Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our First Week Back and Heart of Dakota Recap

This last week was our first week 'back to school.' We are using the Heart of Dakota (HOD) curriculum. I'll be honest and say that the first day was a little disappointing. Avlyn just didn't seem that interested, and she especially showed a lack of enthusiasm for both the history read aloud and the poetry. I don't know if it was just back to school blues or a lack of 100% preparation on my part ( we had just gotten back from Florida the week before, so planning for the first day kind of slipped me by), but by Wednesday we seemed to have a good flow, and she seemed to be enjoying the curriculum. This is the first year I'm recording hours, so that was something I was trying to figure out too. I am going to have plenty to blog about this year. Every weekend I plan on posting a recap of our week, since I know other HOD users like to see what other families are doing and how they're implementing the plans. Plus, those not familiar with HOD can see if it's a curriculum they may enjoy. Here's how our week went:

Math - HOD recommends Singapore math, and that's finally what I decided to go with. This week was basically a review of numbers, number words, and also sequencing up to 10. Friday we started with number bonds, but I'm just learning about those myself and plan on dedicating a post to it soon. I think we will be sticking with Singapore math for the long-term.

Science - This week we learned a bit about the ocean and whales/dolphins. We did two science experiments. One was creating a current in a sink of water using a dropper and the other was using peanut butter (instead of the suggested Crisco) to simulate the blubber on a whale. She covered two fingers with 'blubber' and dipped both hands into ice cold water. We then discussed why the peanut butter covered fingers weren't cold and how blubber protects ocean creatures from freezing.

Social Studies - Heart of Dakota is very Christ-centered and very history based. We read quite a few pages out of our history book and created our timeline. We chose to use a large poster board rather than a piece of paper. I have it attached with velcro to the wall for easy removal when it's time to work on it. This is her project completely. I don't write any of the stuff for her. I write the information on an index card and she copies it onto the timeline and then draws a picture representing the event.

Reading/Language Arts - I am using two things outside of the HOD curriculum, and those are Phonics Pathways and Explode the Code workbooks. We are just continuing with these until reading skills are solidly cemented. We also started the assigned poetry, which was Sara Coleridge's "The Storm." I printed out a poetry sign and also a picture of the author and poem to hang on the wall. Printing the picture was my idea since the poetry is so classic. I thought it would be good for her to relate that the picture was the person who actually wrote the poem. I am having her create a poetry journal also, so that at the end of the year she has all of the poetry she's learned in a nice journal. We are also working on sight words and minor grammar implementaion. This week it was sentences vs. sentence fragments.

Bible - She worked on Psalm 4:8 this week "I will lie down and sleep in peace. Lord, you alone, keep me safe." We are using an NIV kid's bible for our verses. I am also having her create a Bible verse journal. She writes the verse and then creates an illustration above it. We are just using the writing/drawing journals from Walmart.

Art - This week she created a shield of faith out of posterboard, tin foil, and paint. She decorated it with a rock, a picture of the Lord, a house, and a few other personal things. This related to another Psalm assigned in our curriculum. She LOVED, LOVED this project.

Overall, we had a great week. I'm enjoying the flow and material of the curriculum. We're looking forward to a great year. Happy homeschooling!!


  1. Making the shield looks like SO much fun! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Yes, she had a blast. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Love your blog entry. We are doing Bigger and this is our first year. I have a daughter 6 and son 9 and I am doing Bigger with both of them. I am so glad we found Heart of Dakota. I am blogging about it too at