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Are you training your older children to read from the guide?

Heart of Dakota Homeschool Curriculum Teaching Tip
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Teaching Tip

This is the next post in our series of things to check if your school day seems too long. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help!

Are you training your children in Preparing Hearts on up to read directly from the Heart of Dakota guide?

In the guides from Preparing Hearts on up, coding appears in each box of the daily plans. This code guides you in the suggested level of independence for each box. I = Independent, S = Semi-Independent, and T = Teacher Directed. Moving your child to take over the ‘I’ and ‘S’ boxes takes training. Reading right from the guide is an important step in that training.

Are you treating the ‘I’ and ‘S’ boxes like ‘T’ boxes?

Eventually, your student should do the ‘I’ boxes independently and the ‘S’ boxes semi-independently. This includes reading directions from the guide independently and following them. If you are treating the ‘I’ and ‘S’ boxes like ‘T’ boxes, this will add significant time to your day. It will also leave your child without the stepping stones he needs to be prepared for the level of independence expected in the next guide.

You may also want to read these previous teaching tips about independence:

Do you allow your children to have the guide in hand as they work?

As parents, we often view any homeschool guide as ours! To hand the guide to our child seems like a foreign idea. Yet, the Heart of Dakota guides are written for you to do just that! Preparing Hearts is written partly to the student. Each successive Heart of Dakota guide is written more and more to the student. We intend for the child to have the guide in hand while he works.

If your student does not have the guide in hand, the ‘I’ and ‘S’ boxes will be very difficult!

Working without a guide in hand leaves the child striving to remember a lengthy list of directions. If the student cannot remember the directions, he will be running back to the guide often. If you summarize or list directions instead of allowing the student to have the guide, you add time to your day. Plus, the student must decipher your interpretation of the guide’s directions. A dual set of directions and expectations is always confusing! Simply allowing your student to have the guide in hand fixes these problems.

What are two crucial steps for success with the ‘I’ and ‘S’ boxes?

Train your kiddos to read from the guide early and often. Allow your students to have the guide in hand as they work. These two steps are crucial to being able to do the ‘I’ and ‘S’ boxes as written. Reading and following directions independently pays big dividends not just within Heart of Dakota, but all throughout life. So, begin training your children to read from the guide today, and see what you think!


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Karie Bair

    Are we allowed to photocopy pages of the guide to give to our children to read from? I couldn’t find anything in the the frint if the guide in regards to copyright that allow or restrict this idea. I am hesitant to hand over my guide.

    1. Hello! This is a good question, and I am glad you asked, Karie! You can find the copyright for each Heart of Dakota guide in the very front of each guide. Here is what it says…

      All rights reserved. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system, reproduced
      or transmitted in any form or by any means – graphic, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise – without prior written permission from the author.

      So, in answer to your question photocopies may not be made of the guide, other than special noted items by the author in some guides. For example, the plans may say the poem can be copied for the activity of cutting it apart and sequencing it properly. In these instances, the daily plans will note this special permission by the author.

      The copyright is there to help give clear guidelines about what is against the law, but it is also there for another reason that we think is truly important. Students need to begin to take on needed independence as they mature. This is an important part of the process of learning. Guides are meant to be shared, with the parent using them for their ‘T’ portions, for the students using them for their ‘I’ portions, and for the parents and students sharing them for the ‘S’ portions. The plans are directly written to the student for ‘I’ boxes, and the guide should be in their hands used as a student planner for these assignments.

      To do this without sharing the guide, would require every day’s plans to be photocopied, which really amounts to photocopying the entire guide, a clear infringement of the copyright. For students to be truly successful with their independent and semi-independent work, they need to be able to hold the guide in their hands and follow the directions themselves. Some families simply order 2 guides, if the parent wants to have his/her own guide totally separate from the student. I tried 2 guides this year for high school actually, but I ended up just preferring to go back to sharing my son’s U.S. II guide, as my son always had his guide ready for me, open to the pages we were using. While I, on the other hand, could not always locate mine as quickly. (I’m going to blame this on me nearing the age of 50 yo and being a little forgetful at times!)

      Anyway, I want to encourage you that we have really found our kiddos do well with independence this way! We share the guide quite easily, and the wear and tear to the guide doesn’t prevent me from using it again with my younger kiddos. Our guides may look a little rougher in the end, but our kiddos will know how to follow directions and complete experiments, activities, projects, and assignments step-by-step to successful completion. This is so worth the trade-off! Hope this helps!

      In Christ,

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