Sharing from Different Guides with “5 Minute Fun Times”

A Heart of Dakota Life

How can children in different guides share experiences with one another without making their day too long?

My sons are each 3 to 4 years apart in age, and they have always each placed best in different Heart of Dakota guides. Having each of them properly placed these many years has been such a blessing! They each shine in their own guides. However, what do you do when one child sees what another child is doing and wants to do it too? Heart of Dakota is so much fun, it can be tempting for a child to want to do it all – even if it’s not part of the guide he/she is doing! However, it is not so fun when the school day goes way too long because of it, or when older children constantly upstage younger children because they’re just better at most things. Maintaining that balance is important. For these reasons, I started “5 Minute Fun Times.”

What are “5 Minute Fun Times?”

“5 Minute Fun Times” are simply fun times that can be shared with siblings in different guides within 5 minutes. Certain things lend themselves well to this. For example, if someone bakes something for a history project, everyone can take 5 minutes to eat it and compliment the baker.  Or, if it’s someone’s turn to share a poem, we can all take 5 minutes to sit on the couch, listen to the reader, and clap at the end. Likewise, if the 3 year-old’s guide calls for a re-enactment of the Red Sea parting and the Israelites crossing, I can quickly assign everyone a part, have them each throw on a quick costume, and take 5 minutes to act it out.

When are “5 Minute Fun Times” not a good idea?

If something takes more than 5 minutes, or if it is clearly an assignment for just that child to enjoy, then the “5 Minute Fun Time” is not a good idea. For example, even though my olders might enjoy doing my little one’s art projects, it is better they don’t stop their school to do so. First, because they will get behind in their own guides (which take longer, as they are older). And second, because my little one can enjoy showing off his art project later without thinking his art project is “less worthy” (as more than likely, his older siblings would have done his art project quicker and better).

“5 Minute Fun Times” usually take place at the culmination of something.

It is important to know at what point to have everyone join in. Usually, we join in for “5 Minute Fun Times” at the culmination of something. If it is a cooking project, the one child whose guide the project is in does the cooking. When it is time to eat the treat, everyone is part of that. If it is a science project, the child whose guide the experiment is in sets it all up, and maybe will demonstrate the outcome quickly for the rest. The rest are observers or assistants. If it is a poetry reading, only the child who is to share does so. The role of everyone else is to be the encouraging audience. If it is a re-enactment, the child whose guide it is in leads it and gets first pick at which role to play. The rest of the children are the subordinates.

Most of the time each child is enjoying his/her own guide.

So, overall, most of time each child is enjoying his/her own guide and joining in only now and then for a 5 minute thing that gears itself toward celebrating together with the others. Having children do the things in their own guides separately keeps their things special, and it cuts down on the comparing. There is just a lot more interest as they share with one another, if they didn’t all do each other’s things. Not to mention, we all like finishing on time, so we have time for things other than school the rest of the day. I find other informal sharing naturally takes place during meal times. It seems everyone enjoys showing off their things to each other around lunch or supper time. I love that they each did their own thing, and they were able to do it well.

Each child shines in his/her own guide, but “5 Minute Fun Times” and informal meal times provide wonderful times to share!

I wanted to post pictures of this and try to explain it, as I’ve had people ask me how my children are learning together if they are in separate guides. They are doing things together, but not all doing each other’s guides. That would be too much to do in a day! Yet, they are sharing through 5 minute fun type activities, as well as at meal times when they proudly show their work to one another and hang it on the fridge or set it on the counter to tell Dad about when he gets home. This is just one way of sharing, of course, and not everyone does it this way, but we’ve found each child really shines in his guide this way, and yet they are all enjoying hearing about and participating in bits and pieces of each other’s learning as well.

A Few Pictures of “5 Minute Fun Times” from the Past

Making music and marching to it, an activity from LHTH

LHTH activity of flying…

Re-enacting The Last Supper, a Bible activity from LHTH

A LHTH Bible story re-enacted…

 

Bigger Hearts testing of the planes lift, drag, etc…

The Gold Rush, a history activity from Bigger Hearts

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Bigger Hearts, sinking the Philadelphia (only Riley built the boat, and Wyatt only helped with the “bombing” )…

Drawn into the Heart of Reading re-enactment of battle for kickoff…

Bigger Hearts re-enactment of history story…‪ ‪

Find the camouflaged bug, a science activity from Bigger Hearts…

RTR, playing history game made from history project..

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Eating history project as Wyatt reads about the history event from his RTR notebook (but only Wyatt did the baking)…

RTR, going on the Crusades, Wyatt set it all up, and the rest of the children joined in only on the activity part, Wyatt directed it all…

Poetry Reading from RTR…

In Christ,

Julie

 

The checkmark method: a way to save sanity while teaching multiple guides!

Teaching Tip: 

Here is a sanity-saving tip for tracking your child’s work each day!

This week’s tip is a sanity saver for my family, especially as we are running multiple HOD guides each year! The “checkmark method”  is a very simple and effective way to keep track of what work has been completed and corrected each day.

Are you using your HOD guide as a correcting tool?

You may not know it, but your HOD guide was designed to aid you in keeping track of your child’s work. On each two-page spread of plans, your child’s work is conveniently divided into boxes. Each box contains assignments to be completed and corrected. Once a box has been completed and corrected, simply make a small checkmark in the top corner of the box. This checkmark shows that all work within the box has been completed and corrected.

Why is it it important for the parent to check the boxes?

The two operative words for our household in checking the boxes are “parent” and “corrected.” We used to let our kiddos check their boxes as they completed their work. Our boys sometimes became overly zealous in checking boxes before the work within the box was actually completed. At other times they missed things that were assigned within the box. Then, they checked the box off thinking they were done. This method left us unsure of whether the work had actually been corrected. So now, we make sure only the parent does the box checking! We check the box after the work has been corrected by the parent first.

Having a parent check the boxes provides a quick visual of what remains for your child to complete.

A checkmark in the corner of the box provides a quick visual of what has been looked over by a parent. At a glance, both parent and child can also see what still needs to be completed and corrected.

The checkmark method keeps your child accountable.

The checkmark method keeps your child accountable because he/she knows every box is going to be checked. With this method, only the parent can say when the work is truly done. Try this simple tip today! See if it makes it easier for you to keep track of correcting.

Blessings,
Carrie

5th and 7th Grade Placement When Using 3 Guides Already

Pondering Placement

I use 3 HOD guides with my younger children and want to start using it with my 5th and 7th graders, but how can I add just 1 more HOD guide when my 7th grader wants to be by herself?

I already love using Heart of Dakota with 3 children! I’m using Little Hands with my preK son, Little Hearts with my first grader, and Bigger Hearts with my 2nd grader. I like it so much I’m considering using it with my 5th and 7th graders. However, since I’m already using 3 younger guides with more teaching time, I only want to add 1 guide. I was going to add Creation to Christ, but they don’t want to “do school together” like we have in the past. My 7th grader wants to be able to do it all “by herself” without my interference. Could I combine my 5th grader with my 2nd grader in Bigger Hearts? Or, should I combine my two oldest in CTC, even though my 7th grade girl doesn’t want to? She hasn’t expressed it too much, just asked could they please “not do it together”?

Carrie’s Initial Reply: Could you please share about your 5th grade son in regard to the first page of the placement chart? (Parent response below)

My just turned 10 year old has a mathematical mind and is a problem solver. He’s an excellent reader and loves to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He’s never narrated, has messy handwriting, and hates to write. I homeschooled him for 1st-3rd, and he went to public school for 4th grade. His learning slowed down in public school! They didn’t do much grammar, and they didn’t have history; they had “social studies”. He retained nothing from science, as they didn’t do any science experiments. He places between Bigger and Preparing on the placement chart. I just ordered Singapore 5A/5B and Rod and Staff 5 for him. He looked at the Bigger guide I’m using with my 2nd grader and got really excited. The hands-on activities are right up his alley. I’ve caught him peeking at the Stories of Great Americans book already. So, I know he’ll love the history!

Carrie’s Response with English and Literature Recommendations

Based on what you’ve shared thus far, and about your desire not to do two more guides, I do think your son could be placed in Bigger Hearts with Extensions. I would recommend that he do Rod and Staff English 4 instead of English 5, and do a lesson daily 4 days a week. I would also recommend that he do Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) with the level 4/5 Student BookI’d recommend the 4/5 Boy Interest Set. You could just do DITHOR 3 times weekly in order to lighten your load.

Carrie’s Response with Math Placement Recommendations

As far as math goes, I would give him the Singapore Math U.S. Primary Edition placement test. I’d begin with the test for 3A and see if he passes. Make sure not to aid, help, or explain in any way, or the results will not be accurate. It would not be uncommon for a 5th grader who is new to Singapore to have to start back somewhere between 3A and 4B, simply due to the differing scope and sequence. I wouldn’t start a 5th grader who is new to Singapore in 5A/5B, as it will assume that he has had the Singapore method and foundation laid in 3B on up to guide and help him. Since you just ordered your English 5 and Singapore 5A/5B Math, you can return them and exchange them for the texts you need from us instead. We want to be sure that you have what you need to have a successful school year!

Carrie’s Request for Placement Information About the 7th Grader

As far as your 7th grader goes, if my experience with kiddos her age is correct, she is deeply desiring independence due to her age and increasing maturity level. She probably feels excited about any guide that will insure she is not combined with her younger sibling. I would be interested to hear where she places on the first page only of the placement chart when you consider her all by herself (no combining scenarios in mind). It is possible that she may fit in Resurrection to Reformation instead. If you get a chance to share a bit more about her reading, math, grammar, writing, independence level in regard to our placement chart, and about her ability to read her own materials that would be great!

Placement Information Shared Regarding 7th Grade Daughter (Parent response below)

My daughter places between Resurrection to Reformation and Revival to Revolution. She is a voracious reader and writer. She loves to draw and is very talented. Her weakness is math. The idea of her being “above” Creation to Christ appeals to her. I showed her Resurrection to Reformation in the Heart of Dakota catalog, and she is super excited! As she has not done much in the way of narrating, oral or written, I think RTR will be a better start for her.  I started Bigger Hearts with my 5th grade son, and he is loving it already! Now, I just need to order the extensions for him and RTR for my daughter.

Carrie’s Final Recommendation Thoughts

I think you will enjoy Bigger Hearts with extensions for your 5th grade son. I’m also excited for you to begin Resurrection to Reformation with your 7th grade daughter. I think you will both enjoy the independence in that guide, as well as the mother/daughter Biblical girlhood study that celebrates your daughter’s maturing. Thank you for ordering from Heart of Dakota; we depend on that support – God bless!

Blessings,
Carrie

Moving on! Why Heart of Dakota students only do each guide once…

Heart of Dakota Tidbit

Moving on! Why Heart of Dakota students only do each guide once…

Did you know that even though our guides have an age range listed for them we only do each guide once? We do not recommend repeating a guide with the same child. One of the reasons for the age range is to make sure that your child is place in the correct program according to the skills that he is able to perform. A great place to start when considering which guide to place your child in is our message board which can be found at www.heartofdakota.com/board.

Have a great weekend!

 

Familiarity Breeds Independent Learning!

Heart of Dakota Tidbit

Familiarity Breeds Independent Learning!

Did you know that our guides all have a similar format? The left side of the daily plans called “Learning Through History” has a unit study feel to it with many connections between the boxes. The right side of the plans called “Learning the Basics” has all of the subjects that do not fit neatly with the history. Many times the saying “Familiarity breeds contempt” is appropriate, but in our guides, we think that familiarity breeds independent learning!

Have a good weekend!

Why Doesn’t Heart of Dakota Use a Weekly Grid for Their Lesson Plan Format?