When and where should I separate my children?

Dear Carrie

When and where should I separate my children?

I have a nearly 13 year-old daughter and a nearly 11 year-old son. I started them in Creation to Christ, and we are about to finish Resurrection to Reformation. My question is when and how do I separate them? My daughter will be in 8th grade this coming year, and my son will be in 6th grade. I could have them continue the next 2 guides together. Then, once we finish them, my daughter can easily move into the high school guides. However, where does that leave my son? He’d be too young for the high school guide. I wouldn’t have HOD material to cover that year. If I move him up with her, he’d graduate too young. Should I separate them now? I could move my daughter into Missions to Modern Marvels. That means she would miss all of the history and science in Revival and Revolution. What do you think?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me with When and Where I Separate My Children”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with When and Where I Separate My Children,”

You could honestly separate or continue to combine. You really could go either way. Since you are on the verge of high school, but not actually there yet, one thing I would really use to make my decision to separate or combine for the upcoming year is how well you feel your older daughter is placed right now. Do you feel that she is well-placed and did well with RTR? Or, did you feel that she was done very quickly and waiting on her younger sibling a lot? If the placement felt right this past year, then I would be more inclined to keep your kiddos together for the upcoming year, and then reassess as your daughter is ready to enter high school. At that point, we could ponder again whether to move her forward to the first high school guide.

Or, if the reverse is true and you felt she literally flew through her school and was always needing more, often waiting on her younger sibling, then you could look at separating them and moving her to MTMM this year instead. Whatever you do, it will be very important for your older daughter to be doing Drawn into the Heart of Reading this coming year in preparation for high school level literature. It will also be important for her writing skills to be very strong and moving forward and for her grammar to be on track (especially if you are looking to bump her ahead). Last, it would be good if her math skills were also on track. Otherwise, if she is a bit behind in any of her 3 R’s, then moving her ahead in the other areas could quickly cause an overload. I just want to encourage you, either path could work. However, based on how she is doing now in RTR, one path should show itself to be better.

Blessings!

Carrie

Is getting the World Geography guide early for science worth missing the package savings?

Dear Carrie

Is getting the World Geography guide early for the IPC science worth missing the package savings?

I will be using Heart of Dakota’s Missions to Modern Marvels (MTMM) for my son’s first year of high school. However, my son will use the science from the World Geography guide. My question is: will I need the World Geography guide to do the science? My plan is to use Heart of Dakota (HOD) all the way through graduation, but I would rather wait and buy the guide when I buy the rest of the World Geography Economy Package the next year. I love the package savings – $72!  Wow! So, I am just wondering if I can do the World Geography science without the guide. Thanks so much!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Is Getting the World Geography Guide for the Science Worth Missing Out on the Economy Package Savings”

Dear “Ms. Is Getting the World Geography Guide for the Science Is Worth Missing Out on the Economy Package Savings,”

I wish I could tell you that you didn’t need to have the World Geography guide for the science portion, since you’re using it with MTMM. While you could certainly do the readings and follow-ups for science without the guide, you’d still have to figure out how to pace them to finish on time. Another factor to consider is the labs. While you can do the labs on your own schedule as well, in order to know when to do them to match the readings you’d need to have the guide.

It would be more cohesive and balanced to have the labs match the text.

Also, there are 36 labs, which means that even if you forego matching the text, and just did the labs independent from the text, you’d still need to determine how to get the labs in while balancing that with the readings in the text. With this in mind, from my perspective, it would be much more cohesive and balanced to do the science with our plans as written in the World Geography guide. I think it is always better to have the labs match the text, and these two programs actually ended up going very well together, once I was able to figure it all out for the plans.

You can still take advantage of the package savings the next year.

So, as you ponder what you want to do, I will share that if you do decide to purchase the World Geography guide for the science portion of the plans, then the following year, you can still order the Economy Package for World Geography and receive the discounted price and receive money back for your guide! Simply include in your “Ordering Instructions” box at checkout that you purchased the World Geography guide the previous year for the science plans, and now you’re ordering the rest and won’t need the guide. My husband will then credit you back the entire price of the World Geography guide as well as giving you the package discount! So, it is like we are loaning you the guide for a year, and then you receive all of your money back for it as part of your package purchase the next year.

Blessings,
Carrie

Follow-Up Reply:

Thank you, Carrie!!! I am already so thankful for the curriculum you produce! Now I know your customer service is the best too! I already ordered and received my things from HOD. My son loved unpacking his things. I am SO THANKFUL to have the World Geography guide alongside the IPC plans. So worth it! Thanks!

Expedition Journal: How is it used in World Geography?

Dear Carrie

Can you explain the use of the World Geography Expedition Journal?

I’m a mom of five children, and we have loved using Heart of Dakota since 2010! I have a quick question about the World Geography Expedition Journal. I’m wondering what sorts of things my children will record in the Expedition Journal? Though I may have to economize for this guide, I want to make 100% sure that I have all the materials that I’ll need to have my children complete the notebooking pages in their entirety. Our state requires us to meet with a supervisor, so I’d really appreciate your thoughts on the Expedition Journal! Oh, and how about the World Religion and Culture’s Notebook too? Thanks in advance!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Explain the Use of the World Geography Expedition Journal”

Dear “Ms. Please Explain the Use of the World Geography Expedition Journal,”

Thank you for using Heart of Dakota with your children these many years! In answer to your question, you definitely need the World Geography Expedition Journal pages for the plans. There are some primary source documents in them, many maps that the students need to refer to, shade, label, etc., and places to write written narrations, take notes, outline, etc. The guide actually won’t function without the Expedition Journal.

The World Religion and Culture’s Notebook

The World Religions and Cultures Notebook is also very necessary. It is filled with graphic organizers specifically designed for the assignments in the World Religions & Cultures study. We pondered long and hard about whether specific notebook pages would be needed in high school (because they are so time consuming and costly for us to make as they need a graphic designer to design and lay out each page). But, we have found that the pages are a necessary tool, because I need them in order to customize our plans to truly match what the kiddos are reading and studying each day. There is truly no way to write the guides the way I desire without them!

Supervisors are impressed with the notebooks as an assessment.

I want to encourage you, we actually have found that principals and supervising teachers are very impressed by both the look and the content of the notebooks and that this helps validate the student’s work by providing an organized, visually appealing portfolio as one means of assessment. This saves you time in having to create a portfolio later and provides a chronological record of your student’s work that can be shown at any moment as needed. The Expedition Journal has been well received too, so we hope you enjoy it!

Blessings,
Carrie

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

More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment

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

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

The Study Skill of Giving a Topic Oral Narration Using Notes

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

The Study Skill of Responding to Critical Thinking Questions

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

The Study Skill of Researching A Topic and Supporting Your Opinion

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

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

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

The Study Skill of Conveying Your Thoughts and Opinions in Writing

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

The Study Skill of Internalizing What’s Been Learned

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

How These Study Skills Help My Son in College

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

A Special Webinar with Jeff Myers

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

In Christ,

Julie

How can my high school daughter earn her Fine Arts credit?

Dear Carrie

How can my high school daughter earn her Fine Arts credit?

For high school, my daughter will be doing Heart of Dakota’s Missions to Modern Marvels (MTMM), World Geography (WG), World History (WH), and U.S. History I (USI). My question is about an art/music credit. So far, the guides have all had an art or music study. We have loved this! In MTMM, we will have the nature journal. However, I don’t see any art in the WG guide, I don’t know about the WH guide either. Will my daughter be able to earn a credit in art/music in high school if she’s doing MTMM through USI? Thanks!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help My High School Daughter Earn Her Art/Music Credit”

Dear “Ms. Please Help My High School Daughter Earn Her Art/Music Credit,”

Just like you, I have been very pleased by the various areas of fine arts emphasized throughout our guides. I enjoyed the watercolor painting lessons my boys did in Creation to Christ (CTC). Then, I loved the Charlotte Mason-style picture study and art appreciation sessions in Resurrection to Reformation (RTR). Next, my boys and I enjoyed the music appreciation and composer study in Revival to Revolution (RevtoRev). After that, we loved the nature journal and related art-lessons in MTMM. We’ve happily read, written, and discussed poetry all throughout every guide from Beyond on up! To top it off, my boys have all become better drawers through the years as we’ve done Draw and Write Through History!

Making Art Appreciation a Part of the Fine Arts Credit

When we arrived at the high school years, and the Fine Arts credit loomed, it was hard to decide in what direction to go in pursuit of that credit. I must admit that with my oldest son (who didn’t have the benefit of having the HOD guides already written), I floundered a bit in how to pursue this credit in a way that would be interesting to him. So, we tried two different music- related approaches, and one was more successful than the other. Yet, as I looked at my next son coming up, I really wanted to focus more deeply on art appreciation. This made sense because he had more recently (and thoroughly) covered music and the composers already through Revival to Revolution.

Having a Hands-On Component, Narrative Readings, Picture Study, and a Christian Influence Within Our Fine Arts Credit

I also really wanted to have the Christian influence wound within our Fine Arts credit, as well as having a hands-on component to the program too. As part of the study, I wanted some living, narrative textual information about the artists along with some follow-up assessments. I desired for this to be combined with some beautiful picture study/viewing. Last, I wanted students of all levels of artistry to be able to enjoy the program and learn to appreciate art. It was a tall order, and one that I wasn’t able to succeed in finding until I wrote the World History guide. I looked a long time (years in fact) before coming to the combination of resources that I will share below. I am excited and happy with the combination, and I pray your daughter enjoys earning her Fine Arts credit in World History too!

God and the History of Art

The first resource in our Fine Arts: Art History/Appreciation course is the 3-part DVD series God and the History of Art. This DVD series is divided into 12 parts, during which Barry Stebbing journeys through the centuries offering Biblical insights into the great art and artists of the ages. This DVD set features beautiful colors, paintings, and classical music. God and the History of Art provides a unique view into many of the great works of art in Western culture. We integrate this series throughout our chronological study of art history. Lessons include the following:

  • What is Art?
  • The Second Commandment
  • Early Christian Art
  • Godly Periods of Art/Byzantine
  • Christian Artists
  • The Dark Ages/Monasteries
  • The Gothic Period
  • The Renaissance
  • The Reformation
  • French Neo-Classical Art
  • American Artist and Other Artists and Styles
Short Lessons in Art History

The next resource in our Fine Arts program is Short Lessons in Art History by Phyllis Clausen Barker. This book includes narrative biographical readings about 37 artists and/or sculptors beginning with “Artists of the Italian Renaissance” and ending with “Contemporary Sculptors.” Short Lessons in Art History brings art to life with lessons that showcase the successes and struggles of legendary artists. The readings build an appreciation for major artists and art movements from the Italian Renaissance to current times. Students are captivated by the high-interest readings on artists and the cultural and personal forces that shaped their work. A full-color insert highlights timeless works of art. Click here to see inside!

Exercises and Activities for Short Lessons in Art History

Exercises and Activities for Short Lessons in Art History is designed as a companion to Short Lessons in Art History. It includes activities that move from basic comprehension (through fill-in-the-blank, word puzzles, crosswords, and matching) to synthesis (through short answer questions) to deeper insight (through independent writing or research topics). Used in combination with the Short Lessons for Art History text, students increase their awareness of various artists and their work and draw their own conclusions about what makes the work of certain artists timeless. Note: Since the art projects within these lessons are not described or laid out very clearly, and often are overwhelming to perform without more instruction, we omit the “Art Projects” part of the activities and cover this area in a more manageable way. Click here to see inside!

Our Charlotte Mason-Inspired Art Gallery Student Notebook

As narrative as the Short Lessons in Art History text is, it does not shine in the area of full color artwork. While it would seem easy to add to a book of art prints to accompany the text, this route had many barriers. First, many of these types of full-color art print books are very expensive. Next, the prints often contain multiple images with nudity. Last, even after overlooking cost and the lack of clothing issues, many books didn’t contain prints of all of the artists the students were studying. To remedy these problems, we designed an Art Gallery Student Notebook that contains at least one full-color print for each artist. The Art Gallery Notebook is used in conjunction with the Short Lessons in Art History readings and provides a beautiful collection of paintings by famous artists throughout history. It is a very CM-inspired part of the program!

Pat Knepley’s Art Projects DVD Set

The final component of our Fine Arts program is the Art Projects DVD Set from See the Light. When I found this set, I knew the final piece of our Fine Arts program had (at long last) fallen into place! This is a 9 DVD Set of art projects designed to be completed at home. The projects on each DVD are narrated, modeled, and taught with a Christian emphasis by master artist Pat Knepley. Each DVD focuses on a different artist and a different type of art project. Projects are divided into 4 separate sessions, and Pat takes you through each step of the lesson on the DVD.

Pacing and Details About the Art Projects Portion of the Fine Arts Credit

We have students do one art project session each week, completing an art project every 4 weeks. The design of the projects makes this an art class that your students can enjoy and excel at in the comfort of your own home. We plan for sessions to last about an hour with the DVD running about 30 minutes. This allows time for students to pause and work along with Pat and take their time to be creative and do the project well. Some students may take longer to work.

Each DVD includes art history, art elements, art principles, step-by-step tutoring, and integrated Biblical truths. At the end, students have created a portfolio of 9 completed projects as part of their Fine Arts study. Artists and corresponding projects are the following (the art history style and medium are listed in parentheses):

  • Tiffany Window in the style of Louis Comfort Tiffany (Tiffany Windows: Marker)
  • Repeated Sweets in the style of Wayne Thiebaud (Pop Art: Watercolor)
  • Paper Jungle in the style Henri Rousseau (Naive Art, Collage: Paper Collage)
  • Pointillism Fruit in the style of Georges Seurat (Pointillism, Impressionism: Still Life)
  • Poppy Collage in the style of Georgia O’Keefe (Realism, Abstraction: Tissue Paper Collage)
  • Dreams of Joseph in the style of Marc Chagall (Surrealism, Symbolism, Fauvism: Wet-on-Wet Painting)
  • Horsing Around in the style of Edgar Degas (Impressionism: Chalk Pastel)
  • Peaceful Seas in the style of Winslow Homer (Realism: Mixed Media)
  • Sunflowers in the style of Vincent Van Gogh (Post-Impressionism: Oil Pastel)
Two Options for Earning Credit 

The last benefit to the Fine Arts program that I’ve outlined is that there will be two options for credit with this program. The first option (and the recommended option) will be to earn one-full credit in Fine Arts: Art History/Appreciation by using all of the resources outlined above and scheduled in our guide.

The second option will be to earn 1/2 credit in Fine Arts: Art History/Appreciation by omitting the Art Projects DVD Set. This option will utilize all of the remaining art resources outlined above, but will omit the once weekly art project session. This option is only recommended if you have already met part of your Fine Arts requirement some other way, or if your state only requires 1/2 credit in Fine Arts.

Blessings,
Carrie