Monday, October 5, 2015

Week-in-Review: September 28 - October 2

This week was a little different from our normal...I feel like I'm writing that all the time! Perhaps I need to realize there really isn't a "normal" when it comes to homeschooling, or life in general really. The beauty of homeschooling is that when regular life throws us some abnormal along the way we can bend and flex to accommodate with ease.

So what threw us off our normal this week? 
Just a little something we like to call Global Focus Week! 

International workers Raymond and Mary Ebbett joined us for 4 days, sharing about what God is doing in Spain. Twice a year we are blessed to hear about what is happening around the world within our denomination as well as in cooperation with other organizations on behalf of the gospel all around the world. Talk about a wonderful learning opportunity! In addition to hearing all about God's work, they also brushed up on their geography, a bit of European history, and a few words of Spanish! 

Since we were out late every evening and I know from previous experience that my girls will be super tired and have a harder time focusing. So we kept school focused on Bible and history knowing these are the most fun for them to do. They also completed several chapters in Life of Fred and continued in their books assigned for literature. 

Heart of Dakota is so rich that even only using the history and Bible for the week we still had a full school week. Here are a few highlights...

Grace: Little Hearts for His Glory Unit 26

Grace has started reading some of her history on her own and her sisters also love reading with her. I'm sure this is part of being the littlest learner in the house and her observations of all that has gone on around her for as long as she can remember. She enjoyed learning about George Washington in her readings. 


This week she also enjoyed using a manipulative called a 100s board with tiles. We have a couple of very good friends who happen to be retired teachers and bless us with some wonderful treasures every now and then. This wonderful gem came with a great book with all sorts of activities for all elementary ages. And it came to us just as Grace began studying the patterns found in the 100s board. 

Beth: Preparing Hearts for His Glory Unit 4 (1st half)

Rose is really enjoying this guide. She especially liked the book Life in the Great Ice Age. Half-pace has been perfect for her just as it was for her older sister. She has really gotten into drawing with Draw and Write Through History. I've also been excited that see almost overnight her print has become amazingly neater. She does not prefer cursive, but we are persevering and I hope to see this improving soon as well. 


Right now Beth is reading Diary of a Real Payne. This Christian fiction enthralled Rose when she read it a couple of years ago and Beth has been giggling her way through as well! I love when my girls recommend books to each other. It's so fun to see them sharing their joy of reading together. 

Rose: Creation to Christ Unit 21

Rose really loves her studies. Quite often she will work ahead without telling me because she loves what she is learning. We moved this week into the life of Christ. We use a different Bible from Master Books and I really like it even though some of the chapters are missing. When that happens she just reads from the actual text in Scripture. 


She really enjoyed getting back into Life of Fred this week. We used it consistently last year but had not added it back in since we started back full-schedule yet. I'm so grateful for that series as it helped her love math again!

Don't forget to check out what else was happening in the Heart of Dakota world in other homes this past week! 

Weekly Link-Up: September 8-2

Friday, September 18, 2015

Why We Teach: Heart of Dakota and Field Trips

 One of the wonderful things about Heart of Dakota is it has given my girls a love of history. Throughout our studies we have opportunity to discuss the hard things of our nation's past, like slavery. This week we had the opportunity to visit a historical plantation. The tour of the house was interesting, but I found the slave quarters more important. Both Bigger Hearts for His Glory and Preparing Hearts for His Glory address events which are sometimes difficult to approach except to explain that with sin in our world, there are many horrible things that happen. Slavery is one of those things and so we learn.. As I tell my girls each time they ask, we study history to know where we came from and to remember that which we do not wish to repeat. 


I think what surprised all of us the most was when our guide told us that these slave quarters were some of the most advanced and upscale of the time. This is hard to believe as we observe the sparse and still quite small rooms for the number of people living in them. It is a time in history we should always remember for several reasons. One is because many once defended slavery by twisting and contorting Scripture to mean something it didn't. We see this happening in many churches today, defending that which God condemns.


Secondly, this was a time in history when those who were vulnerable were criminalized for self-preservation. As slavery ended many more atrocities in our nations history began. Even now we are battling against the evil of racism that led to the founding and promotion of abortion clinics around the country. We observe the fallout of racial tensions around us daily. We can see where history has led...we can see the hand of the evil one upon our nation.


And why we teach. 

There are many benefits and wonderful things which homeschooling affords us, but you can do this same teaching whether you traditional school or homeschool.  We feel the incredible burden to raise our daughters to see everything in the light of our Creator, that they would begin to realize and discern the battles of spiritual warfare, and that they would know how to fall to their knees to engaged in battle. The battles before us will not be won in an election or through legislation. We must pray as we never have before, always keeping at the forefront of our minds His sovereignty. 

No matter how your children are schooled, make this your big-picture priority.


Week in Review: September 14-18

Last week was a week off for us as I prepared for the start of my literature and writing class. We also spent a few days with my sister-in-law and enjoyed seeing them over the Labor Day weekend. The rest of my week was filled with faculty meetings, introductory activities, and prep for my class. It was a good and busy week, but I'm really glad we took off from school!

A photo posted by Tim (@tim_williamson2) on

This week was also a little different. We deviated a bit from Heart of Dakota, but still completed school this week. Monday was busy, busy busy! This year I'm teaching 10 really awesome 12-14 year-olds who are homeschooled. This is also where my girls take classes. Grace's class meets two days a week so she goes with me on Mondays. This year I'm teaching 10 really awesome 12-14 year-olds who are homeschooled.

We began our regular school year back in August, but our tradition is to have our first-day-pictures at the start of our homeschool classes. Rather than a co-op type setting, our learning center is set up more like a private school. We have an administrator and the teachers are hired, not volunteers. We really like the structure and the girls even enjoy wearing uniforms! 

P1030272 P1030276 

My funny girls do a great job at pictures for me and I happily acquiesce when they request a silly one!
A photo posted by Melissa (@gracefilledhs) on

So in addition to beginning their science classes we also completed quite a few chapters in Life of Fred, read may chapters in a variety of books, completed a health lesson, and took a field trip! 



Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!