The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Jenny Higgins and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Little Hearts For His Glory Review by Jessica Harvey

By: Carrie Austin
Heart of Dakota Publishing, Inc
Dell Rapids, SD

Introducing you child to "school" is such a crucial step. We are continuously trying to level out an enjoyable and interesting experience while making sure our child is learning the basics. Little Hearts for His Glory is an incredible way to begin this journey. Written by Carrie Austin, a former classroom teacher turned homeschool mom of three. This program provides the guidelines and structure to put together an early learning program for your 5-7 year old.

It is important to understand that this book is a learning/lesson plan. Additional resources will need to be purchased in addition to the book. However, all resources that are necessary are extremely well priced, enabling Little Hearts for His Glory to be purchased along with the necessary resources for under $100. The program is broken down into two components: Learning the Basics, and Learning Through History.

Learning the Basics focuses on language arts and math. This component also includes a handwriting and phonics section in which you choose the program(s) that best fit your child. Activities are also included for fine motor skills, story time, language, and math exploration. The story time section features lesson plans to use with six various books by Thornton Burgess (to be purchased or borrowed from the library). The read aloud assignments use stories by Beatrix Potter and Howard Gearis (Uncle Wiggly stories). Math Exploration consists of daily lessons using either EarlyBird Mathematics or Singapore Math. The lessons provided in the book coordinate with these programs and provide hands on experiences to introduce math concepts. Lastly, the fine motor skills section uses workbooks from your choice of Rod and Staff or McGraw Hill.

The Learning Through History component intertwines reading, gross motor, Bible study, devotions, music, art, science, dramatic play, and thinking games along with history readings. The history readings are taken from the Bible, and Christian Liberty Press' History for Little Pilgrims and History Stories for Children. This seems like a huge amount of work but it is broken down in perfect little 'bite size' morsels that go hand in hand to create a well rounded and meaningful educational experience that appeals to all styles of learning. Gross motor skills are mixed with rhymes to reinforce history lessons. A musical selection from "Hide 'Em in Your Heart" helps auditory learners to learn their weekly memory verse, which in turn ties into the history lesson. Science lessons are provided twice weekly and feature hands-on exploration in life science, physical science, and earth science. Supplemental resources are recommended for science, but not required. Rounding out all of this are weekly thinking games and dramatic play to reinforce the history lesson.

With all this program offers you would expect a tedious, mind boggling schedule. However that is not the case. Each days plan features nine blocks (activities) that can be spread throughout your day as time and schedule allows. Lessons are prepared in such a manner that little or no preparation is needed. Activities use materials most families have on hand and offer clear, easy to follow instructions. The author suggests that daily lessons will take approximately 90 minutes. Broken down, this is nine 10 minute lessons that you can space throughout your day.

I have been thoroughly impressed with this program. Required resources are both affordable and of a high quality nature. The daily lesson format is easy to use and to understand at a glance. Activities are creative and fun, engaging your child's interest while adding to the basics you have taught. So many of us desire to create an educational tapestry for our children, but lack the time or resources to do so. Mrs. Austin has taken her years of classroom and homeschool experience and created a finely woven tapestry that provides full education for our little ones.

-- Product Review by: Jessica Harvey, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC