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Straight Talk About Little Decisions That Have a Big Impact

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Heart of Dakota Life

Straight Talk About Little Decisions That Have a Big Impact

It is 9 AM, and you just finished reading about the Wright brothers in Bigger Hearts. You read the book, did the history activity, but you’re so inspired – you want more. So, you hop on the Internet and read an encyclopedia article detailing the Wright brothers’ lives from start to finish. You do a paper airplane project. Another Internet search brings up a box kite project. You all begin the project but it’s pretty involved, and you are missing some key supplies. The box kites can’t be finished, so you set them aside. Everyone is a little less inspired but you want to end on a high. So, you find a free video showing the Wright brothers’ triumphant flight at Kitty Hawk. You all cheer! It is now time for lunch. What’s the big deal about all of this? Well, let’s have a little straight talk to see!

Straight Talk About What Happens Next

It is 1 PM, and you just finished cleaning up lunch. You like to be done with homeschooling by 3 PM. The problem is the only things your Bigger Hearts child completed were Reading About History and the History Activity. You have some making up to do. Not to mention, your CTC child thought the box kite was fun and didn’t want to miss the Kitty Hawk video. So, that child is really behind. Usually you would have done LHTH with your 4 year-old by now too. You begin trying to make up time by talking fast, hurrying everyone along, rearranging your routine, but time marches on. It is now 4:30 PM. Everyone is weary and ready to be done. You’ve done nothing with your 4 year-old, and she is sad. Your CTC child only has his “T” teacher-directed boxes left. Your Bigger Hearts child is done.

Straight Talk About What Happens the Next Day

Last night you went to the store and picked up the supplies to finish the box kites. It was an unexpected expense, but all those half-finished box kites were just staring back at you. It is 9 AM, and you just finished reading the next chapter about the Wright brothers in Bigger Hearts. You read the book, did the oral narration, but you’re inspired again (albeit a little less inspired than yesterday). You pull out the unfinished box kites and the supplies you bought. The CTC child digs in, and his box kite is really turning out well. Your Bigger Hearts child has to restart his box kite. The measurements were off. Your 4 year-old can’t do the box kite, but you give her an extra snack and video time, so she’s happy.

It is now 11:30 AM. You’ve sent the Bigger Hearts child to play with the 4 year-old. You try to finish the Bigger Hearts child’s box kite on your own. His second kite is better than his first, but it’s still just off balance. There’s no time to paint it. Your CTC child’s box kite is done, the paint has finally dried with a little help from a blow dryer, and it looks awesome! Lunch is looming. So, you call the kids together and go outside to watch your CTC child successfully fly his box kite. You all clap. Your Bigger Heart’s child tries to fly his kite, but it plummets to the ground. Your 4 year-old has no kite. Time to head back in and try to make up some time.

Straight Talk About What Happens in the Next Weeks and the Next Years

It is 9 AM. You just finished reading about the Wright brothers. The follow-up activity is to make a box kite. Your Bigger Hearts child bursts into tears and begs not to have to build another box kite. He’s sure his box kite won’t fly. You can see this box kite would be easy to build. He would have loved building this! However, he is having none of it. He already knows his box kite will never measure up to big brother’s. So, you skip it. You are several days behind in most your teaching for CTC. Your 4 year-old forgot her letter sounds and begs for another snack and an extra video. Everything is off, but you must catch up. School ends at 6 PM. Everyone is tired and upset.

Several years have passed. Your youngest is now doing Bigger Hearts. She is less than inspired to hear about the Wright brothers. She definitely does not want to build the box kite. Your middle child is in Missions to Modern Marvels. He is less than inspired about his reading about the Wright brothers, but at least he doesn’t have to build a box kite. Your oldest should be in USII enjoying learning more in-depth mature complexities about the Wright brothers and the history of flight. However, he is more than a guide behind and trying to double up on everything to finish. He excelled at doing much of his younger siblings’ projects, but not so much at his own more age appropriate guides’ plans.

Straight Talk About Veering Away from the Plans Due to Being Inspired

Every Heart of Dakota guide is full of inspirational books. Living books are naturally inspiring! Many of us did not have such inspiring books back when we were growing up in school. As we read inspiring living books to our children, it is often tempting to veer far away from guide’s plans and just enjoy digging more into a topic. This seems like a wonderful idea, and once in awhile, it is! However, when choosing to hop on the type of bunny trail freight train I described above, one must remember the natural consequences.  The homeschool day will end much later. Subjects and skills will be skipped. One or more children will not be able to perform well or enjoy the bunny trail as well as the other(s). The topic will not be inspiring when you get to it again later, as it’s been exhausted by the bunny trails already.

Straight Talk About the Little Decisions We Make

Are you working against yourself by making a bunch of little decisions that sabotage your homeschooling? If you are prone to be a frequent inspired bunny trail freight train rider, try to weigh the natural consequences before you hop on the train. Straight talk yourself into really knowing what you’re probably choosing – some potentially amazing moments of inspiration – but also some potentially longer days, skipped subjects/skills, delayed completion of guides, competition and unhealthy comparison among children, and a reduction in inspiration when the subject rolls around again.

For these reasons, I recommend some healthy straight talk in the day to day little decisions. Know what you are choosing, so you can weigh if it’s worth it.  We usually stick to the guide and take bunny trails (if we still feel like it) after school is done. Those bunny trails end up being a lot more fun! Moreover, everyone sure does love to be on track in their guides and finish on time. Free time is pretty inspiring too.

In Christ,



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