Each HOD guide has a pattern that becomes familiar.

Teaching Tip: 

Each HOD guide has a pattern that becomes familiar.

Each HOD guide is designed with a pattern that is meant to become familiar to your students. As the pattern becomes familiar, your students will know more clearly what is expected and what is required to complete assignments.

Knowing a guide’s pattern shortens work times.

Knowing the guide’s pattern and expectations helps your students do assignments in less time. As students move through the guide, the school day typically becomes shorter. This is simply because the students have gotten the routine down!

As the guide progresses, your days will flow better, be shorter, and require less of you.

If you are starting a new guide that seems a bit challenging right now, don’t lose heart! If your child is well-placed in his/her guide, you will see improvement as your child progresses through the year. Your days will flow better, be shorter, and require less of you. When you draw near to the end of your official “school year” you’ll be surprised at how “easy” the guide seems.

One benefit of the guide’s pattern is a shorter school day!

A shortened school day as the year progresses is a huge blessing. Often the shortened days come at a time when many teachers (and students) are running out of steam. To see my boys clipping through their day and knowing what is expected is a joy! I pray it will be a blessing to you to see your kiddos finish strong and confident as well!

Blessings,
Carrie

There are few “normal” days of homeschooling.

Teaching Tip: 

There are few “normal” days of homeschooling.

One thing I am discovering as I am getting older is there are few “normal” days of homeschooling. Life is often filled with unexpected surprises. The further we travel down life’s path, health and medical issues are bound to crop up. Issues may arise within our own families, our extended families, or both. This is just a part of living in a sinful world where our bodies break down with the passing of time. What a glorious blessing that the earth is not our eternal home and our bodies will one day be made new again!

Let your HOD guide be a help during uncertain times.

With the fragility of health in mind, it is a huge blessing the HOD guides have all your planning done. I am thankful the guides are truly open-and-go. For instance, in 2018, we really put the open-and-go claim to the test! Our son Greyson struggled with his health and was in and out of the hospital 160+ days. Since we never knew when we would have to head to the hospital, often there was no time to prepare. With the specialty hospital 4 hours away, we had a myriad of teachers come and go to help at home. Both grandmas took a turn teaching. Our older sons alternated teaching with working on their college classes. Some days my sister taught our youngest son along with her own boys. Many days we had to have our sons do as much as they could on their own. Upon our return, we picked up where the other teachers left off and jumped right back in. Even with all sorts of teachers popping in to do different parts, we went forward with our HOD guides in hand. The guides were a constant “normal” in our ever-changing days.

What should you do if a situation of duress arises?

So, what should you do when a situation of duress arises? If the situation is short lived, it makes sense to downshift and do whatever you must. If the situation is longer term, the advice we most often hear is to shift down to doing only the 3R’s. Yet, doing only the 3R’s leaves a houseful of kids who still need something to do all day. So in our situation, we decided to go forward with our HOD guides even if we were limping through. Of course there are extreme situations, where downshifting to the basics makes sense. Just be sure to watch so this doesn’t become the norm.

Let your HOD guide provide needed structure to your days.

In times of duress, let the pattern of the HOD guides give your school days some normalcy. Your kids will recognize and take comfort in the pattern, even if you aren’t there. Don’t spend precious time thinking of how to cut back, shift, change, add, adapt, or subtract from the HOD guide. Instead, just teach the guide “as is” and progress steadily forward day by day. Let the guide provide needed structure in the good times and the tough times. Try it, and you may find (as I have) that you are actually relieved to have the guides drive your days.

Blessings,
Carrie

Introducing…God’s Hand in Life’s Little Moments!

Heart of Dakota Tidbit:

Introducing…God’s Hand in Life’s Little Moments!

Did you know that Carrie’s sister Julie wrote a devotional especially to encourage homeschool moms? Each chapter has a theme and includes devotions encouraging you as a Christian woman, a wife, a mother, and a teacher! You can purchase it new and with free shipping at her personal eBay storefront here!

How much “together time” is beneficial?

Teaching Tip: 

How much “together time” is beneficial?

In a previous teaching tip, I mentioned how we can always be assured of plenty of “together time” in a homeschooling setting! One thing to weigh is how much “together time” is truly beneficial? Often as homeschool teachers, we default into thinking that anything done together is better. Often we think that knowledge shared in a group is better, because it is shared.

How do you learn best?

Think through the way that you learn best. Would you say that the “group experience” is the only way or the best way for you to learn? I know for me this isn’t necessarily true.

Be specific in choosing which experiences are shared.

This is why it is important to be specific in choosing which experiences are shared and which ones are individual. Sometimes experiences are shared only between teacher and one student.

What kind of experiences are best done one-on-one?

Personal/private sharing is best done one-on-one. Difficult subjects are best done one-on-one. Subjects that require concentrated attention are best done with few interruptions.

Make a conscious choice about how to handle each subject.

Try making a conscious choice about which subjects are best as a group experience and which subjects are best one-on-one. This specific choosing will make each subject more meaningful. It will also help each subject be better suited to your students’ needs! Try make conscious choices today, and see if your school day goes more smoothly!

Blessings,
Carrie

Do you have trouble getting the evening meal together?

Teaching Tip: 

Do you have trouble getting the evening meal together?

Do you have trouble getting the evening meal together, when school and laundry seem to take up much of the day? I have trouble if I don’t have a plan in place for getting the evening meal on the table. So, here is my plan for avoiding the “what shall we have for dinner” panic!

Once a week, make a list of evening meals for each day of the upcoming week.

On Friday, I make a list of evening meals for the week. I list the days of the week on a sticky note. Then, I list the meal including side dishes for each day. I make the list in pencil, so I can change the day for the meal if needed. I always plan one easy meal my hubby or older sons can make for nights when I might be gone. It works best to make the list of meals for the week prior to making the grocery list.

Place all needed recipes for the week in an envelope attached to a kitchen cabinet.

I place all needed recipes for the week in an envelope attached to my kitchen cabinet. This way, I can easily refer to my recipes to see what to add to my grocery list. I also have easy access to the needed recipes as I am cooking or baking. As the week progresses, I love knowing that I have the ingredients for what I am planning to make! Even though it takes me a couple of hours on Friday afternoon, it is worth it to get organized for the week.

Place the list of meals on the refrigerator door.

I place the note with the list of meals for the week on the refrigerator door. This makes it easy for me to see what I am making each day. My boys also can easily see what is for dinner…which they love! This quick reference also helps me see what I could prepare ahead for the evening meal.

Lunch time is a great time to do a little dinner preparation.

My kiddos head outside for their recess after lunch. I find this to be a great time to get a bit of my dinner prep underway. If the evening meal has a crock pot part, I put it in during this time. If it isn’t a crock pot type meal, I might scrub potatoes or cut up needed veggies or fruit. Or, I might put ingredients in my bread maker or bake a batch of muffins during this time. I just make sure that the cooking prep doesn’t exceed my kiddos recess time. Otherwise, I find it hard to return to teaching after recess. By getting a bit of dinner prep out of the way, I have an easier time when the evening meal arrives.

Try planning ahead for a week and see what you think!

Planning ahead has become essential for me in feeding our family. As our 4 boys are growing, they are really getting to be big eaters! This makes the evening meal an important one in their eyes. Try planning ahead for a week and see if it helps you too!

Blessings,
Carrie