Prepare for the school year by reading the guide’s “Introduction”!

Teaching Tip

Reading the guide’s “Introduction” is great preparation for the school year.

You may be beginning to turn your thoughts toward school. One of the best ways to prepare for the upcoming year is to read through your HOD guide’s “Introduction.” There is such a wealth of information in the “Introduction” that we should truly title it something else!

How does reading the “Introduction” help prepare you for the year?

The “Introduction” will give you a feel for how each area is handled in the guide and the goals for each subject. It will let you know what notebooks, binders, etc. are needed for each subject area. Reading the “Introduction” provides a great summary of what to expect for the coming year. The “Introduction” is the last part of the guide we write. In this way, we can be sure that it truly summarizes needed information for you in one place!

If you have students in different HOD guides, read only one guide’s “Introduction” each day.

If you will be teaching more than one Heart of Dakota guide, read the “Introduction” for different guides on different days. This will help you focus on one guide at a time and will keep you from getting overwhelmed.

Can you use the guide without reading the “Introduction?”

Of course you can skip reading the “Introduction” and just jump right in and teach. However, often when families do this they miss the big picture of the guide. They also miss out on some gems that are referred to in the “Introduction” and included in the Appendix.

So, let’s get started!

After more than 15 years of homeschooling my boys with HOD, I still read the “Introduction” at the start of my school year! So, grab a cup of tea or coffee, cuddle up with your highlighter, and read away. Just reading the “Introduction” will make you feel more prepared!

Blessings,
Carrie

Top Ten Tips for Teaching Multiple Guides

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,
Julie

 

How do learning styles affect a child’s ability to orally narrate?

Dear Carrie

How do learning styles affect a child’s ability to orally narrate?

Dear Carrie,

We just started using Heart of Dakota and are enjoying it. I am just wondering how learning styles affect a child’s ability to orally narrate. What if a child is not an auditory learner? Can this complicate their ability to answer and respond to questions? My daughter is a hands-on, visual learner. She struggles to answer questions after I have read a history lesson to her (LHFHG). Is this typical for her age (6) as she learns to concentrate on listening carefully? Or would it be a sign of laziness? Or should I attribute it to her learning style? Should I give her a break when it comes to remembering what she has heard? I know that Charlotte Mason insisted on only one reading before narration. Should I just keep encouraging her to listen more carefully?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Explain How Learning Styles Affect a Child’s Ability to Orally Narrate”

Dear “Ms. Please Explain How Learning Styles Affect a Child’s Ability to Orally Narrate,”

Narration is different than answering questions. Narrating upon a passage means having the child tell back in his/her own words what was remembered from the passage that was just read. The questions at the end of the chapters in History Stories for Children or History for Little Pilgrims actually aren’t leading to narration. They are more just question and answer sessions. The questions in these cases are an extra bonus part of the readings. I don’t consider these to be hugely necessary at this stage of learning. Especially when the reading has been spread out over more than one day, your child should not be expected to remember the answers to those questions that are delayed in the asking. The activities that follow the reading (in the other boxes of the LHFHG day’s plans) are those that I would consider more appropriate and necessary skill-wise for students to complete.

In contrast, the Thorton Burgess questions are more like narration prompts or starters.

On the other hand, the Thornton Burgess style questions are meant to lead to narration. These questions are what I would consider to be narration prompts or narration starters. Each day of the Storytime part of the plans has a specific skill focus. This means that each day hits a different set of skills, all of which are very important to building narration, discernment, vocabulary, writing, and a host of other skills.

Though a child’s learning style may affect how he orally narrates, children of all learning styles can learn to narrate well. 

A child’s learning style may affect how well or how easily a child narrates, but kiddos of all learning styles can learn to narrate well. While auditory learners are good listeners, this doesn’t mean they will easily sift and sort through what they heard in order to organize a lucid narration! Though visual learners benefit from seeing and reading their own textual material leading to better narration, it doesn’t mean they won’t be able to narrate well until they can read their material themselves. While kinesthetic, hands-on learners benefit from acting out the story to help retell it (as we do in the Storytime box of the plans, or in writing or typing their narration as we do in later guides), this doesn’t mean they can’t learn to be great narrators unless those techniques are used. I know this is true because it has been true for my 4 sons.

Though my sons have their own learning styles, each can learn to orally narrate well.

My oldest son is a bodily, kinesthetic learner. Yet, he is good a seeing the big picture. This makes him a natural oral narrator, even when he just listens or reads without any bodily motion. My second son is a detailed, artistic child. He is not auditory, but is very visual. His sense of detail leads to him being a good, detailed oral narrator (whether he is listening or reading the material himself). My third son is an auditory child. He loves anything audio or read aloud, yet he was my briefest narrator for several years. Now, he narrates very well, which just means that it took him some time to come along in the narration department. My youngest is also auditory, and he is coming along well but taking his time to work up to any length.

All children can learn to orally narrate well, regardless of their learning style.

As you can see, though we have different learning styles represented at our house, success in narrating doesn’t necessarily correlate to their learning style. I share this so you can be assured that all children can learn to narrate regardless of their learning style, with regular practice. We build this practice into all of Heart of Dakota’s guides, so you can be sure that we will help you lead your children toward becoming better narrators one step at a time.

Blessings,
Carrie

 

5 1/2 Year Old Unable to Answer Storytime Questions for Reddy Fox

Dear Carrie

My 5 1/2 year old doesn’t seem to be able to answer the Storytime questions for Reddy Fox. What should I do?

Dear Carrie,

I am doing Little Hearts for His Glory with my 5 1/2 year old daughter. Everything is going well except for Storytime. She is wiggly while I read Reddy Fox. She doesn’t seem to be comprehending any of it. She cannot answer any of the questions. Even if I read a sentence 3 times and ask a simple question about that sentence, she cannot answer it. She LOVES it when I read her storybooks with colorful pictures. Maybe I should just start letting her pick out easier books?  Then I could just come up with questions for her? Is there a way I could find out her level of comprehension?

I can keep reading Reddy Fox to her, but I don’t think she is getting anything from it. Motor skill wise – she has no problems. Reading wise she is flying through phonics and sounding out words and reading short sentences. She just doesn’t seem to be able to answer the Storytime questions for Reddy Fox. So, what should I do? Thanks for any suggestions!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help My 5 1/2 Learn to Answer Storytime Questions for Reddy Fox”

Dear “Ms. Please Help My 5 1/2 Learn to Answer Storytime Questions for Reddy Fox,”

I’m so glad you are getting a chance to use and enjoy LHFHG!  We have fond memories of using LHFHG with our own four sons.  In answer to your question, I would encourage you to continue reading Reddy Fox and doing the follow-up activities. It is no surprise that your little honey is struggling with it since she is used to colorful picture books instead.

The Storytime books were chosen to transition your child to listening to longer chapter books.

The books within the Storytime box of LHFHG are not meant to be picture books but were instead chosen to transition your child to listening to longer chapter book style readings. This will be a needed skill as your child heads into Beyond Little Hearts. Listening to chapter book style readings is a skill that takes time to learn, so we would not expect your daughter to do well with this skill at first. However, if you downshift to reading colorful picture books instead, it will be a skill that your daughter will not acquire this year at all.

Storytime readings and follow-ups are meant to be short and reading them without stopping helps the child retain the flow of the story.

With this in mind, I would encourage you to continue doing the Storytime plans as written for 9 weeks. The Storytime readings are meant to be short and the follow-up are meant to be short too. As you read, do not stop to reread or to explain the readings. Instead just read the scheduled pages straight through. This is because stopping and rereading makes a child lose the flow of the story. It also decreases the attention the child gives to a single reading. The habit of attention is another habit we are working to cultivate through Storytime.

Feel free to jump in and cheerfully help with the follow-ups as needed.

After the readings, if your daughter is unable to do the follow-ups, jump in and help her as needed, making sure to keep the follow-ups short and sweet too! Over the next 9 weeks, as long as you remain positive and cheerful about this area, I think you will be truly surprised at the progress your child makes.

I would find it surprising if she were flying through everything easily.

If she were flying through everything in LHFHG easily, it would be surprising! Instead, we have skills she needs to gain throughout this guide and gaining skills takes time, practice, and patience! I’d love to have you share an update in 9 weeks to see how she’s doing if you get a chance!

Blessings,
Carrie

Update 9 Weeks Later:

I wanted to give an update on my daughter’s progress with her comprehension of the Burgess books. We’ve now finished Reddy Fox, The Adventures of Peter Cottontail, and are within a few days of completing The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse. She enjoys Storytime very much, listens attentively and is able to answer most questions at the end of the reading. I am thrilled with her progress and so thankful that we continued as directed! Thanks for all the support! WE LOVE HOD!!!! :D :) :) :) I can honestly say I don’t think we would be able to homeschool without it. I sincerely thank you again!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Loving My 5 1/2 Year Old’s Storytime Answers Now”

 

 

 

Try the repeating method for “Rhymes in Motion”

Teaching Tip:

Do you have a child doing Little Hands to Heaven or Little Hearts for His Glory?

If you have kiddos doing either Little Hands to Heaven or Little Hearts for His Glory, today’s teaching tip is for you! It’s a simple tip, but one that makes the “Rhymes in Motion” go more smoothly with your little ones!

What is one helpful tip when you begin a new “Rhymes in Motion?”

Here is one helpful tip for beginning a new “Rhymes in Motion.” Say the rhyme and do the motions one line at a time, with your child repeating each line right after you.

What does the repeating method look like on Day 1 of the rhyme?

For example, on Day 1 of the rhyme, you will say and perform line one of the rhyme. Then, your child will repeat line one with the motions. Next, you will move on to line two, saying and demonstrating the line. Then, your child will repeat line two with the motions. Continue on through the rhyme this way to make sure your child is getting the words and motions.

How does the repeating method differ on Day 2?

At our house, we usually continue to use the repeating method on the second day too. However, at the end of the rhyme on day two, we also do the whole rhyme once more in unison.

What are the benefits of doing the rhymes this way?

Usually after two days of repeating each line after you, kiddos are more sure of the words and motions. Then, they are ready to do the rhyme in unison with you in the coming days. The repeating method is also great for making sure your child is participating and has the words down! Try this method at the beginning of a new rhyme and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

PS: For more information on how “Rhymes in Motion” help kids’ skills develop, check out this blog article here:

What are the benefits of the Rhymes in Motion?