Don’t interrupt the flow of the reading.

Teaching Tip:

What is a “living book”?

Heart of Dakota’s curriculum is full of living books. Each living book is typically written by a single author who is very passionate about his/her topic. These books stand out for their conversational, narrative style and their ability to make almost any subject come to life. Living books are read in smaller segments slowly over time to allow your students to “live” with the books.

As you read aloud a living book, don’t pause during the reading to explain or question.

In a Charlotte Mason style living book reading, it is important not to stop and explain or question during the reading. You may be tempted to define difficult words, explain what is happening, or question your child to be sure he/she is understanding. While you may think you’re helping your child comprehend better by doing these things, you really aren’t!

Interrupting the flow of the reading makes it more difficult for the child to comprehend and make connections.

Charlotte Mason says that stopping during a reading to explain or question actually interrupts the flow of the reading. This makes it more difficult for the child to comprehend and make his/her own connections. So, whenever you feel the urge to pause during the reading to “help” your child, resist the urge and read on!

Reading without interruption, helps develop the habit of attention.

As your child learns to attend to a single reading, your child will be developing the habit of attention. This is a much needed habit to cultivate and isn’t one that occurs naturally in all kiddos. Try making a point not to interrupt the reading and see if your child eventually begins to attend better. I know I have been pleasantly surprised with my own boys when I tried this essential step when reading aloud!

Blessings,
Carrie

Do you have a plan for laundry at your house?

Teaching Tip: 

Do you have a plan for laundry at your house?

Having a routine for dealing with laundry each week is a huge time saver. Laundry may seem like an odd topic to include on our teaching tip day! But, laundry can really interfere with teaching by taking up needed space for “school” and overtaking your house! So, I’ll just share a tip that may get you thinking of how to address laundry at your house.

How do we deal with sorting laundry each week?

As our family has grown, we’ve discovered that the sorting of whose clothes belong to whom can really take time. It also slows down the folding process. So, we’ve found it’s easier to keep the laundry more separated from start to finish. To do this, each of our bedrooms has a laundry hamper. Even within the bedrooms, we have individual clothes baskets for our boys. This reduces the amount of mixing of clothes among family members.

How do we schedule our laundry to be done?

We schedule our laundry to be done in smaller chunks each day to keep it more manageable. So, at our house, Monday is our littlest guy’s laundry day. Tuesday is towel day and also the day my hubby and I’s laundry is done. Wednesday is our third son’s laundry day. His laundry requires special laundry detergent, due to skin allergies. Thursday is our oldest son’s laundry day. Friday is our second son’s laundry day. Saturday and Sunday we have off from laundry.

What is our laundry routine?

Everyone just brings their own laundry downstairs in their hamper or basket on their designated day. The person whose laundry it is also helps fold and put away on his/her assigned day. This makes sense, as each person knows best where his/her own clothes go! Of course, we all pitch in to help fold and put away when we are in a hurry. We have a goal to get everything put away by bedtime. Sometimes, we don’t quite make it. But, having a school workspace free of folded laundry is a great motivator!

Try making a laundry plan and see what you think.

Having a plan for your laundry may really free you up from feeling like the laundry is never really done. Try making a laundry plan, and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

Recovering from the holiday season? Consider starting school half-speed!

Teaching Tip:

Are you still recovering from the busy holiday season?

As the new year is underway, are you still recovering from the busy holiday season? If so, it can feel daunting to launch back into school again. Yet, often the routine of school is just what is needed to get your days back to normal.

You could consider starting school half-speed.

To help you get back into the routine of school, you could consider starting half-speed. Easing into school this way is easier than starting full-speed, yet it starts the process of getting back into the school mindset.

There are several easy ways to go half-speed.

Through the years, we have gone half-speed with our guides in many different ways. Going half-speed can be as easy as doing the left page of plans one day and the right page the next day. Another way to go half-speed is to count the number of boxes on your two-page spread and divide by two. Then, choose half of the boxes to do one day and half of the boxes to do the next day. Other options for going half-speed will work too. Just be sure to finish an entire day of plans before moving on to the next day. Simply check off the boxes as you complete them, so there is no confusion as to which boxes remain.

How long can you go half-speed?

Typically, going half-speed with a guide is not a permanent solution. At our house, we have downshifted to half-speed in times of illness, stress, holiday breaks, busy work schedules, days with therapy or doctor’s appointments, or when we are first beginning a new guide. Usually, after a time half-speed no longer feels like enough.

How can you move up to full-speed gradually?

If we did stay at half-speed for an extended time, we tried to add one box each week until we were at full-speed. This meant we were sometimes finishing up one day of plans and starting on a new day of plans in the same day. While not ideal, it did work. Getting up to full-speed is always our end-goal.

How can schooling continue when you or your child is very sick?

With our son Greyson’s multiple hospitalizations last year, we had to downshift to what he was able to do. This means we did only one or two boxes in the plans for many days. Other days he was too sick to do any school. When he got some better, we tried slowly adding one more box of plans as he seemed able. At the time, it seemed like we were barely progressing. Yet, in looking back we only lost half a year of school instead of the whole year. During the summer, he did his guide half-speed four days a week. He didn’t mind, since he was finally starting to feel better. Doing even a little when you can is still progress!

When life is busy, half-speed works.

Maybe you are at a place in your life right now where full-speed is working great. If so, keep going! Just remember that when life is busy, half-speed works.

Blessings,

Carrie

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!

Blessings,
Carrie

Books make wonderful Christmas gifts!

Teaching Tip:

Are you bombarded with gift ideas this Christmas?

With the upcoming Christmas season quickly approaching, it is easy to get bombarded with gift ideas.  Toys, clothes, digital gifts, and games are often the gifts advertisers target for children.  As a momma of boys, I am always looking for a gift my sons will love. 

Books make wonderful Christmas gifts.

One thing I often forget in the search for the perfect gift is that books make wonderful Christmas gifts.  Books are not expensive and can be reread or passed down to another child to be read again. Books rarely “break” like toys do.  They are not outgrown as easily as clothes.  Books do not go out-of-date quickly, so they can be picked up and enjoyed long after Christmas is over.  Plus, reading is something a child can do alone! Only one person is needed to enjoy a good book.

Warning:  As gifts, books do not usually get an overly enthusiastic response from the recipient.

When my boys open books as gifts, they aren’t always overly enthused with them (even though my boys are avid readers).  Other gifts typically get a more enthusiastic reaction.  However, once Christmas is over, and the other gifts have lost their luster, the books come off the shelf.  

After Christmas, I often find my boys cuddled up in blankets…reading.

Once the busyness of Christmas is over, my boys are often cuddled up in various rooms of the house reading… reading… reading.  I discover them late at night in their beds…reading, begging to be allowed to read just one more chapter.  I find them in the bath…reading. I hear them talking to their cousins about the book they are reading.  This warms a momma’s heart!  

Don’t forget to spend time choosing great books for gifts!

So, next time a birthday or Christmas rolls around, don’t forget to spend some time choosing great books for your kiddos’ gifts.  While not expensive gifts, they affect your kiddos’ minds and hearts far beyond many other gifts! Just remember, the joy that comes from a book as a gift often comes AFTER the excitement over other gifts has passed.

Blessings,

Carrie