Setting Up for Little Hearts for His Glory

From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for Little Hearts for His Glory

So, you’ve placed your child in LHFHG, enjoyed your HOD “box day”, and are ready to set up for the homechool year! Well, the first important step is to read through the LHFHG Introduction, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. Reading through these parts of the guide helps me envision our year. It also helps me note any special supplies I might want, based on the options given for me to choose from in the Introduction. I also think it is important to read the beginning pages of the phonics program and of the handwriting workbook. The instruction tips shared there are important to developing good habits. They also note any special preparation needed to begin. For example, Reading Made Easy’s beginning pages notes “Things to Do Ahead of Time,” and The Reading Lesson explains how to use the download in the instruction lesson.

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

First, I photocopy the cover of my LHFHG guide in color and insert it in my binder. If you don’t have a color copier, a black and white cover looks nice as well! Second, I print the Introduction of the guide off the Internet (click here). I use the Table of Contents that is part of the Introduction as my attendance record. Next to each ‘Unit,’ I write the dates we completed it (i.e. Unit 1:  Sept. 2-6, 2019). Third, I print the first week of plans (click here). This is just a nice overview. If your state requires you to turn in your student’s completed portfolio, printed pages or copies of the Introduction and first week of plans give an excellent overview of what is covered. Please note, Carrie gives permission for the Introduction and First Week of Plans to be printed or copied for portfolio compilation. However, any other photocopies (i.e. of daily plans) would be a copyright infringement.

Label Tab Dividers Inside My LHFHG Binder

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.” Anything my child did on the left Learning Through History part of the plans is placed here. Usually this includes lots of art projects, a few science projects, and a few decorated Bible verses. Next, I label my second tab “FINE MOTOR SKILLS.” I put completed Do It Carefully, Finding the Answers, and A Reason for Handwriting K pages here. (Note: this is based on what I chose for resources; your fine motor skills workbooks might be different.) Then, I label my third tab “LANGUAGE ARTS.” Here, I put Storytime written projects (from Day 4) and phonics worksheets (if my child did any). Last, I label my fourth tab “MATH”and put any completed math activity pages or worksheets here.

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

If you are a super mom who not only takes pictures but also prints them, you can include one more tab called “HANDS-ON LEARNING.” Behind this tab, you can place printed action photos of Rhymes in Motion, Science Experiments, Thinking Games, Dramatic Play, Bible Study activities, and/or the Corresponding Music singing. Or, you can label the tab “OTHER” and put pictures of anything special, like you reading the Bible, the devotional, the history/science books, or the Storytime books to your child. However, ask me how many times I have gotten that done in three trips through LHFHG? 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 extra tabs will still be amazing!

Label Sticky Tabs to Mark Places in the Guide

Next, I label sticky tabs to mark places in the LHFHG guide. I label the first sticky tab “DAILY PLANS,” placing it on Unit 1, Day 1. Then, I label the next tab “RHYMES IN MOTION,” placing it in the Appendix (back) of the guide. If you are using the first grade science option, I’d label another tab “SCIENCE” and place that in the Appendix. Likewise, if you are using the first grade math plans, I’d label another tab “MATH” and place that in the Appendix. Or, if you’d rather not reference your Appendix for the 1st grade science and math, I’d just jot the page numbers in the daily “Math Exploration” and “Science Discovery” boxes of plans instead. Finally, if you are planning on using your library for the optional additional literature in the Appendix, I’d label another tab “LITERATURE SUPPLEMENTS.” 

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. Art supplies are noted in bold print in the Artistic Expression daily plans. 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 LHFHG, I just stock up on usual art supplies, like crayons, markers, glue (sticks and liquid), scissors, construction paper, tape (masking and clear), a ruler, playdough, paints/paintbrushes, cotton balls/yarn, etc. I also stock up on index cards, page protectors, and a few catalogs. Finally, I’ve found a flashlight, CD player (for Hide ‘Em in Your Heart), bouncy ball, paperclips, paper plates, and q-tips/toothpicks are also handy.

Just for Fun Extras

For LHFHG, I enjoyed having on hand some musical toys, a few party streamers/hats, and a scarf to toss – but these items are just for fun and not necessary! As the LHFHG plans say, instead of having on hand musical toys you can always use a kettle and a spoon for a drum, a box of rice to shake as a maraca, or 2 wooden spoons to tap together for rhythm sticks. Instead of party streamers or hats, you can just use construction paper. Rather than a scarf, you can toss a tissue! For this young age of children, I also enjoyed having on hand My First Tinconderoga pencils, a pencil sharpener, sturdy clicky pencils, a big eraser, a few different pencil grippers, several different kinds of scissors for little ones, and twistable crayons.  But, these are really just for fun type extras!

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 or plastic tubs.  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 LHFHG’s plans, I put each needed resource in the bin or tub for ‘things we need now.’ I put the remaining items in the bin or tub for ‘things we need later.’ Throughout the year as we finish using books or resources, I put them in the back of the ‘things we need later’ bin or tub, 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 or tub only contains what we need for each week. Another benefit is the ‘things we need now’ are always mobile! I can pick up my bin or tote and move it to any table, desk, couch, counter, work surface or area I want!  Likewise, I put many art supplies in a tool turnaround, so these are mobile too!

In Christ,


What are the benefits of the Rhymes in Motion?

Dear Carrie

What are the benefits of Little Hearts for His Glory’s Rhymes in Motion?

Dear Carrie,

I have a very crunched school year schedule with my kids. My almost 6 year old LOVES Heart of Dakota, and I’m committed to taking the time to do it with her each day. I intuitively know that the Rhymes in Motion part is worth the time, but I’m wondering if you can explain the specific benefits of that portion. (I think it will help me be faithful to do them even on the busy days!) Thank you!


“Ms. Please Explain the Benefits of the Rhymes in Motion”

Dear “Ms. Please Explain the Benefits of the Rhymes in Motion,”

I am so glad that you will get a chance to use Little Hearts for His Glory! We have loved it with our own boys, so we pray it may be a blessing to your family as well.

The rhymes in motion are written to integrate the left and right side of the brain. Saying the words and doing the motions call on different parts of the brain. As kiddos say the words and do the motions at the same time, the two sides of the brain are working together. Developing pathways between the two sides of the brain is especially important for kiddos in LHFHG, as they are getting ready to read. So, I highly encourage you to do the rhymes in motion. Think of it as fun and easy brain integration therapy and reading readiness help all rolled into one!

As an additional bonus, the motions within the rhymes are also calling upon gross motor skills that are needing to be developed at this stage too. So, take the 5 minutes to do the rhymes. It is worth it!


Another Homeschool Mom’s Response to Carrie’s Response

I knew you would have an amazing answer for her, Carrie!  I’d like to encourage you, Carrie, and “Ms. Please Explain the Benefits of the Rhymes in Motion” that there are even more benefits than those! I love that it teaches that school can be fun! It gets them participating in the rhyme and rhythm of language (other pre-reading skills – phonemic awareness is so huge that it was tested in 1st graders at the beginning of the school year when I worked as an ASL interpreter/tutor before our first was born).

There is also some great knowledge in some of those; my 4yo can almost recite the months of the year because she did the Rhymes in Motion with her brothers (and they loved being allowed to do a somersault on their birth month!). Thanks for the question “Ms. Please Explain the Benefits of the Rhymes in Motion!” It’s always interesting to put all the skills learned from one little subject into “education speak” and realize how integrated all the subjects and skills are!

First Grade or Second Grade with Heart of Dakota: Customizable, Inspirational, Foundational

From Our House to Yours

Each child is fearfully and wonderfully made, and Beyond Little Hearts… accounts for those differences!

Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory is a complete one-year homeschool guide for children ages 6-8.  It is typically used for either 1st or 2nd grade, and it works great for either!  This is where homeschooling starts to get interesting, doesn’t it?  Gifts each child has been given by the Lord begin to show themselves, as do challenges.  Every 6, 7, or 8 yo child is not the same!  Praise God – He fearfully and wonderfully made each little child!  We wouldn’t want them to all be the same! The good news is Beyond… is customizable, inspirational, and foundational!

Heart of Dakota recognizes that each child will begin to demonstrate different needs.  Rather than just handing each child an identical box of homeschool books and resources, Beyond… offers multiple levels for skill-based areas of school, like language arts and math.  But, for the more general subject areas – like history, poetry, Bible study, science, art, music, etc. – the resources are the same.

How is Beyond Little Hearts… customizable?

Beyond… is customizable in all the right places!  In Language Arts, you can choose among phonics, emerging readers, or independent readers.  There are even choices within each of those choices!  Let’s look at phonics/reading instruction first!

When to Choose The Reading Lesson

If your little one is needing a first trip through phonics or had a less than happy first trip through phonics with something else, The Reading Lesson with CD/download would be a good choice.  It is purposefully black and white, so your child can focus on the shape of the letters (quite important for a first trip through phonics).  It’s also only 20 lessons, so with a 34 week homeschool year, if your little one hits a bump in the road and needs to slow down, you can without getting behind.  The CD/download also offers additional practice with other words that follow the same lesson.  Plus, it’s fun!  A circus theme where they earn tokens to ‘spend’ at the circus – very motivational and independent (and not much can be independent at this age, so what a bonus).

When to Choose Reading Made Easy

If your little one has made a first trip through phonics but needs one more trip through a harder phonics, or if your little one is seeming to be advanced, or if your little one is older (as in 7 or 8), Reading Made Easy is a great choice!  This program is by a favorite author of ours, Valerie Bendt.  It’s thorough, hands-on, and well-scripted for the parent.  It also has the option of a written component via workbooks. They don’t require a lot writing, are fun, and are a great addition to the program if your child is writing.

When to Choose the Emerging Reader’s Set

If your child is already reading a Level 1 or Level 2 book like Frog and Toad Are Friends quite smoothly, only pausing to sound out one longer word maybe every other page or so, he would begin the Emerging Reader’s Set.  This is an awesome set of books that starts easier and get incrementally harder throughout the year! It has a schedule in the back of the Beyond… guide with 3-4 oral comprehension questions.  Don’t be dismayed if your child isn’t ready for this set when doing Beyond…!  The Emerging Reader’s Set is also a part of Bigger Hearts as a reading option.

When to Choose Drawn into the Heart of Reading

If your child is advanced, reading chapter books fairly easily, and writing sentences independently, he/she would place well in Drawn into the Heart of Reading 2/3.  Few students place here for reading in Beyond…  But, if your fearfully and wonderfully made little one is gifted with being very advanced in reading, this option is for him/her!  This is an outstanding reading program for kiddos ages 7-15 years old.  Carrie wrote it, and it has won a lot of awards because it is a literature program based on amazing books that teaches all of the genres and story elements.  It includes everything you’d want in a literature program – all the skills with the enjoyment of a book club feeling.  Again, don’t be dismayed if your child isn’t ready for this in Beyond…!  It’s offered as a reading choice in all the guides to come up to Missions to Modern Marvels!

So, what else is customizable?

Singapore Math is also customizable.  Often considered a year advanced, it is best to give the free placement test to determine what level to use. Beyond… has hands-on math plans for 1A/1B, so just the workbooks are needed.  Beyond… has a schedule in its Appendix for 2A/2B, so both the textbooks and workbooks are needed.  Or, if you prefer hands-on plans for 2A/2B, you’d get only the workbooks and the Bigger Hearts… guide, as this has hands-on plans for 2A/2B.  (You can let HOD know you bought Bigger Hearts… already the next year when you order the rest of the Bigger Hearts… Economy Package, and we will credit back your package savings then.) If your child places in 1B, just do 1B/2A for the year.  It all works fine!  Click here for the placement test, making sure to choose the Primary Math placement test.

There is also a choice of 2 spelling lists in Beyond…’s Appendix.  The second is harder than the first.  Both lists have daily plans in the Beyond… guide.  Finally, there is a choice of Storytime read-alouds.  You are reading these aloud to your little one, so choose the set you are most excited to read and they are most excited to listen to!  All 3 sets have amazing books, but 1 set will do!  Choose from Classic, Boy Interest, or Girl Interest packages.

So, what is inspirational?

Charlotte Mason was a big proponent of having a balance of disciplinary and inspirational subjects in school.  Beyond… has both!  First, the American history books you are reading are incredibly inspirational!  Second, the Morning Bells devotional, corresponding music Hide ’em in Your Heart, and Bible Study are sure to inspire!  Third, the classical poetry will tug at your heart and get your creativity flowing.  Fourth, history projects, art projects, and science experiments offer even more creative responses to wonderful history and science living book readings!

So, what is foundational?

A lot, really.  This is an important year though, right?  Foundational skills like reading, writing, math, spelling, grammar, copywork, Bible, history, science, geography, timeline, Charlotte Mason beginning oral narration skills, genre and story element instruction, Godly character traits with personal application – these are all a part of Beyond…!

Check out the rundown of Beyond… below…
  • Bible Memory Work
  • Devotional Topics
  • Science Discovery
  • Art Projects
  • Geography Exploration
  • Timeline and History Activities
  • Poetry and Rhymes
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Music
  • Copywork
  • Spelling Practice
  • Basic Grammar Skills
  • Introduction to Capitalization and Punctuation
  • Reading Choices
  • Narration
  • Storytime Genre Studies
  • Guided Literature Discussions
  • Story Element Lessons
  • Godly Character Lessons
  • Math Exploration

And don’t stress about how long this is going to take!  

So, now I’ve worried you, haven’t I?  That list has you wondering just how long school will take with Beyond… Well, don’t stress – just 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day.  How can it be, you ask?  Well, all of the above things are not done daily.  Children complete them in a balanced, rotating way.  So, you are able to teach many important things, both disciplinary and inspirational subjects, in one day.  Just use common items in your kitchen or basic art supplies – that’s all you need.  I LOVE that so much!  Who has time with little ones to run to the store, run to the library, or plan and prep for homeschooling all week?  No one.  So why do it?  Beyond… doesn’t require any of that.

So, there you have it!  I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory!  Next time, I’ll introduce you to Bigger Hearts for His Glory. In the meantime, enjoy checking out the printable Introduction and first week of plans of Beyond Little Hearts and our 10 most commonly asked questions!

In Christ,


P.S.  If you check out the placement chart and your little 6-7 yo is not quite ready for Beyond Little Hearts…, click here to check out Little Hearts for His Glory.  And don’t worry about ‘missing’ using Beyond Little Hearts – remember you can just use it for second grade!

Kindergarten or First Grade with Heart of Dakota: A Solid Start and a Great First Impression to Homeschooling

From Our House to Yours

Little Hearts for His Glory 

Kindergarten and/or first grade is such an exciting ‘first’ for our children, isn’t it?  They are at the age where we feel we are truly starting their schooling.  It’s exciting and worrisome to us parents all at once!  Because children are not required to do kindergarten in South Dakota where we live, kindergarten became our ‘let’s give homeschooling a try’ year.  My husband was not so sure.  I was not so sure I was so sure.  But, the risk seemed minimal, as we didn’t have to ‘do’ anything to declare we were homeschooling. So, we decided to give it a try and use Little Hearts for His Glory!  Written for 5-7 year olds, it seemed just right!  With a choice of resources for LA, math, Bible, and science, it recognized our little one  was more ‘kindergarten’ in one area and more ‘first grade’ in another. But, I could just customize the homeschool year for him, so it didn’t matter!

A Happy Start Equals a Strong Finish

Well, fast forward, and I guess we must have liked it!  We just graduated our oldest son, having done Heart of Dakota all the way to 12th grade.  For the record, best thing we’ve ever done.  Part of the reason we loved homeschooling so much all these years was our happy start to it!  First, with Little Hands to Heaven.  But, then really next with Little Hearts for His GloryI could just tell we’d found our ‘home’ in homeschooling.

A Complete Kindergarten Or First Grade That Leaves Time for Naps and for Play

I’m old enough to remember kindergarten being half-days.  Morning kindergarten.  Afternoon kindergarten.  Why did they do half-days?  Well, I think they realized little ones couldn’t be in school all day. Their attention span just wasn’t up to that long of a day, and neither was their energy level.  Naps.  Little ones need naps or at least down time.  They just tucker out.

I remember my mom sharing how when she subbed for kindergarten, little ones during nap time on mats would inch close to her.  One by one nap time mats moved as close to her as possible until they could almost touch her.  I think they just wanted to feel close to her. Well, I loved how close my little ones felt to me doing Little Hearts for His Glory!  I also loved how we did enough school to cover all the bases, while still leaving time to nap and to play.

Children wonder what school will be like, and their start to it makes its mark on their forever impression of school.

In homeschooling, kindergarten or first grade is a child’s first impression of what ‘real’ school will look like.  Children wonder. Will they be good at school?  Is school going to be interesting?  Will school be fun? Is school going to overtake all of their life so there is no free time left?  Will their teacher love them?  Well, praise the Lord, yes, at least to the last ‘wondering’ question.  Their teacher in homeschooling will love them.  But, the rest of the questions are good food for thought!

Little Hearts for His Glory answers children’s ‘wondering’ questions with a resounding ‘you will love homeschooling and be good at it too!’

Enter Little Hearts for His Glory!  Thorough? Yes.  Complete – all subject covered!  But, to name the nuts and bolts – formal phonics, daily handwriting, fine motor skills, math with hands-on activities, and read alouds with follow-up skills.  Interesting?  Yes!  A one year chronological sweep of history via amazing books, cuddle up reading time via more amazing books, science experiments via even more amazing books.  Fun? Uhh, yes.  Science experiments, dramatic play, art activities, rhymes in motion, and critical thinking games. Christ-centered?  Yes.  Please, let us start our homeschooling with Christ – He is the foundation after all, right?!? Bible study, corresponding music, devotional time together.

So to sum it up…

First, Little Hearts… is history-focused and Christ-centered:
  • Bible Memory Work
  • Devotional Topics
  • Science Discovery
  • Art Projects
  • Dramatic Play
  • Thinking Games
  • Rhymes
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Music

Second, Little Hearts… focuses on integral language arts and math skills. It includes the areas listed below:

So, first impressions are important!

It feels like the pressure of the world beginning homeschooling.  There is bound to be opposition.  Family may not support you. Friends may not understand you. Acquaintances/the world may skeptically question you.  Deep down, you may not even be sure what you are doing is right.  Well, deep breath.  Little Hearts… has you covered.  Children begin their homeschooling learning all they need to know while still thinking ‘Wow! This isn’t so hard after all!  I am GOOD at school!’  Likewise, parents begin their homeschooling equipped with all they need to know while still thinking ‘Wow!  This isn’t so hard after all!  I am GOOD at homeschooling!’

Bonus for both parent and child – school doesn’t take all day!

1  1/2 hours a day. That is totally doable for child and parent! No pre-planning or late night prep work gathering strange supplies.  Moreover, no weekend have-to trips to the library.  Finally, no last minute make this or that to have the homeschool day work.   Just get up, open your guide, and enjoy your teaching!  Your little ones will be able to show you their best because their day is not overly long.  They can actually pay attention and give you their 100% best!  Likewise, you’ll be able to give them your best for the same reason.  Kindergarten/first grade is what makes or breaks homeschooling.  So why not start knowing you’ll be able to finish?

So, there you have it!  I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Little Hearts for His Glory!  Next time, I’ll introduce you to Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory! In the meantime, enjoy checking out the printable Introduction and first week of plans of Little Hearts and our 10 most commonly asked questions!

In Christ,


P.S.  If you check out the placement chart and your little 5 yo is not quite ready for Little Hearts…, click here to check out Little Hands to Heaven!  And don’t worry about ‘missing’ using Little Hearts – remember you can just use it for first grade!