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!

Sincerely,

“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!

Blessings,
Carrie

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!

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). 

Remember to keep lessons short for little ones

Teaching Tip 

Remember to keep lessons short for little ones.

When teaching 5 and 6 year olds, remember to keep their lesson times short.  As adults, we would like to teach a short program like Little Hearts or Beyond Little Hearts all in one sitting.  Yet, 5 – 6 year olds will often do better when lesson times are kept to 30-35 minutes.

Take a break every 30 minutes with your little ones.

Try taking a scheduled break every 30 minutes, and see how your little ones do.  Set the timer for your scheduled breaks, so your little ones know how much of a break to expect. Then, they won’t be caught unaware when asked to return to “school” from play.

In the younger guides, think of the left side of the plans as one 30-35 min. grouping.

If you have children doing Little Hearts or Beyond Little Hearts, think of the left side of the plans as one grouping.  This grouping can be completed in one “sitting.”  Strive to teach the left side of either of these guides in one interruption-free 30-35 min. time period.  Schedule other kiddos (both younger and older) to to be occupied during that time, so you are not interrupted. In this way, you can efficiently move through the boxes on the left side of the plans.  By focusing on teaching the left side of plans in one sitting, you will accomplish much in a short time.

Split the four remaining boxes on the right side of the guide into two 30-minute groupings.

With the left side done in one sitting that only leaves four remaining boxes on the right side of the guide. Split these 4 boxes into two pairs of boxes, with each pair taking 30 minutes.

What might my day look like doing Little Hearts or Beyond Little Hearts in this way?

Often I do 2 boxes from the right side in the morning.  Then, I take a 30 min. break for that child.  Next, I do the left side of the plans with that child in one sitting.  After that I give the child another 30 min. break.  Last, I do the 2 remaining boxes from the right side of the guide.  After that I’m done with that little sweetie!

It’s better to group subjects than to spread the boxes of plans out all day long.

Try thinking of Little Hearts and Beyond Little Hearts as three groupings of boxes, each taking 30-35 minutes of time.  This will make your planning easier and your day go better.  Try it, and see how your year goes!

Blessings,
Carrie

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

First Grade or Second Grade with Heart of Dakota: Customizable, Inspirational, Foundational

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

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

All in the family!

Heart of Dakota Tidbit

All in the family!

Did you know that the children who are pictured on the front of Little Hearts for His Glory, Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory, Bigger Hearts for His Glory, and Preparing Hearts for His Glory are our boys? The beautiful girl who is pictured is our niece from Texas, Rachel.

Have a great weekend!