Pacing of the World History Literature Plans

Dear Carrie

Can you explain the pacing of the World History literature plans?
We’ve enjoyed using Heart of Dakota for many years, and we are looking ahead to World History. From the past year, I’m assuming students do written narrations for the literature plans. However, I am wondering how often written narrations are scheduled? Looking at the online sample week, I see it isn’t scheduled. So, I am guessing it isn’t weekly. Also, about how much literature reading is scheduled on average each day? I’m just thinking ahead to next year, and I’m trying to figure out if my son will be able to handle the reading pace. I think he will be up to a little more challenge, but I’m not sure how much of a challenge. Maybe I will have to slow the pace down, so it’s not so much each day. Then again, I’m always surprised at how much he grows each year in HOD. I may totally be overthinking this!
Sincerely,
“Ms. Please Explain the Pacing of the World History Literature Plans”
Dear “Ms. Please Explain the Pacing of the World History Literature Plans,”

We are enjoying the World History (WH) Literature box this year in our own home! I know it is hard to tell from the first week of plans online how the literature in the WH Guide is set up. This is simply because the first week is a training week for the varying components in the literature box. So, I’d be glad to explain the pacing. On Days 1, 3, and 4 the pattern, I kept the pattern quite similar with the literature box broken up into “Introduce,” “Read and Annotate,” “Select,” and “Reflect.”

Days 1, 3, and 4:  Introduce, Read and Annotate, Select, and Reflect

“Introduce” gives a little background or something to watch for or think about in the day’s reading. “Read and Annotate” assigns pages to be read and expects the students to annotate as they read. Often one annotation is given to the kiddos to help them learn to annotate better and to key them into important nuances within the narrative. “Select” requires students to select a passage to copy in their Common Place Book. “Reflect” is a written Literature Journal style reflection based on the day’s reading with topics ranging from Biblical/life applications to literary themes/elements to character motives/descriptors to Scripture connections/Godly character traits, etc. There is quite a bit of flexibility built into the length of the students’ responses to the “Reflect” part of the plans.

Day 2: Oral or Written Narrations

On Day 2, I have students do either an oral narration or a written narration. I alternate these narration types by week, and I include some given topics from the reading on which to reflect as a part of the narration.

Plan about 45 minutes to 1 hour a day for Literature.

Typically, we plan for the Literature box to take students around 45 minutes to 1 hour a day. Of course, faster readers may be done sooner, and slower readers will take longer. Rod and Staff Grammar/Essentials in Writing alternate daily, taking an additional 30 minutes daily. Together these comprise the “English” credit and take about 1 hour 15 minutes (up to 1 hour 30 minutes) daily.

We worked to make the design and daily assignments of the literature plans meet college entrance requirements.

I planned the times for Literature in the World Geography guide to be similar to the times I’ve outlined above. Again, I realize variances in reading speed will effect the actual time literature takes daily. We have worked to make sure that the the design and daily assignments of our literature plans meet college preparatory requirements, encompass needed literary skills, include classic works that are worthy of being read, and challenge students appropriately for the high school level.

It helps to remember public school students’ time requirements.

When thinking how much time literature is taking daily in your high school student’s schedule, it helps to remember that students in the public school sector spend 50 minutes in literature class 5 days a week and often have additional reading in the evening. Many high school students also have a required summer reading list of classics, and they are expected to read “x” number of classics prior to school beginning. With these things in mind, along with the fact that students are doing school 4 days a week rather than 5 with Heart of Dakota, you can see how much time literature is expected to take daily from a typical high school perspective. Therefore, we try to keep these things in mind as we write.

I pray the literature plans may be a blessing to your family!

I pray that the literature in our high school guides may be a blessing to your family! It was very challenging and rewarding for me to write the literature portion of the World History guide’s plans, as it was a very time consuming type of reading/writing/planning. Yet, my son who is doing the WH guide this year says he really loves the literature part of his day, and I love the morals, values, thematic and Scriptural application, and just plain old great classics that this year of plans contains! So, happy reading to you and your son!

Blessings,
Carrie

A Menu of Quick-to-the-Table Themed Lunches and Easy Side Dishes

From Our House to Yours

A menu of quick-to-the table themed lunches and easy side dishes helps simplify our homeschooling life! In this Heart of Dakota series, we continue describing a ‘day in the life’ of using Resurrection to Reformation (RTR) and World History (WH). First, I shared our take on homework. Second, I shared our waking up to homeschool routine. Third, I shared our morning chores and breakfast routine.  Fourth, I shared how we rotate teacher-directed and independent blocks of time between breakfast and lunch. Today, I will share about how a planned menu of quick-to-the-table themed lunches and easy side dishes makes lunch a piece of cake!

Quick-to-the-Table Lunches That Follow a Theme

Through the past 17 years of homeschooling, I have found it is a huge help to have a set quick-to-the-table lunch menu. Some years I have had just 5 quick meal options planned, one for each day Monday through Friday. However, other years I have had a variety of quick-to-the-table meals. This year I planned a theme for each day with several quick-to-the-table meal options. As a result, I have some choice in what I make, but I also have a planned menu. For example, Mondays are chicken, Tuesdays are sandwiches, Thursdays are beef, and Fridays are (mainly) soups. On the other hand, Wednesdays are for whatever didn’t fit neatly into a theme. No matter what, each item on the lunch menu must be easy to make and quick-to-the-table.

Easy Side Dishes That Are the Same Each Day

I like variety for the main quick-to-the-table meals for lunch, but I feel just the opposite about side dishes. I find it simpler to keep the side dishes the same, offering just a few choices. Likewise, I make sure to choose quick and easy side dishes. So no matter what I make for the main meal for lunch, the daily side dishes stay pretty much the same. I put an “*” beside each easy side dish to show it is meant to be a part of the menu daily. If I do note a choice of easy side dishes, I put “or” between the two choices. In general, I try to choose quick-t0-the-table and easy side dishes that include fruits and vegetables. I also include healthy easy side dishes like yogurt and string cheese.

Benefits of Having a Set Lunch Menu

There are many benefits to having a set quick-to-the-table lunch menu. First, I know there will be a variety of balanced meals with different meats, fruits, and vegetables. Second, I know what to keep constant on my grocery list, so I can make the list quickly. Third, I can point to the menu when my children ask what is for lunch, but I can also give some main meal options. Fourth, my children can step in and make lunch themselves if need be. Fifth, I always have what I need on hand because some options are frozen or canned. Sixth, I cross off each main quick-to-the-table meal as I make it, so I know what we’re eating. Seventh, I can more easily plan my meals for dinner because I know what we’re having for lunch. Try planning your own quick-to-the-table lunch menu! See if you like it!

MON. TUES. WED. THURS. FRI.
Chicken Fries

Rotisserie Chicken

Salsa Chicken

*green beans

*yogurt parfait & granola or grapes

Tuna Sandwich

French Dips

Ham/Cheese Poppy Buns

Cold Ham Sandwiches

*Cheese stick or dill pickles

*carrot sticks, hummus

*cut apples

Mac & Cheese

Tuna Patties

All Beef Hot Dogs on Buns

*corn

*cheese stick

*applesauce cups or banana halves

Tacos

Nachos

Burgers

*carrot sticks, guac

*black beans or refried beans

*chips/salsa

Tomato Basil Soup

Chili Soup

Ravioli

*Mozzarella sticks

*green beans

* pears or mandarin oranges

In Christ,

Julie

Keeping a Charlotte Mason-Inspired Common Place Book

More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment

Keeping a Charlotte Mason-Inspired “Common Place Book” in Heart of Dakota

Charlotte Mason kept a Common Place Book herself, and she encouraged her students to do so too. Notable literary figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Charles Dickens, Thomas Jefferson, and Shakespeare enjoyed keeping their own “Common Place Books” by carefully copying passages from classic literature. According to Ms. Mason, if accomplished literary figures such as this would keep “Common Place Books,” why wouldn’t we do so too? While “Common placing” is first and foremost considered a Charlotte Mason teaching method, it has its roots in simply being a personal habit that intelligent people have enjoyed for hundreds of years. At Heart of Dakota, we help children develop their own personal habit of creating a Charlotte Mason-inspired Common Place Book. In fact, we hope to inspire them to do so for life!

The Benefits of Keeping Common Place Book

A Common Place Book is unique because it is a special notebook for collecting and recording quotes, Scriptures, thoughts, and phrases that have deeper meaning and personally speak to you. Selecting inspirational quotes and thoughts from living books helps children slow down their reading pace to be more thoughtful and intentional. It encourages their minds to act upon the material, rather than to race through it thoughtlessly. When children choose and write inspirational quotes or thoughts in a Common Place Book, they connect more deeply with what has been read. They remember it better, and it becomes special to them because they have recorded it in their special book. Often times, children return to their Common Place Book just to enjoy reading past entries.

Charlotte Mason’s Thoughts on Keeping a Common Place Book

It is very helpful to read with a commonplace book or reading-diary, in which to put down any striking thought in your author, or your own impression of the work, or of any part of it; but not summaries of facts. Such a diary, carefully kept through life, should be exceedingly interesting as containing the intellectual history of the writer; besides, we never forget the book that we have made extracts from, and of which we have taken the trouble to write a short review. -Charlotte Mason (Volume 5, p. 260)

How Heart of Dakota Helps Children Learn to Keep a Common Place Book

Heart of Dakota helps children learn to keep a Common Place Book starting in Preparing Hearts. We begin by describing the Common Place Book in the “Introduction” of each of our guides. Students also need a Common Place Book for their copywork. A Common Place Book is often a bound composition book with lined pages. It provides a common place to copy anything that is timeless, memorable, or worthy of rereading. It is for copying text and not for original writing. Bible verses, classic poetry, and passages from excellent literature with beautiful or vivid wording are often included. Students will add to the Common Place Book throughout the year.

The Progression of Keeping a Common Place Book in Heart of Dakota

In Heart of Dakota, a Common Place Book is typically a bound composition book. Students use this book to keep (in a “common place”) quotes, excerpts from literature, Scripture verses, poetry, etc. that are worthy of being recorded and reread over time. While we do have in mind the traditional Charlotte Mason definition of a “Common Place Book,” to begin with in Preparing Hearts, we “help” children get an idea of things that are enduring and worthy of being copied in the book by assigning entries for them to make in their books throughout the year. Then, in the guides that follow Preparing, they  gain the task of selecting their own entries to make in their Common Place Book.

Keeping a Common Place Book in High School

In high school, students continue keeping a Common Place Book, selecting quotes or passages that are meaningful to them from their classic literature for inclusion in their book. Charlotte Mason advocated this practice throughout high school, and we agree it is an excellent use of students’ time as they watch for notable quotes or passages as they read, select from among them, and accurately copy them into their book for later reference. By the time students finish Heart of Dakota, they will have created their own special Common Place Books as keepsakes of what most inspired them, piqued their interest, or struck them as worthy enough to grace the pages of their own personal book. Heart of Dakota makes keeping a Common Place Book easy, as it is a part of our daily plans. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

In Christ,

Julie

Waking Up to Teach Resurrection to Reformation and World History

From Our House to Yours

A ‘Day in the Life’ Waking Up to Teach Resurrection to Reformation and World History

Homeschooling with multiple Heart of Dakota guides looks different in different homes! However, as I’m asked about this often, I’m doing a series describing a ‘day in the life’ of our family using Resurrection to Reformation (RTR) and World History (WH). Since it is easier to describe my day in segments, I began with how our ‘day’ actually starts the night before with homework. In this post, I’ll continue on with our ‘day’ by describing waking up to teach RTR and WH. While your days might look different, I hope this will still give you some ideas how you could most enjoy your own homeschooling! Often times, just a change or two can make all the difference!

First Things First

I love waking up to do my women’s devotional! My sons know how much I love Joyce Meyer, so they gave me her book Trusting God as a gift for Christmas. It is just perfect for this time of life for me! I spend about 15-30 minutes reading and journaling about my devotional. When I was a mom of babies and toddlers, I spent 5-10 minutes on devotions. If the baby had a bad night, I didn’t get my devotions done. So, as I share I love this time, know that you may be in a different stage of life, and that is okay. However, also know, spending time with God each day first thing in the morning – even if it is for 5 minutes – will be the best time spent all day. If you miss it, try not to feel guilty all day, rather talk with God throughout your day. He will love that time you spend with Him too!

What are the kids doing while I am doing my devotional?

While I am doing my devotional, the kids are doing their independent work. We set a time to get up for each of them. This time is based on how much work they have, how much of a morning person they are, and how much they can do on their own. Once my children reach high school, they usually get up earlier. They have more work to do, so getting up earlier leaves more free time in the afternoons and evenings. This is the case with Riley, my 10th grader in World History. Though he is not as much of a morning person, he chooses to get up at 6 AM. My oldest son doing online college gets up to do Geometry with him. They came up with this plan. (Though I love math, I’m apparently not so patient at teaching it.) Then, Riley does Spanish and Literature Study. Emmett, my 6th grader in RTR, gets up at 7 and hits snooze. Then, he really gets up at 7:10 AM to do his Bible Quiet Time.

Where is everyone while doing this?

You may wonder where everyone is while they are doing all of this. Well, I am in my bedroom, doing my devotional, thoroughly enjoying my first cup of coffee. Riley is partly in his bedroom and partly downstairs at the dining room table – his choice. He has proven himself to be responsible. Emmett is in his bedroom. This helps him stay on task, as he is just down the hall from me.

My Meeting Time with Wyatt

At 7:15 AM, I start my first meeting time in my room. I actually begin with Wyatt, my college-aged son. Though I am not teaching him anymore, I still love to talk with him about his college and the day ahead. We stay connected this way. We make plans for the day together. Appointments, HOD work, errands, and activities get coordinated quickly, as we figure out who is driving where and when. This is an informal time where we share many things. It is precious time to me.

My First Teacher-Directed Meeting Time with Emmett

Around 7:30 AM, I start my first teacher-directed meeting time with Emmett. First, we correct his Bible Quiet Time Hidden Treasures workbook. I ask him if he said his prayer, practiced his Scripture memory work, and sang with his CD. Every 4th day of each unit, I have him say all of his Scripture memory work for me. Then, we do the top right rotating box. Two times a week this is his parent-led Bible Study of Boyhood and Beyond, From Boy to Man, and What Is God’s Design for My Body? (completed in the year in that order). Once a week we do the RTR Poetry Study. Finally, once a week we do the RTR Looking at Pictures Charlotte Mason-inspired picture study. These are perfect subjects to enjoy in our pj’s in the comfort and privacy of my room! I check off all work as we correct it in the RTR guide. Then, Emmett goes to his room to get ready and study his dictation.

My First Teacher-Directed Meeting Time with Riley

Around 7:50 AM, I start my first teacher-directed meeting time with Riley. First, we correct his Bible Study’s written work. He reads his answers aloud to me from The Most Important Thing…, while I look at the answer key. Then, he has the option to show me his prayer journal or ‘flash’ it if he wants to keep it private. Last, depending on the WH plans, he says his Bible memory work for me or I ask if he sang his Selah hymn. Next, we go through his Literature Study box. We go through the Introduction question(s), he flashes me his annotations, and shows me his Common Place Book. Then, I have him read aloud his literature journal response, while I check off each question in his WH guide as he addresses it. Next, we correct his Spanish. He reads aloud his workbook answers, while I follow along in the answer key. Last, we go through his Living Library literary analysis sheet. Riley then heads off to do his Biology and chores independently.

My Second Teacher-Directed Meeting Time with Emmett

Around 8:10 AM, I have gotten coffee #2! Emmett and I do his dictation in my room. He has already made his bed, showered, and studied for his dictation, so this goes fairly quickly. As soon as we finish his dictation, we check it off in his guide. Then, we look at his Independent History, Rotating History/Shakespeare, and Reading About History boxes. He has until around 9:10 AM to do these, and we number them 1, 2, 3 in the guide in the order he wants to do them. He does these downstairs at his desk or on the couch in the living room. From 9:10 to 9:30 AM, he does his  morning chores.

Exercise, Getting Ready, Praise Music, and Breakfast

As Wyatt, Riley, and Emmett are doing their independent work, getting ready for the day, and doing their chores, I have time to do things too! From around 8:20 to 8:50 AM, I exercise. Then from 8:50 to 9:10 AM, I get ready for the day and make breakfast. Around 9:10 AM, Emmett starts a Christian praise music playlist. About this time, everyone is on to their chores, and I’m getting breakfast to the table. I love this time!  Christian music playing, everyone doing their thing, and all of us working together to do our part. People are humming, whistling, singing – we are happy while we work. I think the praise music sets the tone. Our homeschool days are quite cheerful! Not perfect. We still get cranky sometimes. We might oversleep sometimes. But the majority of the days follow this plan. So, we start our days feeling ‘ahead’ in our homeschooling.

In Closing

If you have little ones, these ideas might not all work. Little ones are less predictable and less independent. However, they have much less time they are homeschooling too. So, there is not the need to be quite as planned nor to homeschool as early. If you have some older children, you may enjoy trying these ideas with them. I love starting our day with a plan that still has us in our pj’s and cheerfully spending time together. I’ve also found I like to plan time to correct things that have been completed in our morning meeting times. Hope this helps you see one way of approaching homeschooling in the morning!

In Christ,

Julie

How should I handle the English credit for MTMM for 9th grade?

Pondering Placement

Question: My daughter will do MTMM as a 9th grader. I have it all figured out, except how should I handle the English credit?

I’ve been mapping out my 12 year old’s progression through Heart of Dakota. She’s in Resurrection to Reformation now. I am confident using Missions to Modern Marvels for 9th grade, except for the English credit. My daughter reads on grade level, but she has to work extra hard to do so. Until this year, I have read all her history, science, and a read aloud to her, while she read mainly historical fiction novels to herself with questions. This year she is reading most of history herself, science by herself, and the DITHOR books herself! She has a hard time with step-by-step directions, which we are working on. She has been apathetic in the past, not caring and only doing j.u.s.t. what was required of her. I just wondered what my options for English credit for MTMM for 9th grade might be?  Thanks in advance!

Carrie’s Reply:

It sounds like your daughter is making good gains this year in RTR. Looking ahead to MTMM’s English credit, you have several good options. To earn English credit you would need to combine the Rod and Staff English level your student is doing (English 6 is scheduled in MTMM, but is very advanced so we typically use it for 8th graders), plus the composition scheduled in MTMM (which is Write with the Best II – and is definitely high school worthy), plus the literature you choose to do. If you desired to keep the guides intact coming up, you would do Drawn into the Heart of Reading for your literature portion. You could use either the level 7/8 book pack or choose harder selections of your own. Either would work for grade 9. Together the grammar/composition/literature would equal one English credit for grade 9.

Or, you could borrow the literature from the guide ahead for another option.

If you borrow the literature from the guide ahead, the only potential problem is you may at times need to borrow the full English credit. This would be to keep needed balance. For MTMM, you could either use the writing program as written and borrow just the literature from World Geography, or if the composition and grammar from World Geography seemed a better fit than the composition and grammar in MTMM, then you could borrow those from World Geography too.  The following year you would borrow the literature from World History. Depending on what you did for composition and grammar the previous year, we would then decide whether to also borrow the grammar and composition from World History or use what was scheduled in World Geography.

You will want to consider how much your daughter is used to reading on her own each day when you make this decision.

One thing that will make a difference in how you handle literature will be how well your student does in this area and whether she is used to reading quite a volume on her own each day. There is quite a difference in volume between what is read for Drawn into the Heart of Reading and what is read for literature in the World Geography guide.  There is also a difference in level of difficulty, vocabulary, and in the level of literary analysis. So, you have several good options for literature for high school English credit!  Either will be fine, so just choose the one that fits your daughter best!

Blessings,
Carrie

Follow-Up Response from Poster…

Thanks for helping me think this part through! I had two main reasons for switching to HOD. I fearfully decided to switch after 7 years with another curriculum. One was because my girls became very passive in their learning with our previous curriculum/style and the. The second reason was their relationship with the Lord. At 7-1/2 weeks in, I will say that both of my older daughters are not as passive, and they are engaging with the material more with HOD’s teaching! I was skeptical when seeing people rave about HOD, but now that we’ve dipped our feet in, I have become one that raves. Even if it is silently to myself, I am elated with how this is working for us. In fact, the girls beg me to switch totally over to HOD (which we will next year in Rev to Rev). Surprisingly, it’s not because it’s easier. On the contrary, it is much more challenging than before. It leads me to believe that the reason they want more is because they are interested and engaged. Bravo!!