Heart of Dakota Blog

What are the cons to having youngers just “listening in”?

Heart of Dakota - Dear Carrie
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Dear Carrie

Why you don’t advise having children younger than the target age range of the HOD guide listen in with the older student’s guide?

I am new to Heart of Dakota, and I just ordered your catalog. The first thing that jumps out at me is I just love Heart of Dakota’s book choices! I have a gap between my children. My oldest is 10 years old, and my other two are 6 and 2 years old. I think our 10 year-old places in Creation to Christ according to your placement chart online. My 6 year-old places in Little Hearts for His Glory. I thought about just reading aloud everything from Creation to Christ to the 6 year-old. The 2 year-old can listen when he’s not destroying the house. However, I have a hunch my 6 year-old might be missing out if I do this. The 2 year-old might be lost or scared – some of the books look grown up. I guess I am wondering why you don’t recommend having children younger than the target age range of the HOD guide simply listen in with the older student’s guide?


“Ms. Please Help Me Understand the Cons of Just Listening In”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Understand the Cons of Just Listening In,”

Good question! To help you understand the cons of just listening in, I’ll share a personal story! When I went to college, I had just turned 18. I had been a certified nurse’s aide in high school and had worked weekends and summers at our local nursing home.  So, I’d decided I wanted to make nursing my major. However, at that point in my life I was already weary of school (due to my own perfectionist tendencies). I also didn’t want to accumulate much college debt. So, I enrolled in a 2 year nursing program, where I would have my R.N. degree in only two years time!  When the admissions advisor found out my certified nurse’s background, she quickly assured me I’d be able to catch on. I could just listen in and do what I could do. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was excited to start.

In the opening hours of the course, I quickly realized that I was the ONLY person in the class who was not already an L.P.N. (licensed practical nurse).   I inquired from the class instructor whether I should have my L.P.N. to be in the course. But, she assured me that it wasn’t necessary. I’d catch on just listening in and doing what I could do. By noon, I was certain she was wrong! I made it through taking the vitals. After that, I knew I was in over my head when we had to draw blood, which I’d never been trained to do (but all other class members did very easily)! I felt like a bystander. I knew I was in over my head. By 1:00, I was in the guidance office, changing my major to teaching! Listening in and just doing what I could do didn’t work for me!

Just “listening in” makes younger children feel like bystanders who are in over their heads!

I share this story to show you why it’s so important to us at HOD to make sure that each family member can contribute within his/her guide placement in a meaningful way. We do not want children to be bystanders or to be overwhelmed in their learning. Instead, we want them to be active participants who can do more than pass the time quietly trailing along, because they are truly in over their heads in every other area. We want to be sure each child is building the incremental skills needed for academic progress, spiritual growth, and character and habit training. This maturing independence helps a child contribute to the family circle and strengthens the dynamics and the bond within a family because each member is a valued contributor. We want each child to be able to do what we ask of him/her, so there is no need for continual skipping, adjusting, tweaking, or modifying.


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