Nervous About Homeschooling in High School to Be Ready for College

Dear Carrie Heart of Dakota Homeschooling in High School

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Dear Carrie

I love Heart of Dakota and am excited by what I see is to come each year as we progress!  I especially see much progress now that I have each of my students placed properly, which is exciting to me! However, when I look far ahead, I get nervous about homeschooling in high school so my students are ready for college. So, how does HOD prepare students for college? How does HOD high school take a student from simply doing what is planned to being able to take a syllabus and knowing how to complete work more independently?  Thanks in advance for taking time to calm my nerves about homeschooling in high school!


“Ms. Nervous About Homeschooling in High School”

Dear “Ms. Nervous About Homeschooling in High School,”

This is such an important topic that is near and dear to my heart!  Many truly amazing homeschool moms feel they cannot homeschool through high school.  Let me put your fears to rest! You can, and Heart of Dakota can be your best help!  I’ll begin by sharing that at HOD it is definitely our desire to prepare kiddos as best as possible for college, should the Lord lay it upon their hearts to go. Our guides are written to help students earn needed credits expected by most colleges.

More Than Enough Credits

We take a 4 x 4 +2 approach to this by including more than 4 social sciences (i.e. geography, world history, two years of American history, government, economics), 4 years of English/composition, 4 years of math, 4 years of science with lab, and 2 years of foreign language. We also include 4 years of Bible and additional courses beyond that such as Health, Fine Arts, Logic, World Religions and Cultures, Speech, etc. This is our first step toward making sure students are adequately prepared for what lies ahead.

Plans encourage independence, initiative, responsibility, and time management.

Students gain independence in a variety of skills as they move through the HOD Guides. They must accomplish a wide range of tasks each day with minimal supervision. Getting behind has its natural consequences as the work load continues to move forward daily. The guide does not adjust itself for students who are not completing their work on time. So, the plans set goals for the day, and the students must figure out how to meet them. Simply telling students what to do does not equate to students doing it! Instead, completing assignments on time requires initiative, planning, time management, diligence, and follow-through (all essential college skills). Consider that the HOD guide’s directions are a training ground where students learn essential skills needed for success in life!

Reading and writing skills are rigorous and train students well for college requirements.

Another area in which HOD shines is in its level of required reading and writing each day. The guides are rigorous in their expectations in these two areas.  So, students can readily do the two most common portions of any college level class. They can readily read and write, manage their time well, and independently incrementally complete work!  Having these skills intact helps students have an easier transition into meeting college requirements.

Deep thinking is encouraged as well.

Our guides also require students to think deeply about a variety of areas, often foregoing the easy route and opting for assignments that require higher level thinking which must be put into words. Years of oral and written narration practice prepare kiddos to put thoughts from their mind into words and/or onto paper cohesively and creatively.

Long-term projects help students learn to budget their time over multiple days and weeks.

This brings us to the question of long-term projects and their place within the curriculum. I do believe that long-term projects are good as students learn to budget their time over multiple days and weeks. As such, we have included projects in every guide leading up to the high school guides, spreading one project over a week or longer in each guide. Drawn into the Heart of Reading also has projects at the end of each unit. We have included long-term projects in all of our high school guides as well.

College will be an adjustment, but our goal is to make that adjustment as seamless as possible.

College will certainly be an adjustment! But, our goal is to make that adjustment as seamless as possible. Two of my own sons are doing online courses for college right now. They have transitioned very well. My sons find college to be easier than their high school courses in some ways! Though they are both pursuing very different majors, they both use their time well! They quite naturally figure out how much to study each day, so they are prepared to finish on time.

I firmly believe HOD prepares kiddos for the needed skills required in college. Students who do the guides as written should find themselves able to adjust to the expectations college brings. I also believe that for students who do not go on to college, the well-rounded education received within HOD will help them all throughout life in whatever they pursue!

“Head” and “Heart” knowledge are both so important!

I cannot conclude without mentioning that the high school years are very important years for molding our students’ character, strengthening their faith, directing their attention to God’s Word, pouring their hearts into living as Christ desires, and seeking God’s will for their future. These are the goals that matter for eternity. This is why the HOD high school guides regularly address these heart issues. If we lose are children’s hearts in the pursuit of academics, what have we gained? Head knowledge does not equate to heart knowledge. So, we must address both! This was a priority from start to finish in writing our guides.  I pray our graduates are strong in both ‘head’ and ‘heart’ knowledge, all to the glory of the Lord!


P.S.  To read about some of our graduates who have been featured in our Heart of Dakota Graduate Spotlight, click on the links below and arrow down in the link to read about…



Tanner and Taylor


Isaac and Eva

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8 thoughts on “Nervous About Homeschooling in High School to Be Ready for College”

  1. This is so great, thanks for sharing! I was also wondering how does HOD help prepare our kids for standardized testing? I’m thinking of having my 2nd grader & 4th grader do Bigger Hearts For His Glory together, but with the extensions for my oldest, and doing the upper math & English. Will she be prepared for her 5th grade tests if we continue moving up in the program? Nervous I’m missing something, but I’m so in love with the curriculum & making the switch to Homeschooling.

    1. Hi Ebba! What a good question! Heart of Dakota’s plans are written to help students learn necessary skills at the appropriate ages. The target age range of each of the guides indicates the ages best served by doing the guide. The extensions help extend the guide, and multiple language arts and math options further help extend the guide. Bigger Hearts… has a target age range of 7-9 years old, with extensions for 10-11 year olds. To be sure students are getting all that they need, it is important to choose age appropriate reading, writing, grammar, math, and extensions. It is also important to do all of the plans as they are written in the guide, including all follow-ups. So, for example, doing Drawn into the Heart of Reading with your 9 yo and choosing 4th grade level books and student book work will be important.

      Likewise, assigning a higher level of math, grammar, spelling/dictation, extension assignments, choosing 3 vocabulary cards instead of 1 vocabulary card, etc. make Bigger Hearts very appropriate for a 4th grader! With these guidelines, HOD students typically do very well on standardized testing. Of course, testing still will show individual gifts God has blessed a student with, and it will also show individual challenges a student has. If a student is gifted in math and science but struggles with spelling and writing, HOD will bring them along in all these areas, but testing more than likely will show the student is gifted in math and science but struggles more with spelling and writing.

      So, in conclusion, if your students are in the target range or in the extension range and doing all assigned work as assigned, they should do just fine! I hope this helps – enjoy BHFHG! It is an amazing way to be inspired by American History!!!

  2. Dear Julie,
    Thanks so much for this post. I am also nervous! My daughter is scheduled to start the high school curriculum this fall. The problem is, she will only be 13 this Nov. Although she is mentally capable of grasping the concepts, (she has always seemed to keep up fine in the curriculum) she has struggled with diligence and initiative, and it feels to me like a maturity problem. Partly it is also her laid back nature.
    I’m struggling with whether I should go ahead, or do something else for a year and start this next year. Any advice?

    1. Hi Velvet! Has your daughter done RTR, RevtoRev, and MTMM? The reason I ask is sometimes kiddos come into HOD at a higher level and need to take a moment to pop back a year to mature a bit. Twelve is the youngest possible age we recommend doing MTMM, so it seems like your daughter is being asked to do things that are outside of the recommended age range. I can see why some of the material would be harder, though she sounds like a wonderful student. So, one option is to have her go back and do an earlier HOD guide this year. Then, next year when she is 13 turning 14, she could do World Geography. Another option is to spread out WG over two years. We had a friend do this with her 12 turning 13 yo, and she loved it! I hope this helps, but give us a call if you’d like further help! We’d be glad to help!

      In Christ,

  3. Yes, we’ve done HOD since kindergarten with her. We absolutely love it and recommend it to everyone! She was an early reader, so we started on the early side, but I wish now that we would’ve kept right to that middle ground of age and allowed a bit of wiggle room.
    I love the two year plan idea. That may be exactly the solution we’re looking for! Thank you so much!

    1. Thanks for getting back to me, Velvet! Your daughter sounds like my oldest son – raring to go and a lover of literature! We spread out his high school guides so he would not graduate a year early. He was able to work and earn money for college throughout high school, as well as help me out with my other sons’ math in homeschooling (my oldest LOVES math). Anyway, as he begins college now, I am so thankful for the time we had together in high school, as well as for the money he has earned to be debt free when graduating college. I pray you and your daughter have a wonderful high school journey together with HOD! Thanks so much for sharing here!

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