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How Heart of Dakota Teaches Practical Life Application Skills

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From Our House to Yours

How Heart of Dakota Teaches Practical Life Application Skills 

I’d like to rewind the clock and revisit the past today! Looking back, I found a post I wrote about practical life application skills. A  young mother asked how Heart of Dakota teaches practical life application skills. She shared the reason for her question was that she had not learned these types of skills herself. She said she led a very sheltered life and her mother had done everything for her. So, when she got married herself, she had no idea how to follow a recipe, have a Bible Quiet Time, put together a bookshelf, or mop a floor . This made her realize how lacking she was in what she called “present in this day-and-age-type life application skills.” It also made her realize she didn’t want to repeat this cycle of “a lack of common sense with her own children.” I’ve shared my response below (sorry in advance for the length)!

Parents can have excellent habits that their children may not necessarily just pick up on their own!

I remember first getting married and hearing ladies at my church discussing their Bible quiet time. I thought, “I should be doing that… but what is it?” Looking back, I realized my parents had their own Bible Quiet Times, but we never talked about it. I knew my parents each had their own Bibles, loved reading them, and knew a lot about the Bible. But, I didn’t know about their Bible quiet times, therefore, I never had one until later in life. This is just one example of how our parents can have excellent habits we may not necessarily pick up on or learn on our own. It is a good reminder of how important it is to teach my children the habits I want them to have, while also making sure I have those habits myself. So, I 100% join you in your desire to teach children practical life application skills!

Learning Practical Life Application Skills by First Reading About Others Who Model Them

When you say “present in this day-and-age life application skills,” I think HOD has this to the “nth” degree. However, to apply something, you must first see how others applied it, made it their own, learned from it, and then turn around and apply it to your own life. HOD chooses amazing people for our children to learn from, and then carefully plans discussions, activities, and follow-up assignments to further help our children apply what they’ve read to their own lives. We are doing Bigger Hearts and RTR right now, so I’ll try to point out some examples from these guides, as they are fresh in my mind.

How the Bible Study in Bigger Hearts Teaches Life Application Skills

In Bigger Hearts, the Bible Study box focuses Godly character traits along with memorization of Proverbs. Day 2 has personal application of that Godly character quality. Next, Day 3 has a devotional reading that corresponds to that quality. Then, Day 4 has a practical application of that quality. Finally, Day 5 focuses on a Biblical passages showing that quality. The plans are very specific in asking children to apply what has been learned in the here and now. Guiding questions ask them to apply the Godly character trait to their own lives. Activities ask them to specifically plan how they will model that trait “today.”

Just yesterday, this was my son’s present application for this… “Choose one way that you can be more honest and delight God. Make sure to do it today.” My son chose to be honest about what board game he had really played with his little brother. (He’d tearfully confessed he’d lied to me about this before.) But, he decided to fess up after we had studied the Godly character trait of “honesty” in Bigger Hearts. He told me he wanted to be honest, and he felt a huge weight had been lifted. I felt glad he’d changed his heart (a.k.a. transferring practical life application skills of what he’d learned to this present day-and-age).

How the Storytime Plans in Bigger Hearts Teach Life Application Skills

In the Bigger Hearts Storytime box, he has to compare the book characters to a Biblical person with a Godly character quality in mind. The quality we just studied was “joy.” We talked about troubles he has had, and what he could do in times of trouble to still be joyful about the faith he has in Christ. He came up with pray, sing happy praise music, and whistle. I heard him whistling the other day when he accidentally dumped the dustbuster contents all over the floor. He winked and said, “I’m just finding some joy, Mom!”   Personal life application skills strike again.

How the History in Bigger Hearts Teaches Life Application Skills

In history, we talked about soldiers and how they gave so much for this country. He said to me the other day, “Mom, American soldiers give up so much for our freedom, still today, don’t they?” I said tearfully, “Yes, they do, and so do their wives and their children. They are not only incredibly brave men; they are incredibly brave families.” When my husband came home from work, my son hugged him and thanked him for previously serving our country in the Navy. We loved seeing our son display some heartfelt this “present day life application skills!”

How Drawn into the Heart of Reading Teaches Life Application Skills

In Drawn into the Heart of Reading, we’ve been studying the genre humor. When the boys were watching Lion King 1 1/2, they both decided that while it was pretty funny, the body noises parts were probably ill humor for real life. In DITHOR, we’d just talked about how burping loudly was ill humor, and humor not appreciated by any mature person within hearing distance. Thank you DITHOR for helping me teach this particular life application skill so well!!!

How RTR’s Science Teaches Life Application Skills

We are doing Resurrection to Reformation with our oldest son. The practical application is HUGE at this stage of learning. I am finding the more my children age and move through HOD guides, the more their learning just becomes a natural part of their life. For example, Wyatt just built a glider for science. He showed Bernoulli’s principle by adjusting the fuselage, as well as changing air flow patterns by altering curved and flat surfaces to gain more lift. Riley came over and they were deep in conversation about what alterations to make. Riley shared what he knew about planes/air flow from what he’d read about the Wright Brothers, and Wyatt said, “Oh yeah, I remember that, let’s give that a try, buddy.”

How RTR’s Bible Quiet Time and Devotional Time Teach Life Application Skills

The present application of Boyhood and Beyond is so plentiful, I hardly know where to begin. One example – Bob Schultz told a story about Mr. Slothful and Mr. Industry. When Wyatt was working hard on cleaning his room, he said, “Just call me Mr. Industry, Mom! Mr. Slothful moved out and isn’t welcome back!”

He just finished his RTR guide as of today, and he is choosing to have a Bible Quiet Time each morning still (a mixture of application from Boyhood and Beyond and RTR’s Bible Quiet Time box’s influence).

When watching a movie, Wyatt came out and said, “I think there’s a better use for this time for me, Mom. I think I’m going to work on a project I’ve got going instead.” (Life application of making good use of your time, a lesson we had in HOD.)

How RTR’s Poetry Teaches Life Application Skills

The other day Wyatt quoted Emily Dickinson’s poetry out of the blue. He seemed to think the book fairs were full of people who actually knew me personally. I had said something to the effect, “Oh honey, no one even knows who I am. I’m just a homeschool mom helping other homeschool moms.”

He said, “Well, then, mom, I’m nobody. Who are you? Are you nobody too? Well then there’s a pair of us – don’t tell. They’d banish us, you know. Don’t worry though mom, it’s dreary to be somebody. Sort of like a frog talking all day to a bog.”

I laughed and hugged him and told him, “Well, yes, a happy pair of nobodies we are then my dear, in good company with Miss Emily Dickinson.”

How the Hymn Study and History Projects Teach Life Application Skills

In church, we sang a hymn by Isaac Watts. Wyatt whispered to me, “Did you know Watts wrote over 600 hymns during his life?”

Today, Wyatt told me he is going to copy the recipes he made out of RTR this year, so he can add to his collection of recipes. (He already copied the Egyptian pastries and a bread recipe from CTC from last year.) On his deer hunting trip this year, he baked bread for everyone that was going, and that was his contribution to the meals.

Wyatt pulls out the directions for everything we buy him and follows them to a tee with no problem. We got the boys Rokenbok for their b-days, and within an hour they had all of it set up and running perfectly. Wyatt has built shoe racks, toys, and home project type things for me, all due to the skills he learned in the History Project boxes of HOD.

Practical life application skills still going strong at bedtime!

Well, it’s getting late, but here’s a funny grand finale to this practical application post. It’s bedtime, and Emmett is sleeping. Wyatt and Riley are having their quiet time together. Riley just now, this very instance, came down and showed me a page that says “Kon-keree! Kon-keree!” in his Rascal book. He said, “Mom, I think this is the bird call we heard last night at the fire pit. I know what bird it is now – it was a red-winged blackbird.” We had heard a strange bird call last night while sitting outside, and guess what I saw on the lawn today – 2 red-winged blackbirds. How’s that for some practical application?

Heart of Dakota’s plans encourage life practical application skills in the here and now!

I hope this has helped you see how HOD is extremely adept at encouraging practical application in the here and now. It becomes more and more evident as children grow and mature, but rest assured, it’s there. Hats off to you to recognize you wish you’d had more practical application of life skills growing up, and now want to be amply sure you give your children those skills! Often times, the things we wish we’d been taught as a child but weren’t, are the very things we become passionate about teaching to our own children. I think you have a very wise wish for your children here – HOD will be your partner and best advocate in accomplishing that goal.

In Christ,


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