Try a mid-morning checkpoint for your older students

Teaching Tip

Try a mid-morning checkpoint for your older students.

Do you have any students in the guides from Creation to Christ on up?  If so, it is very helpful to schedule a 30-45 min. mid-morning checkpoint to meet individually with your student.

What do you do during the mid-morning meeting?

During this mid-morning meeting, I go over any work that the student has completed.  We fix and correct the work as we go over it.  I ask any questions noted in the corresponding boxes in the guide. I also have my student read aloud any written narrations or give any oral narrations scheduled for that day.  After we go over each completed box, I check it off in the guide and read aloud the key idea.

How do you close the mid-morning meeting?

At the end of the meeting, I do one of the ‘T’ boxes (such as Biblical worldview, composer study, art appreciation, devotional Bible study, composition, grammar, poetry, etc.) These ‘T’ box titles vary from guide to guide. For high school students, I go over ‘S’ boxes instead, as often there are not many ‘T’ boxes.  I end the meeting by quickly pointing out the unchecked boxes that are left to complete.  I clarify and give any guidance on those boxes, so my student understands what is left to be done.

What is the purpose of having checkpoints? 

The mid-morning checkpoint helps keep me on top of my student’s day.  It helps ensure my child does not fall far behind.  Later, while my boys are eating lunch, I check any work completed since the mid-morning checkpoint.  The checkpoint after lunch shows me whether my child has completed all needed work.  It also points out whether I need to briefly meet with my student after lunch to make additional corrections.  Then, I can have the child put any checked worked and corresponding materials away.

Try a mid-morning checkpoint with your student. 

If you don’t have checkpoints in your day for your older students, you may want to consider adding these in to your day!  Try it and see what you think!


Should Charlotte Mason narrations immediately follow the readings?

Dear Carrie,

In our house, some time passes between reading and actually writing a narration in Heart of Dakota. Often my kids refer back to their readings. I understand that Charlotte Mason stressed the importance of their being only a SINGLE reading. So, here are my questions!  Does the written and/or oral narration need to follow the reading immediately? I am also wondering, can they refer back to the book?


“Mom to 4 Precious Blessings”

Dear “Mom to 4 Precious Blessings,”

You asked some great questions, and I will be glad to answer them! Your first question is…

Does the written and/or oral narration need to follow the reading immediately, or does the time not matter?

The answer to this question really depends on the age of the children.  When kiddos are younger, it is advisable to have the oral and/or written narration immediately follow the reading. This helps them remember what they have read better. As kiddos get older, there can definitely be time between the reading and the narrating. In fact, Charlotte Mason advised spreading out the reading from the narrating more the older the kiddos get.  This is actually the more difficult skill, and it is  intended to be taught once students have had practice orally narrating.  Your second question is…

Can students refer back to the readings in the book as they are writing their narrations? 

This is another good question!  Due to the amount of names and dates in many of our readings, and the length of the readings, looking back at the reading while writing a written narration is helpful and advisable. Referring back to the reading helps so much with spelling and accuracy too! This is actually one of our spelling tips in our written narration skills checklist.  So, it is definitely alright for kiddos to use their living book as a reference for help in writing with proper spelling. Looking back at a reading reference-style wise is different than doing a second reading. Even though kiddos are referring back, it is still a single reading they are narrating from.  You’ve asked some excellent questions!  I hope this helps as you continue your journey with Heart of Dakota and Charlotte Mason!



P.S. To find out more about Charlotte Mason and written narrations as a form of assessment, click here!

P.S.S. To find out more about training your kiddos in Charlotte Mason skills, click here!