Why should you homeschool?

From Our House to Yours

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

My family was recently sitting around the kitchen table when we began discussing why we love to homeschool.  What began as just an informal discussion over lunch ended with an all day brainstorming session! I set out a piece of paper on the kitchen counter and told everyone to add to it as they thought of ideas. Five pages later, reasons why we love to homeschool filled each paper!  Reasons that made it on the list range from obvious to less obvious, from big to small.  But, as the day wore on and the list grew longer, it occurred to us that many of the reasons have revealed themselves to us gradually over the past 17 years we’ve been homeschooling.

The reasons we felt we should homeschool at the start of our journey are still reasons we feel we should homeschool now. However, as we have moved through different stages of life with different blessings and challenges, we have discovered new reasons we never even could have foreseen! It also occurred to us other families might be trying to answer this same question.  Why SHOULD you homeschool?

To whom is this blog series dedicated?

This blog series is dedicated to all of you wonderful moms out there who are wondering why you should homeschool!  You may be excited – but somewhat overwhelmed – at the possibility of homeschooling for the very first time.  Your first little one may be on the brink of entering public or private school, or you might be pondering pulling your children out of a school they are already attending. Either way, if you are wondering why you should homeschool, this blog series is dedicated to you!

Before you choose to homeschool, it helps to have a target in mind!

To hit a target, we need to know what it is, don’t we?  Imagine a hunter drawing his bow to aim at… nothing.  The chances of hitting the target if you don’t know what it is are minimal.  Homeschooling can be like that. If you don’t have a clear picture of the target, it will be hard to know if you hit it.  Knowing why you should homeschool is the target, and having that bullseye in mind lets you know when you’ve hit it!

So, what’s your story?

Talk to any homeschool mom that has happily homeschooled her children, and you will find she has a story.  Something led her to homeschool, and whatever it was became a part of her ‘target.’ We’ll call it the first ring of the ‘bullseye.’ For me, it was the day I dropped my 2 year old son off at daycare to go to my teaching job. He stood at the door crying, and as I got into my car, I was crying too.  But then a very sad thing happened.  I went to my teaching job, and I completely forgot about him.  It wasn’t until I picked him up from daycare that I realized I hadn’t thought of him once.

That broke my heart. I also realized the only way I’d know what his day had been like was by what his daycare provider told me. Furthermore, I realized when he began attending school every day, I’d see him even less, as at the time I was  teaching part-time and only had daycare a 2-3 days a week. That bothered me deeply. To be able to spend more time with my children became the first ‘ring’ in my ‘why should you homeschool’ bullseye target.

#1 – You have more time to spend with your children!

For many moms, this is the first reason they begin to entertain the idea of homeschooling. In this crazy, busy life we as moms lead, sometimes there is really very little time we get to spend with our children. Maybe you are a mom like I was, and while you work your children attend daycare.  You miss them, and you are a little jealous of the daycare provider because she is the one that gets to spend time with your children while you work.

Or, maybe you are a mom of little ones who does not work and who has loved staying home with your little ones. But now, kindergarten is looming, and you can see that time you have cherished with your child is on the precipice of slipping away.

Or, finally, maybe you are a mom who has children attending public or private school, and you are weary of your only time with your children being at night and on weekends. You find yourself being the homework helper, and you find your child is less enthused about schoolwork at night or on the weekends after having done schoolwork at school all day and all week.  

The Bible supports this longing you have to spend more time with your children!

When you feel that tug at your heart to spend more time with your children, know that longing is supported by the Bible!  Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says:  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”

So, your longing to spend more time with your children is a WONDERFUL reason for why you should homeschool!  In my next From Our House to Yours posts I will be sharing many more reasons why you should homeschool.  In keeping with the list we made as a family, they will be in no particular order of time or of importance. I hope you enjoy this and find some answers that encourage you to either consider homeschooling or keep homeschooling – God bless!

In Christ,


P.S. To find out more about homeschooling with Heart of Dakota, click here or here!


Drawn into the Heart of Reading: A Multi-Level Reading Program That Works with Any Books

From Our House to Yours

Drawn into the Heart of Reading:  A Multi-Level Reading Program That Works with Any Books

Picture your child curled up on the couch reading a wonderful book, enjoying each page, and then sharing the excitement of what was read with you!  You can make this happy ‘picture’ a reality with Drawn into the Heart of Reading!  Written for students 7-15 years old, this Heart of Dakota multi-level reading program can help your children either become or remain passionate about books, while still teaching all the necessary reading skills. You can use any books with Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR), as the plans are genre-based.  Likewise, you not only get to choose the books your children read, you also get to choose the pacing of reading them.  This ensures your children will love the books and read them at a pace that fits them best!

So, how is Drawn into the Heart of Reading designed?

Drawn into the Heart of Reading is designed for use with students of multiple ages at the same time. The plans include instructions and activities that work with any literature.  You can use DITHOR for your entire reading program, or you can use it as a supplement to an existing program.  Students in grades 2-8 can use DITHOR year after years, as they move through the various levels of reading instruction. DITHOR is structured around daily plans that are divided into 3 levels of instruction. These levels include 2/3, 4/5, and 6/7/8. DITHOR is also divided into 9 units, which can be taught in any order.

What genre studies are included in Drawn into the Heart of Reading?

Drawn into the Heart of Reading includes 9 genre studies.  This exposes students to a variety of literary styles, ensuring they read from every type of literature.  The result?  Not only do students learn the necessary skills for each type of literature; they also learn to love new kinds of books!  The genres can be done in any order, so you can start with your student’s favorite genre or choose any order you prefer.  The 9 genres include biography, historical fiction, mystery, nonfiction, realistic fiction, adventure, fantasy, folk tale, and humor.

How are Godly character lessons a part of Drawn into the Heart of Reading?

In Drawn into the Heart of Reading, Godly character lessons evaluate a character’s actions using a Christian standard that is based on Godly character traits. The major traits emphasized are faith, fear of the Lord, responsibility, brotherly love, loyalty, virtue, obedience, joy, and integrity.  Each major trait has sub-qualities as well.  In the Godly character part of the plans, each trait includes a definition and a key Scripture verse.  Children use their own Bibles to read about a Biblical character who showed the trait. Then, you share with your children a time in your own life you showed that trait. Next, children search for characters in the book they are reading who are or are not showing that trait. Finally, children see if they themselves are showing this trait.

How are story elements taught in Drawn into the Heart of Reading?

The story element lessons in Drawn into the Heart of Reading focus on a different element for each genre. The story elements included are character, setting, conflict, mood, prediction, compare and contrast, cause and effect, main idea and theme, and point of view.  Story elements are connected with the genres they most naturally match. So, for example, the story element ‘conflict’ is matched with the genre ‘adventure.’  The story element ‘prediction’ is matched with the genre ‘mystery,’ and so on. This paves the way for success in future in-depth literature studies, such as those found in high school.

What else can be found in Drawn into the Heart of Reading?

So much more can be found in Drawn into the Heart of Reading! Prereading activities create a purpose for reading the text. Students gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the text through guided literature discussions. They learn different strategies to help discover the meanings of unfamiliar words in the text through vocabulary activities. Not to mention, students get choose from a variety of creative projects that address the needs of all types of learners. Project choices include Godly character project options, book based project options, or group project options. So, there truly is a project for any student that can be enjoyed!

Drawn into the Heart of Reading is so customizable, yet it still meets all necessary reading requirements!  It gives a ‘book club’ feel to keep the love of reading flowing, while still delivering all of the necessary skills that need to be taught to prepare students for the requirements of both standardized testing and high school level literature.  Choose from Carrie’s favorite books choices via DITHOR book packs, or choose your own literature on your own or with the help of Carrie’s Sample Book Ideas List.  Either way, HOD’s award winning Drawn into the Heart of Reading is sure to turn your children into book-loving students, while still teaching all the necessary skills that must be taught!  Why not get to making memories like the ones I’ve tried to share with you with these pics of precious memories of my own kiddos, today?!?

In Christ,



Step into Your Future with Confidence and Conviction with U.S. History II for High School

From Our House to Yours

Prepare to step into the future with confidence and conviction with U.S. History II!

Heart of Dakota’s U.S. History II prepares soon-to-graduate high school students to courageously step into their future with confidence and conviction! U.S. History II brings America’s complete story into perspective, while still sharing the Christian foundations it was built upon. It fully prepares students to go forth into the world armed with faith and knowledge, knowing the Lord has plans to prosper them, and to give them hope and a future!

So, what credits are covered in U.S. History II?

Well, students actually can earn up to 7 full credits in U.S. History II.  Credits include the following:

  • U.S. History II (1 full credit)
  • Bible (1 full credit)
  • Economics (1/2 credit)
  • Finance (1/2 credit)
  • Speech (1/2 credit)
  • Spanish or Latin/Greek (1/2 credit)
  • English (1 full credit)
  • Math (1 full credit)
  • Science with lab (1 full credit)

This guide is written for students ages 16-18 or older. There are 4 days of plans each week, and they are all noted on a 2-page spread. Finally, students can expect to spend about 6-7 hours, 4 days a week, to complete their work.

Let’s take a closer look at the “Learning Through History” part of the plans!

The “Learning Through History” part of the plans begins with William J. Bennett’s America : The Last Best Hope Vol. II.  With expert storytelling, Bennett recounts the last century’s great wars, the rise of Communism, the struggle for for freedom, and the triumph of liberty. Next, stepping in to join Bennett’s narration is Linda Hobar, author of Mystery of History. Hobar tells the story both of the ‘wars of the world” and the “wars of ideologies.” She then moves on to modern day conflicts.  Along this chronological journey, students are asked to make Key Decisions in U.S. History. To do this, they use Great Documents in U.S. History, Great Letters in American History, and The American Testimony DVD Set 2. Similarly, Living Library readings further enhance this journey through time, making it even more memorable!

What do students do in the “Learning Through History” part of the plans?

U.S. History II contains skills that certainly help students prepare for their future post high school. Within journal entries, students analyze multiple primary source documents and take graphic organizer style notes from DVD viewings. They also write multi-paragraph narrations, interpret maps, and write supported answers to critical thinking questions regarding U.S. documents. Students analyze key decisions in U.S. History, and they write their own opinions using excerpts to support their conclusions. They also share history-related talking points and use quotations in context.  Finally, students complete assessments such as key word, summary, detailed, topic, typed opinion, persuasive, recorded, oral, and multi-paragraph written narrations, which certainly keeps the Charlotte Mason flavor of the plans intact.

Economics and Foreign Language are part of the plans too!

Economics and Foreign Language are included in the plans as well.  For Economics, students explore God’s principles for living a life of liberty, prosperity, and generosity in Money-Wise DVD viewing sessions. In Money Matters for Teens, students gain Bible-based wisdom from financial expert Larry Burkett. Next, in The Myth of the Robber Barons, students learn the difference between market entrepreneurs and political entrepreneurs. Then, students Solve the Money Mystery with “Uncle Eric” and Bluestocking Guide’s author Kathryn Daniels. Students put their newfound Economics knowledge to the test by answering “Thought Questions” about articles by noted economists in Economics: A Free Market Reader. They complete quizzes, semester tests, and a final exam in Intro to Economics. Finally, students round out the left side of the plans by completing either Spanish or Latin/Greek.

What do students do in the “Learning the Basics” part of the plans?

The “Learning the Basics” part of the plans teach essential skills that meet academic and spiritual needs. First, students learn how to share and defend their faith in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. Next for their devotionals, daughters partner with parents in Girl Talk, and sons partner with parents in Created for Work.  Then, students join Dave Ramsey to build a promising future with Foundations in Personal Finance.  After that, they learn to become confident speech-givers via Secrets of the Great Communicators and How to Become a Dynamic Speaker. Then, students dig into science with our Astronomy and Geology and Paleontology study and lab. Finally, students enjoy a balanced language arts program. This includes incredible Charlotte Mason-inspired British literature plans, R & S English lessons, and dictation passages. Consequently, students can expect an amazing year of learning!

In Christ,



Rekindle Hope and Patriotism with U.S. History I for High School

From Our House to Yours

Rekindle hope and patriotism with U.S. History I for high school!

Heart of Dakota’s U.S. History I is sure to rekindle hope and patriotism!  Within its pages, students discover how America’s struggling beginnings gave way first to sufferings. But then, these sufferings produced perseverance.  Then, that perseverance produced character.  And finally, that character produced hope!  Which it can still produce today!

So, what credits are covered in U.S. History I?

Well, students actually can earn up to 6 1/2 full credits in U.S. History I.  Credits include 1 full credit in U.S. History I, 1 full credit in Bible, 1/2 to 1 full Government, 1/2 credit in Constitutional Literacy, 1/2 credit in Spanish, 1 full credit in English, 1 full credit in Math, and 1 full credit in Science with lab.  This guide is written for students ages 15-17. However, it can be extended for students in 12th grade by adjustments to the 3 R’s and science. There are 4 days of plans each week, and they are all noted on a 2-page spread. Finally, students can expect to spend about 7 hours, 4 days a week, to complete their work.

What does the “Learning Through History” part of the program look like?

First, the “Learning Through History” part of the program sets students off on an adventure with America: The Last Best Hope. Starting with the 13 colonies, students ‘meet’ those who labored to create our democratic republic. Then, in Faith of Our Fathers, students ‘meet’ the men and women who answered the Lord’s call to evangelize America. Next, in The Book of Heroes, students ‘meet’ George Washington, Daniel Boone, Louisa May Alcott, Robert E. Lee, and George Washington Carver.

Then, students see the power of the penned word in Great Letters in American History and in Great Documents Within U.S. History. They also ‘meet’ America in a more visual way in The American Testimony DVD Set. Additionally, students delve into U.S. History Map Activities and the U.S. History Atlas. These resources helps students visualize sweep and influence of key events. Finally, students delve more deeply into history with our Charlotte Mason inspired Living Library! This incredible book/audio set has been selected for its narrative quality and its connections to U.S. History I.

What kind of work do students do in U.S. History I?

First, students keep a full-color Book of Centuries using Amy Pak’s timeline figures. Next, in their full-color U.S. History I Journal, students make many different kinds of entries. For example, entries include analysis of primary source documents, notes from DVD viewing sessions, multi-paragraph narrations, in-depth interpretation of maps, critical thinking questions regarding U.S. documents, written opinions using excerpts to support conclusions, history-related shared talking points, and quotations in context. Finally, assessments such as key word, summary, detailed, topic, typed, opinion, and recorded oral and multi-paragraph written narrations keep the beloved Charlotte Mason flavor of the plans intact.

What can students expect in Government and Spanish?

First, students delve into Government by exploring its political heritage and studying the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Next, students discuss contemporary issues affecting our nation with DVD and workbook sessions within A Noble Experiment. Then, they discover what’s gone wrong with America’s legal system and economy and how to fix it within “Whatever Happened to Justice?” Finally, students round out the “Learning Through History” part of the plans with the Spanish Homeschool Curriculum Kit. This full color course teaches Spanish through audio CDs of dialogue. Furthermore, students learn to write Spanish well in daily written assignments.

What does the “Learning the Basics” part of the program look like?

The “Learning the Basics” part of U.S. History I teaches essential skills that meet academic and spiritual needs. First, students draw closer to the Lord with The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study: A Survey of the New Testament. Additionally, students’ Bible time includes Scripture memorization, a prayer journal, and a hymn study. Next, daughters partner with parents by delving into home, life, and spiritual life management in Beyond Beautiful Girlhood. Likewise, sons partner with parents by diving into how to find God in the heart of daily conflicts and decisions in Everyday Battles. Finally, both sons and daughters enjoy Stay in the Castle and the Seven Royal Laws of Courtship to find and marry the person whom God has created just for them!

What is included in language arts in U.S. History I?

Students enjoy a balanced language arts approach in U.S. History I. They  read 8 novels, 8 short stories, 4 primary sources, 1 full-length autobiography, and 1 play with our Charlotte Mason inspired American literature plans. Timeless favorites like The Prince and the Pauper, The Scarlet Letter, Rip Van Winkle, Man Without a Country, Up From Slavery, The Purloined Letter, The Robe, The Virginian, The Lilies of the Field, and more provide a fresh approach to high school American literature.

Furthermore, introductions, readings, annotations, oral narrations, written narrations, Common Place Book entries, and guided Literature Journal reflections including literary devices, Scriptural connections, in-depth discussions, and literary synthesis assignments all provide higher level assessments without taking away the joy of reading. Moreover, for composition, students use In Their Sandals, which helps them experience the Bible personally by writing 8 Scripturally-based stories. Finally, students finish out this balanced English credit by using grammar, writing, and English skills with Rod and Staff English. Dictation skills with included dictation passages round out this balanced language arts approach.

What do students learn in Constitutional Literacy?

Students can get the most out of their Government course by choosing to also do Constitutional Literacy. With over 500 minutes of engaging video instruction, constitutional expert Michael Farris walks students through the history, theory, and application of the Constitution and what it means for future American self-government. Moreover, professional video footage with beautiful photographs, timelines, and special effects will have students on their way to beginning their voting career as an informed citizen, well versed in the content and meaning of the U.S. Constitution!

What can students expect in Chemistry and Math?

Next, students move on to earn their science credit with lab in Chemistry with Dr. Jay Wile!  Discovering Design with Chemistry is a college-prep, high school chemistry course. This includes visually appealing narrative text, comprehension checks with detailed answer keys, 46 experiments with fully described expected outcomes, and calculations with completely worked out solutions. Lastly, students round out their “Learning the Basics” part of the plans by choosing from one of our many math options.

In Christ,







Expand Your Horizons by Embarking on a Worldwide Journey… World History for High School

From Our House to Yours

Prepare to expand your horizons by embarking on a worldwide journey via high school World History!

Get ready to travel from one end of the earth to the other via this worldwide World History journey with Heart of Dakota! Be ready for change… a change for the better or worse, a change of course, a change of scenery, a change of direction, or even a change of heart. World History takes students on a thrilling every-changing globe-trotting adventure that is sure to leave its mark!

Heart of Dakota’s World History Introduction

A high school student’s trip through high school includes some important stepping stones. We may not know what will be around the bend for them when they graduate.  Heart of Dakota’s World History guide recognizes this by including an Introduction that is sure to be your best help! Carrie has taken the time to plot a course through high school that includes all a student needs to be prepared for whatever comes next! Course titles, course descriptions, suggested grading, credits required, electives required – these are all a part of the Introduction!  So, you can copy and paste these right into your student’s transcript!

So, what credits are covered in World History?

Students can earn up to 7 full credits in World History.  Credits include 1 full credit in World History, 1 full credit in Bible, 1/2 to 1 full credit in Fine Arts, 1/2 credit in Health, 1/2 credit in Spanish, 1 full credit in English, 1 full credit in Math, and 1 full credit in Science with lab. This guide is written for students ages 14-16, and can be extended for students in 11th and 12th grade by adjustments to the 3 R’s and science as needed.  There are 4 days of plans each week, all noted on a convenient 2-page spread. Students can expect to spend 6 1/2 – 7 hours each of the 4 days to complete their work.

What can be expected in the World History credit?

You can expect amazing narrative chronological readings in World History! Unveiling the Kings of Israel, People, Places & Principles of World History, Short Lessons in World History, King Alfred’s English, In Context: Stories Behind Seventy Memorable Sayings in Church History, Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History, Courage and Conviction – all incredible resources students enjoy!  Not to mention the Living Library readings followed by literary synthesis exercises, which offer too many awesome titles to list, but you can click here to peruse them yourself!

So, will my student have high level, varied work assigned in World History?

On any given day in World History, you can expect your student to enjoy a variety of high level work. World History keeps the Charlotte Mason flavor alive with oral narrations in a varied formats of key word, summary, detailed, topic, typed, and opinion narrations. Full-color World History Journal entries consist of answers to critical thinking questions, graphic organizer style notes on varying viewpoints from You Are There! listening sessions, written opinions, quotations in context, interpretation of maps, and responses to primary source documents.  In Critical Thinking Using Primary Sources in World History, students analyze multiple documents about the same event, draw conclusions, and use excerpts to support their conclusions. They also write multi-paragraph written narrations, keep a lovely Book of Centuries, and share Talking Points from their history readings.

Bible Study: Meaningful, Deep, and Life Changing

World History’s Bible Study uses The Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Study: A Survey of the Old Testament Bible Study.  It includes Scripture memorization, the keeping of a prayer journal, and a beautiful hymn study with Selah’s Greatest Hymns. Students also ‘dig deeper’ in the All-in-One Curriculum for Pilgrim’s Progress with “Digging Deeper” Questions, Charts, Discussion, and Scripture References. Truly, this is a deep and meaningful Bible Study that can be life changing!

A Beautiful Art Study That Doesn’t Leave God Out

The most beautiful art can be seen in God’s hand as we behold His landscapes, His sunsets, His rainbows, or even just by viewing the intricacy of a butterfly’s wings.  World History has planned an art study that doesn’t leave God out!  Students delve into this Fine Arts credit with God and the History of Art DVD viewings and guided questions.  They read biographical selections of artists through history. Likewise, they view a beautiful art gallery of paintings, make reflective notebook entries, and complete Exercises and Activities for Short Lessons in Art History. Students become the artists themselves by using  See the Light Art Project DVDs, which include art history, elements, principles, step-by-step projects, and integrated Bible truths.

A Complete English Course That Has It All

Students completing the English course in World History will find this is a complete course that truly has it all!  Classic novels Charlotte Mason would surely love provide the literature for this course. Classic novels include Ben Hur, Julius Caesar, Pearl Maiden, The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, A Man for All Seasons, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Count of Monte Cristo, Les Miserables, Animal Farm, and The Celestial Railroad. Each novel has follow-up assignments that include introductions that provide the focus for reading, annotations, oral and written narrations, Common Place Book entries, guided reflection include literary devices, graphic organizers, and novel discussions focused on thematic elements from a Biblical Worldview.

Composition is covered via Essentials in Writing: Grade 11.  This includes DVD lessons with follow-up assignments addressing expository, persuasive, compare/contrast, descriptive, cause/effect, narrative, process analysis, literary response, and a college prep research paper. Grammar is added in via Building Securely, while dictation is continued to completion.  Truly, World History’s English course has it all!

Biology: Do it up big, or do it up small, but either way do it in the comfort of your own home!

Biology with lab can be one of the tougher subjects to cover in high school!  Well, I have good news for you!  With World History’s  Biology, your student can do it up big, or do it up small, but either way – he or she won’t have to leave the comfort of home!  With this Biology course, students have the option to watch the labs or perform them alongside watching the labs themselves.  Either way, 12 Paces of narrative text include accompanying activity books that utilize matching, underlining, multiple choice, true/false, categorizing, vocabulary, and short answer questions. Twenty-five biology labs include corresponding lab sheets, as well as optional lab kit recommendations.

Finally, add in Health, Spanish, and Math, and you have one good year in World History!

To round out the credits for World History, students complete courses in Health, Spanish, and Math. To read more about each of these, click on each below…

Total Health



To find out more about HOD in general, click here!  Otherwise, we hope you enjoy your trip through World History with HOD!

In Christ,