Thursday, May 21, 2015

Organization for HOD Revival to Revolution

Welcome to another organization post for Heart of Dakota! I will preface this post by saying that much of what I do to organize our school is not required. Many folks use HOD as soon as the box arrives on their door step. My brain just doesn't work that way, so it takes me a while to work through how our days will run "smooth and easy" as Charlotte Mason said. Back when I still had a paying job I worked like this too. I noticed then, too, that I'm the weird one that set things out ahead of time. I don't do all of this at once. I have chipped away here and there as I read though the guide to see what might save time later. I really don't like time wasters in the day. I'd much rather be outside with friends than cutting, pasting and printing during the day when I could have done it ahead of time. The more spontaneous folks may be a rollin' their eyes, but this is what works for me. 

I hesitated to write another one of these posts as it seems when my blog is mentioned there are those that love these posts and those who, well, don't. Bloggers are people with feelings too, y'all - just saying. I know I drive the die-hard "do it exactly the HOD way or not at all" folks crazy. Homeschoolers in general march to the beat of their own drum, and I definitely have my own kind of rhythm (as do you.) I love how different we all are :) It tickles me to see how different families can take the same book or program and do it in a completely different way than I. I love that! I am sharing what works for me, but I absolutely know it isn't the only way. HOD is totally open-and-go for you spontaneous folks, so don't let this scare you off. Take and leave what works or doesn't work for you. It's my heart to share anything that might help.

These are the elements I used to organize our coming year in Rev to Rev.

I have chosen to get the spine from my HOD guide removed. This is a completely unnecessary step. Many folks leave it as. Others use the original binding and add tabs for each section, and others have their guide spiral bound. Do what works for you :)

I take out about 8-9 weeks of the guide and place it in a smaller binder. I have shared the cover HERE.

I added our scripture memory in this binder. Aedan will memorize Hebrews 11 - Romans 12:1-3. I made these sheets and laminated them. He will refer to them often and then they can be passed along to his little brother. I have shared this file HERE.

I printed one sheet front and back and the third page separately.

 This is what the inside of the binder looks like. Kids in these middle guides use the guide themselves. The page protectors will keep the pages in great condition. Last year I spilled a cup of coffee on my guide (because I pretty much always have a cup o' joe in hand.) My page protectors totally saved the day and made this whole thing worth it for me. I will re-use this guide again and then sell it when we are done with it. It will be like new when that time comes. I am always disappointed when I buy a used book and it isn't in the condition that the seller says it is in. I hope to pass on these books in great condition. Fortunately HOD has a great re-sale value even if you leave your guide as is. I have seen some cray-cray guides for sale, and even they get snatched up!

This is Aedan's student binder for the year. 

All of the things we need fit in a 1 1/2 inch Better Binder. We use this binder more like a workbox. I've heard many times that people don't like to use binders because the holes on the sheets rip. I would highly recommend not having your kiddo working out of the binder. It is way too clunky to work from comfortably. I take out all the sheets needed for the week and clip them to a simple clipboard (see below) that way they holes don't rip, but it also works as a portable writing surface. When we are done for the week, we return all the sheets to the binder. I've divided the binder into the following sections:
  • History Notebook
  • Inventor Notebook
  • Signer Study & Cards
  • Map Trek
  • Map Trek State Maps
  • 50 States Under God
  • HOD Dictation
History Notebook

I am always excited to see what each guide's pages will look like. They never disappoint!

Inventor Notebook

This year Aedan will study inventors. These pages are optional. A mom created simple printable pages that are available for free on the HOD Rev to Rev FB group.

 Aedan will research the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He will add information to each card throughout the year. A mom suggested using baseball card holders to house these cards. I thought that was a great idea!

 Map Trek is scheduled. You print student maps. It is optional to print the teacher maps. Last year I printed them, but this year I opted to buy the hardback version of this book, so I never have to print them again. It's a beautiful hardback book that will be easy to reference.

 This year we will do a 50 States study. This section is not in the HOD plans, but the hardback Map Trek version had state maps. Each week we will study 2 states. I thought I might have Aedan do a quick map of each state for review.

I ended up separating the appendix of the 50 States Under God book. 

I added the 50 States tests to this section.

I normally print the dictation list each year and place it in the binder.

This year I went ahead and printed them off and bound them, so I never have to do it again. I have shared the cover file HERE.

Silas and Aedan will be able to use this until they are done with all the dictation lists.

We will use several composition books for Dictation, R&S Grammar and Writing. 

This is our clipboard that I mentioned above.

We will re-use our Common Place Book from last year.

This year we will do the scheduled science Exploration Education. The student logbook comes bound. You do not have to unbind yours like I do, but I like being able to take out all our sheets for the week and put them on our handy clipboard.

The TM has the grading scale for tests and work for the year. This science is high school credit worthy, so it will be good to have a permanent record.

I also copied the tests as well. I wish these had been in the student book, but you can't win em' all. I copied them, so we can use the TM for my youngest later.

 There are vocabulary terms for each section of Exploration Eduxation. I created flash cards for each  section. You can either print them out (small, large or as a glossary) or use Quizlet as a means of learning the terms and definitions online. I chose to print them large and double sided. These are definitely not required, but my son can use all the help he can get for memory work. There is a Quizlet app you can use to review these cards rather than printing them. If you did choose to print them I would just do the Quiz cards. They have all the terms the sections have. These are definitely not required, but they will save us some precious time next year.

Exploration Education Vocabulary Flash Cards

Section I - Forces & Motion:

Section II - Machines & Energy:

Section III - Electricity:

Section IV - Magnetism:

Section V - Chemistry:

Section VI - Mixtures & Compounds:

Section VII - Sound:

Section VIII - Light:

Quarter Exam Flash Cards

And then there's the composer study. I have a love/hate relationship with lapbooks. This will be a great study, but it was recommended that we do some of the prep-work for the lapbook ahead of time. I don't like anything that eats away at time during our day. I don't really want to wait for cutting and pasting - definitely not at this stage. This is a beast to print and put together. I put in a movie and got er' done. I think I will be glad I did it later, but whoa. I've read that there were some moms that completely skipped the lapbook. That is totally an option. I think it will be a nice record of what we learned now that I'm past the trauma of putting it together.

You need 3 file folders. There are very good directions for printing out each section.

This is part of what it looks like on the inside. Little composer books will be pasted on the blue folder.

This section has the music appreciation sheets and timeline.

This is my little do-dah box that holds all the little pieces of things that don't fit anywhere else.

I have some of the composer lapbook elements, bible quiet time book, and state study cut and paste thingies in here.

These are things that will be added throughout the year in the lapbook.

There is a Bible quiet time sheet in the back of the guide. I bound it into a little book he can use.You could just copy it out of the back. I just bind everything that is made of paper apparently (blush.)

I copied the poetry from the appendix and bound it. Again, not necessary if you want to keep it simple. I shared the cover file HERE.

I separated the appendix from the student portion of the book. This book is not super user friendly. It would drive me crazy to have to flip back and forth for information, but sometimes I get a unnecessarily crazy with my ProClick. I tend to do stuff like this knowing that I will be reusing this all again with my little guy. I'm a fan of hitting 2 birds with one stone if at all possible. I have shared the cover file HERE.

Lots of little cut and pasty things this year. The kids have to cut these out and add them to the 50 States student book. I went ahead and removed them from the back to make them easier to cut out later.

This is my teacher book. I have shared the cover file HERE.

 It's where I keep our schedule and all other things for our permanent record.

This is our attendance sheet. We usually schedule 3 full weeks off and reserve a 4th for where we need it. It was really nice being done by May 1 this year. I'm not sure if we will swing that this year, but we will see.

Field trip log

I added scripture memory for me too :)

I added the TM answer key for Exploration Education to my teacher book.

This is where I keep our schedule. While HOD has a beautiful schedule I tend to tweak things or add things here and there. This schedule keeps me accountable and is our permanent record should anyone ever need to ask. Well, that is a glimpse into my madness. Here's to a great new year!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Of Pioneers and Early Summer Days

Well, hello there! We are enjoying our summer break around here thank you very much :) My husband hasn't been able to take much time off, so we were long overdue for a little trip. We normally love to take a road trip to Colorado, but this time we decided to head for Branson, MO. If you ever need to capture American Kitchy-ness at its finest this is the place to go. We wanted to go somewhere the kids would really enjoy. I'm thankful we got to go before all the tourists arrive. It was a beautiful week and so nice to spend time alone as a family.

One of the things I really wanted to do was visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder home in Mansfield, MO. It is about an hour drive from Branson, so I asked my husband if he wouldn't mind driving Miss Daisy a little way into the country.

We haven't yet read all the Little House books, but my boys really loved Little House in the Big Woods and especially Farmer Boy. It was fun to see where Laura and Almanzo made their final home.

I had read a few biographies of Laura Ingalls Wilder before going which made it especially fun to see all the details of her life in person.

I was so impressed by the simplicity of this home, but also with each detail that made it their very own. She insisted that everything be made from materials from the land. There was a point that Almanzo declared that he would no longer haul rock. He showed up at the house with bricks for the fireplace, and Laura cried when she saw them. She insisted that he build the fireplace out of rock. She got her way apparently. There is a great stone fireplace with very, very heavy rock. That man must have loved his woman!

I was really sad that I wasn't able to take pictures of the inside of the house. I purchased some postcards for memories. This is her little bedroom and a peak into the bathroom. This house started off small. Almanzo added on to it as funds became available.

One of my favorite things in the home was the Wilder's library nook. I would love to have something like this in my living room.

 Another really special piece they have on display is Pa's actual fiddle. He told her before he died that it would belong to her. True to his word it was sent to her at his death. They play it once a year.

I don't know if it's morbid or not, but we visited the cemetery to see their final resting place.

Her daughter Rose is laid to rest right next to them. One of the things that was so interesting to learn is that Rose had a huge part of making Laura's books possible. They were very close and worked side by side. Laura was very inspired by her daughter Rose's writing career. She didn't publish her first book until she was 65! That was very inspiring to me. Sometimes I feel like I'm pouring all my creative energies into this whole homeschool venture. I would love to produce something worthwhile after these kids fly off into the great wide yonder.

One of my kids' favorite part about Little House books is all the food. My boys insisted that they had snacks during read aloud time when were were reading Farmer Boy. I'm a lover of cooking and great cookbooks. This is the cookbook that was made from Laura's personal recipes. There are a lot great of old-timey recipes in here.

As soon as I got home I just had to make Laura's Gingerbread which is her favorite recipe (of course.) She made it on special occasions.

I thought this was a pretty decadent cake for the time. There isn't any dairy in it, but there is a lot of spice. There is a teaspoon each of all these spices and a whole cup of molasses! 

This cake smells amazing when it's baking in the oven. Delish!

This is the recipe that is in the book except the book says 1 c. of molasses. Next time I make it I will probably dust it with a bit of powdered sugar for good measure. The order of mixing this cake is all backwards compared to most cakes today. You normally cream the eggs with the sugar. In this cake you add the eggs in at the end. I may try it the other way around next time to see if it actually makes a difference.

This was another recipe I'll have to try. Basically fried dough and sugar - I really need to stop!

Laura's original manuscript was called Pioneer Girl. Rose tried to get it published, but it was rejected multiple times. I didn't know this book was out. It is the original Pioneer Girl manuscript but is an extensive commentary of the history that ran along side what she wrote. It is  BIG beautiful book. I didn't buy it there and was bummed to find it was out of stock at Amazon. I found it on B&N and it's on its way! This will be on my summer reading list.

I normally do something light for school over the summer. We definitely brush up on math, but this year we are going to do one Prairie Primer unit for Little House on the Prairie. I'm SO excited. I found this at a used curriculum sale for dirt cheap. I had never looked at it because I thought it might be too girly, but there is a ton that appeals to boys as well. Of course the food is always fun, but I have some fun field trips planned. We are going to go to a real Osage Indian Pow Wow, the Pony Express Museum and who knows what else I have up my sleeve. I wish I had found Prairie Primer sooner. I think I may have been compelled to use it a few years ago. Ah well.

While on vacation we went to Silver Dollar City. It's so rare for us to have a family picture because I'm always the one behind the camera. Some nice stranger offered to take our picture there. I love Silver Dollar City. It's an amusement park, but has tons of trees. There is a great cave tour that we have done before. We were going to do it this time but the waterfall room was flooded. We got season passes and will head down again this summer I'm sure.

 Nate and Silas sat out on a lot of the rides. Guess what that means? That means I am Aedan's amazing mom who will ride anything, yes anything - even Outlaw Run.

 We wrote all the big rides, but this was our favorite.

Aedan and I rode it multiple times. This is what his hair looked like after riding this crazy ride and us getting in line right after the first time we rode it. So fun!

Another thing we did that we have never done is go to Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. It's a Civil War dinner show. We were on the north side and won (as the north should!) They serve you dinner with no utensils which means you eat a whole chicken with your fingers. My boys thought that was the best part.

Even though Silas chose to skip the big rides this year he did, however, go ziplining. I don't know what the difference between going upside down on a roller coaster or jumping to your death from tall trees is, but apparently this was OK to him. He rode all the big rides back when he was little, but part of his frontal lobe must be developing. Apparently there's no hope for mine. This was really fun. I especially loved the beautiful land this site was on.

This is a sweet friend's cabin. It is set up in the hills and was such a treat to stay in.

It felt like we were up in a tree house. We were so thankful to stay here. God is good :) Thanks for sharing some of our memories with us!