Friday, December 10, 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air

So I have heard more than one family who is using Heart of Dakota (HOD) say what a "breath of fresh air" it was in there homeschool. I thought they were just saying that. But HOD this week HAS been truly a breath of fresh air in our homeschool!!!! Here are the highlights from this week. We completed all of Unit 1 in Preparing Hearts for His Glory (PHFHG), but only did some of Unit 1 in Little Hands to Heaven (LHTH). I will post separately about Buddy's LHTH. We did take five days to complete the Unit (which is designed as a 4 day week). But I intend to continue keeping our weeks as 5 day weeks with a lighter work load on Fridays.

We have read from Grandpa's Box which teaches about so many bible truths, bible stories & is very sweetly written. Today at lunch I decided to try Carrie's scheduling idea and read during lunch from our Reading About History section (Grandpa's Box) and our Storytime reading (the Bible for today). It worked so well!!! The kids happily ate quietly while I read and then quickly chimed in when it was time to answer questions. The only issue for me is that I don't eat and read at the same time. So that would be an interesting question for those who do read during lunch- When does Mom eat?! 

Squirt's History project has gone along with the readings from Grandpa's Box. She has learned about coats of arms. She got to see some samples of our family coats of arms and learned how to use our printed set of Encyclopedias. We went on Wikipedia and looked at a whole library of country coat of arms. Here is her completed Coat of Arms/ Shield of Faith. She chose not to add backing to it or a handle but to leave it so that it would still fit in her Notebook in a page protector.

Vocabulary words were also taken from the readings from Grandpa's Box and Squirt has been learning new words from the list, while continuing to strengthen her dictionary and research skills.

Bible memory work has been such a blessing! Squirt is memorizing Psalm 1. This week she worked on the first two verses using one of the best things HOD recommends- this CD by Kelly Crawford called Lead Me to the Rock. It was such a blessing to hear my daughter singing Psalm 1 Monday night as she got ready for dinner. (The only thing I wish is that the lyrics were in the NKJV or NIV. The music is sung in the KJV and it is usually not our family's choice of translations. That being said, God's Word is still His Word and is powerful in any translation!)

Science has been out of One Small Square: ArcticTundra.
I love how all her science is Independent. She gets the Teaching Guide and reads the instructions and completes her work. She has read a number of pages from this book, orally narrated to me about them and drawn a map and labeled it.

Then she followed instructions for a science experiment to discover "How Layers Help to Keep Animals Warm." She was so proud of herself that she did everything without my help and she had a great science lab sheet completed when she was done. 

In Poetry we have been studying Robert Lewis Stevenson's The Swing. Squirt already knew this by heart but still really enjoyed the poetry writing exercise and then the opportunity to do something special with her poem at the end of the Unit. She chose to have me print it out and she illustrated it. Here is her work-

For this Unit Squirt has been using Draw and Write Through History (Creation through Jonah) for her Independent History Study. She reads the instructions and does all of the work by herself.  Here are some samples of her drawings using this book.

Finally, we have continued on in Singapore 3B books and are working on chopping away at a condensed trip through Rod and Staff English 2. We hope to start English 3 in January, as well as Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR). 


  1. This is so encouraging! I have many friends who state the same thing about Heart of Dakota. I think it is time that I try it. I am now on my tenth year of homeschooling and am still looking for a curriculum that is, as you described it, a breath of fresh air.


  2. Hurray for such a great first week!! (I know I'm a bit late- I'm just now getting around to reading, & I am so glad I did!! Your daughter is doing great!! I loved seeing all her work. I've often wondered about the reading at lunch thing too. It sounds like a great idea, but then... when do you eat? how do you get everyone's food cut up? or the baby fed? Hmmmm... maybe you eat at different times!? Anyways, I'm so glad to hear of what a great week you had- I hope this week went just as well!