as possible for college, should the Lord lay it upon their hearts to go. Our guides are written to help students earn needed credits expected by most colleges.

More Than Enough Credits

We take a 4 x 4 +2 approach to this by including more than 4 social sciences (i.e. geography, world history, two years of American history, government, economics), 4 years of English/composition, 4 years of math, 4 years of science with lab, and 2 years of foreign language. We also include 4 years of Bible and additional courses beyond that such as Health, Fine Arts, Logic, World Religions and Cultures, Speech, etc. This is our first step toward making sure students are adequately prepared for what lies ahead.

Plans encourage independence, initiative, responsibility, and time management.

Students gain independence in a variety of skills as they move through the HOD Guides. They must accomplish a wide range of tasks each day with minimal supervision. Getting behind has its natural consequences as the work load continues to move forward daily. The guide does not adjust itself for students who are not completing their work on time. So, the plans set goals for the day, and the students must figure out how to meet them. Simply telling students what to do does not equate to students doing it! Instead, completing assignments on time requires initiative, planning, time management, diligence, and follow-through (all essential college skills). Consider that the HOD guide’s directions are a training ground where students learn essential skills needed for success in life!

Reading and writing skills are rigorous and train students well for college requirements.

Another area in which HOD shines is in its level of required reading and writing each day. The guides are rigorous in their expectations in these two areas.  So, students can readily do the two most common portions of any college level class. They can readily read and write, manage their time well, and independently incrementally complete work!  Having these skills intact helps students have an easier transition into meeting college requirements.

Deep thinking is encouraged as well.

Our guides also require students to think deeply about a variety of areas, often foregoing the easy route and opting for assignments that require higher level thinking which must be put into words. Years of oral and written narration practice prepare kiddos to put thoughts from their mind into words and/or onto paper cohesively and creatively.

Long-term projects help students learn to budget their time over multiple days and weeks.

This brings us to the question of long-term projects and their place within the curriculum. I do believe that long-term projects are good as students learn to budget their time over multiple days and weeks. As such, we have included projects in every guide leading up to the high school guides, spreading one project over a week or longer in each guide. Drawn into the Heart of Reading also has projects at the end of each unit. We have included long-term projects in all of our high school guides as well.

College will be an adjustment, but our goal is to make that adjustment as seamless as possible.

College will certainly be an adjustment! But, our goal is to make that adjustment as seamless as possible. Two of my own sons are doing online courses for college right now. They have transitioned very well. My sons find college to be easier than their high school courses in some ways! Though they are both pursuing very different majors, they both use their time well! They quite naturally figure out how much to study each day, so they are prepared to finish on time.

I firmly believe HOD prepares kiddos for the needed skills required in college. Students who do the guides as written should find themselves able to adjust to the expectations college brings. I also believe that for students who do not go on to college, the well-rounded education received within HOD will help them all throughout life in whatever they pursue!

“Head” and “Heart” knowledge are both so important!

I cannot conclude without mentioning that the high school years are very important years for molding our students’ character, strengthening their faith, directing their attention to God’s Word, pouring their hearts into living as Christ desires, and seeking God’s will for their future. These are the goals that matter for eternity. This is why the HOD high school guides regularly address these heart issues. If we lose are children’s hearts in the pursuit of academics, what have we gained? Head knowledge does not equate to heart knowledge. So, we must address both! This was a priority from start to finish in writing our guides.  I pray our graduates are strong in both ‘head’ and ‘heart’ knowledge, all to the glory of the Lord!

Blessings,
Carrie

P.S.  To read about some of our graduates who have been featured in our Heart of Dakota Graduate Spotlight, click on the links below and arrow down in the link to read about…

Garret

Gabrielle

Tanner and Taylor

Wyatt

Isaac and Eva