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“One Right Answer” Versus “Digging a Little Deeper”

Heart of Dakota - More than a Charlotte Mason Moment
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“One Right Answer” Versus “Digging a Little Deeper”

Since Heart of Dakota leans very heavily in the Charlotte Mason direction, you will find that there is much less of the “finding the right answer” mentality and more of the “let’s dig a little deeper” goal. This is both in our questions and in our assignments. So, instead of you being responsible for knowing if your child has “the” right answer, there is often the reality that different children will answer differently, and their different answers will be correct. This is because we often use oral narration, written narration, prompts, starters, and notebooking as responses. While guided directions are usually provided, there will still be much variety in the final output.

Charlotte Mason-inspired parts of the plans encourage digging a little deeper.

With Charlotte Mason-inspired plans, our goals are often not so much about the answer. Instead, they are about the process used to arrive at the answer. This is because it is the process that makes the learner produce a better thought-out, deeper, more discerning answer or product over time. It is the method that results in the learning. So, while the answer is important, it is not the end-all. It is just one step on the continuum of learning. The goal is for the child to become someone who is a life-long learner. We want children to knows how to think for themselves and know how to learn.

Children learn at a deeper level (academically and spiritually) as they move through the guides.

Our guides carefully take kiddos through the various stages and steps of all types of skills needed to become a life-long learner. These skills are applied at a deeper level as students move through our guides. In addition, Biblical skills and application are intertwined all throughout our teaching. All learning is seen in light of God’s Word and glorifying Him. This is such an important distinction, as learning simply for the sake of learning is not enough.

Student’s responses progress to show deeper maturity and greater independence.

As families move through the HOD guides, they see this progression of skills. They begin to notice the increasing deeper maturity and greater independence in their student’s responses and in the learning that their student’s exhibit. At HOD, our days are planned to provide a full range of all types of learning. The subjects are planned to incrementally guide your children in the skills needed for each type of assignment that we ask kiddos to produce each year.

Parents encourage students to ‘dig a little deeper’ within Charlotte Mason-inspired subjects.

We do not expect that parents will need to have read the books to teach or monitor the process. Instead, we look to the parent to encourage the student to “dig a little deeper” all along the way. For questions that do have more specific answers, we provide a page number for the answer (like in science). Or, we schedule those specific questions to be done in subjects that the parent is scheduled to lead (like in Storytime).

Children learn not only for their own sake, but also hopefully to glorify God. 

If you are able to read the books that are scheduled for your child to read on his/her own, good! You will likely enjoy them immensely. However, if time does not allow you to do so, your child’s interaction with the material will not necessarily be the less for it. This is because the assignments prod the child to think. As long as you expect what is outlined in the guide, your child will learn how to learn not only for his/her own sake but also hopefully to glorify God.

The deeper goal is for children to do the thinking.

Families who are new to HOD or those who do not use our guides as written may have a tougher time warming to this difference in approach.  They are either needing time to adjust to this new style of learning/teaching. Or, they are missing pieces of the learning planned in our guides because they have omitted or substituted too much. The longer that you travel the HOD path, as closely as possible to the way it is written, the more comfortable you will become in the “answers” area as you see the fruit in your children. I know it is a different way of thinking, but therein is the deeper goal… for the children to do the thinking.

Ample subjects do have ‘one right answers.’ Still, Charlotte Mason’s ideals of digging deeper are always present.

Of course, there are always ample subjects with exact answers. Subjects like grammar, math, and dictation always have exact answers. In those subjects the answers are always provided. As children mature and enter upper middle school and high school, there are more answer keys. However, we still maintain alongside these Charlotte Mason’s ideals of digging a little deeper! That is always reflected in our plans.


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