How can you challenge your child to take a more active role in his learning?

Teaching Tip:

As your year progresses, are your children becoming more comfortable with their HOD guides?

As the school year progresses, I am reminded of a tip that is helpful as children get further along in their guides. This tip is especially targeted at students in Little Hearts for His Glory through Preparing Hearts for His Glory. As your kiddos travel through their guides, they will become comfortable with the patterns in their particular guides. They will begin to instinctively “know” what to do when they come to certain parts of their day. As your children’s comfort levels rise, they are ready for more of a challenge.

How can you challenge your child to take a more active role in his learning?

When your child seems comfortable with the guide, it is time to start letting him take a more active role in his learning. One easy way to do this is to allow your child to look at the daily plans and get out his own materials. Once your child excels at getting out his own materials, move on to letting your child read directions from the guide.

Allow your child to read directions right from the guide.

Allowing your child to read directions right from the guide helps him prepare for the learning coming that day. Reading directly from the guide is also great preparation for what is coming in future guides too. Future guides begin labeling boxes in the plans as ‘T’ = Teacher Directed, ‘S’ = Semi-Independent, and ‘I’ = Independent. As your child matures, the move toward more independence will be encouraged and expected.

Allowing your students to read directly from the guide has many benefits.

Reading directly from the guide allows students to become more self-propelled learners. It also allows students to take more responsibility and ownership for what they are learning! So, once your students are ready, start letting them read directly from the guide. Begin with only one or two boxes at a time. See what a change you notice as your children enjoy taking ownership of their learning.

With growing independence comes greater accountability.

Just be careful that you don’t let your children’s new ownership nudge you out of too many areas! It is still important to oversee and check each part of your children’s school work. Accountability becomes even more important with independence.

Blessings,
Carrie

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

How can you achieve success with Rod and Staff English?

Teaching Tip:

How can you achieve success with Rod and Staff English?

Success with Rod and Staff English can be achieved in more than one way. You can easily do it as written. Or, you can modify the presentation while still covering all the content. While we truly love Rod and Staff English, the lessons at the upper levels can get quite long. So, here is one tip we’ve found that helps us consistently get it done.

Do two-thirds of each lesson orally or on a whiteboard.

Working through the lesson orally and/or on a whiteboard speeds each lesson right along. This method also keeps the student’s interest and allows you to correct any misconceptions immediately. Plus, in this scenario, written work is limited to only meaningful answers. For example, it is much more important to write diagramming exercises than it is to write the words ‘singular’ and ‘plural.’ So, anything that can be done orally… we do orally! Anything that can be done quickly on a whiteboard, we do in that fashion.

Assign one-third of the lesson to be done as written work.

At the end of the lesson, we assign one section to be done as written work. When choosing which section this will be, we make sure it is a section that is most meaningfully done in writing. This assigned section often includes diagramming or composition exercises. If there isn’t a certain section that benefits from being written, we may do the entire lesson orally instead.

To cement previous concepts, be sure to do the oral review at the beginning of each lesson.

We also make sure to do the oral review at the beginning of each lesson to cement previous concepts. Skipping the oral review means students forget what has been studied previously. So, don’t skip the oral review!

Using this method results in quicker lessons and positive results!

We’ve tried this method from English 2 through English 8 with good results. We consistently get it done, and our boys have good overall retention of concepts. Our two older sons in college are thankful for the strong English background they acquired through Rod and Staff English! Try this method yourself, and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

Keep your child’s school day steadily moving.

Teaching Tip: 

Keep your child’s school day steadily moving.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I realize the need to keep my kiddos moving along in their school days. In my early years of teaching, I was the queen of lingering over subjects and taking bunny trails. Things changed as my kiddos got older and I added more children to my school day. I realized I was enjoying the lingering much more than they were! They still perceived all of my bunny trails as “school”… no matter how fun the trails were!

Boys are finishers by nature.

Especially if you have boys, it may help you to realize that boys are finishers by nature. Task completion gives them great pleasure. If they have no idea how long a task may stretch on, they may quickly lose the will to finish! So, with this in mind, anything extra you add to their day may not be welcome… no matter how fun you think the addition is!

Do what is in the HOD guide and leave the “fun extras” for free time!

I now do only what is in each box of the HOD guide. Then, to wrap it up, I read each key idea. I choose to linger only over our Bible or character discussions. This leaves free-time for my boys to pursue the fun extras! My boys are happier, and we finish earlier.

Is it possible you have been lingering too much or taking too many bunny trails?

Consider whether you may be lingering too much or taking too many bunny trails. If so, ask yourself how much your children enjoy the trails. Do the extras leave them too worn out to finish needed subjects in the HOD guide? Try less lingering and see what you think. You may find everyone is happier and finishing earlier!

Blessings,
Carrie

Does your child have an easy-to-follow schedule that can be seen at a glance?

Teaching Tip 

Does your child have an easy-to-follow schedule that can be seen at a glance?

Do you love schedules or loathe them?  Either way, there is one helpful item that we have found our students need.  It is a list of subjects in the order the subjects “ideally” should be completed each day.  Without such a schedule, the child remains completely dependent on you to dictate the day.

A schedule doesn’t need to be fancy.

This listing of subjects can be hand-written or typed.  It is helpful to use the subject names from the boxes in the Heart of Dakota guide.  It also helps to note a time allotment behind each subject.  This way the students have some idea of how long the subject is expected to take.  On our list I also include the room of our house where I expect the child to complete the subject. I write start and end times next to each subject (but this part of the list is purely optional).

You can use the same list all year!

We use the same list all year. We place the list in a plastic page protector.  Each day our students check off each subject with a dry erase marker.  At day’s end, they use a dry eraser to clear the schedule for use again the next day.

Freedom comes when the order of subjects remains basically the same.

Keeping the subjects in the same basic order each day really pays off in setting a routine. Your student will come to expect which subject comes next, saving both of you time.  The actual time on the clock when each subject occurs is less important than the routine.  Even if the time of day at which you complete those subjects varies from day-to-day… the order remains the same. Try making a simple, easy-to-follow schedule for your child and see what you think!

Blessings,
Carrie

Please Explain How to Set Up a Routine Instead of a Schedule