Reading Through the Entire Bible in High School

Dear Carrie

Reading Through the Entire Bible in High School

I’m really looking forward to The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study in Heart of Dakota! I think it looks wonderful. It is a very important goal for me to have my kids read through the entire Bible during their high school years. I read the entire Bible through on my own twice when I was growing up, and I think it has made a profound impact on my life. My own kids have had a lot more exposure to the Bible than I did, since I went to public school and my parents didn’t do a “Bible Time.” But, I still really have a strong desire for them to read it cover to cover.

I see that only “highlights” of the Old Testament are read in World History. Could you please let me know how much of the Old Testament these highlights are? If I had my children read the whole thing, would they be doubling or tripling their reading – or more? I don’t want them to have too much to process at one time. Could I spread the book out over two years and have the kids read it in smaller chunks? I have thought about reading through the whole Bible in our family Bible Time. However, I think I would rather have my kids tackle it solo during high school, so they can concentrate more. We are currently reading the Book of Isaiah aloud, and the younger kids get squirmy at times. I think Leviticus might be tough! What do you suggest, Carrie?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Plan for My Kids to Read the Entire Bible”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Plan for My Kids to Read the Entire Bible,”

I agree that reading the entire Bible is a wonderful goal! The Bible curriculum that we schedule for the World History and the US1 years is called The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study by Starr Meade. It has the option of reading through the entire Bible along with the curriculum. So, you could definitely follow that option as you go through those two years.

Perhaps, your students could do the extra reading at a separate time outside of their school day? It could be as easy as doing it before bedtime. We have added a scheduled half-hour reading time for our family at night after supper clean-up. Our family gathers together to read silently for 30 minutes in our living room. Each family member reads a book of his/her choice. We actually set a timer, and it is completely silent (as we finally have kiddos old enough for it to be quiet). It has really encouraged a love of reading in our house! Our older kiddos sometimes read their “Living Library” books or their “Literature” books for school during this time. Sometimes our boys read their Bibles or devotional books during this time too. Anyway, just a thought!

Blessings,

Carrie

How Best to Use the BJU Teacher’s Guide in HOD’s World Geography

Dear Carrie,

How do I best use the BJU Teacher’s Guide in HOD’s World Geography year?

We have used Heart of Dakota for many years and enjoyed it very much. My son and I just started World Geography, and our start went so well!  However, I have a quick question about the BJU teacher’s guide for literature. There are so many facets to the BJU teaching guide. So, my question is, do I have my student only answer the questions after the story when HOD’s World Geography plans say to do so? I hope so!  But, I am just checking to be sure. Thanks in advance for your help!

Sincerely,

“Please Help Me Know How to Best Use the BJU Teacher’s Guide”

Dear “Please Help Me Know How to Best Use the BJU Teacher’s Guide,”

I’d be happy to help you decide how to best use the BJU Teacher’s Guide!  I’ve had some practice figuring that out myself. We just completed the HOD World Geography guide this past year with our third son. So, I’ll share a few things we’ve discovered about the literature.

You can view the Student Reader as a series of living stories to be enjoyed.

As far as the BJU lit goes, it really helps if you can view the Student Reader as a series of living stories that we want the students to primarily enjoy as they read. We don’t want them to feel like they must also be dissecting as they read.  Likewise, we don’t want them to feel like they must elicit a whole host of specific responses. So, in order to allow them to enjoy the story, we must not get between the story and the reader. This means we need to let students just read the story from the reader without the aid of any Teacher’s Notes or without focusing on the end story questions the first trip through.

You can follow the HOD World Geography guide’s plans to know how to assign the questions in BJU.

Next, after reading the story, the HOD guide will assign the student questions from the end of the story. The World Geography plans will note when to answer in writing and when to meet with the teacher to discuss. Even at this point, it’s not advisable to be sharing all of the Teacher’s Notes for each question with the student. In fact, we don’t want to expect the student to answer even remotely as fully as the notes suggest. In my opinion, the notes are exhaustive and are meant to provide any and all possible answers that any student may share.

You can think of the Teacher’s Notes as Cliff Notes rather than as required answers.

I see the Teacher’s Notes as a Cliff’s Notes version meant to aid the teacher rather than as a grading rubric meant to show the ideal answer a student should give. Keep in mind that these notes were written for a classroom teacher. In a classroom, the discussion of a question would result in many varied responses. There would be a lengthy discussion from a whole group of students. This is a very different situation than we have in the homeschool setting with a single student being required to answer all the questions alone!

Students can read through the Teacher’s Notes just for the questions they are struggling to answer.

If the student is struggling with an answer to a question or has been especially short with an answer, then this is the time I’d have the student read through the Teacher’s Notes for only that question. The purpose of this is to simply give them a few more ideas of the direction he/she could have gone with his/her response. There is no need to have the student read the Teacher’s Notes for every question. This may result in the student feeling inferior and inadequate in his/her responses. We definitely don’t want the student thinking he/she can never come up with the breadth and insight the manual suggests for a response.

I learned a lot from using BJU American Lit along with full-length novels for my oldest son’s 11th grade year.

Before scheduling BJU lit for grade 9 in our World Geography guide, my oldest son and I went through BJU American Lit for his 11th grade year. The BJU American Lit is even fuller than the grade 9 lit! I also added a lot of full-length novels to my poor oldest son’s year. We learned a lot that year about what was too much for lit, about how many novels are appropriate to read,  and about what was really helpful or enjoyable overall.

So, as I began World Geography with my second son, I took a lower key approach to the BJU lit. I simply allowed him to read and do exactly what it says in the HOD World Geography guide’s plans.  Likewise, I did not delve so deeply into the BJU Teacher’s guide and all of its materials. We had a much better year, my son loved the stories, loved the boy set novels, and learned a lot!

You can use the manual more as a reference for your student’s answers.

So, I would encourage you to keep the manual only for reference for you as your student answers. Share the answers from the manual for only the questions that the student either misses entirely or answers very succinctly. Make sure you let your student know that the manual gives every answer you might encounter in a classroom of students. Be sure the student doesn’t feel like he never gets the answer “right.” So, by following the lit plans in the World Geography guide and by using the BJU Teacher’s Notes in this manner, your year in lit should be a terrific year!

Blessings,

Carrie

P.S. If you are new to Heart of Dakota, check out our Top Ten Questions!

P.S.S. If you are wondering about placement in high school in Heart of Dakota, click here!

 

Nervous About Homeschooling in High School to Be Ready for College

Dear Carrie

I love Heart of Dakota and am excited by what I see is to come each year as we progress!  I especially see much progress now that I have each of my students placed properly, which is exciting to me! However, when I look far ahead, I get nervous about homeschooling in high school so my students are ready for college. So, how does HOD prepare students for college? How does HOD high school take a student from simply doing what is planned to being able to take a syllabus and knowing how to complete work more independently?  Thanks in advance for taking time to calm my nerves about homeschooling in high school!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Nervous About Homeschooling in High School”

Dear “Ms. Nervous About Homeschooling in High School,”

This is such an important topic that is near and dear to my heart!  Many truly amazing homeschool moms feel they cannot homeschool through high school.  Let me put your fears to rest! You can, and Heart of Dakota can be your best help!  I’ll begin by sharing that at HOD it is definitely our desire to prepare kiddos as best as possible for college, should the Lord lay it upon their hearts to go. Our guides are written to help students earn needed credits expected by most colleges.

More Than Enough Credits

We take a 4 x 4 +2 approach to this by including more than 4 social sciences (i.e. geography, world history, two years of American history, government, economics), 4 years of English/composition, 4 years of math, 4 years of science with lab, and 2 years of foreign language. We also include 4 years of Bible and additional courses beyond that such as Health, Fine Arts, Logic, World Religions and Cultures, Speech, etc. This is our first step toward making sure students are adequately prepared for what lies ahead.

Plans encourage independence, initiative, responsibility, and time management.

Students gain independence in a variety of skills as they move through the HOD Guides. They must accomplish a wide range of tasks each day with minimal supervision. Getting behind has its natural consequences as the work load continues to move forward daily. The guide does not adjust itself for students who are not completing their work on time. So, the plans set goals for the day, and the students must figure out how to meet them. Simply telling students what to do does not equate to students doing it! Instead, completing assignments on time requires initiative, planning, time management, diligence, and follow-through (all essential college skills). Consider that the HOD guide’s directions are a training ground where students learn essential skills needed for success in life!

Reading and writing skills are rigorous and train students well for college requirements.

Another area in which HOD shines is in its level of required reading and writing each day. The guides are rigorous in their expectations in these two areas.  So, students can readily do the two most common portions of any college level class. They can readily read and write, manage their time well, and independently incrementally complete work!  Having these skills intact helps students have an easier transition into meeting college requirements.

Deep thinking is encouraged as well.

Our guides also require students to think deeply about a variety of areas, often foregoing the easy route and opting for assignments that require higher level thinking which must be put into words. Years of oral and written narration practice prepare kiddos to put thoughts from their mind into words and/or onto paper cohesively and creatively.

Long-term projects help students learn to budget their time over multiple days and weeks.

This brings us to the question of long-term projects and their place within the curriculum. I do believe that long-term projects are good as students learn to budget their time over multiple days and weeks. As such, we have included projects in every guide leading up to the high school guides, spreading one project over a week or longer in each guide. Drawn into the Heart of Reading also has projects at the end of each unit. We have included long-term projects in all of our high school guides as well.

College will be an adjustment, but our goal is to make that adjustment as seamless as possible.

College will certainly be an adjustment! But, our goal is to make that adjustment as seamless as possible. Two of my own sons are doing online courses for college right now. They have transitioned very well. My sons find college to be easier than their high school courses in some ways! Though they are both pursuing very different majors, they both use their time well! They quite naturally figure out how much to study each day, so they are prepared to finish on time.

I firmly believe HOD prepares kiddos for the needed skills required in college. Students who do the guides as written should find themselves able to adjust to the expectations college brings. I also believe that for students who do not go on to college, the well-rounded education received within HOD will help them all throughout life in whatever they pursue!

“Head” and “Heart” knowledge are both so important!

I cannot conclude without mentioning that the high school years are very important years for molding our students’ character, strengthening their faith, directing their attention to God’s Word, pouring their hearts into living as Christ desires, and seeking God’s will for their future. These are the goals that matter for eternity. This is why the HOD high school guides regularly address these heart issues. If we lose are children’s hearts in the pursuit of academics, what have we gained? Head knowledge does not equate to heart knowledge. So, we must address both! This was a priority from start to finish in writing our guides.  I pray our graduates are strong in both ‘head’ and ‘heart’ knowledge, all to the glory of the Lord!

Blessings,
Carrie

P.S.  To read about some of our graduates who have been featured in our Heart of Dakota Graduate Spotlight, click on the links below and arrow down in the link to read about…

Garret

Gabrielle

Tanner and Taylor

Wyatt

Isaac and Eva

Graduation for Homeschool Students

From Our House to Yours

Our oldest son is 18 years old and just completed his last Heart of Dakota guide!  It is hard to believe he is graduating.  He has done every HOD guide from PreK through 12th grade, and the years have truly flown by.  We are so proud of him!  Homeschool graduations can be celebrated many different ways. To show one way, I thought for this post I would share some of the things we are doing for graduation.

Take pictures earlier in the year if you can!

Last October a good friend of ours took Wyatt’s pictures for graduation. Fall is a beautiful time of year here.  I knew we’d be crazy busy this spring, so taking the pictures ahead of time really helped.  Our friend just took pictures on her camera different places around where we live.  God’s creation is always a beautiful backdrop!

We picked one dressy outfit and two casual outfits.  I tried to stick with a similar color scheme. I washed, pressed, and set aside the clothes.  We told our friend to just give us at least a few hours’ notice for when she thought the pictures would be good to take.  This is something we can do when we are homeschooling, right?!? Having our son’s senior pictures taken ahead of time allowed me to be able to make the invitations for our open house ahead of time on Shutterfly.  So, all I had to do was fill in the date of our open house later.  My son chose his favorite photos for the invitations and picked a Bible verse for them. Easy peasy!

Choose a date that is different from the dates of public and private school graduations!

We picked a different open house date than local public and private high school’s dates.  We can choose any date for our graduation!  I love the flexibility of homeschooling! Visiting with family and close friends, we picked the date and time that worked best. Choosing a date other than the typical graduation gatherings helps family and friends be more able to attend.

Choose a place that can be set up ahead of time if possible!

We have chosen our garage for an  informal outdoor graduation open house.  This is common where we live, as summers are lovely, and we live on an acreage!  Plus, it gives us a great reason to clean the garage, right?!? I don’t know about your garage, but ours could use a reason for a good cleaning!  We’ve borrowed tables and chairs from my husband’s workplace.

Choose simple table decorations that can be reused for your other children who will be graduating someday!

As we live in the country, we have chosen red gingham tablecloths.  I don’t have to spend much money on them, and I can reuse them. Each 6 foot table will have ball canning jars with Wyatt’s favorite snacks – cashews and M & M’s!  I’ve made a family photobook each year for my husband for Christmas, so I’m setting a different photobook on each table too.  There are many pictures of Wyatt with our family growing up, and I think this could be a good conversation piece!

I’m also planning on having a card table with red gingham tablecloth and with a premade poster for people to sign for Wyatt.  They can write comments as well here, and I think it will be a neat keepsake of the party for him.  I’m putting a red geranium on this table as well (thanks mom for that wonderful idea)!  I’m also going to put his baby photobook on this table.  Finally, the backdrop leaning against the wall will be a metal art wall hanging I made for him with all his senior pictures.  This can hang on the wall in his bedroom after the party (thanks Carrie for this awesome idea)!

Choose food that won’t prevent you from visiting with guests!

I love to cook and to bake!  However, I don’t want to be consumed with this so much leading up to the graduation or during the graduation.  I want to be able to visit with family and friends and be there for Wyatt.  So, we are making pulled pork ahead of time and putting it in crock pots for sandwiches.  We are also putting baked beans in crock pots.  Premade potato salad, chips and dip, coleslaw (thanks Cindy for this idea), and 2 kinds of layered cake from Costco will round out the menu.  Lemonade, coffee (good idea, mom), and water bottles will be available as well.

I hope this has given all of you amazing moms some ideas to simplify graduation for your homeschool senior!  What a blessing to be able to celebrate ‘pressing on toward the goal to win the prize‘ with our graduating teens!!!  God bless!

In Christ,

Julie

Meeting Times for Correcting Homeschool High School Work

From Our House to Yours

Heart of Dakota’s plans make it easy to see what must be accomplished each day!

This From Our House to Yours will focus on high school planned meeting times.  High school is a new and exciting time for parents and students alike!  Heart of Dakota makes this transition smoother in 4 ways! First, Heart of Dakota guides use easy-to-follow 2-page daily plans, just 4 days a week.  Second, each credit includes detailed plans labeled “T” teacher-directed, “S” semi-independent, and “I” independent.  This makes parent and student roles clear.  Third, parents love the detailed course descriptions, suggested grading, and transcript helps. Fourth, students love the clear plans for each day’s work!  Finally, you should always check your individual state requirements for high school. But, your student should typically earn all credits and electives necessary by doing HOD’s 4 high school guides!

So, now that we know the plans are complete, how do we as parents correct high school work?

Each high school guide’s introduction has detailed suggested grading for each credit earned.  From this, we can make professional transcripts easily and inexpensively by using each HOD guide’s course titles and descriptions.  We can also use the website www.transcriptmaker.com to input our student’s transcript details.  I especially love this website because it figures my students’ GPA automatically!  With all of this help, the only thing I’m left with is finding time to teach and to correct work. I’ve found one successful way to do this is to use planned meeting times!

What are planned meeting times?

I use planned meeting times to teach and to correct my children’s work.  We set specific times to meet within the day.  I’ve found 2-3, or even 4 planned meeting times work well.  My kiddos often complete some work independently first, and then they take this work to our first meeting time.  My first meeting time with my 9th grader using World Geography happens around 7:30 AM in the morning.  He comes with his completed independent work from the night before.  (As he is a bit of a night owl, he likes to do about 1 hour’s worth of independent work for the next school day the night before.)  He also completes his Bible from 7 to 7:30 AM prior to the meeting. Our first meeting time includes going over completed work from Bible, the Living Library, Spanish, and World Religions and Cultures.

World Geography Mapping the World with Art
So, what does he share from each of these subjects?

For Bible, he reads aloud his answers to me from Rooted and Grounded.  He also shares his prayer journal, unless it is more private.  On days 1 and 3, I have him say his memorized Scripture verses for me.  I also correct his Common Place Book entry if he had one.  (If he had Practical Happiness, I read it on my own and so does he, annotating as we read.  We meet at the third meeting time to go over the devotion.) For the Living Library, he reads aloud his sentence summary.  I check to be sure it contains the main characters, main goal and action taken, main conflict, and the setting.  Skimming the pages of the book’s daily reading is enough for me to see if he is on track for this 10% extra credit assignment.  I also check any special assignments noted for this in the plans (i.e. if he was to star, cloud, circle, etc certain things).  I correct his Spanish using the answer key, and I have him orally translate/read the odd problems aloud referencing the key as needed.  For World Religions and Cultures, I have him hand me the book he read open to the first page’s reading.  I skim the beginning, middle, and end of the reading.  Also, I read the key idea in the guide.  Finally, we either correct his bookmark together, or I listen to his oral narration with book in hand.

World Religions and Cultures Bookmark
What does the rest of his day look like?

After the first planned meeting time, he checks off the Living Library, World Religions and Cultures, Foreign Language, and Bible boxes.  They are done – hooray!  Next, we discuss what he needs to do for his EIW composition or R & S English grammar part of the plans.  He works on this independently then, while I do a planned meeting time with a different child.  His next planned meeting time is around 8:20 to 8:30 AM, whenever he completes his composition or grammar. I correct his written work by having him read it aloud to me.  He reads with pencil in hand, making any corrections he sees he needs to make first on his own. Then, I help him correct any mistakes using the grammar answer key or the EIW daily plans/rubric.  We check the Composition/Grammar box off in the plans, and he is off to chores and breakfast!

How does he finish out the plans?

After breakfast, he completes his World Geography, Geography Activities, Literature, and Logic boxes.  I pop in the living room to hear his oral narrations, correct his map work, edit his written work, discuss/check his literature, and check his logic answers.  We love this time together, and the key ideas and answer keys make it fairly easy on me!  If he had Practical Happiness, we meet on the couch go discuss our annotations.  (It is more private there, and this is a special time 1 on 1 for us!) Finally, he completes his Science with lab and leaves it out on the counter for me to correct.  (I’ve let him correct his own science the second half of the year, as I corrected it the first half, and he always did well. He loves science!  So, I never worry about him skimping on this.)

Seven Wonders of the World Geography Activity

His math is taught by my oldest son, as he loves it and is a business major!  This was their idea – apparently I get somewhat tense teaching math, and they prefer doing it together without me.  Who knew?!?  Anyway, the math answer key makes this last subject easy peasy to correct. Then, drumroll, we are done!  Usually by 1:30 PM or so.  Not bad for 4 days a week of high school!  Hope this helps you see how planned meeting times can provide both special 1:1 teaching time and time to correct work!

In Christ,
Julie