Saturday, December 13, 2014

Beyond Unit 1 (Alex)

 Beyond Little Hearts For His Glory, BLHFHG, Beyond, HOD, Heart of Dakota

I’m pretty sure I’m posting this too soon.  I still haven’t posted the last few units of Little Hearts, have I?  It’s just that we are SO excited to now be using Heart of Dakota’s Beyond Little Hearts For His Glory program for Alex!  We started in November 2014, and my tentative plan is to finish by December 2015.  This program is adaptable for children ages 6 – 8.  To read more about our choices for this homeschool year, please CLICK HERE.

I want to start by saying that we are THRILLED with this new program.  We loved Little Hearts For His Glory, but Beyond is EVEN BETTER!  At the end of our first week, Alex HUGGED his history book and told me how much he loved it.  Seriously – what child HUGS his history book?! Many days, all three kids crowd in to listen because they all enjoy it!  I think this is going to be a wonderful year with Beyond!


Here’s a picture of Alex adding the first few pictures to his timeline.  (This timeline is printed from the files of the Beyond Facebook group.)  He is THOROUGHLY enjoying the history in Beyond so far, and so am I!DSCN3273
The book “American Pioneers and Patriots” tells the history in story format, and each day leaves you hanging just enough that you truly look forward to the next day’s reading.

In unit 1, we read about pioneers from Spain settling in to St. Augustine, FL.  The stories are told through the eyes of a boy named Pedro and his sister Catalina as they journey to America on a ship from Spain.

In this unit, Alex learned Psalm 4:8, and we talked about how it related to US and how it related to the history stories we read throughout this unit.  I cannot tell you how impressed I am with how Beyond gently introduces the concept of relating Bible verses to your own life.  I’m really enjoying this with Alex!

We’re printing all of the Bible verses on 3x5 cards and laminating them, keeping the verses on a ring to flip through and review.

Beyond has a lot of fun, hands-on ways to practice reciting the verses – jumping jacks, running in place, and other energy-releasers to break up the seatwork of other areas and get some wiggles out!

One thing that I’m loving so far about Beyond is that there is a Bible passage (separate from the unit memory verse) each week on Day 5.  WE read this verse together, discuss it, and related it to our lives and the history stories we’ve read during the current unit.  So neat!!!  This week even had an art projecr relating to the Bible verse.


Each unit has two spelling lists, an easier list and a slightly more challenging list.  Because we’ve been using Spelling You See, the easy lists in the early units of Beyond are too simple for Alex.  We’re doing List #2 for now, until/unless it becomes too challenging for him. He was super excited for this spelling format, so we’re going to stick with this for a while rather than starting on All About Spelling.  (This isn’t a staged picture – it’s Alex’s page when he got up to grab a quick drink.)DSCN3238
For each unit, the spelling words are written on index cards.  On the first day, Alex looks at each word on the card and then writes it down.  We’re using the sheet below on day #1.  Throughout the week, he continues to copy the words or write them from memory.  Some days, we use our white board.  Later in the week, he only has to write the words he’s had trouble spelling.  Those words are written in a fun way, such as rainbow words.

DSCN3250 DSCN3269

Days 1 – 4 are spent working on spelling and copywork.  Day 5 of each unit is devoted to a grammar concept.  This unit’s topic was sentences/sentence fragments.  It’s all oral, and Alex enjoyed it!  At the end, he had to dictate one sentence about himself, and then he rewrote the sentence as copywork.

We’re still pluggin’ away at Singapore 1A, approaching the first set of review lessons.  Alex does very well as long as he’s not distracted.  He’s beginning to learn how to choose an operation (+ or –) when looking at the pictures and number sentences.



For our first geography lesson, we made the earth out of masking tape and then labeled the continents.  Alex hopped, jumped, and did other actions to move from continent to continent.



Storytime in Beyond covers each genre of literature, beginning with biography.  The appendix of the guide lists several suggested books, and I chose Gladys Aylward.  It’s the largest book I’ve ever read with Alex, and this has been an adjustment for him.  I really wanted to give it a try to see what he could handle, and also because I love the idea of reading missionary books with him.  It’s definitely a stretch, but I feel like it’s been good so far.


To introduce the genre of biography, Alex had to fill a bag with 5 items that helped him explain who Alex is.  Here he is showing me his items…


I look forward to renting this video on Amazon once we’ve completed the Gladys Aylward book.  It’s a 37 minute cartoon Torchlighters story of Gladys Aylward.  Alex saw me looking it up, and now he’s very anxious to watch it as well.  The book has 20 chapters, so we’ll have a few more weeks before it’s time to watch the video.


Little Hearts had a weekly rhyme, and Alex usually didn’t care much for it.  Beyond has a weekly poem, and Alex really enjoyed this first poem.  We read it together each day, and he had this poem (“The Storm”) memorized the by end of the week.

The poem is read every day.  You add your own motions to the poem, color a picture to go along with it, use it as copywork for handwriting practice, etc.  We printed and bound all of the poems for the year so that Alex will have a poetry book as a keepsake.


So I should say that Alex loves reading, reciting, and coloring the poem.  He does NOT enjoy the copywork. It’s his least favorite part of Beyond so far.  It takes him FOREVER to copy two sentences per day.  It could be finished in 10 minutes if he tried, but it usually takes him close to 30 minutes because he procrastinates, looks around the room, asks questions, and stares off into space. 


He absolutely loved illustrating the poem.  Now, drawing isn’t a great talent for him, but he enjoys it!  I love the thought he put into illustrating this poem.  It not only matches the poem, but also the history stories we’ve read this week.

See?  It’s certainly not the most beautiful drawing I’ve ever seen.  It’s not going to win any awards.  It’s so special to me, though, because Alex is SO excited and proud of his poetry book! (We’ve finished Beyond Unit 2 already, and he’s still just as excited.) When he’s excited about schoolwork, it makes me a happy mama!  I hope he’ll continue to be proud of his work and that this book will be a great keepsake for him.



The Day 5 Bible study was to read an discuss Psalm 18:1 – 6.  These verses talk about the Lord being our stronghold and our shield.  We all made shields from cardboard.  Alex’s had to represent what is written in the Bible verse.  Max made a Captain America shield, and Jensyn made a heart-shaped shield.  Fun for the whole family!




We learned about the names of the oceans, read about the oceans, and we made ocean currents by squirting water under a toy boat to watch how the boat moved from the current we made.


We read about sea creatures that the pioneers from Spain may have encountered on their journey to America.  After this, we learned about how blubber keeps some sea creatures warm in the cold water.  We experimented with Crisco, a plastic bag,  and a big bowl of ice water.  See Alex’s smile?  He likes this slimy activity!

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