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!


Placement for a 6-year-old at the Beginning Stages of Writing

Pondering Placement

Placement for a 6-year-old at the Beginning Stages of Writing

My son will be 6 in October, and this fall will be his kindergarten year. He just finished Pre-K at a private school. Looking at Heart of Dakota’s placement chart, we’ve already done three lessons in The Reading Lesson. He has caught on beautifully! For writing, his skills are in the beginning stages. Any time he sits down to write or color it is forced. I think it’s an issue of his will because he can draw a stick figure with most the body parts. He’s ready to use oral skills for grammar study. Math will be no problem! With handwriting being number two on the chart in order of importance, should I do Little Hands to Heaven? I feel he’d do great in Little Hearts for His Glory now. But, what if he’s not ready for the fine motor skills in Beyond Little Hearts the next year?

Carrie’s Reply to Placement for a 6-year-old at the Beginning Stages of Writing:

As I was reading through your initial post, I was thinking that Heart of Dakota’s Little Hearts for His Glory (LHFHG) would be a good fit for your son. It sounds like he fits well there on the placement chart, and much of what you shared as far as fine motor challenges isn’t that uncommon for boys upon entering LHFHG. Your description actually fit my own third little guy when he began LHFHG as he was turning 6. Many kiddos are at the beginning stages of writing when they begin LHFHG. So, that is quite normal!

LHFHG with the K options would take him from his beginning stages of writing and move him forward.

Two factors in considering whether to do LHFHG or whether to do Little Hands to Heaven with K options from LHFHG are your son’s age and the fact that he has already been through quite a bit of kindergarten readiness. Another factor is that he seems to really make strides when you work with him one-on-one. So, these factors make me lean more toward LHFHG with the K options, perhaps doing 4 days a week (and stretching 9 weeks into the next school year to finish).

Doing LHFHG 4 days a week would give him more time to progress from his beginning stages of writing.

This plan would allow him more time to progress from his beginning stages of writing before getting to Beyond. But, it would also keep him moving forward more closely with his age-mates. While I dislike comparison greatly, age does help give us some guidelines when were trying to decide between two good options. In your son’s case I think it tilts the decision more in favor of LHFHG. Once you get the guide and the books that go with it in hand, you’ll be able to tell better. You also are 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! I hope this is an encouragement to you!



Living in a Fifth Wheel and Homeschooling

Dear Carrie

I’ve already purchased our guides from Heart of Dakota. I was going to place my 7 year-old son in Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory. Then, I was going to place my 5 1/2 year old daughter in Little Hearts for His Glory for kindergarten. We will continue living in a fifth wheel for the remainder of the year while building a home. We were hoping to be in a house by now, but we still aren’t. This past year, we  skipped or completely left out many things in Little Hearts due to space issues and other trials that come with living in an extremely small space. It would be so nice to be able to combine science, bible, read alouds, art, music and history. We could work separately on the three R’s at each child’s pace. What are my options considering we’re living in a fifth wheel?


“Ms. Please Help Me with the Best Plan When Living in a Fifth Wheel”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with the Best Plan When Living in a Fifth Wheel,”

I can see how living in a fifth wheel temporarily while homeschooling is a special situation! In reading through your post, I was thinking that since you commented that lots of things were skipped this past year when your son did Little Hearts for His Glory (LHFHG) that it may be possible for both him and your daughter to be combined in LHFHG for the left side of the plans. They could also do Storytime from the right side of LHFHG this coming year. If you already did all of the Burgess books from LHFHG, you could either reread them with both kiddos this year, making sure to do all of the activities in the LHFHG guide, or you could do the Storytime from Beyond Little Hearts.with both kiddos instead.

Since you already own the Beyond guide, you could just have your son do the right side of Beyond for the 3R’s (i.e. spelling, grammar, emerging readers, and math) and have your daughter do all of LHFHG. If you did this, you could potentially keep your older two kiddos together for history, Bible, science, devotions, poetry etc. through the years and just have them to do their own 3R’s (with your son borrowing his 3R’s from the guide above for awhile).

If you do decide to head back through LHFHG, I would try hard not to skip things if at all possible. So, if you have to substitute for supplies you may not have, try to substitute rather than skip the box. You can get really creative with the substitutions if need be, but I want to encourage you to try to get something out of each box each day even if you have to really improvise.


Follow-Up from “Ms. Please Help Me with the Best Plan When Living in a Fifth Wheel”

I’m really liking the idea of doing LHFHG with both boys! I ran the idea by my husband, and he thought it was the way to go. We are so thankful for this idea as it simplifies things in our cramped fifth wheel! My oldest loves the idea of reading back through the Bible. He kept asking to read from it when we switched to the history. Can you believe when I purchased Beyond I had bought both the classic and the boy read-aloud packages? They both sounded so good! I had a hard time choosing. I had no idea when we would find the time to read them all. Well, now I know! We can read the classics this year and the boy choices next year with Beyond. Thanks for making our lives in a fifth wheel easier! Can’t wait to start!

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!


Top Ten Tips for Teaching Multiple Guides

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.


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).