When will it all come together for my 11-year-old?!?

From Our House to Yours

When will it all come together for my 11-year-old?

I recently visited with a mom whose 11-year-old son was doing Resurrection to Reformation (RTR). She had multiple children using Heart of Dakota. All were doing exceptionally well, except her oldest son. He’d misplace his books. When doing his history project, he’d do steps 1, 3, and 5. Though usually good at copywork, he’d misspell his timeline captions or Shakespeare quotes. In grammar, he’d forget the oral review question answers. When writing his narration, he’d write Unit 13’s narration in Unit 14’s box. She said he was a bright boy who did amazing with his guide overall! But, it was the little things that were getting missed! She told me she was fine helping him, as long as it would come to an end. She said, It WILL come to an end sometime, won’t it? I mean, when will it all come together for my 11-year-old?

11 Year-Olds Have a Lot Going On

I laughed and asked if she’d been homeschooling MY son because they did the same things. However, I told her I had one ace-in-the-hole. I knew it would pass! And the reason I knew it would pass was this particular son was my last, and I’d been through this with my older sons back when they were about 11 to 12 years old. 11-year-olds have a LOT going on. There is a reason From Boy to Man (and From Girl to Woman), as well as What Is God’s Design for My Body?, are a part of RTR. Sometimes you can’t even see a whole lot of change happening on the outside. However, there is much going on, both inside and outside for 11-year-olds. It can make them distracted. They can lose focus. Not to mention, all of this happens at a time when school is getting harder!

What can be done to help our 11 year-olds?

So, what can be done to help our 11-year-olds? Well, what we can do is stick to the plan. It’s not flashy, I know, but it works. At a time when everything is changing for our 11-year-olds, what they need more than anything is consistency. Emotions running wild? We as moms need to remain calm. Work not complete? We as moms need to help them complete it. Papers in disarray or books lost? We as moms need to help find them. Oh, you don’t feel like writing 8-12 sentences for your narration today? Too bad, it’s in the plans, so we do it. Frustrated with math and wanting to quit? Take a breather, but then we’ll finish it together. Our 11-year-olds need us as moms to step in the gap and be the calm and the consistency they crave. It’s not easy, but it works!

A Student Planner That Teaches Time Management

One amazing blessing of Heart of Dakota is the way the guides are designed. As children grow and mature, rather than just being teachers’ guides, the guides become student planners too. Children take their guide in hand and follow it for their “I” and for (a portion of) their “S” boxes. So, little by little, our 11-year-olds start to see they have some control over their school day. They begin to understand that how they manage their time determines how long their school day takes. Likewise, they see how carefully they follow directions impacts how much time school take because redoing work takes more time. Of course, they only realize these things if we as moms are consistent in expecting their work to be fully completed. That is why it is so important we make sure they ‘stick to the plan.’

So, when will it all come together for our 11-year-olds?

So, WILL this come to an end at some point?!? Will there be a time that it all comes together for our kiddos? Yes, it will! But, maybe not when they’re 11. For my son, who is now a 12-year-old, everything came together about a month ago. All I can say is he just turned the corner. He sets his own alarm each morning and gets up. If he finishes a box early, he goes on to the next one. When we meet, he has his work done. His writing is neat. He rarely misspells things within copywork. He’s doing all the steps for his projects. He often finishes school early. I just praise God for it! Is he perfect? No. However, he is working hard to manage his time and do his best. This is far different from when he was 11 years old. Mission accomplished!

In Closing

At a time when we as homeschool moms can feel weary, we need to stay strong with high expectations for our 11-year-olds. By consistently expecting them to complete all of their guide’s plans, they in turn learn to manage their time, to focus better, and to do their best work the first time. Whatever we do – we cannot open the door to discussions about ‘if’ they must do all that is assigned; very quickly this becomes a daily battle. Rather, we can plan to set the bar high for all their work to be completed consistently each day. Given time, we will reap a bountiful harvest! Trust me – it is a harvest that keeps producing fruit year after year, guide after guide, all the way to high school graduation. And it all starts at about 11 years old.

In Christ,

Julie

How can you challenge your child to take a more active role in his learning?

Teaching Tip:

As your year progresses, are your children becoming more comfortable with their HOD guides?

As the school year progresses, I am reminded of a tip that is helpful as children get further along in their guides. This tip is especially targeted at students in Little Hearts for His Glory through Preparing Hearts for His Glory. As your kiddos travel through their guides, they will become comfortable with the patterns in their particular guides. They will begin to instinctively “know” what to do when they come to certain parts of their day. As your children’s comfort levels rise, they are ready for more of a challenge.

How can you challenge your child to take a more active role in his learning?

When your child seems comfortable with the guide, it is time to start letting him take a more active role in his learning. One easy way to do this is to allow your child to look at the daily plans and get out his own materials. Once your child excels at getting out his own materials, move on to letting your child read directions from the guide.

Allow your child to read directions right from the guide.

Allowing your child to read directions right from the guide helps him prepare for the learning coming that day. Reading directly from the guide is also great preparation for what is coming in future guides too. Future guides begin labeling boxes in the plans as ‘T’ = Teacher Directed, ‘S’ = Semi-Independent, and ‘I’ = Independent. As your child matures, the move toward more independence will be encouraged and expected.

Allowing your students to read directly from the guide has many benefits.

Reading directly from the guide allows students to become more self-propelled learners. It also allows students to take more responsibility and ownership for what they are learning! So, once your students are ready, start letting them read directly from the guide. Begin with only one or two boxes at a time. See what a change you notice as your children enjoy taking ownership of their learning.

With growing independence comes greater accountability.

Just be careful that you don’t let your children’s new ownership nudge you out of too many areas! It is still important to oversee and check each part of your children’s school work. Accountability becomes even more important with independence.

Blessings,
Carrie

Is it normal for parental involvement to lessen in Creation to Christ?

Dear Carrie

Is it normal for my level of parental involvement to lessen in Creation to Christ?

Dear Carrie,

I have 2 children doing Creation to Christ. I’m blessed Heart of Dakota has taught them independence! They are wonderful at using the guide and finishing their work. Praise God! I answer questions, check work, and lead the teacher-directed things. But, I find it’s different this year. In the younger years, I read aloud all of the books. Now, I spend more time with my 7 yo in Bigger, my 5 yo in LHFHG, and my 3 yo. I feel like it’s impossible to be much more involved than I am! I’d love to have time to sit and read the CTC books with the olders, but I just can’t! I guess I need either encouragement or constructive criticism! Is it normal for my level of involvement to change in Creation to Christ?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Know If It Is Normal for My Level of Involvement to Change in Creation to Christ”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Know If It Is Normal for My Level of Involvement to Change in Creation to Christ,”

This is a great question! Whenever we write an HOD guide, we strive for balance. We especially find it important for us to have a balance of “Teacher-Directed,” “Semi-Independent,” and “Independent” activities. While we may have more ‘I’s in a guide, that doesn’t necessarily mean we spend more time on “I” activities. It just means that we often keep the ‘I’ activities shorter. We do this in order for them to be truly independent (so it takes more ‘I’ activities to equal out the minutes spent on ‘T’ and ‘S’ activities).

We systematically move skills we have taught toward being independent.

As kiddos progress through our guides, we systematically move skills we have taught toward being ‘Independent.’  This allows us to teach and practice new skills in each guide. With this thought in mind, once kiddos are able to read their own history and science material, we desire for them to be doing the reading. This aids in better retention, produces stronger written and oral narrations, increases a child’s vocabulary as they see and read difficult words in print, and gives the child a chance to pace the reading as needed to suit his/her specific reading level. We do keep storytime as an area where the parent can cuddle up with the child to share great books, and we tie follow-up skills to the readings.

Older children benefit from reading on their own, and teaching time is precious, so we choose teaching tasks carefully.

As homeschool parents, we likely have limited time each day to formally “teach” our children. If we choose to utilize that precious teaching time with our older children to read aloud material that the children would benefit from reading on their own, then we draw from our well of teaching time by doing a task like reading aloud that isn’t really a teaching task. We want to be sure that any task we choose for the teacher to do is truly a teaching task.

Allowing older children to read their own material frees up time to teach important things that otherwise could be missed.

By allowing the children to read their own material, we free up time to teach important things that may otherwise be missed. We can interact with our students in studies like the Genesis study in The Radical Book for Kids, or purity studies like Beautiful Girlhood or Boyhood and Beyond, or in Biblical worldview studies through Who Is God?. Likewise, we can enjoy working  through poetry, art, and music appreciation. Additionally, we can spend time teaching writing programs, interacting with grammar lessons, hearing narrations, and dialoguing as the students show us their notebooking. We can focus on interaction with the student that goes far beyond reading aloud.

Our guides incrementally prepare students for the level of independence needed in high school and college.

The design of our guides is also intended to prepare students incrementally for the level of independence that will be needed in high school and college. We teach a high level of reading and following written directions through the ‘I’ boxes of each HOD guide. Students also need time management skills to complete the boxes independently. The students learn these skills, yet parents always have a follow-up or a product that is produced, so they can monitor students’ progress in every subject area. Students love to move toward taking on more of their own learning as they get older, and our guides tap into that God-given path toward maturity by giving the child a bit more responsibility each year.

We are seeking for meaningful interaction moments in every teaching day.

We have truly enjoyed the interactions we have with our children at each level of our HOD guides. I must admit that my 3 youngest kiddos using HOD have had many more opportunities for interaction with me than my oldest son had. This is because we had previously tried so many of the various curricula out there on his homeschool journey. At HOD, we are seeking for “meaningful interaction” moments in every teaching day. We plan for them in each of our guides. So, rest assured, you can know teaching time is there for you each and every day.

Blessings,
Carrie

 

Is your child new to independence in school?

Teaching Tip: 

Is your child new to independence in school?

Do you have a child doing Preparing Hearts or Creation to Christ on up who is new to “independence” in school? If so, here is a helpful tip for you! Have your child read the instructions in any “I” box out loud to you prior to beginning the box.

Why is it helpful to have students read aloud the directions in the “independent” boxes of plans?

When kiddos read aloud the directions first, they often have a better idea of what is coming. This makes them less likely to miss steps when performing the “I” box. It can take extra time to have the child read aloud the box first. But, it will save you time later, because the child will know more clearly what to do. If needed, you can also discuss the directions right after the child has read them aloud.

When can you phase out this “reading aloud” step?

The reading aloud step can be phased out as the child gains confidence in reading and following written directions. It helps “train” the child to read the directions through before beginning the box. Try this tip and see if it helps your child! This extra step has really helped our boys!

Blessings,
Carrie

Bigger Hearts for His Glory – Our Gateway to Independent Learning!

Heart of Dakota Tidbit

Bigger Hearts for His Glory – Our Gateway to Independent Learning!

Did you know that “Bigger Hearts for His Glory” (written for ages 7-9 with extensions for 10-11) is considered our most teacher intensive guide? This guide is designed to prepare your child for the independence that is coming in the future guides. Your teaching time will start to lessen with each subsequent guide so that you can spend your time with your younger children teaching them the habits that will lead to their independent learning.

Have a great weekend!

Second or Third Grade with Heart of Dakota – Bigger Hearts for His Glory

Are you having your child work toward the suggested level of independence in Heart of Dakota?