My kids are loving the history projects too much! Help!

Dear Carrie

How can I better manage the time we spend on history projects? My kids are actually loving them a little too much!

I am teaching two Heart of Dakota guides. My kids are enjoying their homeschool days so much, especially the history projects. In fact, I think my kids are actually enjoying the projects a little TOO much. Here’s my question: If you run multiple guides with multiple history projects in a day, do you do everything? If my daughter has a project in her guide, and my son has a project in his guide, I find everyone wants to do everything. If I let them do a project together, it takes so long that the other project in the other guide doesn’t get done. Since the history projects are so intertwined with what they are learning, I hate to skip things. I don’t want to douse their enthusiasm, but I don’t want them skipping things either. What would you advise? Moving history projects to the weekend? Or to the evening? Help!


“Ms. Please Help Me Manage the Time We Spend on History Projects”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Manage the Time We Spend on History Projects,”

One thing we’ve found through the years we’ve had of running four different full-speed guides at our house is that when we shift things off to the weekend or to a free day, they often get overlooked. The more guides we’ve added to our plate the more we’ve found the need to actually do the history project on the day in which it is scheduled, otherwise it is nearly impossible to remember who has what to do later (and by the time we get to the weekend no one can really remember why we’re doing the history project or what possible connection it had to the text anymore).

Older students can do the history projects last in the day, so they can take as long as they want to complete them.

So, what we do to compensate for history projects that may go longer is to have our older kiddos do the project time and science time last in the day for the child to take as long as he/she wishes to complete. This also allows any younger family members who are done with their school to join in (if it is something the older child doesn’t mind having youngers join in to do).

Younger students can do the history projects before a scheduled free time.

For our younger kiddos, we scheduled their LHTH/LHFHG/Beyond/Bigger history projects at a time when they had free time afterwards. For example, our little guy in LHFHG had an educational DVD scheduled after his project time. If his project time went longer, then we just moved the DVD to the afternoon. Other kiddos of ours had computer scheduled after project time, which could also be moved later in the day.

Scheduled breaks and free time can help with managing history projects as well. 

One other thing we’ve done is to have a several hour break after lunch. Then, when we come back from the break, our older kiddos can jump in and do their project/science work (and I’m more up for it because we’ve had a chance to regroup and have some time off). Our younger kiddos also have free time in the afternoon, where we can shift any needed work from the morning during that time if needed.

Anyway, just a few more ideas to ponder as you find what works for you!


How HOD Projects Decorate and Adorn Our Home

From Our House to Yours

How HOD Projects Decorate and Adorn Our Home

In Heart of Dakota, students get to respond to their Charlotte Mason living books’ readings in all sorts of ways. Through the years, our sons have especially enjoyed responding to their readings with their history projects. While we cannot keep all of the projects, they have used many of them to decorate their bedrooms. Even more of their history projects adorn the rest of our home. Each time we walk through the house, we take a trip down memory lane. As our sons lay their heads down to sleep, they do so in the company of many of their Heart of Dakota history projects. This blog is dedicated to a few of those special decorations!

The Preparing Hearts for His Glory Timeline Adorned Our Doors

Each of our sons loved making the Preparing Hearts for His Glory staircase timeline. First, Wyatt’s timeline adorned our left closet door in our entry. Then, Riley’s timeline adorned our right closet door in our entry. When it came to Emmett, I remember him sadly saying he didn’t have any place for his timeline because both entry closet doors were taken! When I told Emmett he could hang his timeline on his bedroom door, he beamed! The timelines adorned those doors for a very long time and were a ready reference for the chronology of major historical events.

The “What does your name mean?” Project Adorned the Inside of Our Sons’ Bedroom Doors

Each of our sons enjoyed looking up what his name meant for a history project. After they wrote what their names meant, they drew small pictures around it to describe themselves. These namesake projects adorned the inside of their bedroom doors for many years. I loved that they could see why we chose each of their names! What a neat project!

Cinnamon Fish with Scripture Hang from Our Sons’ Doorknobs

Our sons enjoyed making their cinnamon fish project. I love the Scripture they wrote and glued to their fish. We also all love the cinnamon scent we catch a whiff of every time we open and close their doors.  These fish adorned their doors by hanging from their doorknobs until they finally crumbled.  We all got years of enjoyment out of them! Just when one child’s fish would break, our next son was in that guide and making a new fish for his door!

Favorite recipes adorn the inside of our kitchen cabinet doors!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! I think this is also often the way to a boy’s heart! Our sons have loved making all of the recipes in Heart of Dakota’s history projects. Not to mention, our entire family has loved eating them! In fact, we love many of them so much that the boys copy the recipes and hang them on the inside of our kitchen cabinets. Cornbread, cookies, pastries, quick breads began to overtake our inside cabinet doors until they decided to make their own recipe binder of them. What delicious recipes!!!

Other Memorable Heart of Dakota ‘Decorations’

Our house is adorned by so many memorable Heart of Dakota decorations. Headpieces and helmets hang from bedposts. Cacti adorns dressers, and pottery is a holder for morning vitamins. Posters hang on walls, and the ‘armor of the Lord’ adorns stuffed animals. Portfolios of watercolor paintings and poetry copywork line our shelves as keepsake pieces. But above all, my favorite keepsakes are my children’s Bibles and Common Place Books. Highlighted Scriptures memorized through the years in their Bibles continue to encourage them to hide the Word in their hearts. Common Place Book scriptures and quotes keep meaningful thoughts at the ready for perusing at any time. Many Heart of Dakota things adorn and decorate our home.  I hope some of them reside in your homes for a time as well – until fresh ones take their place.

In Christ,