Setting Up for Creation to Christ

From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for Creation to Christ

So, I’ve placed my children, had my Heart of Dakota  ‘box day,’ and am setting up for Creation to Christ (CTC). My first step is to read through CTC‘s Introduction, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. This helps me envision my year and understand what my guide covers. As each Introduction includes options (i.e. one large binder or several smaller binders, etc.), I like to note my chosen options in the margin of the Introduction. This way, I can easily make my shopping list later based on my notes. Likewise, it is important to read through the beginning pages and “Getting Started” section in the Appendix  of Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR).

Setting Up the Front of My CTC Binder

First, I make a color photocopy of my CTC cover and insert it in my binder. If you don’t have a color copier, black and white looks nice too! Second, I print the Introduction of the guide off the Internet (click here). I use the Table of Contents as my attendance record, noting the dates we completed each unit (i.e. Unit 1:  Sept. 2-6, 2019). Third, I print the first week of plans (click here), which is a nice overview. If your state requires a completed portfolio for meeting with a principal or umbrella school, the Introduction and first week of plans give an excellent overview of what is covered. (Carrie gives permission for the Introduction and First Week of Plans to be printed or copied for portfolio compilation. However, any other photocopies or retyping of plans would be a copyright infringement.)

Label History, Geography, and Science Tab Dividers 

Next, I label tab dividers for my binder. My goals are to show what my child did and how he progressed in skills. So, I label my first tab “HISTORY.” Behind this tab, I place CTC‘s history notebook pages inside clear page protectors. If I have an older child who is using the history extensions, I place any completed 2-3 paragraph summaries or pictures with one paragraph summaries here as well. Next, I label my second tab “GEOGRAPHY.” I place any of my child’s completed A Child’s Geography Vol. II: Explore the Holy Land travel logs or mapping assignments here. Then, I label my third tab “SCIENCE.” Here, I place my child’s completed science notebooking assignments and lab sheets. If I chose to use loose leaf notebook paper for the Day 3 science questions and answers, I place those here as well.

Label Language Arts and Math Tab Dividers

Next, I label my fourth tab “LANGUAGE ARTS.” For DITHOR, I either choose some completed workbook pages to include, or I just keep his entire student book. Likewise, for the cursive workbook (if my child was doing cursive this year because it was not done previously), for the R & S English 4 or 5 written work, and for the spelling/dictation written work, I either choose a handful of completed pages for the binder, or I just keep the entire workbook and notebook(s). For Write with the Best, I either would include samples of my child’s prewriting, first drafts, and final drafts in order for each writing piece, or I would just keep his entire notebook. I label my fifth tab “MATH” and include any completed math workbook pages, or I just keep the entire workbook.

Options for the Poetry Study’s Watercolor Paintings

One very special part of CTC is the poetry study, which includes children responding to Robert Frost’s poetry by creating lovely watercolor paintings. There are many options for storing these special paintings. One option would be to label another sixth tab “POETRY.” If I chose this option, I would simply place my child’s completed watercolor paintings here, in page protectors if they fit (depending on the size of paper chosen). Or for another option, I might have my child make a special folder by stapling 2 pieces of 12 x 18 construction paper together, decorating them, and sliding his completed paintings carefully inside. Another possibility would be to have my child make a cover for his watercolor paintings and have them bound as a special booklet somewhere. Finally, yet another possibility would be to purchase a special art case to hold/display the paintings.

Things Either to Do at the Start Or to Do As They Come Up in the Plans

If I want to use photocopies of DICTATION instead of the Appendix, I photocopy the passages. I also label a lined composition notebook ‘DICTATION.’ For SCIENCE, I photocopy 37 (nice to have a few extra) Science Lab sheets from the Appendix and put them in a folder. For GEOGRAPHY, I either print the maps and some travel log choices, or I do this as it comes up in the plans. (Personally, I like for my child to have a say in which travel log template he prefers each time, so I usually print these as they come up in the plans.)

Other Things to Do

For the written work in English GRAMMAR, I label a lined composition book or notebook ‘GRAMMAR.’ For the Day 3 SCIENCE questions, I label a lined composition book or notebook ‘SCIENCE QUESTIONS, unless I chose loose leaf paper instead. For MATH, I choose to either have my child write directly in the textbooks/workbooks, to use loose-leaf paper, or to use a lined notebook. If I chose a lined notebook, I label it ‘MATH.’ Finally, I choose a special lined and bound book for my child’s COMMON PLACE BOOK, which is described in the Bible Quiet Time section of CTC’s Introduction. Personally, if my child didn’t use all of the pages of his Common Place Book from the year before in PHFHG, I have him finish that one out first. However, if you didn’t do PHFHG, or if you prefer for your child to have a separate Common Place Book for each guide, a new one works great too!

Setting Up for Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR)

You can either set up DITHOR at the start or do it as you move through the plans. If I do this at the startI fill out the DITHOR 4/5 Student Book “Reading Calendar.” Using HOD’s “Optional Book Recommendations,” I fill in the page numbers to be read each day. For example, if my son is using the DITHOR Level 3 Book Pack, I see ‘5 days’ next to Biography: Louis Braille. So, I divide the total number of pages or chapters in Louis Braille by 5. As there are 10 chapters, I just write “Ch. 1-2” on ‘Day 1’ of the Reading Calendar, “Ch. 3-4” on ‘Day 2,’ and so on.

Then, as I see ’10 days’ next to Biography: Alexander Hamilton, I divide the total number of pages by 10. As there are 114 total pages in Alexander Hamilton, I divide 114 by 10 and fill in the reading calendar for about 11 pages a day. I might do this for each genre or just the first one. Also, I might choose my first genre kickoff in my DITHOR Teacher’s Guide.

Label Sticky Tabs to Mark Places in the CTC Guide

Next, I label sticky tabs to mark places in my guide. I label the first tab “DAILY PLANS,” placing it on Unit 1, Day 1. Then, I label the next tabs “DICTATION,” “POETRY,” and “MATH,” placing them in the Appendix.  Likewise, if my child is using the extensions, I label another tab “EXTENSIONS.” If I am photocopying the Science Lab sheet as it comes up in the plans, I label another tab “SCIENCE LAB.” Finally, for DITHOR, I label 2 tabs “DAILY PLANS,” placing one in the teacher’s guide and one in the student book.

Special Items for Creation to Christ

There are a few special items needed for CTC. By this time I already know which items I’ll need, because I wrote them in the margin of my Introduction earlier. Some things I’ve noted are a world map or globe, and a children’s Bible. I also noted I’d use Wikipedia for the history research, but if you are not using Wikipedia, you’d need one or more comprehensive history encyclopedias. Another note I had in my margin was a Bible dictionary would also be helpful, but not necessary. One area that has special items in CTC is the poetry watercolor paining supplies. I just use the list from the Introduction to gather these supplies. Many are available inexpensively at Miller Pads and Papers, or even at Walmart. I also had noted in the Introduction for science that we’d make our own 3 booklets. However, you might have chosen to purchase a hardbound nature journal.

Teacher and Student Narrations Skills’ Lists

One final thing I liked to do is make a photocopy of the Narration Tips: Teacher’s List, How to Narrate: Student’s List, Written Narration Skills: Teacher’s List, and/or Written Narration Skills: Student’s List.  Carrie does give permission to photocopy these. I keep the teacher’s list for me to reference and the student’s list for my child to reference. However, you can always just put another tab in your CTC guide and label it “NARRATION TIPS,” if you’d rather.

Shopping for Supplies

Carrie’s plans use readily available household supplies, and many options are suggested. For example, the plans may call for either a bean bag and a basket, or a rolled up pair of socks and a plastic bin. I just skim the History Project and Science plans every month or so, to look for the one-off supply. However, to get ready to begin CTC, I just stock up on usual art supplies, like crayons, markers, glue (sticks and liquid), scissors, construction paper, tissue paper (colored), tape (masking and clear), a ruler, a yardstick, playdough/modeling clay, paints/paintbrushes, cotton balls, yarn/string, etc. I also stock up on index cards, page protectors, and a few catalogs. Finally, I’ve found a flashlight, deck of cards, CD player (Philippians 2 CD), bouncy ball, paperclips, paper plates, food coloring, marker board with dry erase markers, and q-tips/toothpicks are also nice to have on hand.

Sorting Resources into “Things We Need Now” and “Things We Need Later” Bins or Totes

One of the last things I do is get two canvas bins.  I use one for ‘things we need now’ and the other for ‘things we need later.’ As I read through each box of my first week of CTC’s plans, I put each needed resource in the bin  for ‘things we need now.’ I put the remaining items in the bin for ‘things we need later.’ Throughout the year as we finish using resources, I put them in the back of the ‘things we need later’ bin, and I move the next books or resources we need into the ‘things we need now’ bin or tub. This way, my ‘things we need now’ bin only contains what we need for each week. Another benefit is the ‘things we need now’ are always mobile! Likewise, I put many art supplies in a tool turnabout, so these are mobile too!

In Closing

As you can see, the steps you take to set up will vary based on your personal preferences. I’m writing this post so the end result is a lovely 3-ring binder portfolio with tabs alongside any completed notebooks, workbooks, and journals. This will be a wonderful way to show what your child has done! However, there are many options. For example, instead of one large binder,  I sometimes choose several small 1 or 2 inch binders (i.e. one for history, one for science, etc.). Or, I sometimes buy one big 4-subject tabbed notebook, and label the sections DICTATION, GRAMMAR, SCIENCE, and MATH. Usually, I base this on my child. If he prefers several small binders or notebooks, we do that. Or, if he prefers just one large binder and notebook, we do that. So, by all means, set up your year how YOU’D like!

In Christ,
Julie

 

Setting Up for Preparing Hearts for His Glory

From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for Preparing Hearts for His Glory

So, I’ve placed my children, had my Heart of Dakota  ‘box day,’ and am setting up for Preparing Hearts for His Glory (PHFHG). My first step is to read through PHFHG‘s Introduction, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. This helps me envision my year and understand what my guide covers. As each Introduction includes options (i.e. one large binder or several smaller binders, etc.), I like to note my chosen options in the margin of the Introduction. This way, I can easily make my shopping list later based on my notes. Likewise, it is important to read through the beginning pages and “Getting Started” section in the Appendix  of Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR).

Setting Up the Front of My PHFHG Binder

First, I make a color photocopy of my PHFHG cover and insert it in my binder. If you don’t have a color copier, black and white looks nice too! Second, I print the Introduction of the guide off the Internet (click here). I use the Table of Contents as my attendance record, noting the dates we completed each unit (i.e. Unit 1:  Sept. 2-6, 2019). Third, I print the first week of plans (click here), which is a nice overview. If your state requires a completed portfolio for meeting with a principal or umbrella school, the Introduction and first week of plans give an excellent overview of what is covered. (Carrie gives permission for the Introduction and First Week of Plans to be printed or copied for portfolio compilation. However, any other photocopies or retyping of plans would be a copyright infringement.)

Label History, History Projects, and Science Tab Dividers 

Next, I label tab dividers for my binder. My goals are to show what my child did and how he progressed in skills. So, I label my first tab “HISTORY.” Behind this tab, I place my child’s completed history written narrations (from the Reading About History box of plans), as well as my child’s completed Draw and Write Through History assignments (from the Independent History Study box of plans). If I have an older child who is using the history extensions, I place any completed 2-3 paragraph summaries or pictures with one paragraph summaries here as well. Next, I label my second tab “HISTORY PROJECTS.” I place any of my child’s history projects that happen to be flat here. Then, I label my third tab “SCIENCE.” Here, I place my child’s completed science notebooking assignments and lab sheets.

Label Language Arts and Math Tab Dividers

Next, I label my fourth tab “LANGUAGE ARTS.” I place any completed assignments from Poetry Day 2’s creative writing lessons here. If my child did DITHOR, I either choose some completed workbook pages to include, or I just keep his entire DITHOR 4/5 Student Book. Likewise, for the cursive workbook (if my child is doing cursive this year instead of last year), for the R & S English 3 or 4 written work, and for the spelling/dictation written work, I either choose a handful of completed pages for the binder, or I just keep the entire workbook and notebook(s). Finally, I label my fifth tab “MATH” and include any completed math workbook pages, or I just keep the entire workbook.

Things Either to Do at the Start Or to Do As They Come Up in the Plans

If I want to use photocopies of DICTATION instead of the Appendix, I photocopy the passages. I also label a wide-lined composition notebook ‘DICTATION.’ For VOCABULARY, I follow the directions on Unit 1, Day 2, of the daily plans to either get a composition notebook and label 2 pages for each letter of the alphabet, or get a card file with index cards and alphabetical tabs. I’ll need between 75 and 175 index cards, with the number of cards needed based on how many of the 3-5 weekly vocabulary words I choose to have my child do. For SCIENCE, I photocopy 37 (nice to have a few extra) Science Lab sheets from the Appendix and put them in a folder. For TIMELINE, I follow the directions on Unit 1, Day 4’s timeline plans to create prepare either for the accordion-style timeline or for the on-the-door timeline.

Other Things to Do

For the written work in English GRAMMAR, I label a lined composition book or notebook ‘GRAMMAR.’ For the Day 4 HISTORY written narrations, I choose either a lined notebook or loose-leaf paper.  If I chose a notebook, I label it ‘HISTORY WRITTEN NARRATIONS.’ Either way though, I include the written narrations in the binder behind the ‘history’ tab. For the Day 3 SCIENCE questions, I label a lined composition book or notebook ‘SCIENCE QUESTIONS. For MATH, I choose to either have my child write directly in the textbooks/workbooks, to use loose-leaf paper, or to use a lined notebook. If I chose a lined notebook, I label it ‘MATH.’ Finally, I choose a special lined and bound book for my child’s COMMON PLACE BOOK, which is described in Unit 1, Day 4’s Bible Study box.

Setting Up for Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR)

You can either set up DITHOR at the start or do it as you move through the plans. If I do this at the startI fill out the DITHOR 4/5 Student Book “Reading Calendar.” Using HOD’s “Optional Book Recommendations,” I fill in the page numbers to be read each day. For example, if my son is using the DITHOR Level 3 Book Pack, I see ‘5 days’ next to Biography: Louis Braille. So, I divide the total number of pages or chapters in Louis Braille by 5. As there are 10 chapters, I just write “Ch. 1-2” on ‘Day 1’ of the Reading Calendar, “Ch. 3-4” on ‘Day 2,’ and so on.

Then, as I see ’10 days’ next to Biography: Alexander Hamilton, I divide the total number of pages by 10. As there are 114 total pages in Alexander Hamilton, I divide 114 by 10 and fill in the reading calendar for about 11 pages a day. I might do this for each genre or just the first one. Also, I might choose my first genre kickoff in my DITHOR Teacher’s Guide.

Label Sticky Tabs to Mark Places in the PHFHG Guide

Next, I label sticky tabs to mark places in my guide. I label the first tab “DAILY PLANS,” placing it on Unit 1, Day 1. Then, I label the next tabs “DICTATION,” “POETRY,” and “MATH,” placing them in the Appendix.  Likewise, if my child is using the extensions, I label another tab “EXTENSIONS.” If I am photocopying the Science Lab sheet as it comes up in the plans, I label another tab “SCIENCE LAB.” Finally, for DITHOR, I label 2 tabs “DAILY PLANS,” placing one in the teacher’s guide and one in the student book.

Special Items for Preparing Hearts for His Glory

There are a few special items needed for PHFHG. By this time I already know which items I’ll need, because I wrote them in the margin of my Introduction earlier. Some things I’ve noted are a world map or globe, and a children’s Bible for Bible Study. I also noted a Webster’s dictionary for Vocabulary. One final thing I liked to do is make a photocopy of the Narration Tips: Teacher’s List, How to Narrate: Student’s List, Written Narration Skills: Teacher’s List, and/or Written Narration Skills: Student’s List.  Carrie does give permission to photocopy these. I keep the teacher’s list for me to reference and the student’s list for my child to reference. However, you can always just put another tab in your PHFHG guide and label it “NARRATION TIPS,” if you’d rather.

Shopping for Supplies

Carrie’s plans use readily available household supplies, and many options are suggested. For example, the plans may call for either a bean bag and a basket, or a rolled up pair of socks and a plastic bin. I just skim the History Project and Science plans every month or so, to look for the one-off supply. However, to get ready to begin PHFHG, I just stock up on usual art supplies, like crayons, markers, glue (sticks and liquid), scissors, construction paper, tissue paper (colored), tape (masking and clear), a ruler, a yardstick, playdough, paints/paintbrushes, cotton balls, yarn/string, etc. I also stock up on index cards, page protectors, and a few catalogs. Finally, I’ve found a flashlight, deck of cards, CD player (for Lead Me to the Rock), bouncy ball, paperclips, paper plates, food coloring, marker board with dry erase markers, and q-tips/toothpicks are also nice to have on hand.

Sorting Resources into “Things We Need Now” and “Things We Need Later” Bins or Totes

One of the last things I do is get two canvas bins.  I use one for ‘things we need now’ and the other for ‘things we need later.’ As I read through each box of my first week of PHFHG’s plans, I put each needed resource in the bin  for ‘things we need now.’ I put the remaining items in the bin for ‘things we need later.’ Throughout the year as we finish using resources, I put them in the back of the ‘things we need later’ bin, and I move the next books or resources we need into the ‘things we need now’ bin or tub. This way, my ‘things we need now’ bin only contains what we need for each week. Another benefit is the ‘things we need now’ are always mobile! Likewise, I put many art supplies in a tool turnabout, so these are mobile too!

In Closing

As you can see, the steps you take to set up will vary based on your personal preferences. I’m writing this post so the end result is a lovely 3-ring binder portfolio with tabs alongside a completed timeline, notebooks, workbooks, and/or card files. This will be a wonderful way to show what your child has done! However, there are many options. For example, instead of one large binder,  I sometimes choose several small 1 or 2 inch binders (i.e. one for history, one for science, etc.). Or, I sometimes buy one big 4-subject tabbed notebook, and label the sections GRAMMAR, HISTORY, SCIENCE, and MATH. Usually, I base this on my child. If he prefers several small binders or notebooks, we do that. Or, if he prefers just one large binder and notebook, we do that. So, by all means, set up your year how YOU’D like!

In Christ,
Julie

 

 

If I give dictation a try, how do I decide if it’s not working?

Dear Carrie

If I give dictation a try with my struggling speller, how do I decide if it’s not working?

Dear Carrie,

I need helping seeing the bigger picture. I’ve read so many rave reviews about Heart of Dakota‘s studied dictation, and I WANT to trust the process! My 5th grader is a great speller, and I will do level 5 dictation with him. But, my little one I’m not sure about. He’s been in school for the past 6 months, and he has an ‘A’ in spelling. He can study for the test and do fine. However, by the time he has to write the word in a sentence in a few weeks, he’s forgotten how to spell it. If I remember right, my older son really turned a corner in his spelling during 3rd grade. I’m holding out hope my youngest will show some real strides in spelling too. Anyway, if I give dictation a try, how do I decide if it isn’t working?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Give Dictation A Try”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Give Dictation A Try,”

There are so many terrific skills wound within studied dictation that I think it is definitely worth a try.  The kiddos have to capture the whole image of a sentence or a passage in their minds, looking at the sentence as a whole as well as capturing the individual words and their parts. This really trains kiddos in the habit of seeing correctly spelled words within the context of writing. This, after all, is the ultimate goal of learning to spell! We want kiddos to carry over their spelling to their writing. So, practicing spelling words within the context of writing sentences makes sense. This is one good reason to give dictation a try!

Studied dictation strengthens auditory skills, so give it a try!

Studied dictation also forces kiddos to strengthen auditory skills as they listen to the parent read the passage only once. The kiddos learn to listen for the purpose of repeating perfectly from a single reading. Prior to writing, they then repeat back what the parent said, which strengthens the skill of holding a phrase or sentence in the mind long enough to be able to repeat it back without error and then write it. This is one more reason to give dictation a try!

Studied dictation strengthens proofreading skills, so give it a try!

After writing the phrase or sentence, the kiddos then proofread their work before checking it against the model. This is a terrific way to form the habit of proofreading their written work! It truly makes good proofreaders out of kiddos over time. Last, they check their own work, training them in checking their work against a correctly written model. They become precise checkers with continual practice. This is yet another reason to give dictation a try!

Studied dictation helps students practice immediate correction, so give it a try!

When kiddos miss a passage, they mark any mistakes on the passage and immediately correct the mistakes on their own copy. So, yet another skill practiced is immediate correction.  The following day, when the child must repeat a passage, he/she pays much closer attention to whatever was missed the day before. This, in essence, finally causes the incorrect mental picture of a word in the mind to be rewritten or mentally corrected (replacing the old incorrect image with a new corrected image).  This is the mental work that must be done in order for a poor speller to fix his/her poor spelling habits. It is also something the good speller does naturally. This is still another reason to give dictation a try!

Studied dictation is one of my all-time favorite Charlotte Mason skill builders!

I must honestly admit that studied dictation is one of my all-time favorite CM skill builders. It has so many skills wound within a 5 minute lesson, and it pays such big dividends in so many ways in the long haul. With my oldest son, we began studied dictation as a third grader. He still did studied dictation in high school, but today he is an excellent speller, proofreader, and writer. He never completed a formal spelling program beyond grade 3.

Plan to give studied dictation at least a full year to see its fruit, so please do give it a try!

My second son has never had any formal spelling beyond what is in the HOD guides. He has also done studied dictation since grade 3. He is a terrific speller, proofreader, and writer as well.  My next 2 sons were not naturally great spellers or writers. However, I will tell you they both have made huge leaps in this area by using studied dictation. I will warn you that dictation is a slow burn. So, if you embark upon using this method, plan to give it at least a full year to begin to see the fruit. Once you do though, I think you will really be pleased! So, please, do give dictation a try! I think you will be glad you did!

Blessings,
Carrie

Setting Up for Bigger Hearts for His Glory

From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for Bigger Hearts for His Glory

So, I’ve placed my children, had my Heart of Dakotabox day,‘ and am setting up for Bigger Hearts (Bigger). My first step is to read through Bigger’s Introduction, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. This helps me envision my year and understand what my guide covers. As each Introduction includes options (i.e. one large binder or several smaller binders, etc.), I like to note my chosen options in the margin of the Introduction. This way, I can easily make my shopping list later based on my notes. Likewise, it is important to read through the beginning pages and “Getting Started” section in the Appendix  of Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR). Finally, reading the Introduction of Italic D or Cheerful Cursive also offers much insight!

Setting Up the Front of My “Bigger Hearts for His Glory” Binder

First, I make a color photocopy of my Bigger cover and insert it in my binder. If you don’t have a color copier, black and white looks nice too! Second, I print the Introduction of the guide off the Internet (click here). I use the Table of Contents as my attendance record, noting the dates we completed each unit (i.e. Unit 1:  Sept. 2-6, 2019). Third, I print the first week of plans (click here), which is a nice overview. If your state requires a completed portfolio for meeting with a principal or umbrella school, the Introduction and first week of plans give an excellent overview of what is covered. (Carrie gives permission for the Introduction and First Week of Plans to be printed or copied for portfolio compilation. However, any other photocopies or retyping of plans would be a copyright infringement.)

Label History Notebook, Timeline, History Activities, and Poetry Tab Dividers 

Next, I label tab dividers for my binder. My goals are to show what my child did and how he progressed in skills. So, I label my first tab “HISTORY NOTEBOOK.” Behind this tab, I place Bigger Heart’s history notebook pages inside page protectors. Next, I label my second tab “TIMELINE.” I place my child’s Bigger Heart’s timeline (when completed) behind this tab. Then, I label my third tab “HISTORY ACTIVITIES.” I place any of my child’s history-themed art projects, history activities, or geography activities that happen to be flat here. Next, I label my fourth tab “POETRY.” I place any written assignments from Poetry Day 4’s poetic devices’ activities here. If my child copied and decorated the poems instead of doing cursive, I also place the copied poems here. (If my child would enjoy it, I have him make a special cover for his poetry booklet.)

Label Language Arts, Science, Math, and Extensions Tab Dividers

I label my fifth tab “LANGUAGE ARTS.” Here, I put my child’s Storytime written work, bookmarks, and typed narrations. If my child did DITHOR, I either choose some completed workbook pages to include, or I just keep his entire DITHOR 2/3 Student Book. Likewise, for the cursive workbook, for the R & S English 2 or 3 written work, and for the spelling/dictation written work, I either choose a handful of completed pages for the binder, or I just keep the entire workbook and notebook(s). Next, I label my sixth tab “SCIENCE.” I place my child’s completed science notebooking and written experiments here. Then, I label my sixth tab “MATH”and include any completed math activity pages or worksheets. Finally, if my child is doing the extensions, I label my seventh tab “EXTENSIONS.” I place my child’s paragraph summaries and completed pictures/captions here.

Extra Tab(s) for Those Who Take Pictures and Actually Print Them

If you take pictures and also print them, you can include another tab called “HANDS-ON.” Behind this tab, place printed action photos of hands-on activities. Things like Geography Activities, History Activities, Science Exploration experiments, Bible Study gross motor skills activities, DITHOR kickoffs or final projects, Math hands-on lessons, and/or the hymn study singing can be included. Or, you can label the tab “OTHER” and put pictures of anything special, like you reading the history, hymn study, or devotional to your child. However, ask me how many times I have gotten that done in three trips through Bigger? Zero. So, if you don’t get this done, no worries! I DO have many pictures taken, and I DID have them on a slideshow in a photoframe for awhile. So, if you don’t have the time, don’t do this. Your binder without any of these extras will still be amazing!

Spelling/Dictation Things to Either Do at the Start or to Do As They Come Up in the Plans

If I want to do everything at the start, using the Appendix for SPELLING, I write the spelling words one at a time in a black Sharpie on white index cards. I jot the unit number in the top right corner of the first card, put a colored index card or divider between each set, and place them in a recipe box. (Otherwise, this is an easy thing to do each week, and to start you can just do the first week!) If my child is doing DICTATION and I want to use photocopies of dictation instead of the Appendix, I photocopy the passages. For only Level 2, I cut these out and glued them to index cards, so my child could focus on just the day’s passage.  However, this is just a personal preference, and not a ‘have-to’! I also label a wide-lined composition notebook ‘DICTATION.’

Bible Memory Work and Vocabulary Work Things to Either Do at the Start or to Do As They Come Up in the Plans

For BIBLE MEMORY WORK, I either hole-punch 35-40 index cards and put them on a metal ring, or I get a small 3-ring binder and index cards. For VOCABULARY, I follow the directions on Unit 1, Day 3, of the daily plans to either get a composition notebook and label 2 pages for each letter of the alphabet, or get a card file with index cards and alphabetical tabs. I’ll need between 35 and 105 index cards, with the number of cards needed based on how many of the 1-3 weekly vocabulary words I choose to have my child do.

Copywork, Grammar, Storytime, and Math Things to Either Do at the Start or to Do As They Come Up in the Plans

For COPYWORK, I choose either a lined notebook or loose-leaf paper and a binder.  If I chose a notebook, I label it ‘COPYWORK.’  Next, for English GRAMMAR, I choose either a lined notebook or loose-leaf paper and a binder.  If I chose a notebook, I label it ‘GRAMMAR.’ For STORYTIME, I label a sticky tab or jot in the Storytime box of plans how many chapters or pages to read each day (i.e. if my Biography Storytime book has 100 pages, according to Day 1’s Storytime plans, I divide 100 by 20 days of reading, and make a note to read about 5 pages a day). The last choice I need to make is for MATH. I can choose for my child to write directly in the textbooks/workbooks, to use loose-leaf paper, or to use a lined notebook.  Again, if I chose a lined notebook, I label it ‘MATH.’

Setting Up for Drawn into the Heart of Reading

If your child is using DITHOR, you can either set this up at the start or do it as you move through the plans. If I do this at the startI fill out the DITHOR 2/3 Student Book “Reading Calendar.” Using HOD’s “Optional Book Recommendations,” I fill in the page numbers to be read each day. For example, if my son is using the DITHOR Level 2 Book Pack, I see ’15 days’ next to Biography: Amelia Earhart. So, I divide the total number of pages or chapters in Amelia Earhart by 15. As there are 15 chapters, I just write “Ch. 1” on ‘Day 1’ of the Reading Calendar, “Ch. 2” on ‘Day 2,’ and so on. I might do this for each genre or just the first one to start. Also, I might choose my first genre kickoff in my DITHOR Teacher’s Guide.

Label Sticky Tabs to Mark Places in the Bigger Guide

Next, I label sticky tabs to mark places in my guide. I label the first tab “DAILY PLANS,” placing it on Unit 1, Day 1. Then, I label the next tabs “SPELLING” or “DICTATION” and “POETRY,” placing them in the Appendix.  If I’m using the Emerging Reader’s Set, I label another tab “ER SET” and put in the Appendix. Likewise, if I’m using the third grade math, I’d label another tab “MATH” for the Appendix. Or, if I’d rather not reference my Appendix, I’d just jot the third grade math page numbers in the “Math Exploration” box of plans.  If I’m using DITHOR, I label 2 tabs “DAILY PLANS,” placing one in the teacher’s guide and one in the student book. Likewise, if my child is using the extensions, I label another tab “EXTENSIONS.” Finally, if using the library for Storytime suggestions in the Appendix, label another tab “STORYTIME.

Special Items for Bigger Hearts for His Glory

There are a few special items needed for Bigger. By this time I already know which items I’ll need, because I wrote them in the margin of my Introduction earlier. Some things I’ve noted are a world map or globe, and a U.S. map. I also noted a children’s Bible for Bible Study. Finally, I noted a Webster’s dictionary for Vocabulary. One final thing I like to do is make a photocopy of the Appendix’s “Narration Tips: Teacher’s List” and “How to Narrate: Student’s List.” Carrie does give permission to photocopy these. I keep the teacher’s list for me to reference and the student’s list for my child to reference. However, you can always just put another tab in your Bigger guide and label it “NARRATION TIPS,” if you’d rather.

Shopping for Supplies

Carrie’s plans use readily available household supplies, and many options are suggested. For example, the plans may call for either a bean bag and a basket, or a rolled up pair of socks and a plastic bin. I just skim the Art and Science plans every month or so, to look for the one-off supply. However, to get ready to begin Bigger, I just stock up on usual art supplies, like crayons, markers, glue (sticks and liquid), scissors, construction paper, tissue paper (colored), tape (masking and clear), a ruler, a yardstick, playdough, paints/paintbrushes, cotton balls, yarn/string, etc. I also stock up on index cards, page protectors, and a few catalogs. Finally, I’ve found a flashlight, deck of cards, CD player (for Hymns for a Kid’s Heart), bouncy ball, paperclips, paper plates, food coloring, marker board with dry erase markers, and q-tips/toothpicks are also nice to have on hand.

Sorting Resources into “Things We Need Now” and “Things We Need Later” Bins or Totes

One of the last things I do is get two canvas bins.  I use one for ‘things we need now’ and the other for ‘things we need later.’ As I read through each box of my first week of Bigger’s plans, I put each needed resource in the bin  for ‘things we need now.’ I put the remaining items in the bin for ‘things we need later.’ Throughout the year as we finish using resources, I put them in the back of the ‘things we need later’ bin, and I move the next books or resources we need into the ‘things we need now’ bin or tub. This way, my ‘things we need now’ bin only contains what we need for each week. Another benefit is the ‘things we need now’ are always mobile! Likewise, I put many art supplies in a tool turnabout, so these are mobile too!

In Closing

As you can see, the steps you take to set up will vary based on your personal preferences. I’m writing this post so the end result is a lovely 3-ring binder portfolio with tabs alongside completed notebooks, workbooks, and/or card files. This will be a wonderful way to show what your child has done, should you be asked to do so! It will also be a wonderful way to remember the precious time you spent in Bigger with your child/children! However, there are obviously many options. For example, instead of one large binder,  I sometimes choose several small 1 or 2 inch binders (i.e. one for history, one for science, one for the rest, etc.). Usually, I base this on my child. If he prefers several small binders, we do that. Or, if he can be better organized using (and having to keep track of) just one large binder, we do that. So remember, just have fun setting up your year how YOU’D like – either all at the start, or as you move through the guide!

In Christ,
Julie

 

How can I help my son write better narrations?

Dear Carrie

How can I help my son write better written narrations?

Dear Carrie,

We’re in Unit 12 of Heart of Dakota’s Resurrection to Reformation. My son is 13, new to written narrations, and not a writer. He just doesn’t seem to “get” it. Today he was writing conversations and all kinds of things that were in the chapter. I think he was copying them word for word. He also kept saying he didn’t know how to get enough sentences. I know I need to figure out how to tell him to be more “concise” and how to narrow it all down. For today, I’m going to read it myself and write my own narration the way *I* would do it. Maybe that will help him. He really dislikes to write and is just not good at it. So, I guess my question is, how can I help my son write better narrations? I think I just need tips on how a written narration should be.

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help My Son Write Better Written Narrations”

Dear “Ms. Please Help My Son Write Better Written Narrations,”

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Narration is a personal thing and is meant to be a reflection of what the child drew out from the reading. So, while you may be wanting a summary of the reading (unless it is specifically assigned as a summary narration), there are many different types of narrations, and all are acceptable.

Written narrations don’t need to be done in a certain way.

One thing that you do not want to do is to give him the impression that a written narration must be done a certain way. It will leave him even more uncertain and keep him trying to write the way you perceive that a narration should be done. This is no different than writing responses to please the teacher in the classroom and is something we definitely want to get away from doing in the home setting (especially when doing written narrations)!

Reading the “Written Narration Tips” and “A Few Notes on the Transition to Written Narrations” in RTR’s Appendix will help.

So, my first caution to you is to not make your son feel like he is doing it wrong! Accept his written responses. Be sure to go over the Written Narration Tips (Teacher’s List) in the Appendix. Then, go over his list right behind that. These really help in doing written narrations and will give him that sense of purpose you feel he is missing. Make sure to also read “A Few Notes on the Transition to Written Narrations” in the Appendix as well.

Written narrations may vary quite a bit from week to week.

Next, understand that his written narrations may vary quite a bit from week to week. For example, one week he may summarize more, the next week he may go into detail relating just one event that really struck him from the reading, the next week he may give you a detailed description of a person from the reading including dialogue, and the next week he may interject some opinion within the narration. All of these are acceptable!

Your son can think of narrating as telling back a movie he has seen to someone who has never seen it.

You can help him a bit by telling him to think about narrating as telling back a movie that he has seen to someone who has never seen it. Think how he would go about doing that and then apply that same strategy to narrating. Honestly, the more he orally narrates, the more shape his written narrations will take. It isn’t unusual when being new to written narrations to “try on” various styles and ways of doing it. This is what writers do, and it is how they eventually find their own style.

You can demonstrate the written narration process by having your son tell you what he remembers and writing the sentences as he says them.

To demonstrate the written narration process, you could have him tell you what he remembered right after reading and write the sentences as he says them (so he can see them appearing on paper coming right from his mind). This will help him see that it is truly just a retelling of what he is thinking, except on paper. Try not to have him look back so much at the text after reading, as this may jumble up what he recalls in his mind. Just go with what he can remember right away, so he doesn’t get bogged down including all of the facts and details. Later, he can move toward looking back over the text and including important things. This is a later narration stage. Just have him refer to the text for names and places or spellings for now.

Since your son is new to written narrations, he can just try to write a paragraph at first.

For now, since your son is new to written narrations, don’t worry about hitting the exact number of sentences. Just try to have him write a paragraph at first. Just keep encouraging your son that he needs to retell in his own words as much as possible what he remembered from the story. It’s alright if the sentences seem a bit disjointed for now as far as how they go together. Try to withhold judgment as to the narration’s content, but do follow the Written Narration Skills list in the Appendix to help him edit the narration.

As time passes, you will see improvement!

I want to encourage you that as time passes, you will see improvement. But, if you make this a teacher-pleaser assignment with one right way you are seeking, he will not come into his own as a narrator because you will have changed the assignment’s original intention. So, head to the Appendix right away for much needed help! It is there to encourage you in this endeavor! It’s good to know that we all go through this stage as we try to figure out what written narration looks like! You are not alone!

Blessings,
Carrie

P.S. If you are new to Heart of Dakota, click here to find out more about it!