Why homeschool? The principal, teacher, and students love your children!

From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? Your children will always be loved by the principal, the teacher, and the other students!

In this Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours series, we are exploring reasons why you should homeschool. When you think back to your own elementary, middle school, and high school education, do you remember a principal or a teacher who just didn’t like you? Maybe you dreaded being called upon in their class or being summoned to their office. Or, maybe a fellow student or two just seemed to have it in for you? No matter how you tried, they just didn’t like you. Maybe you dreaded being partnered with them, sitting by them, walking past them, sharing a locker with them, standing in line by them, or going to recess or gym class with them. Negative experiences such as this impact children’s learning and hamper their potential to do their best.

In contrast, what if your principal loved your children?

The ‘principal’ of many homeschool families is also known as ‘Dad.’ He is often the support system, and the behind-the-scenes driving force that makes homeschooling possible.  The ‘teacher’ of many homeschool families is also known as “Mom.’ She is often the manager of the home, making homeschooling happen in the day-to-day.  Sometimes these roles are reversed, shared, or done solo, but no matter which scenario fits your homeschooling, one thing remains the same: both principal and teacher love the children. The bond between parent and child is strong. In homeschooling, having the support of both the principal’s governing force and the teacher’s educating capabilities just helps children have a better opportunity to do their best and meet their highest potential.

What if every single one of the ‘other students’ in the class loved your children?

The ‘other students’ of many homeschool famlies are often known as ‘siblings.’ They are the other members of the ‘class,’ and they make up the team that year-after-year attends ‘school’ together. They are there to encourage one another, to support each other, and to cheer one another on as they celebrate milestones and victories. They take an interest in one another because they are truly invested in each other’s lives, not only for the present, but also for the future.  Why? Because they love each other. Forever. That is how God designed families; blood truly is thicker than water.

What if every school year, you knew your child was absolutely, completely 100% loved by the teacher?

Do you long for your child’s teacher to love your child and give him a bright future? What if you started every school year knowing your child would 100% absolutely, completely be loved by the teacher? And what if the teacher woke up every day dreaming of how she could make just your child’s future better? What if, year after year, she moved up with your child grade by grade? And she really got to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses, honing in on just what your child needed the most?  What if she hugged your child every morning? Personally read to him every day? Asked only him discussion questions to make sure all was well-understood? Well, look in the mirror… that teacher is YOU!

No one will love your children like you will.

I had 7 years of public school teaching before I homeschooled my own children. Admittedly, I cared for each of the children in my 7 classes.  I tried my best to teach them all that I could and to give them a happy, safe environment in which to learn. However, I didn’t LOVE them like I love my own children. I wake up each day thankful I can homeschool my own children. I know the ‘principal,’ and he loves them with all of his heart too. Furthermore, I know all the other ‘students,’ and they think the whole ‘class’ is great – every one, best friend material. Finally, I know the ‘teacher,’ and she loves my children to the moon and back. I know because I am her.

One of the best reasons to homeschool is your children will always be loved by the ‘principal,’ the ‘teacher,’ and the ‘other students.’ No one will love your children like you will, and that makes for a pretty amazing learning environment. So, why not start homeschooling today?

In Christ,


Why homeschool? Enjoy Self-Paced Instruction and Learning

From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? You can enjoy self-paced instruction and self-paced learning!

In this From Our House to Yours series, we are exploring reasons why you should homeschool. One of the many reasons we enjoy homeschooling is we can take advantage of self-paced instruction, while our children can take advantage of self-paced learning.  Self-paced instruction is any kind of instruction that proceeds based on learner response. There are many different settings where self-paced instruction is employed. It may take place in curriculum, in corporate level training, in technical tutorials, and in a variety of other settings. With self-paced learning, your student can make his own decisions and instead of working within a certain amount of time, he can work with the time that is needed for him to complete his best work.

How I would have loved self-paced instruction and self-paced learning, especially in high school!

I would have loved self-paced instruction and self-paced learning in high school! Let me explain. I used to love high school math class. It was just something I enjoyed and understood well. However, when I finished early, I felt like I was just killing time until the bell rang. It would have been so nice if I could have just moved on to the next math concept! Or, maybe better still, just moved onto my next subject – a natural reward for finishing early.

I also used to love creative writing class. In contrast though, I never felt I had enough time. I would just be on to a new and exciting idea, in my own happy world of choosing just the right words, and then the dreaded bell would ring.

Chemistry posed yet another pacing problem. I needed more time – period. With more time, I could have possibly understood the concepts better, or at least not been in such a rush to finish by the bell that I lit the wooden table on fire with my bunsen burner! How about you? When you think back to your own education, how could have self-paced instruction or self-paced learning positively impacted you and your education?

Ways Heart of Dakota Encourages Self-Paced Instruction

With Heart of Dakota, each guide is complete and has an easy boxed format of plans. This empowers me to spread out the different boxes as time allows throughout my day. Furthermore, I can do the boxes in any order. For example, I never want to rush through Bible Study or devotionals when homeschooling. So, I have always chosen to do Bible first thing in the morning, at a leisurely pace, so I can allow ample time for reading and discussion. Additionally, beginning with Creation to Christ and continuing through U.S. History II high school, plans are just 4 days a week. They are not connected to any seasons, holidays, months, or days of the week. So, I have always chosen to homeschool 5 days a week in the winter and take 2 weeks off at Christmas. These are efficient practical ways I take advantage of pacing my instruction with Heart of Dakota.

Ways Heart of Dakota Encourages Self-Paced Learning

With Heart of Dakota, each guide has a range of ages with multiple levels of language arts and math.  This allows me to place my children in the guide that fits them best, so not all my children at age 10, for example, were doing the same guide. For one of my sons who was a more advanced reader and writer, I placed him in Resurrection to Reformation at 10 years old. I placed another son in Creation to Christ at 10 years old because that fit him best. Likewise, subjects like reading, spelling/dictation, math, and grammar have plans for multiple levels in each guide.  Two of my sons did Drawn into the Heart of Reading Student Book Level 4/5 their 6th grade year with 5/6 Boy Interest Books. One of my sons did Drawn into the Heart of Reading Student Book Level 6/7/8 his sixth grade year with 6/7 Level books. Similarly, they were all in different places in their dictation passages, math levels, and grammar levels.

It is a blessing to enjoy self-paced instruction and self-paced learning now by homeschooling my own children!

Each one of our children has natural God-given abilities and interests. In homeschooling, we can recognize and celebrate that! It is such a blessing to enjoy self-paced instruction and self-paced learning.  With self-paced instruction and self-paced learning, each individual can make the best use of his or her time in order to meet his or her learning objectives.  Teachers of large groups in typical schools must aim the pacing of instruction at the middle third of the students, which means it is not uncommon for a large portion of the group to be either under challenged or over challenged. Likewise, there are just too many students and too few teachers to offer self-paced learning.  Homeschooling with Heart of Dakota gives you the opportunity to embrace both of these efficient and inspiring ways of teaching and learning!  This is just one more reason why you should homeschool!

In Christ,



Why homeschool? Free Time for Personal Interests, Hobbies, and Skill Development

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… Stop waiting for time to pass, and start choosing how to pass your time!

I bet a lot of you are like me and attended public or private school growing up. Large class sizes with one teacher often meant wasted time sitting at my desk. I would whittle hours of time away… just watching the clock and waiting.  Waiting for the teacher. More waiting for other students. Still more waiting for the class period to be over. Waiting for the bell to ring. More waiting for the lunch line to move. Even more waiting for the school bus to come. WAITING! Well, that brings me to one more reason why you should homeschool… so you can stop waiting for time to pass and start choosing how to pass your time!

Free time gives children time to pursue personal interests, develop  hobbies, and learn new skills.

There are so many things our children can do with their free time! When children are young, free time simply gives children time to think, to imagine, and to play!  Free time such as this for young children is the springboard for future interests, hobbies, and skills.  God has given each child different gifts and talents, and free time gives children time to discover them.

An Example of Free Time Helping Children Pursue Personal Interests

One of our sons as a young boy loved to build with legos, castillos, and blocks. Heart of Dakota‘s art, history, and science projects helped him learn how to build things systematically, step-by-step.  I was glad Heart of Dakota’s hands-on projects allowed for creativity, so he could design his own project rather than make a cookie-cutter project. Through the years, I have watched his creations become more and more intricate. With a lego computer program, I have seen ample 3-D creations be designed and then be built.  I imagine this personal interest could impact his future career, in a field such as drafting or engineering.

An Example of Free Time Helping Children Develop Hobbies

Our sons as young boys rode old 3-wheelers that my husband fixed up one at a time. They could often be seen racing around the yard on their 3-wheelers in the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter, they made a figure-eight track through the snow, hooked up a sled to their 3-wheelers and raced some more. I asked my husband for his brothers, who are excellent welders, to make small trailers to hook up to 3-wheelers. Soon I saw 3-wheelers with trailers whizzing to the garden to pick raspberries, down the gravel to exercise our dogs, and around the yard to pick up sticks.

One by one, each of the 3-wheelers broke down. They were old, so it was inevitable. I watched my husband fix each of the 3-wheelers, one by one, with whichever son owned the broken down 3-wheeler. Recently, I watched one of our sons rebuild an entire 3-wheeler with my husband’s help. I believe this will be a lifelong hobby for this son!

An Example of Free Time Helping Students Develop New Skills

Our sons as young boys built a tiny snow fort that promptly fell down. However, as they matured, they discovered making snow ‘bricks’ out of ice by adding water to slabs of snow made stronger bricks. I watched their tiny snow fort grow to a massive snow fort through the years.  This was all under the tutelage of one of our sons. He took a keen interest in building things, systematically, step-by-step in a way that would cause them to last.

I watched him lead his brothers in carefully creating a final fort that would withstand the elements for longer and longer periods of time.  In fact, I took a picture of one of their snow forts surrounded by grass!  The fort withstood the spring’s warmer temperatures for longer than I’d have imagined!  A few years later, I watched as this son built our retaining wall with cement bricks using a similar concept! Brick by brick, the retaining wall emerged, and it still stands strong today!

In Closing

I have found giving our sons free time gives them time to pursue personal interests, develop hobbies, and learn new skills. I think you would find the same to be true with your own children! So, in closing, why should you homeschool? So your children can have free time to discover the gifts and talents the Lord has given them! Why not homeschool, so you can stop waiting for time to pass, and start choosing how to pass time?!?

In Christ,


Give your children a Christian education for a fraction of the cost of private school!

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… A Series on Reasons to Homeschool

We often get asked why we homeschool, and if you homeschool, I am sure you do too!  This series is something you can share with friends or families who are considering homeschooling. There are many valid reasons to homeschool. We have been sharing some of them in this Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours series First, we talked about how you get to spend more time with your children. Second, we talked about how you know what your children did for the day. Third, we talked about how you get to run your own schedule. Fourth, we talked about how you can give your children immediate feedback. Fifth, we talked about how homeschooling is naturally the ideal education model of multi-age, multilevel, and looping. Today, we will talk about how you can give your children a Christian education for a fraction of the cost of private school.

Do you long for your children to have a Christian education?

Today more than ever, we as Christian parents long for our children to have a Christian education. We can see the changes in our public schools, and we know they are not good.  Private schools offer a Christian option for schooling, but we often find them to be too expensive, too far away, or too understaffed.  As Christian parents, we long to share our faith in Jesus with our children. Well, the good news is, with homeschooling, you can!

Does Jesus have a seat in your children’s school?

There’s an extra seat in our house where we homeschool. It is for Jesus, and He is invited every day. His wisdom governs our learning, and His light shines, so filling our house with love that it is transformed! It is now a ‘home’school because He has made His home there. Conversation flows freely, and we can talk with Him all day long.  Lord, what do you think about how the world began? Let’s read about that today in science. Lord, how would you like us to live? Let’s open our Bible for Bible study and see!  Lord, what can we learn from the past? What should we do in the present? And what can we expect in the future?  Let’s look at your Living Word and see how your plans show past history, history unfolding, and history to come!

It is difficult to have a Christian education where Jesus is not welcome.

We will find it difficult to give our children a Christian education where Jesus is not welcome. If our children cannot pray, read their Bible, or use educational materials that are Christian, how will they be able to receive a Christian education?  If Jesus is not welcome, our children will have a very difficult time becoming like Him. We wonder why children are so difficult to discipline, why they have behavior problems, and why they can’t get along. When we remove Jesus from their education, we will be hard pressed to find Him in their behavior.

A Word of Caution

One word of caution – just because you homeschool, it is not a guarantee your children will receive a Christian education. There is pressure today to leave Jesus out of homeschooling too. Government funded programs offer to pay a portion or all of your homeschooling costs – as long as the materials you use aren’t Christian. Various co-ops, programs, groups, etc. outside of the home offer to teach your children for you, but they leave Christ out of their teaching. Even homeschool curriculum programs that used to be solely Christian are publishing a second secular version of homeschooling materials. We too have been advised to do this, but we refuse.  Leaving Jesus out of our curricula would take the ‘heart’ right out of Heart of Dakota.  We have not given into that pressure, so please, don’t you either!

In Closing

In closing, one of the most important reasons why you should homeschool is you can give your children a Christian education. Open the door to Jesus by opening your mind to homeschooling.  Invite Him into your home and into your children’s education, and you will see more and more of Jesus in your children’s thoughts, words, and actions. Moreover, you will see Him in their hearts, souls, and minds – and THAT is an education that lives on forever.

In Christ,


Why homeschool? A Multi-age, Multilevel, and Looping Opportunity

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… A Series on Reasons to Homeschool

Prior to homeschooling our own children, I remember attending an educators’ conference in New Orleans. Carrie and I were flown there to represent our school district of 26 elementary schools. Why? Our school district’s test scores in reading were dropping, and we were to find a way to remedy that. After the conference, we were to report back to the district about what we had learned. Then, we were to provide training for teachers in inservice education classes we led for our district and in classes we taught for teachers to receive college credit.  Needless to say, we felt just a tad bit of pressure going into this conference!

What unique education opportunities are available for children?

After attending ample lectures, our first small group breakout session started with a question I still recall today.  We were asked to share what unique education opportunities our school district currently offered.  As teachers responded to this question and each turn moved closer to our position in the circle, we realized there were a whole lot more options to educating than we knew!  French immersion schools, charter schools, fine arts schools, online schools, boarding schools, private schools, magnet schools, dual language schools, performing arts schools, public schools – oh my! We found this to be so exciting!  It was freeing to think we could possibly think outside the box a bit, which in a public school setting is a rarity.

Multi-age Classrooms, Multilevel Lessons, and Looping

Many good ideas came out of that conference that we put into practice. Mainly, we began to implement multi-age classrooms, multilevel lessons, and looping. We were blessed enough to be able to implement them all in our school district!  As we were doing our master’s degree at the same time, we were able to write and receive grants for teaching this way. We taught inservice education classes and college classes on these topics.  Carrie and I were inspired!  We often stayed up until midnight planning for our multi-age, multilevel, looping classroom.  Best of all, we got to do this together because our school district also let us job share! So many funds and grants were poured into providing this education, and the results? Reading scores went up, and surprisingly, so did math scores and writing scores!

We found the one drawback to be the amount of time it took to write the plans, but we couldn’t go back to one plan, one age of students, and one classroom.

As Carrie and I taught inservices and college courses on teaching in multi-age classrooms, writing multi-level lesson plans, and looping students from year to year, one response began to emerge from teachers. They loved the results, but it was taking them way too much time to plan.  We agreed. Carrie and I were staying at school planning on the weekends until midnight sometimes. We were exhausted. However, we believed in what we were doing. We saw our students all happily moving forward in skills so well! Going back to one reading lesson, one math lesson, one writing lesson, and one grade level was impossible for us. We loved what we were doing too much!  We’d seen the results. Taking students where they were and moving them forward in all subject areas was the way to school. We couldn’t go back.

Our Last Year of Public School Teaching

In our last year of public school teaching, we had a class of about 28 students with one educational assistant.  Over half of the students in our class were on IEPs (individual education plans for special needs students).  We still believed in the multi-age classroom, multilevel lessons, and looping. But, there simply wasn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all we wanted to accomplish. We had too many students with too many needs with too many interruptions. Though we were ready to begin the interview process to become principals and the prospects looked promising, we couldn’t see putting another year into teaching other children at the expense of not teaching our own at home. In short, we longed to try our hand at teaching our own children, in a Christian way!  Once we began homeschooling, we never looked back. We’d found our home!

Homeschooling is multi-age, multilevel, and looping at its best!

We began homeschooling when Cole was turning 5 years old. He is now 22 years old! My how time flies!  We took turns homeschooling Cole our last year of teaching for our school district. Since we job shared, we could do this. On my days off, I’d homeschool Cole. On Carrie’s days off, she’d homeschool him. We also watched each other’s smaller children. We loved it!  It didn’t take long for us to realize homeschooling is multi-age, multilevel, and looping at its best. Homeschooling is multi-age for families that have more than one child. It is multilevel for families using HOD, as each guide has multiple lesson plans and levels for customizing math, reading, writing, grammar, spelling, and more. Finally, it’s looping, as each year the parent gets to teach the same children again.

So, why homeschool? You can have a multi-age, multilevel, looping education for your children!

So, in closing, there are many valid reasons why you should homeschool, and we have been sharing some of them in this Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours series First, we talked about how you get to spend more time with your children. Second, we talked about how you know what your children did for the day. Third, we talked about how you get to run your own schedule. Fourth, we talked about how you can give your children immediate feedback! Finally, today we talked about how in homeschooling you can give your children a multi-age, multilevel, looping educational experience without ever having to leave your home and without having your child be one of 28 students rather than one of just your family’s size. Who knew all those years of research and study would lead Carrie and I back home? God, that’s Who, and we are so thankful to Him for His leading!

In Christ,