Sunday, January 1, 2012

Homeschool Update - Beyond Little Hearts For His Glory

Lucy, age 6, is enjoying Beyond Little Hearts For His Glory.  We finished up week 11 just before Christmas, and are looking forward to continuing on with this in the New Year.  Over the Christmas break I've been thinking about how I want to tweak things next semester.  Here are some of my thoughts:

History - We are loving history!  I really enjoy reading the history books and Lucy and Julia both listen attentively.  History in Beyond does not consist of dry facts, but rather an interesting story about people who lived during that time period.  Sometimes the history activities are a little strange or don't end up working for us so we skip them.  I'm going to be adding in some history notebooking pages instead.

Poetry and Rhymes - Lucy is enjoying writing out the poem each week and decorating her handwriting.  We have all of her poems saved in a book with page protectors and she enjoys reading them to Grandpa and Grandma.  She doesn't memorize the poems, we focus more on the memory verse for that.

Bible Study - I love that most weeks have a song that goes along with the Bible verse.  We've had some good discussions about the verse and its application.  I've found that asking Lucy questions about the Bible verse as the teacher's manual suggests ("What does this verse say we should do?" "How can we show God that we love Him?" etc.) is not a good way for her to learn.  She balks at answering and it takes some work to get the discussion going.  The Morning Bells devotional is NOT a book we enjoy reading, and is not understood by my kids.  I'm glad that we are going to be starting Little Hands To Heaven as I'm sure Lucy will listen to the Bible and character lessons in that.

Language Arts - Spelling is easy for Lucy, she rarely misses a word.  I've wondered about adding in more grammar lessons for the technical aspect of things.  Looking at next year though, Heart of Dakota does start using Rod and Staff grammar, so I guess we'll just keep going with things as they are.  We are adding Explode The Code workbooks now and then for phonics reinforcement.

Reading - Lucy is doing very well with reading.  She is on week 16 of the emerging readers set.  (We started these before actually starting Beyond.)  I like that the readers are scheduled for us in order of difficulty.  She looks forward to each new one.  The comprehension questions are great as well.  When we finish these books, I have some ABeka readers to use.

Storytime - So far we have read Helen Keller, My Father's Dragon (all three books), and we are working on Little House in the Big Woods.  All have been big hits with the girls and much looked forward to.  Many of the storytime activities are fun and on their level.  Sometimes they try to include a character lesson that just doesn't apply to the story and we skip.  We've enjoyed learning a bit about story setting, plot, and so on, which I think are good things to be discussing.

Math - I really like the combination of hands on activities and workbook pages.  Lucy is challenged, but doing well with math.  The activities are excellent at helping illustrate the concepts being taught in each lesson.  Math is going very well.

Art - The art activities are fun for the most part, but I feel like they are "craft projects" rather than actually teaching art.  We have Artistic Pursuits books that I am going to schedule in once a week starting in January.

Science - I really dislike the science in Beyond.  In my opinion it is pretty random and shallow.  After doing some searching, I am going to be switching to another science program: REAL Science Odyssey.  It looks like it is going to be a lot of fun!

Spanish - Because it is important to us, we are beginning a Spanish language program.  We have used various resources in the past, but I recently ordered The Easy Spanish Junior Level to begin.  It sounds like something both Lucy and Julia will enjoy.

Overall we are happy with Beyond Little Hearts For His Glory.  Because Lucy is on the younger end of the age range for the guide, I'm okay with the lighter grammar, and skipping some of the history activities that don't work for us.  Its beginning to have an easy feel to it, but I think adding in art, science, and spanish will be plenty.  That, along with starting Julia in Little Hands to Heaven and a new baby due the end of March should keep us busy.  :)

What about you?  How is your homeschool year going?  Anything you are changing for next semester?


  1. Evan and I finished up week 17 of LHFHG before Christmas. In all honesty, I think there is some boredom with the redundancy of the flow of things. Not to bash the curriculum, but Evan is advanced in some areas such as Science. Since Evan did some school alongside his big brother (before Ethan passed), he needs more challenge in a couple of areas. The only reason I placed Evan in LHFHG is for the fact that Evan was not really reading at all when we first started. Anyway, we are using HOD as suggested in the guide for the most past. But as of this month, we are going to add in science, because the science isn't meaty enough for Evan. I think we will use Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day since we already own it. Evan finished up all of the Explode the Code Primers (a.b.c) and he is on Book 1, lesson 4. He is excelling so much with ETC! The History is so, so. I don't prefer History for Little Pilgrims. The Bible stories we read in The Family Time Bible were really good. We may just continue and see where history takes us--he is only 6. :) For math, Evan is on lesson 20 of Math-U-See Primer, and he will finish before the year is over. We are happy with MUS!

    We are adding in character training and art. For character, we are using We Choose Virtues and I want to buy Choosing Self-Control. I have ARTistic Pursuits as well, and think we will schedule this once a week for our art. I also just purchased a subscription to Mark Kistler's Draw Squad, and we will do that maybe once a week too.

    With all of that said, I think our school year is going well overall. I am re-evaluating for next year and trying to decide if we will stick with HOD, or use Galloping the Globe, or MFW. I need to pray about that!

  2. Such pretty pictures of Lucy and Julia!! I love reading your homeschool posts. We are going back and forth between homeschooling Karson and doing school of choice for public school. We still have a few more years. :)

  3. Shannon - Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I'll have to look at that character curriculum.

    Kelly - Thanks! We're having fun with it. :)

  4. It is so encouraging to read your post -- thanks for attaching it to the Yahoo group email as I came to your blog from that email! I feel like I'm reading exactly what I would have written myself as my 6 y/o (though, a boy :)) just finished week 11 of Beyond -- we even read Helen Keller, too!! :) ETC has been a phenomenal addition to our homeschool .... allows for some independent work, too, when I'm working with the younger 3 kiddos I have.

    Just an encouragement to you that I'm thankful to have found your blog -- God bless -- and I'm going to look at that Spanish curriculum you noted!!

    Happy New Year!
    :) Kim (in Minnesota)

  5. Thanks, Kim! Great to meet you. :)

  6. I agree with the science. we either add or do something different than is what is written.
    the science you mentioned looks interesting. i had never heard of it. also the art looks interesting. it seems you could do plan all your own artists but it might just be worth it to buy it so tat you don't have to put the lesson plans together yourself. My son might really enjoy this.Hmmmm.. ya got me thinking. anything to make teaching easier

    I don't know how you have time to write all this stuff... i have 4 kids ages 8yrs to 10 months.Kudos to you!

  7. I'm curious how you schedule apologia? Twice or three times a week or everyday?