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How to Teach Bigger Hearts for His Glory on a 4 Day Schedule

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Dear Carrie

How would you suggest doing Bigger Hearts for His Glory on a 4 day schedule?

Dear Carrie,

I’m considering using Bigger Hearts for His Glory 4 days a week instead of 5 days a week. How would you suggest doing Bigger Hearts for His Glory on a 4 day schedule?

“Four Days Only Please in Northwest MO”

Dear “Four Days Only Please in Northwest MO,”

As you ponder what will work best for your family, I want to share a few things for your consideration. Each guide is designed to have a daily workload that is appropriate for the skill level of your student. So, each day of plans is written with a careful balance in mind of visual, kinesthetic, and auditory assignments. Likewise, creative and more structured assignments are balanced within a school day. Also, activities on the left side intertwine together within a day of school to allow kiddos to make connections. Even some of the activities from the right side of the guide have planned connections such as this as well.

Shifting boxes around causes loss of intended balance and connections.

When you shift boxes around, you lose the carefully timed workload, balance of skills, and connections designed to happen effortlessly. To show you what I mean, I’ll share this example. Imagine that you are a classroom teacher in a Christian school. Each week you spend your entire weekend and many nights writing a week of plans for your class. You work to be sure that each activity has a special purpose in that particular day. Carefully you plan things from the history reading or the Bible or science that you desire your kiddos to connect. As you arrive on Monday, you learn of a two hour assembly being scheduled, taking place during your written plans. So, you begin shifting the plans, trying to keep what was really important together. You can do this fairly well because you wrote the plans. Now, later in the week there is a fire drill, and the plans shift again. Later in the week the guidance counselor stops in to talk about playground troubles, and more shifting occurs. By the week’s end, how well do you think those original lesson plans are functioning? How cohesive are they at this point? You sigh, and hope the next week will be better.

Shifting boxes around causes loss of the cohesiveness of following the 2-page spread of plans.

However, if you do this shifting every week with Heart of Dakota, you can quickly see what is lost! No longer can your kiddos just follow the two-page spread and know when the boxes are checked they are done. No longer do you view your school day that way either, as you are constantly squeezing more into less time. At that point, you are pretty much rewriting the plans in a way they were not designed to be taught. Moms who have shifted too many things in the plans are often on different days of plans in many areas. They share their days feel disjointed instead of cohesive, and their kiddos are completely confused as to where they are.

Homeschooling is a journey of many years rather than a race to the finish line.

I share this not to discourage you, but rather to encourage you with some wisdom I’ve gained through the years. As we homeschool our kiddos, we have to ask what it is we are racing to do? Why must we approach schooling in a way that has us cramming more into fewer days? Homeschooling is a journey that goes on for many years. It is not a race to the finish line, but rather it requires steady progress forward.

Give your family every chance to succeed with Bigger Hearts… by using it the way it was written.

So, you have a child in Bigger…, and you need a 4 day schedule? Why not just teach a day within in a day? On your day off, simply set the guide aside. Then, when you return to your school, pick the guide up where you left off and go forward. Once you get to Preparing Hearts… on up, you will switch to a 4 day plan anyway. So, why not give your family every chance to succeed with Bigger Hearts… by using it the way it was written? You always want to leave your kiddos begging for more in the early years, rather than leaving them (and you) barely getting done. Enjoy the younger years, when the school day isn’t so long, because it will get longer soon enough!

Blessings to you as you ponder,

PS – For those of you who like to use the app Bloglovin, we wanted to let you know that we have added our blog to this site.

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Heart of Dakota

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Kelly Wade

    I’m so glad you posted this! It seems I see people asking this quite often and I cringe because I agree with all you’ve said here. I love doing your guides as written. The days are beautiful and I don’t mind getting to Monday and starting day 3 in a unit. Life happens, and I find it’s best to live it.

    1. You are so right, Kelly! I used to be stuck on Day 1 being Monday, but one bout with the flu, and oh no! We were off schedule. Some families do Little Hands…, Little Hearts…, Beyond Little Hearts…, and Bigger Hearts… with their youngest on a 4 day schedule. That spreads out those 4 guides perfectly over 5 years! You are right – life happens. It is best to live it!!! Have a terrific Tuesday, Kelly, and thanks for your response here!!!

  2. Meg

    This was a very encouraging post for me too. I am finding that our days go best when I follow the guides closely and do only 1 days worth of material. My 6 year old just started Beyond a few weeks ago. I have an 8 year old third grader who will be finishing Bigger in May. My 2 and 4 year olds are on the C unit of LHTH.

    This post really encouraged me that it is ok that we all take a summer break and pick up where we left off next fall, even though only one child will be starting a new guide. Julie’s comment about stretching 4 guides over 5 years was helpful too as I think that is the pace that will work best as more of my younger kids reach ‘school age.’
    Thank you!!

    1. Oh good, Meg! I’m so glad you found some encouragement here! Days are full enough with 1 day’s worth of homeschooling, aren’t they?!? It is no small endeavor we take on homeschooling, is it? Carrie and I spread out the guides such as this with our youngers. It is a blessing to do 4 days a week with everyone once you have olders doing 4 day a week guides. Prior to that, when I only had 1 in the younger guides, I loved the 5 days a week! We needed more to fill our time, and I was thankful for it. We look forward to our summer break too, here in SD, where this season offers some wonderful warmer weather. In winter, we homeschool 5 days a week! Blizzards and heavy snow outside make for perfect homeschool days to snuggle up and read, enjoy some hot cocoa, and pass the time with our HOD guides. Anyway, I’m so glad you responded here, Meg, and I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!!!

  3. Jaclyn Hinrichs

    I have been wondering about this as well. One reason we left HOD was because of the 5-day schedule. My daughter is a part of a homeschool assistance program that meets on Tuesdays from 8:45am-1:45pm. She gets to participate in art, music, PE, science, and social studies. She is a very social kid and absolutely LOVES her school days and seeing all her friends. I would never take this away from her. I also don’t want to over-burden her by saying “glad you’re home from school…time for HOD.” That would be no fun for either of us. I have made the decision to return to HOD for her 2nd grade year and the 5-day week thing makes me so nervous. However, I am committed to giving it a try. HOD is such a rich curriculum and we absolutely love to read in our family, so it is such a good fit for us. My son will be in kindergarten next year and he is not nearly as social as my daughter. If he is scared or struggles with the traditional school day, I will let him stay home until he gets to the preparing guide. We are so looking forward to getting back to HOD next year, and this post helped me with some of my fears and worries…so thank you!!

    1. We are so glad you are back, Jaclyn! We encourage flexible pacing with our guides, and this post shows a good way to approach Bigger Hearts with a more flexible pacing. The following blog posts might be good reading on this topic as well…

      Flexible Pacing for Homeschooling Little Ones 4 or 5 Days a Week

      Enjoy stress-free planning ahead with HOD’s flexibility in placement and pacing!

      In Christ,

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