Making the Five Love Languages a Part of Your Average Homeschool Day

From Our House to Yours

Hello fellow homeschool moms! If you’re too busy to read this post, try listening to the audio version of it by clicking on the link at the bottom!

The Five Love Languages

I bought both The Five Love Languages and The Five Love Languages of Children at a Christian book fair booth many years ago. These books by Gary Chapman teach that there are five love languages. These five love languages are words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, and gifts. The premises is that each adult or child has a preferred love language. In other words, each person has one more predominant way he/she feels loved. Each person also has one more predominant way he/she shows love to others. Ironically, this may be a different way than the way in which he/she feels loved. So, what does this have to do with Heart of Dakota and homeschooling? Well, let’s see!

Love Language #1:  Words of Affirmation

Does your child thrive when you speak words of affirmation? Well, sincere verbal compliments or kind words are easy to make part of your Heart of Dakota homeschool day! When your child finishes giving an oral narration, share what you loved best about it. On top of your child’s passed dictation passage, write “Terrific work!” When correcting your child’s creative writing story, jot some encouraging words in the margins about what you liked best. In your child’s Common Place Book, take a moment to write an encouraging comment. When discussing your child’s Bible Study, be sure to affirm how much you love your child and to share the Christian qualities you see blossoming in your child. If words of affirmation is not your own love language, remember Thessalonians 5:11 says: So encourage each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now. Give it a try!

Love Language #2:  Physical Touch

Does your child love to be hugged? Well, physical touch is easy to make a part of your Heart of Dakota day! As you begin your homeschool day, give your child a big hug! When reading aloud to your child, cuddle close together on the couch. If you are working through a tough math problem together, give your child a little neck or back rub to ease stress and provide encouragement. Every now and then, give your child’s shoulder a little squeeze of encouragement as you say “I love you!” Share a fuzzy blanket and a cup of hot cocoa as you go through your child’s completed independent work. If physical touch is not your own love language, remember I Peter 5:14 says: Give each other a kiss of Christian love when you meet. For your child’s sake, give it a try!

Love Language #3:  Quality Time

Does your child love to spend time with you and have your undivided attention? Well, quality time is easy to make a part of your Heart of Dakota day! Whenever you have “T” teacher-directed plans, give your child your undivided attention. Look your child in the eye, nod as you listen, share your thoughts, and be really present in that moment. Set up your day to have teaching blocks of time alone with your quality time-loving child. Then, be sure to spend that time together without distraction. Show your child how much you care by not taking phone calls, checking text messages, posting on Facebook, or giving that child’s quality time to another child. If quality time is not your own love language, remember Jesus said in Matthew 28:20: I will be with you always, even until the end of the age. And, give quality time a try!

Outdoor “recess” can become quality time with cousins too!
DITHOR Projects are great quality time opportunities for siblings too!
Science projects offer quality time chances for brothers too!
Love Language #4:  Acts of Service

Does your child love it when you show you care by performing acts of service? Well, acts of service are easy to make a part of your Heart of Dakota day! Any “T” teacher-directed or “S” semi-independent boxes of plans in your child’s guide are a great place to step in with some loving acts of service! For the “I” independent boxes of plans, you can help set out your child’s books, art supplies, or science experiment things. You can make your child a cup of hot cocoa for break time. Simply asking, “How can I help?” or “How can I make things better?” are great ways to see what acts of service would be most appreciated. If acts of service is not your own love language, remember I John 3:18: My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring. Give it a try!

Who doesn’t love being served hot cocoa?!?
Helping a little brother with school is an act of service too!

Love Language #5:  Gifts

Does your child love to receive gifts or little surprises? Well, this love language is easy to make a part of your Heart of Dakota day! “T” teacher-directed and “S” semi-independent plans help you offer the gift of your presence every day! Have a fun HOD ‘box day’ by wrapping your child’s books like a gift at the start of the year. Or, make a ‘treasure hunt’ with your child’s HOD books as the ‘treasures!’ Choose some inexpensive special art supplies (i.e. twistables) or school supplies (i.e. glitter) for your child to open as gifts throughout the year. Surprise your child with a special drink (i.e. bubble gum soda) or snack (i.e. caramel popcorn) during the homeschool day. Get a new dollar store candle to light during seat work.  Remember, James 1:17: Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows.

History Projects can be ‘gifts” when shared!
History-inspired meals can be shared ‘gifts’ too!
The dollar store is full of fun little surprise gifts!
The Lord cares so much about us showing love that He commands us to do so!

God made each of us His own special creation. We all feel loved and show love in different ways. Knowing how our children feel most loved and showing them we love them during our homeschool day is so important! The Lord cares deeply about us showing love to one another. In fact, He cares so deeply that He said in John 13:34-35: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.

Putting Love Languages into Practice

Knowing how each of my children feels loved is key. It saves time! Showing love in the way each of my children truly feels loved fills their ‘tank’ faster and longer than trying to show love in just the way(s) I feel loved. The love language a child prefers can change through the years. So, be ready to make a change if need be! When in doubt, I try to show each child each love language and see which one each seems to prefer. Being sincere and not judging a child for his/her preferred love language is crucial. Remember, there is no one right way to love or to be loved! On a side note, it never hurts to tell your children how YOU feel loved too! We don’t want to feel like showing love to us is a difficult task with an unknown target. Hope you have fun discovering how love languages can enhance your homeschool days!

Click the following link to listen to the audio version of this post!  If you have trouble finding the audio in the email version of this post, try copying and pasting the URL at the very bottom of the email in your browser!

In Christ,


Take Time Off to Refresh

Heart of Dakota Life

Hello fellow homeschool moms! If you’re too busy to read this post, try listening to the audio version of it by clicking on the link at the bottom!

Take Time Off to Refresh

Do you find you need some time off from homeschooling to refresh? “Refresh” means to give new strength or energy to, to reinvigorate. I do find I need time to refresh, and for me, this time off comes in the summer. I find if I don’t really focus on the fact that I am trying to “refresh,” I can quickly make my summer look just like my homeschool year. Then, the “refreshing” never truly happens, and I return to homeschooling weary. “Refreshing” is both an adjective and a verb. As we Heart of Dakota moms know from teaching R & S English to our children, in very basic terms, an adjective describes and a verb is an action. I think both are important to our success of taking time off to refresh!

A Closer Look at “Refreshing” As an Adjective and As a Verb

According to Merriam-Webster, the adjective “refreshing” means having a renewing effect on the state of the body or mind, and it is the opposite of wearying. Some synonyms for the adjective “refreshing” are rejuvenating, restorative, reviving, and revitalizing. Other words related to “refreshing” are strengthening, corrective, therapeutic, beneficial, healthy, wholesome, and helpful. As far as I can tell, those are all good reasons to making this a part of our plan as homeschool moms!

According to Merriam-Webster, the verb “refreshing” means to bring back to former condition or vigor. Some synonyms for the verb “refreshing” are recharging, recreating, renewing, reviving, and restoring. Some words relating to “refreshing” are making over, overhauling, reclaiming, reconditioning, redesigning, redoing, rehabilitating, remodeling, and replenishing.

What does the opposite of “refreshing” look like?

Well, now let’s take a look at what the opposite of “refreshing” looks like. Some antonyms for “refreshing” are deadening, debilitating, draining, exhausting, numbing, sapping, weakening, wearying, unhealthy, and unwholesome. Yikes!  Now, those are some things we definitely want to avoid!

When is the last time you took real time to refresh, and what did you do?

We can all see from these basic definitions, synonyms, and antonyms that this is important to do. So, when was the last time you took time off from homeschooling to refresh? And what did you do? Did you really stick to “refreshing,” or did you just turn that time off into a wearying time? What is refreshing to one person is not refreshing to another. Figuring out what really fills your tank is important.

A Few Things I Have Found to Be Refreshing

I love God’s creation, and I also love to exercise – not the kind of exercise that is over-the-top training for something special though. Being on-the-move in motion is more my kind of exercise! Listening to podcasts, like Joyce Meyer’s Everyday Living, is soul-filling to me. So, one of my very favorite things to do is walk in the morning down our beautiful country road, while listening to Joyce’s podcast. I also love Christian praise music, so starting my day with a favorite playlist and good strong coffee fills my soul! Another thing I truly love is an organization project. Put a label-maker and some clear tubs in my hand, and I am one happy person! Morning Bible devotions are special to me too! Right now, I am reading through the Everyday Life Bible in a year. Love it! So, try your hand at finding what is truly refreshing to you, and see what you discover!


Don’t forget, our children need time to refresh too!

As you go about taking time to refresh, remember, our children need time for this too! They need time to do things they love that are not school related. While our summer break can be a great time to do extra learning, I either forego the extra learning or pick one important thing to do. For example, multiplication fact practice, typing instruction, or one unit in DITHOR are things I have had our children do in the summer. However, the rest of the summer break is a time for our kiddos to refresh too.

I purposely don’t micromanage their days. Rather, I look at our summer break as a time for them to try their hand at structuring their free time. Oh, they do have jobs, and there is mowing, of course. I do have them work into their day outdoor time, free reading time, and free time to do things with each other. But, there is lots of free time to figure out what to do! I think this is actually a skill lacking in kiddos today. They don’t know what to do with their free time! They’re too used to their every moment being planned.

A Few Things Our Sons Have Found to Be Refreshing

Each of our sons refreshes in different ways, though some overlap. Two of our sons love to read! Each can often be found with book in hand reading. Another son loves to tinker in the garage. He took my label maker to town and organized his own shop area! Another remodels nerf guns and set up shop in the basement. Still another son ordered a basketball training program to work out each day. Two took up running on the treadmill. A different pair set up an epic worldwide Axis and Allies board game to play together all summer long. Another son loves riding his three-wheeler and mowing (yes, I did say mowing – what’s not to love about that?). Shore fishing is yet another special activity for one son, and the list goes on! So, have your kids try their hands at what they find refreshing! See what they discover!

In Christ,


Click on the play button below to listen to the audio version of this post! Hope you enjoy this!

Introducing…God’s Hand in Life’s Little Moments!

Heart of Dakota Tidbit:

Introducing…God’s Hand in Life’s Little Moments!

Did you know that Carrie’s sister Julie wrote a devotional especially to encourage homeschool moms? Each chapter has a theme and includes devotions encouraging you as a Christian woman, a wife, a mother, and a teacher! You can purchase it new and with free shipping at her personal eBay storefront here!

Circle Time: Is it worth the stress of adding it to HOD or not?

Dear Carrie

Circle Time: Is it worth the stress of adding it to HOD or not?

First of all, I want to say how incredibly grateful I am for Heart of Dakota (HOD). This is my first year homeschooling, and HOD makes things easy for me! The issue we’re having is not with Heart of Dakota; it is with circle time. I heard about circle time and thought it’d be fun to start my day with it, but some mornings it just isn’t! Since I have a 6 year-old, a 4 year-old, and a 2 year-old, I try to keep it short. We look at the calendar, do our memory verse, stretch, and sing songs. Some mornings my 6 year-old complains about different aspects of circle time, and my 4 year-old just chooses to challenge me on things. I’m wondering if it’s THAT important to keep doing circle time? Or, should I just start their HOD school right away instead? Circle time is stressing me out.


“Ms. Please Help Me Stop Stressing About Circle Time”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Stop Stressing About Circle Time,”

As homeschool mommas, it is important to choose our battles. With that in mind, I can see how getting a group of little ones together for activities that engage them across their varying levels could result in a battle of wills to get them to stay focused. We haven’t done circle time in our own homeschool for that very reason. Instead, I grouped a few activities from the HOD guide around lunch time for us to do together. You could do the same! These things could be Bible memory work, rhymes, poetry, music, or storytime. That worked better for us and kept us moving forward in our HOD guides with things that were already needing to be completed in the day. (I stopped doing this when my boys were older and when the ages of my boys began to vary more.)

The guides are complete, so there is no need to add more unless your heart truly desires it!

I want my kiddos to be fresh and excited for their school day when we begin. I want to keep my “battles” for their attention for the things that are really needed in each individual child’s school day. This will be different for different ages. Christian music at breakfast and prayer is a great way to start the day. Then, just jump in to the guides. The guides really are complete as written, so there is no need to add more (like circle time) unless your heart truly desires to do so!


Follow-Up reply from “Ms. Please Help Me Stop Stressing About Circle Time”:

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I don’t have much support for homeschooling, so to hear your take on things is priceless. For now, I think we’ll stop doing circle time. I like the idea that was mentioned of how your day should start “happy” and without the stress. The way our circle time is going, this isn’t always the case. I second guess myself a lot about homeschooling (I know I’m believing lies from the enemy), so this is really helping me to persevere. That’s what motherhood is about, right? Persevering and believing God for the reaping of fruit in His time!

‘Twas the Night Before Homeschooling – A Time Saving Tip

From Our House to Yours

‘Twas the Night Before Homeschooling – A Time Saving Tip

‘Twas the night before homeschooling, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring – not even a mouse! What does this have to do with your Heart of Dakota homeschooling and saving time? Well, the night before homeschooling provides the perfect opportunity to get ahead so you have more time to homeschool tomorrow! In today’s time saving tip, let’s see how ‘the night before’ can save you precious time the next day!

Prepping Breakfast the Night Before

In homeschooling, making breakfast is a daily occurrence. On our especially busy days, I like to prep breakfast the night before. One of my favorite recipes is overnight cinnamon rolls. At supper, I set the frozen dough out. Right before bed, I make these super simple cinnamon rolls. They rise overnight, and in the morning I pop these in the oven for 15 minutes and drizzle on some frosting. Voila! Breakfast is served! Overnight oatmeal and egg bakes save time too. Or, last night I just set out the nonperishable ingredients, measuring cups/spoons, and waffle maker for waffles. This morning, I could whip those waffles together in a snap! Setting the table the night before for breakfast the next day is another time saver. So, if you find you have more time at night than in the morning, try prepping your breakfast!

Setting Out Clothes the Night Before

If I know I have an especially busy day tomorrow, I set out my clothes the night before. I might even have my sons set out their clothes. When they were younger, they had trouble finding matching clothes. They would come downstairs to start homeschooling only to have to head back upstairs to change clothes so they matched (or so they had on clean clothes – boys need a little more help in this area). Setting their clothes out the night before helped save a lot of time in the morning! When they were tweens, I snapped pictures of sets of matching shorts and shirts. I hung these pictures in their closets. That way, they could check the pictures and be able to match their clothes themselves. This also saved time! (If you have a personal goal to try to exercise in the morning, setting out exercise clothes helps too!)

Showering or Bathing the Night Before

When I had babies or little children, I had an especially hard time getting to my shower in the mornings! Little ones wake up, and ‘homeschooling’ is ON! Moving my shower or bath to the night before helped save so much time the next day. Likewise, moving babies’ and little ones’ baths to the night before helps the next morning too. Finally, moving tweens’ and teens’ showers to the night before when a busy homeschool day is ahead helps. This need not be an every night occurrence, but if an especially busy day is ahead, it helps to move showering or bathing to the night before!

Setting Out Homeschool Books and Supplies the Night Before

For teenagers, setting out homeschool books and supplies the night before works well. I have a nephew (now graduated) who set out whatever he needed for the next homeschool day the night before. He had several blocks of work time, so he made several piles of books/resources. This saved much time as he moved from block to block of work time. He also said he liked how this helped him envision his homeschool day well. For little kiddos who have a work area you won’t be needing for something else in the morning, you can set up their things for them. (This won’t work if their work area is the kitchen table though!)

In Closing

If you find you have more time and energy at night, these ‘night before’ tips may save you some time the next day.  I have not done all of these all of the time I’ve homeschooled, but in certain stages of life, each tip has served me well. I hope some of these tips save you some time too!

In Christ,