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Benefitting from the Level of Independence Planned in the Guides

Heart of Dakota - Dear Carrie
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A Heart of Dakota Life

Benefitting from the Level of Independence Planned in the Guides

Beginning in Preparing Hearts for His Glory, Heart of Dakota’s (HOD’s) guides plan for students to become more independent. As I see my sons who are now 21, 17, and 13  years old at various levels of successfully working independently, the benefits are obvious. Their joy and success in working on things independently is such a blessing! This is also a blessing for me as their homeschool parent. So, are you reaping the benefits of the guides’ plans for gradual, successful levels of independence? Are you making sure in the guides from Preparing on up to follow the suggested levels of independence for each box in the guide?  If not, you should give it a try!

Teacher-Directed and Semi-Independent Boxes of Plans

If your child is doing the ‘S’ (Semi-Independent) or the ‘T’ (Teacher-Directed) levels of boxes without you, your day will be longer. You will either be checking work later, solving problems during the work time, or fixing mistakes later that were not caught. ‘S’ and ‘T’ boxes are harder and require more parent help. I compensate for these by sticking close to my kiddos during ‘S’ boxes. I pop in at the beginning or middle to check progress. For the ‘T’ levels of boxes, I am always present as many of these boxes are discussion-based.

Independent Level of Boxes of Plans

On the other hand, if you are thinking that the ‘I’ level of boxes mean that the child is totally independent and you have no role in the box, this is a misunderstanding.  ‘I’ means the child can complete the box ‘Independently”, but independent work also needs to be checked. So, I always go over all of the ‘I’ boxes with my child. We discuss what is in the box and check any work done independently. This is a similar situation to when a classroom teacher assigns homework to be done independently at home. Can you imagine how quickly a child would quit doing homework well, or doing it all, if it were never checked! So it is worth checking the way you are handling each box in your HOD guide in order to be more effective.

Training Children to Follow the Directions in the Guide

Have you trained your children in Preparing on up (and even possibly near the end of Bigger Hearts) to read right from the HOD guide?  Do you allow your children to have the guide in hand as they work? These two steps are crucial for a child to be able to do the ‘S’ and ‘I’ boxes in the guide. Working without a guide in hand is very difficult. The child ends up running back to the guide as he/she works, striving to remember a lengthy list of directions. In addition, if you are still needing to read aloud all directions to a child even from the ‘S’ and ‘I’ boxes, this will add significant time to your day. So, train your kiddos to read from the guide early and often. It is a skill that pays big dividends not just within HOD, but all throughout life.

In Christ,



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