When Calls the Heart – A Homeschoolers Dream!

BY: Sharon Fitness for GOOD.

Following the finale of WCTH season 10 on GOOD, one of the Aussie Hearties revealed her homeschool success story. Her children are big fans and the whole family was coming up with theories as to what might happen in season 11. Mum, Corinne, suggested they write some fan fiction and the kids jumped at the chance! Not long to wait now to see if anyone’s predictions come true!

With the Janette Oak books and our favourite tv series, there are lots of opportunities for Home Schoolers to enjoy the show AND learn their lessons. Here’s a few ideas.

Introduction to WHEN CALLS THE HEART

Provide a synopsis of the book/show. Older children could read the book to younger children who would enjoy a chapter a day.
Discuss the author, Janette Oke. Find out a little bit about her and write a biography.
Introduce the main characters and the setting of the story.

Character Analysis

Choose one or more characters from the story.
Have students describe their favourite character’s traits and motivations.
Discuss character development and how characters change throughout the story.

Setting and Time Period

Explore the historical setting of the story (early 20th century Canadian frontier).
Discuss how the time and place affect the characters and plot.
Encourage students to draw pictures or write short descriptions of the story’s setting.
Research the dress and costume of the period. Children could design their own costumes for their chosen character based on their research.

Plot and Conflict

Introduce the concept of the story’s plot, including the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
If using the book, discuss the central conflict in the story and how it drives the plot.
Have students identify key events in the story.
Then for the show, analyse the structure of one or more episodes.
Encourage students to identify key events and plot developments.

Vocabulary Building

If children are reading the book, get them to write down any challenging vocabulary words they don’t understand from the story.
Create flashcards with the words and their definitions.
Encourage them to use these words in sentences or short paragraphs.

Comprehension and Discussion

Assign specific chapters or episodes for reading or viewing.
Have children summarise what they’ve read or watched and discuss the plot developments.
Ask open-ended questions to stimulate critical thinking and discussions.

Creative Writing

Have children imagine a new scene or an alternate ending for the story.
Encourage them to write a short story or dialogue based on their ideas.
Share and discuss their creative pieces with the family.

Historical Research

Introduce the idea of historical research.
Assign topics related to the time period of WHEN CALLS THE HEART such as daily life, transportation, or social norms.
Have children present their findings to the family.

Character Development

Focus on the growth and change of a specific character in the series.
Have children write a character profile that highlights the character’s journey and personality traits.

Moral and Ethical Dilemmas

Identify moral or ethical dilemmas that characters face in the show.
Discuss how characters resolve these dilemmas and the lessons learned.
Encourage kids to reflect on real-life situations where they’ve faced similar dilemmas.

Comparing Book and TV Show

Watch a few episodes of the WHEN CALLS THE HEART together.
Discuss the similarities and differences between the book and the show.
Ask students to write a comparison essay or create a Venn diagram.

Book Review/TV Show Review

Have students write a book/show review, sharing their thoughts on WHEN CALLS THE HEART.
Encourage them to mention their favourite parts, characters, and any life lessons they’ve learned.
Discuss how storytelling can convey important messages and values.

Final Project: Creative Presentation

Let students choose a creative project, such as a diorama, drawing, painting or poster, to represent a scene or theme from the book, or reenacting a scene, or producing a short skit inspired by the show.
Give them an opportunity to present their projects to the family.

Throughout the lessons, focus on building language and comprehension skills, encouraging critical thinking, and nurturing a love for reading and appreciation for good storytelling. You can adjust the pace and depth of each week’s activities based on your childrens’ interests, needs and abilities. These ideas are mainly focused on an English curriculum, but the are many more inspirational ideas introduced through the series. Based on Season 10 alone, some companion lessons could include researching Hot Springs, learning to crochet (remember those baby bonnets!), build a garden and grow some vegetables, learn about voting and how elections work in Australia, research dams and water conservation… the opportunities are endless. If you’ve had any homeschool success stories using WHEN CALLS THE HEART we’d love to hear about them!

Watch When Calls the Heart season 9 on Wednesday nights at 7:30pm or When Calls the Heart season 10 on Monday mornings at 9:30am AEDT on GOOD. or stream from the free GOOD app.

When Calls the Heart season 11 will premiere on April 12 at 7:30pm AEST.

About the Author: Sharon Fitness is a staff writer for GOOD. She’s a movie buff, TV fan, foodie and dog lover.

Images: When Calls the Heart promotional content from GOOD.