Alexander the Great: Brilliance and Brutality

History with Heart of Dakota

Who was Alexander the Great? 

Conqueror, explorer, leader, and visionary. These are just a few of the words that describe Alexander the Great. Born the son of legendary warrior-king Philip II of Macedonia, Alexander went on to outshine his father.  Philip transformed Macedonia from an unremarkable country to a ruling power in Greece; Alexander made Macedonia the ruling power in the entire known world. His conquests would stretch the Macedonian empire from the mountains of his homeland, to the sands of Egypt, to the expanses of Persia, all the way to the banks of the River Beas in India.

Personality of a Genius 

Alexander was a genius in more ways than one. First, his grasp of military tactics was unequaled in his day. He perfected the use of the phalanx – a tactic which his father had introduced. The phalanx was an infantry formation where soldiers grouped tightly together with each man’s shield protecting himself and his neighbor. In addition to this, each man also carried an 18-20 foot pike which he would thrust outwards from the shield wall. (Wasson) In a time where armies usually fought in a haphazard manner depending on sheer force of numbers to win, the phalanx gave Alexander’s soldiers a huge advantage. Oftentimes, enemy soldiers would simply break off his phalanxes like water off a rock. In addition to this, Alexander had distinct knack for sensing his enemy’s weakest position and massing his men to exploit it. Therefore, when his phalanxes came crashing through there was usually no stopping them.

Second, Alexander was a genius when it came to leading his men. He routinely made a point of leading the charge in battle rather than staying back in safety. Initially, he also insisted on sharing his men’s hardships. For instance, while marching his troops through the desert, according to biographer Peter Green, “…when a helmetful [sic] of muddy water had been found for him in some nearby gully – but no more was to be had – he laughed, thanked the donor, and then tipped the water out into the sand. So extraordinary was the effect of this action that the water wasted by Alexander was as good as a drink from every man in the army.” (434) Alexander lead by example, as all great leaders do. When his men saw him facing and overcoming the same challenges they faced, it inspired greatness in them as well.

Fatal Flaws

Nonetheless, Alexander was far from perfect. “Like many brilliant men,” historian John Gunther writes, “he was unstable…he ran from one extreme to another…” (46) While he could be caring and understanding, he also could be irrational and violent. He had a burning temper which resulted in him murdering some of his most faithful soldiers, such as Clitus and Parmenion. Also, during his final years he firmly believed himself to be descended from the Greek god Zeus. Those who did not acknowledge this were executed. (Gunther 138-139) Sadly, with no god to serve except himself, Alexander – once great – ended his life in drunkenness and confusion.

Lasting Impressions

Even though Alexander’s life was dramatically short (he only lived to be 32!) what he accomplished in that time has had repercussions that affect us to this day. His use of soldiers as disciplined units formed the gold standard in military tactics for hundreds of years afterward. In addition, by bringing many different countries under one empire, he spread the use of a universal language – Greek. Many scholars believe this was instrumental in spreading the Gospel 400 years later. He also founded many different cities – some of which remain to this day. (Many of these he named Alexandria, after himself.) Ultimately, much like God had used prior civilizations and kings to carry out His purpose in history, God used Alexander the Great to mold the world according to His own plan.

Which HOD guides can you find Alexander the Great in? 

Alexander the Great can be encountered in several of Heart of Dakota’s guides! You can find him in Little Hearts, Preparing Hearts, Creation to Christ, World Geography, and World History. You can also find a more in-depth study of him in John Gunther’s book Alexander the Great, which students can read in the extension package for Creation to Christ.

Bibliography 

Green, P. Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C. (University of California Press, 2013).

Gunther, J. Alexander the Great. (Sterling Publishing, 2007).

Wasson, D.L. The Army of Alexander the Great. (Ancient History Encyclopedia, 2014). 

A Hybrid Approach to Little Hearts and Beyond Little Hearts for 5-7 Year-Olds

From Our House to Yours

A Hybrid Approach to Little Hearts and Beyond Little Hearts

Heart of Dakota’s (HOD’s) Little Hearts for His Glory (LHFHG) has a target age range of 5-7 years old. This means the bulk of the guide is geared toward children within this target age range. So, the history, science, Bible study, devotional, music, art projects, rhymes, activities, read-alouds all are very appropriate for children ages 5-7. These subjects are more inspirational, and as such, have a wider range of appropriate placement. In contrast, language arts and math are more disciplinary subjects. These subjects have a smaller range of appropriate placement. They require more fine tuning. There are already multiple levels of phonics, math, fine motor skills, handwriting, and even science in LHFHG’s plans. However, what if you are combining a 5 year-old with a 7 year-old that is just ready for more in language arts and math? Well, you take a hybrid approach!

A Hybrid Approach to Reading

Little Hearts for His Glory (LHFHG) already has two phonics options – The Reading Lesson and Reading Made Easy. However, if your 7 year-old is reading Level 1 or 2 books quite fluently (such as Frog and Toad Are Friends or Amelia Bedelia), it’s time to take a hybrid approach. How do you do this? Well, you use the Emerging Reader’s Set and its plans with the Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory (Beyond) teacher’s guide. With a daily reading schedule and oral comprehension questions targeted to each day’s specific reading, The Emerging Reader’s Set and the Beyond guide offer the perfect hybrid approach!

A Hybrid Approach to Math

LHFHG has two math options. The first option includes Essentials Kindergarten Math A and B. The LHFHG guide has wonderful hands-on daily math plans to teach the K math. In the Appendix of the LHFHG guide, there is a second option for using 1A/1B Singapore Math. This schedule uses the textbook to teach 1A/1B, with the workbook to follow. However, if you prefer hands-on math plans to teach 1A/1B, or if you have one super smart little one that places in Singapore Math 2A/2B, it’s time to take the hybrid approach! How? Well, you use the Beyond teacher’s guide. With daily hands-on math plans for 1A/1B, by using the Beyond guide, you don’t even need to buy the 1A/1B Textbooks. So, really, by using this hybrid approach for 1A/1B, you’re getting the Beyond guide for nearly $30 less (the guide less the cost of the textbooks).

A Hybrid Approach to Spelling

LHFHG does not include spelling plans, as most children this age do not need them. However, if your 7 year-old is ready for spelling, it is time to take the hybrid approach! The Appendix of the Beyond teacher’s guide includes two levels of spelling lists. Four days each week, the Beyond guide provides lessons for each week’s spelling list. These plans do an excellent job of preparing children for the later, more challenging spelling skills used in Charlotte Mason-style dictation. So, if you have a 7 year-old in LHFHG who is ready for spelling, take the hybrid approach by adding the spelling plans from the Beyond guide!

A Hybrid Approach to Grammar

LHFHG does not include grammar plans, as most children this age do not need them. However, if your 7 year-old is ready for a basic introduction to grammar, it’s time to take the hybrid approach! Each Day 5 of each weekly unit in the Beyond teacher’s guide includes an activity to teach a grammar skill. Each week teaches a new grammar skill that prepares kiddos well for the later, more challenging grammar skills taught in R & S English. The grammar lessons in Beyond usually don’t require much writing, so they are perfect for 7 year-olds ready for grammar but not ready for a lot of writing! Click here and scroll down to the “Grammar, Mechanics, and Usage” section of the Beyond guide to see a list of the grammar skills taught.

A Full or Partial Hybrid Approach

So, if you have a 7 year-old or nearly 8 year-old using LHFHG for a core guide, either solo or combined with a younger sibling, consider a hybrid approach! Choose a full hybrid approach for a 7 year-old ready for more in all language arts and math areas. Or, choose a partial hybrid approach for a 7 year-old ready for more in just one or two areas. Either way, you can easily use a full or partial hybrid approach alongside LHFHG as your main guide. Better yet, you won’t be out your Economy Package savings the following year when you use Beyond as your main guide! Just let HOD know you already purchased your Beyond guide from them the year before, and HOD will still apply your nearly $20 package savings when you order the rest of the Economy Package later. Hope you enjoy some of these hybrid ideas!

In Christ,

Julie

 

A defined space helps your little ones listen better.

Teaching Tip 

A defined space helps your little ones listen better.

Do you have little ones with whom you’re doing school? If so, it really helps to define the space in which they need to sit and listen while you read.

What is a simple defined space for a 2-4 year old?

When my little ones were between the ages of 2-4, I usually had them sit on my lap.  Then, I held the Bible in front of us to read the story for Little Hands to Heaven. If you have a child who is a “wild wiggler” and doesn’t sit well on your lap, then move on to my next suggestion!

What can you use as a defined space if you have a “wild wiggler” or multiple little ones?

If you have a “wild wiggler” or multiple little ones, use carpet pieces or large, foam floor puzzle squares to define space instead.  These pieces or squares can be used to delineate the spot where each child should sit.  This becomes the defined space in which your child needs to remain during the Little Hand’s Bible reading. As you read, hold the book up beside you with the pictures facing your child.  Read from the side, so you can show the pictures as you read.

What is a simple defined space for a 5-6 year old?

For my Little Hearts for His Glory kiddos, I move to sitting on the couch.  I “anchor” my child beside me with my arm around him/her while I read. If you have two kiddos doing Little Hearts, it works well to anchor one child on either side of you!

Try defining your child’s space today, and see if your reading time goes better.

While these sound like simple suggestions, having defined boundaries for your child during reading time can make a big difference! Try it today, and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

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