For our 2011-2012 school year, my oldest daughter was entering her Kindergarten year and we decided to continue with HOD's programs and place her in their K-1st grade guide, Little Hearts for His Glory.
We went into the year with high expectations and we were not disappointed!
Little Hearts for His Glory was created for children between the ages of 5-7. It is important to note that when using any of HOD's curriculum, you should choose your child's placement using their SKILL level, NOT their age. The curriculum's website has a fantastic placement chart that should absolutely be utilized before making a choice about which level would be appropriate for you child. If you are still unsure, there is an equally incredible message board where other HOD users and Carrie Austin herself (the author of the teacher's guides) will be very happy to assist you!
The teacher's guide includes 34 units, each including five days worth of instructions. Each individual day is spread out on two pages, with each subject contained in its own box. This makes it easy to see in one glance everything that you will need for the day's lessons from books to supplies. These boxes contain the following subjects daily:
- Reading About History (daily readings from either the Bible or a children's bible or from one or both of the living history texts provided in the curriculum package)
- Rhymes in Motion (daily fun rhymes with body motions that correlate with the week's theme)
- Bible Study (includes devotions and scripture memory as well as application)
- Corresponding Music (each week's memory verse set to music!)
- Fine Motor Skills (rotating between thinking skills activities and handwriting practice)
- Phonics (you can use either the recommended programs or your own)
- Storytime (a daily read aloud from some classic animal stories)
- Math (use HOD's recommendation with the guide's written hands on activities or choose to use your own program!)
- Artistic Expression (drawing, painting, crafts)
- Dramatic Play (reenacting the history lesson or in other ways recreating key points/ideas from the lesson)
- Science Discovery (2x a week) (short experiments accompanied by discussion and/or readings from the recommended science text)
- Thinking Games (various activities to further cement the day's history or bible lesson)
The thing that draws me to this curriculum over others is that it uses the Bible as the basis and beginning of of HIStory and is used to show how God's hand is over everything throughout time. Christ is woven through all of the content subjects and Carrie Austin does a wonderful job at weaving His presence through everything from history to art activities. It helps to foster a genuine Christian worldview by teaching and showing our children that God truly is everywhere, if only you look for Him!
Some people have said that they find the science in this guide a little weak. I personally do not agree. It is light, meaning you don't do elaborate experiments every day, but the content is solid and I found for my child it was a perfect fit. I didn't feel that in Kindergarten, we had to don our lab coats and pull our beakers out to make each school day complete. :) At this age, I prefer a gentle introduction to concepts and fun activities to correspond rather than super rigorous, lab notebooking, really in depth approaches. This is a personal preference of course, and one of the great things about this program is that you can easily add to it some extra science or reading or math, etc. without getting overwhelmed! So, if two days of science aren't enough for you and your child, you can easily substitute or supplement what is provided.
It took us approximately 90 minutes to two hours to complete our school lessons each day and that is with my daughter using extra spelling lists and the emerging reader schedule in the next guide, Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory because she was further along in phonics and reading than this guide is set up for (See! It is totally and easily customizable for you child!), health curriculum from Abeka and extra math work from Horizons(because she asked for it, not because the Singapore math recommended is lacking). You can get all your school work done before noon and have the rest of the afternoon for play dates, park visits, nature studies/walks, field trips, or just free time to finish the laundry!
The appendix of the teacher's guide contains alternate schedules for using the first grade math recommendations and the first grade or second grade science text if you are using this program for something other than Kindergarten or if your child is more advanced in those areas. It also has a list of optional literature supplements for each unit if you desire to create a book basket or to simply enhance your child's knowledge about the subject matter. I found many of those books on PaperBack Swap (a fantastic resource for book lovers!) or Amazon.
I think this is a fabulous program for Kindergarten. To see our week in review posts using it, click here.
If you have any questions about this program, I'd be happy to answer them! Just leave a comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
To check out the first week of plans in this guide, visit here.
To read through reviews of other curriculums from moms who have USED the programs, visit The Happy Housewife.
To see what the book recommendations are to accompany the program, you can visit the Heart of Dakota website or you can read my my post about our curriculum choices for the past year.