Setting Up for Little Hearts for His Glory

From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for Little Hearts for His Glory

So, you’ve placed your child in LHFHG, enjoyed your HOD “box day”, and are ready to set up for the homechool year! Well, the first important step is to read through the LHFHG Introduction, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. Reading through these parts of the guide helps me envision our year. It also helps me note any special supplies I might want, based on the options given for me to choose from in the Introduction. I also think it is important to read the beginning pages of the phonics program and of the handwriting workbook. The instruction tips shared there are important to developing good habits. They also note any special preparation needed to begin. For example, Reading Made Easy’s beginning pages notes “Things to Do Ahead of Time,” and The Reading Lesson explains how to use the download in the instruction lesson.

Setting Up the Front of My “Little Hearts for His Glory” Binder

First, I photocopy the cover of my LHFHG guide in color and insert it in my binder. If you don’t have a color copier, a black and white cover looks nice as well! Second, I print the Introduction of the guide off the Internet (click here). I use the Table of Contents that is part of the Introduction as my attendance record. Next to each ‘Unit,’ I write the dates we completed it (i.e. Unit 1:  Sept. 2-6, 2019). Third, I print the first week of plans (click here). This is just a nice overview. If your state requires you to turn in your student’s completed portfolio, printed pages or copies of the Introduction and first week of plans give an excellent overview of what is covered. Please note, Carrie gives permission for the Introduction and First Week of Plans to be printed or copied for portfolio compilation. However, any other photocopies (i.e. of daily plans) would be a copyright infringement.

Label Tab Dividers Inside My LHFHG Binder

Next, I label tab dividers for my binder. My goals are to show what my child did and how he progressed in skills. So, I label my first tab “HISTORY.” Anything my child did on the left Learning Through History part of the plans is placed here. Usually this includes lots of art projects, a few science projects, and a few decorated Bible verses. Next, I label my second tab “FINE MOTOR SKILLS.” I put completed Do It Carefully, Finding the Answers, and A Reason for Handwriting K pages here. (Note: this is based on what I chose for resources; your fine motor skills workbooks might be different.) Then, I label my third tab “LANGUAGE ARTS.” Here, I put Storytime written projects (from Day 4) and phonics worksheets (if my child did any). Last, I label my fourth tab “MATH”and put any completed math activity pages or worksheets here.

Extra Tab(s) for Those Who Take Pictures and Actually Print Them

If you are a super mom who not only takes pictures but also prints them, you can include one more tab called “HANDS-ON LEARNING.” Behind this tab, you can place printed action photos of Rhymes in Motion, Science Experiments, Thinking Games, Dramatic Play, Bible Study activities, and/or the Corresponding Music singing. Or, you can label the tab “OTHER” and put pictures of anything special, like you reading the Bible, the devotional, the history/science books, or the Storytime books to your child. However, ask me how many times I have gotten that done in three trips through LHFHG? Zero. So, if you don’t get this done, no worries! I DO have many pictures taken, and I DID have them on a slideshow in a photoframe for awhile. So, if you don’t have the time, don’t do this. Your binder without any of these extra tabs will still be amazing!

Label Sticky Tabs to Mark Places in the Guide

Next, I label sticky tabs to mark places in the LHFHG guide. I label the first sticky tab “DAILY PLANS,” placing it on Unit 1, Day 1. Then, I label the next tab “RHYMES IN MOTION,” placing it in the Appendix (back) of the guide. If you are using the first grade science option, I’d label another tab “SCIENCE” and place that in the Appendix. Likewise, if you are using the first grade math plans, I’d label another tab “MATH” and place that in the Appendix. Or, if you’d rather not reference your Appendix for the 1st grade science and math, I’d just jot the page numbers in the daily “Math Exploration” and “Science Discovery” boxes of plans instead. Finally, if you are planning on using your library for the optional additional literature in the Appendix, I’d label another tab “LITERATURE SUPPLEMENTS.” 

Shopping for Supplies

Carrie’s plans use readily available household supplies, and many options are suggested. For example, the plans may call for either a bean bag and a basket, or a rolled up pair of socks and a plastic bin. Art supplies are noted in bold print in the Artistic Expression daily plans. I just skim the Art and Science plans every month or so, to look for the one-off supply. However, to get ready to begin LHFHG, I just stock up on usual art supplies, like crayons, markers, glue (sticks and liquid), scissors, construction paper, tape (masking and clear), a ruler, playdough, paints/paintbrushes, cotton balls/yarn, etc. I also stock up on index cards, page protectors, and a few catalogs. Finally, I’ve found a flashlight, CD player (for Hide ‘Em in Your Heart), bouncy ball, paperclips, paper plates, and q-tips/toothpicks are also handy.

Just for Fun Extras

For LHFHG, I enjoyed having on hand some musical toys, a few party streamers/hats, and a scarf to toss – but these items are just for fun and not necessary! As the LHFHG plans say, instead of having on hand musical toys you can always use a kettle and a spoon for a drum, a box of rice to shake as a maraca, or 2 wooden spoons to tap together for rhythm sticks. Instead of party streamers or hats, you can just use construction paper. Rather than a scarf, you can toss a tissue! For this young age of children, I also enjoyed having on hand My First Tinconderoga pencils, a pencil sharpener, sturdy clicky pencils, a big eraser, a few different pencil grippers, several different kinds of scissors for little ones, and twistable crayons.  But, these are really just for fun type extras!

Sorting Resources into “Things We Need Now” and “Things We Need Later” Bins or Totes

One of the last things I do is get two canvas bins or plastic tubs.  I use one for ‘things we need now’ and the other for ‘things we need later.’ As I read through each box of my first week of LHFHG’s plans, I put each needed resource in the bin or tub for ‘things we need now.’ I put the remaining items in the bin or tub for ‘things we need later.’ Throughout the year as we finish using books or resources, I put them in the back of the ‘things we need later’ bin or tub, and I move the next books or resources we need into the ‘things we need now’ bin or tub. This way, my ‘things we need now’ bin or tub only contains what we need for each week. Another benefit is the ‘things we need now’ are always mobile! I can pick up my bin or tote and move it to any table, desk, couch, counter, work surface or area I want!  Likewise, I put many art supplies in a tool turnaround, so these are mobile too!

In Christ,


What are the benefits of the Rhymes in Motion?

Dear Carrie

What are the benefits of Little Hearts for His Glory’s Rhymes in Motion?

Dear Carrie,

I have a very crunched school year schedule with my kids. My almost 6 year old LOVES Heart of Dakota, and I’m committed to taking the time to do it with her each day. I intuitively know that the Rhymes in Motion part is worth the time, but I’m wondering if you can explain the specific benefits of that portion. (I think it will help me be faithful to do them even on the busy days!) Thank you!


“Ms. Please Explain the Benefits of the Rhymes in Motion”

Dear “Ms. Please Explain the Benefits of the Rhymes in Motion,”

I am so glad that you will get a chance to use Little Hearts for His Glory! We have loved it with our own boys, so we pray it may be a blessing to your family as well.

The rhymes in motion are written to integrate the left and right side of the brain. Saying the words and doing the motions call on different parts of the brain. As kiddos say the words and do the motions at the same time, the two sides of the brain are working together. Developing pathways between the two sides of the brain is especially important for kiddos in LHFHG, as they are getting ready to read. So, I highly encourage you to do the rhymes in motion. Think of it as fun and easy brain integration therapy and reading readiness help all rolled into one!

As an additional bonus, the motions within the rhymes are also calling upon gross motor skills that are needing to be developed at this stage too. So, take the 5 minutes to do the rhymes. It is worth it!


Another Homeschool Mom’s Response to Carrie’s Response

I knew you would have an amazing answer for her, Carrie!  I’d like to encourage you, Carrie, and “Ms. Please Explain the Benefits of the Rhymes in Motion” that there are even more benefits than those! I love that it teaches that school can be fun! It gets them participating in the rhyme and rhythm of language (other pre-reading skills – phonemic awareness is so huge that it was tested in 1st graders at the beginning of the school year when I worked as an ASL interpreter/tutor before our first was born).

There is also some great knowledge in some of those; my 4yo can almost recite the months of the year because she did the Rhymes in Motion with her brothers (and they loved being allowed to do a somersault on their birth month!). Thanks for the question “Ms. Please Explain the Benefits of the Rhymes in Motion!” It’s always interesting to put all the skills learned from one little subject into “education speak” and realize how integrated all the subjects and skills are!

Placement for Multiple Ages of Preschool and Kindergarten Children

Pondering Placement

Question:  Please help me with placement for my multiple ages of preschool and kindergarten children!

Hello Heart of Dakota!  I have a question about placement for multiple ages of preschool and kindergarten aged children. I have a 3 year old, a 4 year old and a 1.5 year old. My two older kids will be 4 and 5 in the fall. I am wondering where you would place them? We have started Little Hands to Heaven with the older two, and they both really enjoy it!

Do you think I would be better off trying to draw out Little Hands for an extra half a year to be able to combine them both in Little Hearts the following year (a 6 and 5 year old)? Or, should I just go ahead and do all of Little Hearts with my son this coming year with a prayer that I don’t get overwhelmed running two, and down the road three programs? I’m just not sure what to do with my five year old this coming year if I do combine them. Only doing Little Hands doesn’t seem  like it would be enough for him even adding in math and phonics. But, my desire to combine them is strong. What would you do? I want learning time to be fun… oooh, I dislike making decisions like this!!  Please help!

Answer: As your two oldest children are close in age, combining them makes good sense.

Hello!  I agree that since your oldest two children are so close in age, it will be a good idea to combine them as much as possible down the road. So, with that in mind, I’d continue with Little Hands to Heaven (possibly 3-4 days a week for this year). Then, next year, I would pick it back up and finish Little Hands.

When your 4 year old is close to 5 (or seems ready), you can easily begin to add any K options from Little Hearts that she’s ready to do. Possible options would include a phonics program, the first handwriting workbook (A Reason for Writing K or Italic A), the Do It Carefully/Finding the Answers fine motor skills workbooks, and/or the Essentials Kindergarten Math A and B with hands-on activities from the Little Hearts guide. By adding the pieces you feel your oldest is ready to utilize when she’s ready, you won’t be holding her back in any way but will also get a chance to steep her in the Bible through Little Hands and keep her with your younger one.

If you do happen to go through Little Hands to Heaven faster that is fine too, as you could always slow Little Hearts down to half-speed when you get there. So, don’t feel like you must draw Little Hands out more than you’d like. Simply do what your kiddos are ready for, and you won’t go wrong.


P.S. For more info on Little Hands to Heaven, click here!

P.S.S. For more info on Little Hearts for His Glory, click here!

Kindergarten or First Grade with Heart of Dakota: A Solid Start and a Great First Impression to Homeschooling

From Our House to Yours

Little Hearts for His Glory 

Kindergarten and/or first grade is such an exciting ‘first’ for our children, isn’t it?  They are at the age where we feel we are truly starting their schooling.  It’s exciting and worrisome to us parents all at once!  Because children are not required to do kindergarten in South Dakota where we live, kindergarten became our ‘let’s give homeschooling a try’ year.  My husband was not so sure.  I was not so sure I was so sure.  But, the risk seemed minimal, as we didn’t have to ‘do’ anything to declare we were homeschooling. So, we decided to give it a try and use Little Hearts for His Glory!  Written for 5-7 year olds, it seemed just right!  With a choice of resources for LA, math, Bible, and science, it recognized our little one  was more ‘kindergarten’ in one area and more ‘first grade’ in another. But, I could just customize the homeschool year for him, so it didn’t matter!

A Happy Start Equals a Strong Finish

Well, fast forward, and I guess we must have liked it!  We just graduated our oldest son, having done Heart of Dakota all the way to 12th grade.  For the record, best thing we’ve ever done.  Part of the reason we loved homeschooling so much all these years was our happy start to it!  First, with Little Hands to Heaven.  But, then really next with Little Hearts for His GloryI could just tell we’d found our ‘home’ in homeschooling.

A Complete Kindergarten Or First Grade That Leaves Time for Naps and for Play

I’m old enough to remember kindergarten being half-days.  Morning kindergarten.  Afternoon kindergarten.  Why did they do half-days?  Well, I think they realized little ones couldn’t be in school all day. Their attention span just wasn’t up to that long of a day, and neither was their energy level.  Naps.  Little ones need naps or at least down time.  They just tucker out.

I remember my mom sharing how when she subbed for kindergarten, little ones during nap time on mats would inch close to her.  One by one nap time mats moved as close to her as possible until they could almost touch her.  I think they just wanted to feel close to her. Well, I loved how close my little ones felt to me doing Little Hearts for His Glory!  I also loved how we did enough school to cover all the bases, while still leaving time to nap and to play.

Children wonder what school will be like, and their start to it makes its mark on their forever impression of school.

In homeschooling, kindergarten or first grade is a child’s first impression of what ‘real’ school will look like.  Children wonder. Will they be good at school?  Is school going to be interesting?  Will school be fun? Is school going to overtake all of their life so there is no free time left?  Will their teacher love them?  Well, praise the Lord, yes, at least to the last ‘wondering’ question.  Their teacher in homeschooling will love them.  But, the rest of the questions are good food for thought!

Little Hearts for His Glory answers children’s ‘wondering’ questions with a resounding ‘you will love homeschooling and be good at it too!’

Enter Little Hearts for His Glory!  Thorough? Yes.  Complete – all subject covered!  But, to name the nuts and bolts – formal phonics, daily handwriting, fine motor skills, math with hands-on activities, and read alouds with follow-up skills.  Interesting?  Yes!  A one year chronological sweep of history via amazing books, cuddle up reading time via more amazing books, science experiments via even more amazing books.  Fun? Uhh, yes.  Science experiments, dramatic play, art activities, rhymes in motion, and critical thinking games. Christ-centered?  Yes.  Please, let us start our homeschooling with Christ – He is the foundation after all, right?!? Bible study, corresponding music, devotional time together.

So to sum it up…

First, Little Hearts… is history-focused and Christ-centered:
  • Bible Memory Work
  • Devotional Topics
  • Science Discovery
  • Art Projects
  • Dramatic Play
  • Thinking Games
  • Rhymes
  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Music

Second, Little Hearts… focuses on integral language arts and math skills. It includes the areas listed below:

So, first impressions are important!

It feels like the pressure of the world beginning homeschooling.  There is bound to be opposition.  Family may not support you. Friends may not understand you. Acquaintances/the world may skeptically question you.  Deep down, you may not even be sure what you are doing is right.  Well, deep breath.  Little Hearts… has you covered.  Children begin their homeschooling learning all they need to know while still thinking ‘Wow! This isn’t so hard after all!  I am GOOD at school!’  Likewise, parents begin their homeschooling equipped with all they need to know while still thinking ‘Wow!  This isn’t so hard after all!  I am GOOD at homeschooling!’

Bonus for both parent and child – school doesn’t take all day!

1  1/2 hours a day. That is totally doable for child and parent! No pre-planning or late night prep work gathering strange supplies.  Moreover, no weekend have-to trips to the library.  Finally, no last minute make this or that to have the homeschool day work.   Just get up, open your guide, and enjoy your teaching!  Your little ones will be able to show you their best because their day is not overly long.  They can actually pay attention and give you their 100% best!  Likewise, you’ll be able to give them your best for the same reason.  Kindergarten/first grade is what makes or breaks homeschooling.  So why not start knowing you’ll be able to finish?

So, there you have it!  I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Little Hearts for His Glory!  Next time, I’ll introduce you to Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory! In the meantime, enjoy checking out the printable Introduction and first week of plans of Little Hearts and our 10 most commonly asked questions!

In Christ,


P.S.  If you check out the placement chart and your little 5 yo is not quite ready for Little Hearts…, click here to check out Little Hands to Heaven!  And don’t worry about ‘missing’ using Little Hearts – remember you can just use it for first grade!

Guide Placement for My 5 ½ Year Old Kindergarten Son in Heart of Dakota Homeschooling

Pondering Placement

Question: Hello to the Austin family! Could you please help me with placement in Heart of Dakota for homeschooling my  5 1/2 year old son? He will be 6 in October, and this fall will be his kindergarten year. What placement would you suggest for my kindergarten 5 ½ year old son? Looking at the first page of the placement chart he is…

  1. 5  1/2 years old and turning 6 in October
  2. ready for phonics instruction
  3. at the beginning stages of writing
    • dislikes handwriting and coloring
    • writes the ‘J’ and the ‘u’ in his name really well, but the ‘d, ‘a,’ and ‘h’ are questionable
    • occasionally writes from right to left instead of left to write (but this is sometimes normal, and he’s not dyslexic)
    • can draw a stick figure and most of the body parts
  4. ready for gentle intro to basic parts of speech
    • he was a little late to the game with speech due to allergies
    • he tested for speech therapy and did not qualify
  5. math will be no problem, as he is strong in this area

With handwriting being second on the placement chart in order of importance, would Little Hands to Heaven be best? Although with him just finishing Pre-K, perhaps Little Hearts for His Glory for kindergarten would be a better fit? I know it is not advised to repeat the same guide twice, so I don’t want to repeat Little Hearts. Which guide would you suggest I place my kindergarten 5 1/2 year old son in this year?  Any advice is appreciated!

Reply: Thanks for sharing your findings about your son in regard to the placement chart!

That is always the first and best step to determining placement! We find this information incredibly helpful, as every child is different in needs and skills. As I was reading through your initial post, I think Little Hearts… would be a good fit for your son. It sounds like he fits well there on the placement chart overall. Much of what you shared as far as fine motor challenges isn’t that uncommon for boys upon entering Little Hearts. Your description actually fit my own third little guy when he began Little Hearts as he was turning 6.

Three Factors to Consider When Choosing Placement Between Little Hands… and Little Hearts…

There are three factors to consider when choosing Little Hearts… or choosing doing Little Hands… with Little Heart’s… kindergarten options. First, we want to consider your son’s age. Second, we want to consider the fact that he has already been through quite a bit of kindergarten readiness. Third, he seems to really make strides when you work with him one-on-one. In conclusion, all of these factors make me lean more toward Little Heartswith the K options.

An Easy Pacing Schedule for Your Kindergarten Son and for You

This could perhaps be done just 4 days a week, stretching 9 weeks into the next school year to finish. This plan would allow him to grow up a bit before getting to Beyond. But, it would also keep him moving forward more closely with his age-mates. While I dislike comparisons, age does help give us some guidelines when we’re trying to decide between two good options. In your son’s case I think it tilts the decision more in favor of Little Hearts.

Once you get Little Hearts… and its resources that go with it from us, you’ll be able to tell better. You’re also welcome to return anything within 30 days for a full refund or in exchange for something else. This should help ease the decision-making process a bit!



P.S. For more on placing your child in the right guide, click here!