Heart of Dakota Blog

Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 3

From Our House to Yours - Heart of Dakota Blog
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From Our House to Yours

Can you encourage personal style within the provided structure of Heart of Dakota’s plans?

Without a doubt! As I shared last week, the opportunity to include creative personal style is already part of Heart of Dakota’s plans. So, how are both included then you may wonder? Well, the daily plans provide specific guidelines for each school subject, which gives structure for each assignment. Structure might include questions that must be answered, topics that must be addressed, key words that must be included, etc. So, specific parameters are given, but they need not take away the creativity of personal style!

How can students get creative with their personal style then?

Glad you asked! Personal style is included in a living books approach to homeschooling, and Heart of Dakota uses a living books approach. Narrations have structure, like which book to read, which pages to narrate upon, and which kind of narration to give. However, they still encourage personal style. Students can choose what to retell, how to retell it, and when to connect it to an author’s style. In contrast to Heart of Dakota’s living books approach, a textbook and workbook approach includes a more robotic response. Likewise, assessments in textbook and workbook approaches include one right answer only questions – not much personal style allowed there! Instead of this dry approach to learning, Heart of Dakota includes varied assessments within the daily structure of the plans.

Do you have some examples of personal style being encouraged within the structure of the plans?

Absolutely! This week, let’s chat about my son, Wyatt, who is using Heart of Dakota’s U.S. History II. I’ll start with the ‘Key Word’ Written Narration assignment. Wyatt is my ‘big picture’ narrator, so including key words in his oral narrations is something he does quite naturally. Writing 4-5 paragraphs in response to his America: The Last Best Hope II reading is something he does well now. But at the start, we worked together to learn the ins and outs of the structure of the plans. Underlining each required element of structure helped nothing to get missed.

Initially, I assigned points for each structure noted in the plans. For example, 10 points for choosing key words, 10 points for including key words in the writing, etc. I didn’t assign a grade for this as he was still learning how to follow the structure of the plans. But, if he received 40 out of 50 points, he could see where corrections needed to be made. A few months into the guide, this point system was no longer necessary. Spending time helping him learn the structure of each assessment set him free to add his own personal style! Once all the structured elements are included, personal style can then be added, and that’s when the fun begins!

Key Word Written Narration Assignment
US II: Key Word Written Narration Assignment
US II: Key Word Written Narration Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•a key word list must be made
•key words must be included in written narration
•written narration must be 4-5 paragraphs long
•key words used must be highlighted
•written narration must be read aloud
•narration must be edited using Written Narration Skills checklist

 

Personal Style:

•decide which key words to use
•chose own topics to narrate upon
•determin how to include key words such as names, dates, places, actions, and/or quotes
•pick to write in print or cursive
•chose to read aloud written narration to me

A Few Things to Remember:

Key words are to be chosen by the student. If the key words aren’t the words you’d have chosen – for personal style – let it be! However, structure demands key words are pertinent to the reading and included in the narration. Likewise, students need not be made to write in cursive. But, if the writing isn’t legible enough for the student to read it aloud, it must be fixed.

Living Library ‘Triple-Entry Journal’ Assignment
US II: Key Word Written Narration Assignment
US II: Living Library “Triple-Entry Journal” Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•meaningful passages or quotes should be flagged
•triple column entry format must be used
•1st column must include quote
•2nd column must include the context
•3rd column must include personal commentary

Personal Style:

•determine to use own quotes or passages
•pick own personal reaction to share in commentary
•decide to write quotes in cursive and context and commentary in print
•chose to read aloud triple-entry journal assignment to me

A Few Things to Remember:

This is an extra credit option in the plans. So, if the quotes chosen aren’t your favorite – in the name of personal style – let it be! However, structure demands the triple-entry journal format is followed. So if any portion of the assignment is missing, it must be completed to be called ‘done.’

Key Decisions in U.S. History II History Activities Assignment
USII: Key Decisions History Activities Assignment
USII: Key Decisions History Activities Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•specific question must be answered
•a decision from provided options must be chosen
•chosen decision must be supported and explained
•Key decision actually made in history must be read at end

Personal Style:

•determine which decision he would have made
•chose to support his chosen decision by explaining why he would have not chosen the other decisions
•decide the length of his explanation
•chose to read his decision aloud to me

A Few Things to Remember:

One of the decisions listed was actually the decision made in history. However, in the name of personal style, if the student chose a different decision, that’s absolutely fine! That’s the goal of this assignment, to show how decisions made in history are not always easy. Nor are the decisions made always right. However, structure demands one of the given decisions is chosen, explained, and supported.

British Literature Journal Assignment
USII: British Literature Journal Assignment
USII: British Literature Journal Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•ponder the questions in the Introduction
•read and annotate given pages
•include given annotation
•must reflect in writing upon given questions in British literature journal
•need to  view Pride and Prejudice DVD

Personal Style:

•determine his own annotations to make
•chose how much detail to include in his answers in his journal
•decide whether to write in print or in cursive
•pick to read aloud his British literature journal assignment to me

A Few Things to Remember:

This isn’t a quiz! So, if your student didn’t make the annotations you would have – for personal style – let it be! However, structure demands annotations are made and questions are answered. If all of the questions are not answered in writing, the assignment isn’t ‘good enough’ until they are.

The past few weeks, I’ve shared assignments from Creation to Christ, World Geography, and U.S. History II. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed seeing how the structure of Heart of Dakota’s plans still encourages personal style! I hope you can embrace not only the solid academics structure provides, but also the joy personal style can bring. Have a wonderful week, ladies!!!

If you would like to read the previous 2 posts in this series, here they are:

https://hodblog.splendor.vip/2018/03/02/personal-style-within-the-structure-of-the-plans-part-2/

In Christ,
Julie

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Heart of Dakota

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