Saturday, June 15, 2013

What’s Next? (Homeschool Update)

(If this looks familiar to you, you’ve probably clicked on the Heart of Dakota tab at the top of my blog.  This post is almost identical; there are only a few minor changes.)

We’re coming to the end of a terrific year with My Father’s World Kindergarten, so I thought I would share our plans for what comes next in our house.

With a great deal of thought, discussion, and prayer, we have decided to continue schooling Alex at home for his official kindergarten school year (2013 – 2014).  This is not a decision that was made lightly, and it is a decision that we will reconsider each school year.  For now, though, I’m excited to say that our boy will continue learning at home!

Since Alex is on the young side, I’d prefer to consider him a kindergartener for the coming school year.   I’ve spent several months searching and praying about what the best curriculum choice would be.  I wanted Bible-based, hands-on, FUN, Charlotte-Mason style learning.  (There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a textbook-based approach, but it’s not what I want for my kiddos while they are young!)

I really feel like God led me to Heart of Dakota’s Little Hearts For His Glory program.  It’s not grade specific; rather it is designed for any child in the 5 – 7 year old age range.  You can tailor it to fit your child’s learning level in every category!  Though they offer excellent suggestions, they also let YOU make the final decision on phonics, handwriting, and math programs.  I love the structured framework that still allows me to make personal choices!

The teacher’s guide has a 2-page spread for each school day.  The left side of the page covers history, science, Bible, music, and art.  The right side covers phonics, handwriting, math, and thinking skills.  I *love* the idea of having the whole day’s work laid out for me on one page.  There’s absolutely no planning involved, other than a few minutes to grab any supplies we might need for a science or art project.

If you use the recommended math program (Singapore) , the guide contains fun (often edible) activities to reinforce math topics and make them memorable!  Please note that if you buy a USED Little Hearts guide, the math activities will not correspond with Essential Math.  This is being updated in their newest version.  (I have an older manual, but I have made a spreadsheet to match up the Little Hearts activities with Essential Math.   This is merely a MATCHUP; it does not contain any of the activity suggestions, as that would break copyright laws!)


The author, Carrie Austin, allows you the freedom to choose whatever phonics program suits your family.  We are opting to stick with All About Reading, as we’ve grown to adore this program!


For handwriting, we are going to try Happy Handwriting.   I seriously thought about just making my own, as their format is quite similar to what I’ve already made on my own, but I liked their little rhymes for each letter…and I think Alex will enjoy those, too!  The rhymes remind children how to form the letters, and you can also use them to do a letter hunt for the letter you’re working on.


For thinking skills, we’re going to use Rod & Staff’s Finding The Answers book and Master Skills’ Thinking Skills Grade 1 book, waiting to start the Thinking Skills book until Alex is 6.  The Thinking Skills book is getting hard to find, as it recently went out of print, and Heart of Dakota has chosen to replace it with additional Rod & Staff books.

For science, history, and Bible, we will be using Heart of Dakota’s kindergarten recommendations.  I just felt that, when reading the manual, it flowed best when using the K resources.

I plan to continue blogging our homeschool journey, and I'll try my best to give a good overview of our weekly experiences.  It's helpful to me to have a record of Alex's work, and I know that it's helpful to many of you to get an idea of what the program is all about!

We will likely be doing LHFHG four days per week, as we plan to participate in a homeschool co-op each Monday.  It will take us a little over one school year to complete LHFHG this way, but we can work ahead in math/phonics to make sure Alex has completed kdg math by the end of the school year.

If any of you have used LHFHG and have helpful suggestions or care to share your experience - good or bad - I'd love to hear from you!

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