Monday, July 25, 2016

2016-2017 Curricula Choice - Heart of Dakota: Creation to Christ....

The jury is in.  It's been decided.  I'll be using Heart of Dakota's Creation to Christ for Ruben's main educational program this year.  Riley and Ruben will both study Ancients, but use separate books/programs for the first time in their school career.  Riley asked to do her own thing and I think it's time.  I'll be posting her plans at a later date.

I chose Heart of Dakota for a variety of reasons.  I love the books used in Creation to Christ!  They are living books that were on our list to read anyway and we already owned most of them.  The two or three that we don't, I'll most likely sub out.  The program was written for students ages 9-11, but does come with an extension package for older students.  Ruben is 11 and on the older end so we will be adding a few of the extension books as well as a small number of others that I want him to read while studying this time period.  A couple of the books are used in Ambleside Online and Beautiful Feet, which will cross over with what Riley's reading.



I really like the science selections.  Creation to Christ covers biology and the area of life science through the study of plants, animals, birds and the human body.  In addition to the five books shown below, An Illustrated Adventure in Human Anatomy by Kate Sweeney is also used.


The more time I spend with Creation to Christ, the more I love the layout of the lesson plan.  Each day is a two page spread with ten boxes, each containing a different subject.  The left side focuses on History.  The right side focuses on other subjects including Language Arts, Math, Geography, Bible, and Science.  Each day's work is marked "I" = Independent; "T" = Teacher directed; or "S" = Semi-independent.  I think this will be helpful as I'm trying to guide Ruben into more independent studies now that he can read.  I also like that the schedule is four days per week for 35 weeks.  This allows us time for extra curriculars like choir, book club, and art.

I did create an at-a-glance chart to give me a quick view of the week's lessons.  I'm a big picture kind of girl and this gives me the information I need at my fingertips without having to page through the entire instructor guide.  It makes for easy prep so I can quickly see which books I need to pull out for the week.  Below is a sample of the first week with my book abbreviations to follow.  I do have an extra column for math on the original plan, but it's blank at this point so I deleted it here for aesthetic reasons.

Heart of Dakota Hearts for Him through Time: 
Creation to Christ Lesson Plan
Unit & Day
History Read
History Project
Independent History
Storytime
(Read Aloud)
Bible Quiet
Time
Bible Study
Geography
Poetry
Language Arts
Science Explore
1/1
SOTAW Ch I-II
Research
Create a flapbook
WITW, Disc 1, Tracks 1-2
Dinosaurs  Narrate
Gen
Ch 1-2
Ill 
22-25
Genesis: FOR
p.8-11
Discussion
Read & Copy
Grammar
Dictation
Notebook
1/2
SOTAW CH III-IV
Copywork
Flapbook
Notebook
Dinosaurs
Sketch
Gen
Ch 3-4
Ill 
26-29
ACG, Vol. 2
P. 5-8
Discussion
Read & Paint
Writing
L Animals p. 1-4
Narrate
1/3
SOTAW Ch V-VI
Timeline
Flapbook
WITW, Disc 1, Tracks 3
Copywork
Dinosaurs
Narrate
Gen
Ch 6-7
Ill 
30-31
Genesis: FOR
p. 11-12
Activity
Read & Paint
Writing
Dictation
L Animals p. 5-8
Questions
1/4
SOTAW Ch VII-VIII
Written Narration
WITW, Disc 1, Tracks 4
Research/Discuss
Dinosaurs
Activity
Gen
Ch 8-9
Ill
32-33
ACG, Vol. 2
P. 9-12
Discussion
Reading
Recitation
Grammar
Dictation
L Animals p. 8-11
Experiment

SOTAW – Story of the Ancient World by Guerber
WITW – What in the World? CD by Diana Waring
Genesis: FOR – Genesis: Finding Our Roots by Beechick
ACG – A Child’s Geography Vol. II by Voskamp
L Animals – Apologia Land Animals of the Sixth Day

As with any box curricula, there are cons such as being tied to a pre-made schedule.  However, I've been doing this long enough that I don't feel the need to complete every suggested assignment or reading.  As a matter of fact, some of the history projects feel a little hokey or geared toward younger students so we will omit them.  I will focus mostly on reading, narration, writing, and notebooking.  At this point in the game, I'm OK with letting the curricula guide me rather than making it my master.  The plans are written flexible enough to allow you to customize to your own liking.

Creation to Christ offers you the option of picking your own language arts and math programs.  There are suggested resources for those who need them, but I plan to chose my own.  I will spend time this year working with Ruben on beginning written narration, which is scheduled weekly on day four .  There are also built in oral narration and dictation exercises, which I will adjust accordingly.  The program suggests two days per week spent on writing and two days spent on grammar.  I'm still working on those details.  Click here for a complete list of Creation to Christ suggested resources.

In addition, Heart of Dakota offers pre-made notebooking pages to use with Creation to Christ.  However, Ruben will design his own instead.  They look beautiful, but I was concerned about whether or not the boxes would be big enough for Ruben to write in.  Furthermore, I believe it's better for the student to write what's meaningful to him, rather than fill in this box with "abc" and that box with "xyz".  I also will not be using HOD's Drawn Into the Heart of Reading program as I've used it in the past with Riley and we didn't care for it.  We will simply read great literature and discuss it rather than taking a workbook approach.

I don't normally go for box curriculum, but this year, I felt like it's just what I need for Ruben.  It will allow me time to focus on teaching specific skills rather than getting wrapped up in scheduling and lesson plans.  I'll still be planning Riley's year, as well as beginning odds and ends with Levi.  I also have a friend using Creation to Christ with her son, who's the same age as Ruben.  She has used HOD in the past and has been a great resource for bouncing ideas.  I love having that local support.  Overall, Ruben and I are excited to try this new venture.  We're looking forward to a great year.  

4 comments:

  1. Looks like a great lineup! It does my heart good to see stacks of books, even when they're not mine!
    My son loved Boy of the Pyramids. In fact, lessons went so well while we were reading it that a light bulb went on--why wasn't I doing ALL my teaching with books like this? I had read so much about living books, but the concept had never clicked until Sebastian started begging for another chapter and telling everybody about Egypt.
    Will you do a review of Hittite Warrior after y'all read it? The comments on Amazon are a bit mixed.

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  2. Hey Ivy Mae,

    I actually read Boy of the Pyramids aloud, but Ruben was too young to remember so I'm looking forward to reading it again. It's such a great book!

    Sure, I will try to remember to write a review :) God King is another book we plan to read. Both are Bethlehem book reprints and usually we've liked them in the past.

    Blessings,
    Melissa

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  3. Hi Melissa! I always love reading your posts! I wanted to ask, are you still using BFB, or are you completely switching to HOD? These two curricula have always been on my radar, so they are both great choices.

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  4. Hey Jackie...Yes, I am definitely still using Beautiful Feet! As a matter of fact, I'll be sharing that post later this week or early next :) I'm only using HOD for our son because it looks like the perfect fit. However, BF looks to be the perfect fit for our daughter. She's very excited about her BF books this year!

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