Summer is the time to develop habits, set routines, and practice skills!

Teaching Tip:

Make the best of the time you have left before school begins.

Do you feel the lazy days of summer beginning to wane? Are you getting closer to the official start of the school year? If so, this week’s tip encourages you to make the best of the time you have left before school begins again.

Begin developing habits, setting routines, and doing some skill practice.

The end of summer is a terrific time to take a couple of weeks to ease into the school year. It is a time to begin developing habits, setting routines, and doing some skill practice. So, here are a few ideas for each of these areas!

What are few habits to begin developing?

Habits take awhile to form, so why not begin now before the busy school schedule begins? I will just mention a few habits we need to work on at our house. Hopefully, this will get you thinking about habits you could work on with your children. Maybe your children need to work on basic habits like teeth brushing or making their beds. Perhaps your kiddos need to set a regular wake time to get up each morning. Or, maybe your kiddos need to work toward getting to bed a bit earlier in preparation for school. It could be that the habit of first-time obedience has fallen by the wayside and needs to be picked up again. There are so many habits worth developing. Simply pick the ones that bother you most and begin!

Which routines are worth putting in place?

Routines help school move along much more quickly. It is worth taking a few moments before school begins to see if you have needed routines in place. I always take a few weeks to ponder my routines for things like laundry, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and chores. If I don’t have a good routine for each of these areas, our school day can quickly derail. Check your own routines in these areas to see if they need tweaking. It will be worth it once school begins!

How do I decide which skills are worth practicing?

Skill practice doesn’t have to be time-consuming to work! As you prepare for the school year, perhaps there are a few skills that it would be wise to begin practicing now. Skills like math fact practice can be done in a just a few minutes a day. It can be as easy as having your child whip through a set of flashcards or practice an online fact practice game. Typing is another area that benefits from a refresher. Typing Instructor is great for typing practice. We have our kiddos practice 10- 15 minutes a day in the summer. Sustained silent reading is another easy area to practice. We have our kiddos read silently for 30 minutes a day. They can read on their own or at bedtime. You can even join your children and read your own book silently as they read to be sure it gets done!

Pick and choose a few areas that need work.

Rather than trying to work on everything, pick a few areas that bother you the most. Begin with those areas first. Be sure not to overwhelm either you or your children with too much at once. Just pick a few key areas. You can always work on the other areas as school gets underway.

Blessings,
Carrie

Summer is a great time for audio books!

Teaching Tip:

Summer is a great time for audio books!

Are your days stretching long with time to fill for your kiddos? Or, are your days filled with car trips and vacations? Are you beating the summer heat by staying indoors close to the air conditioner? No matter what your summer looks like, audio books are a great way to pass the time!

Listening to audios builds auditory skills.

Would you consider yourself to be an auditory learner? Or, are you more of a visual learner? Then again, perhaps you learn more easily by doing. Not everyone is strong in auditory learning, yet it is often an important way to learn! This means auditory skills are worth building. No matter what your child’s preferred learning style, as your kiddos listen to audio books they build auditory skills.

Do audio books only work for auditory learners?

Of course, auditory learners will enjoy audio books more. Since it is their preferred style of learning, auditory learners will listen to almost anything! However, all learners can enjoy audio books if you find the type that suits their listening style.

Try different types!

Try different types of audio books to find your child’s style. Perhaps your child would enjoy a dramatized version or one that is performed radio-style. Audios with background music, multiple voices and performers, and sound effects may have more of an appeal. Often the narrator’s voice makes a difference as to how easy it is to listen to and understand an audio book. The genre makes a difference too! Maybe your child loves mysteries, fantasies, humorous books, or nonfiction.

Set aside time to listen each day.

To enjoy the audio book, set aside 20-30 minutes each day for your child to listen. We encourage our boys to listen while they are playing quietly, or drawing, or modeling, or riding in the car, or laying in their beds. As with any book, it can take time and continuity to get “into” a book. If your child gets hooked, he/she may want to listen much longer!

Try audios this summer and see what you think!

Try a variety of audios with your child, and see if you can hook your listener. If you do, you will be building important auditory skills in an effortless way! Plus, it’s just plain fun to get lost in a good book!

Blessings,
Carrie

Summer is a great time to encourage reading!

Teaching Tip:

Summer is a great time to encourage reading!

While it is important to take time off during the school year, summer is a great time to encourage reading. The long, lazy days of summer just beg for you to curl up with an ice cold glass of lemonade or iced tea and a book!

How can you encourage your children to read this summer?

One way to encourage your children to read this summer is by example. If you read this summer, and your children see you reading, they will be encouraged to read! One way we have done this at our house is to set aside time as a family to read.

Have a family “reading time.”

Last summer, we set aside 30 minutes in the evenings after dinner as family “reading time.” We gathered together in our living room with our individual books and read silently. We set the timer, and when it rang… we were done. At the end of reading time, sometimes a few family members shared something about what they’d read. But mostly, we just read. We enjoyed this time so much as a family that we carried it into our school year!

These days we steadily get to reading time about 4-5 nights a week. Sometimes the boys don’t want to take time out of their busy schedules to read. Yet, when we do take time to read, all of us seem to end up enjoying it. My husband and I really look forward to reading time. I finished several books this year I never would have found time to read had it not been for reading time!

What types of books will tempt your children to read this summer?

Summer seems to be a time for a different kind of reading. If you’ve ever walked through a book store in the summer, you will notice tables of books labeled “beach reads.” These are books that are easy to read on a beach or outdoors somewhere. They often are absorbing books you can take breaks from, return to, and easily be caught up in again. Books like this also work well for the family “reading time” I described above. Sometimes “beach reads” have a lighter, more carefree feel to them. Other times they have a brisk and thrilling pace. Overall, they are enjoyable, easy to read, and have simpler phrasing and diction. They are books that are just less work to read.

Series books work well for summer reading.

Summer can be a great time for series books. Series books often have the “beach read” feel. They have simpler phrasing and diction, have similar plots, follow a definite pattern, and require much less work to read because you already know the characters. Plus, if your child gets invested in a series, he/she can just keep on reading from one book to the next. Of course, not all series books are good. Many are not. So, you’ll have to use discernment to discover the series books that are acceptable for your family.

Take time to cultivate the habit of summer reading.

Time spent cultivating the habit of summer reading is time well spent. We’ve discovered our children curled up reading on the couch, reading in their beds, reading in the bath, and reading late at night. They started a book during “reading time” and just had to know what happened next! Try a family reading time and see what you think. Who knows, you may find yourself burning the midnight oil to find out what happens next in your book too!

Blessings,
Carrie

Four fun ways to encourage summer reading!

A Heart of Dakota Life

Four fun ways to encourage summer reading!

Summer is fast approaching, and we have found this is a wonderful time to read!  I like to encourage keeping up the habit of reading in the summer, but I also like to keep it fairly simple. Below I will share four fun ideas we have incorporated to encourage summer reading.

Tap into your Heart of Dakota personal library this summer!

One thing you will accumulate by homeschooling with Heart of Dakota is excellent literature.  Carrie has carefully chosen Charlotte Mason style living books for every subject area. Just as we like to reread favorite books as adults, I have found my children do as well. When my children were little, I only owned 3 or 4 Heart of Dakota guides and their accompanying books. So when the summer began, I set out all of the books we’d previously used. Then, I let them choose one by one any books they wanted to reread for fun. Of course, they could only read books from guides they’d already completed. We can’t spoil the next guide, can we?!? Once my children were older and I owned too many books to set out, we made a trip to our basement library shelves of HOD books.

Order from Heart of Dakota the Extension Package for the guide you just completed!

When we have just finished studying a time period together, I have found it such fun to order the Extension Package for the guide we just completed! If my children are mature enough and good enough readers to enjoy the Extension Package, I love for them to read them. I make sure not to expect any follow-up assignments to be done because it IS summer. However, I do find I still hear many impromptu oral narrations anyway! I like to put them in a basket in each child’s room. Then, they can read them at their leisure. For my children who are more sequential, I might give them a copy of the Extension Package books printed from the Internet or copied from the Heart of Dakota Catalog. Then, they can read them in the order they are listed, which is the chronological order they are planned in the guide.

Check out from the library the Emerging Reader’s Set supplemental titles!

If you have a child that just completed the Emerging Reader’s Set, why not check out from the library the supplemental titles? Carrie painstakingly chose supplemental titles of comparable reading levels and listed them by unit in your Emerging Reader’s Set schedule. These supplemental titles are a super way to keep the ball rolling for brand new readers! When we take a break from reading with newly independent readers, I find they often backtrack. This is why it is a great idea to enjoy the supplemental titles for the Emerging Reader’s Set!  Yes, the first ones will be easy, but that’s alright! Though we can read at a college level as adults, that doesn’t mean we want to read at that level for fun all the time! Our children enjoy reading at different levels other than their highest level too.

Get ahead in Drawn into the Heart of Reading by doing a few genres in the summer!

If there is one thing I love, it is that feeling of ‘getting ahead’ somehow! That is why I have often enjoyed doing 1-2 genres of Drawn into the Heart of Reading in the summer. I remember one summer in particular. Looking at the genres, I decided Adventure would be a wonderful genre for the summer!  For each of my sons, I chose a different Adventure book from their upcoming homeschool year of DITHOR books. Then, we did the kickoff up really big! I had the time!  Likewise, we did the final project up really big!  Again, why not? I had the time!  I remember actually burying pirate hats, pirate eye patches, and pirate swords in a tote in our garden. At the end of their treasure hunt, they got to dig up the tote. We even invited the cousins to be a part of it all!

I hope this gives you some ideas of how you can encourage your children to read this summer!  Give us a call at Heart of Dakota if you need help choosing a book pack to order – we love to help! We also love to think of children reading for the pure joy of it in the summer!

In Christ,

Julie