October Library Builder: Save 10% on all variants of the Creation to Christ Basic Package!

Library Builder

Use coupon code OCTOBER-LIBRARY for 10% on all variants of the Creation to Christ Basic Package!

We are excited to continue our  Heart of Dakota Library Builder book set promotion! On the 1st Wednesday of each month we will be promoting one of our book sets with a 10% coupon code. For this month’s special, use coupon code OCTOBER-LIBRARY on our website for the entire month of October to apply the savings to your order. The coupon applies to all variants of the Creation to Christ Basic Package. To view the History Interest, Boy Interest, and Girl Interest variants of this package, just click here! (Scroll down until you see the “Basic Package”  section.)

How is the History Interest Package used in Creation to Christ?

Well, we could tell you, but why reinvent the wheel? Carrie and Julie have already done an excellent job of outlining how these books are used in the Creation to Christ Introduction, so why don’t we have a quick look at that?

(From the Introduction to Creation to Christ ):

There are 3 book set options for Storytime: a History Interest Set, a Boy Interest Set, or a Girl Interest Set. If you desire to read aloud books that coordinate with the historical time period being studied, you will want to choose the History Interest Set. In keeping with the ancient time period, the History Interest Set does contain some violent content.

If you wish to avoid this, choose the Boy Interest or Girl Interest Set instead; these sets do not match the history, but were instead selected to provide excellent read-alouds from 9 different genres.

Sixth and seventh graders should either listen to the History Interest Set read aloud, or read the Extension Package books (as scheduled in the Appendix), or do both of these options in order to extend their learning. If you are a family that enjoys reading aloud, you may choose to read aloud more than one set of books from the Basic Package.

These scheduled read-alouds are highly recommended, unless you need to
economize. Complete listings and book descriptions for these books can be found in the Appendix. These books are sold as a set as Basic Package Option 1, 2, or 3, or sold individually, at www.heartofdakota.com.

Each unit includes the following activities in coordination with the “Storytime” read-aloud assignments:
*Day 1: give a detailed oral narration
*Day 2: rotate through the following 4 narration activities: an outline sketch, a short skit, a question and answer session, and an advertisement speech for the book
*Day 3: give a summary narration
*Day 4: make connections between the story and Proverbs

Use coupon code OCTOBER-LIBRARY to save!

To apply this month’s savings, just enter coupon code OCTOBER-LIBRARY on our website when you check out! We hope these books will be as treasured to you as they are to us!

Have a great rest of the week!
Heart of Dakota

PS: If you’d like a more in-depth look at what using Creation to Christ looks like in your home, have a look at this article!

Creation to Christ: An Intriguing Ancients Homeschool Program for Ages 9-11, with Extensions for Ages 12-13

A “Thank You” from a Mom with Six Kids Happily Using Heart of Dakota!

Dear Carrie

Just a “Thank You” for Carrie from a Mom with Six Kids Happily Using Heart of Dakota!

I am a homeschool mom currently using Heart of Dakota with six of my eight beautiful children. (My oldest two children are now in college.) I have been homeschooling for 11 years and have enjoyed (almost) every minute of it. Last year I discovered Charlotte Mason’s philosophies after asking the Lord what plans He had for our family in the realm of homeschooling. This is what led our family to using Heart of Dakota! I am happy to say, with Heart of Dakota, we have had our best school year to date. All of my children are really enjoying the learning process, instead of just crossing things off their lists. Thank you, Carrie!

Here are my Heart of Dakota levels:

  • 12 year-old son doing Revival to Revolution
  • 10 year-old daughter doing Creation to Christ
  • 7 and 8 year-old kiddos doing Bigger Hearts for His Glory
  • 5 year-old doing Little Hearts for His Glory, half-speed Learning Through History side with full-speed Learning the Basics side
  • 1 year-old ‘helping’
A Little About My Background Prior to Finding Heart of Dakota

Last school year, I felt the Lord stirring me to revisit what I was doing with our children because I was spending LOTS of time trying to pull things together for each of them. At this point the Lord drew my attention to Heart of Dakota. I had heard of it over the years, but it wasn’t until more recently that I discovered it was based on Charlotte Mason’s philosophies.

After much prayer and many discussions with my husband we have switched our kiddos over to Heart of Dakota, and we are enthusiastically using four guides with great joy. I can’t express the deep satisfaction that I feel at really knowing that all the details are covered and in such a way that my children are growing in their love for the Lord! Their writing skills are being stretched, and they are learning to work independently and appreciate a job well done. I know that Heart of Dakota is an answer to prayer for our family. I have happily taught school over the past 11 years, but each day now holds a depth of delight for me that I cannot describe.

So, I guess this isn’t really a “Dear Carrie” question, but more of a thank you! Thank you, Carrie, for obediently doing what the Lord has called you to do, so that I can walk out well what is mine to carry!


“Ms. Just a Thank You for Carrie from a Mom with Six Kiddos Happily Using Heart of Dakota”

Dear “Ms. Just a Thank You for Carrie from a Mom with Six Kiddos Happily Using Heart of Dakota,”

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your joy with us! I was so blessed by your post, and I know it will bless many other readers. For much of our homeschool journey, we ran four guides here too with our four kiddos (as mine are too far apart age-wise to combine well). We too have discovered that it is actually easier to have our kiddos each place where they fit best (even if that means running multiple guides). With my schedule of writing, planning, and keeping up with the day-to-day business of Heart of Dakota; it’s important that my time teaching my own kiddos be well-planned and fruitful. We find the peace of knowing everything is covered in using the Heart of Dakota guides with our own four sons as well.

Each family is different in what works well! It is wonderful that the option to combine or separate your kiddos as needed is available through Heart of Dakota. Thank you for sharing your joy with us here!


A Flexible Schedule That Still Has Set Key Times

From Our House to Yours

A Flexible Schedule That Still Has Set Key Times 

Do you have a night owl who likes to stay up late and start school late? Or, maybe you have an early bird who likes to go to bed early and start school early? Or, maybe you have a child who is just “in-the-middle” who likes to start school mid-morning and end school mid-day? Then of course, there’s YOU (as a homeschool mom) to consider too! You yourself might be an early bird, a night owl, or an “in-the-middle” person. In our home, we have a night owl, a few early birds, and an in-the-middle person. So, how do you make a flexible schedule that still has continuity for everyone? Well, you choose set key times for everyone, but allow flexibility around those key times!

Key Times for All to Make a Priority

Below you can see the key times our family has set for all to make a priority:

8:30-9:00 Shower/grooming, chores, room (30 min.)

9:30-9:45 Breakfast (15 min.)

11:25-11:45 Cocoa break (20 min.)

1:00-1:30 Lunch and cleanup (30 min.)

2:20 Leave for work

Key times keep us moving forward and make us aware if we are falling behind or wasting time.

We need key times in our days to keep us all moving forward. Key times make us all aware if we are falling behind or wasting time. They act as markers for each of us within our own schedules. The early bird who got up early to finish school early can see he is off track for his goals if lunch has arrived for everyone and he still has a lot of his school left to do. The in-the-middle person who doesn’t want to do ‘homework‘ at night can see if he is off track for his goals if the time to leave for work has arrived and he has not finished his school. The night owl who doesn’t want to get up early can see he is off track for his goals if night has come and no ‘homework’ has been done for tomorrow.

Key times give us times to all be together cohesively.

Key times give us times to all be together cohesively. They give us routine amidst flexibility. Everyone can plan on doing their chores at the same time, so there is no need to be quiet as no one is trying to do school. Several can plan on having help doing bigger chores, such as clearing snow, watering flowers, or feeding/watering/exercising the pets – because they know they won’t be interrupting each other’s schoolwork. Everyone can plan on breakfast and lunch being ready at key times, so all work hard to arrive on time. All can look forward to having cocoa together mid-morning, so everyone knows they have that break in their day just to talk and hang out. Everyone can plan on wrapping up their school day by the time they leave for work.

Key times are planned in an order that helps the day go smoothly.

Key times are planned in an order that makes sense. For example, chores must be done before breakfast, as unloading the dishwasher and setting the table are part of our chores. By mid-morning, everyone is needing a break, wanting to talk, and longing for beverage. A cocoa break between breakfast and lunch fills all those needs. Lunch and cleanup must be consistent so each person can make it to work on time. Key times keep order to the day so things happen in an efficient manner.

Flexible Times for Everyone

Start and end times can be flexible for everyone. That way, the early bird can start school early. The night owl can do homework at night. The in-the-middle person can structure work time in the middle of the day. Each person can have a snack whenever he is needing it. As the homeschool teacher, I can be flexible with how many teacher-directed meeting times I plan with each child. I may want to meet more often for shorter segments of time with a child who needs help staying focused. Or, I may want to meet fewer times with an older student who works well with large blocks of uninterrupted independent work time. For the child who struggles with transitions, I may add extra time in the schedule for transitions. If I need my teaching to be done by 1:oo PM, I may only schedule independent work after 1 PM.

I hope this post helps show how having set key times in the homeschool day promotes unity but also respects individuality! Try having set key times in your day, while still allowing flexibility in the rest of the day, and see if you like it!

In Christ,


Singapore math is different from typical math programs.

Teaching Tip:

Singapore math is different from typical math programs.

One thing I am reminded of as school is underway is the difference between Singapore math and typical math programs. Singapore math is one of those programs that takes a while to wrap your head around philosophy-wise. It is a program that is designed with a terrific ebb and flow of concepts and skills. Yet, often as parents, we get in the way of this ebb and flow by stepping in and adding more and more practice.

Your students are not expected to master every new math concept.

It helps to keep in mind that your students are not intended to master every new math concept you show them. Some concepts are only introduced. Others are practiced more extensively. Still other concepts are meant to be mastered. If, as the parent, we treat every concept like it must be mastered right away, we can truly frustrate our children.

Resist the urge to add more practice.

So, when you think your child may not have fully grasped a concept, resist the urge to add more practice. Don’t jump in and search for more worksheets on the internet or in another source to add to your math lesson. Instead, just partner with your child helping him/her through the lesson to be successful. Then, the next day, move on to the next lesson.

When tough concepts come around again, your child will be older and better equipped.

Be confident that those tough math concepts will come around again the next year in the next level. By then, your child will be a year older and better equipped to deal with those harder concepts. Age helps so much in dealing with abstract concepts!

Each day continue steadily moving forward in math.

Continue steadily moving forward each day through your math lessons. Keep in mind that concepts move from being represented concretely to pictorially to abstractly over time. As students view concepts with increasing levels of abstraction, they move toward math mastery. If you keep this philosophy in mind, you will experience less frustration and more enjoyment in the design of the program.


Why study history?

History with Heart of Dakota:

I have some exciting news to share: this is the first blog post I’ve written for Heart of Dakota since I graduated with a Bachelor’s in History through Liberty Online. My academic journey that began in preschool so many years ago has finally run its course. Done. Finito. Wow!

This has been an extremely exciting time for me! As I look back on my education, I can say that I am extremely grateful to Heart of Dakota for giving me a solid foundation for entering academia out of high school. Also, as I reflect on my college journey, I can say with confidence that the study of history has made me a better person. In fact, I would argue that history has valuable life skills to impart to anyone who studies it.

History teaches communication skills.

First of all, studying history teaches us how to be better communicators. When it is boiled down to its essentials, history is ultimately the study of people. As we study history, we are constantly rubbing shoulders with them! Some of these are excellent communicators… others not so much. Nevertheless, as we study these past communicators, we cannot help but pick up on how the effective ones were able to successfully convey their points.

Yet communication is much more than simply getting a point across. As we study a vast array of people throughout history, we also learn key skills such as empathy and social understanding. These skills cannot be valued highly enough when it comes to communicating! Communication is a two way street: hearing/knowing other people and respectfully making ourselves known (often in that order). History does a phenomenal job in teaching both sides of the communication coin to us.

History builds critical thinking.

Let’s face it; history is hardly ever simple. The “good guys” aren’t always perfect and the “bad guys” sometimes display surprising glimmers of goodness. To cloud matters even further, different cultures have different definitions for who the heroes and villains are in historical events. For example, North and South Koreans view their shared history in very different lights.

History teaches us to remember that there is always another side to every story. This sort of big-picture thinking is a valuable skill that I believe everyone can benefit from. It teaches us to be more patient and less quick to make snap judgements when dealing with other people. And, when we eventually do need to make decisions, we will end up making wiser and more-informed decisions. This is a skill that applies to all of life!

History acquaints students with all other fields of study.

As I’ve mentioned before, history is the study of people. This means that as we study history, we’re not limiting ourselves to a narrow field of study. No, history is much grander than that! In history, we encounter all forms of people from all walks of life. Scientists, strategists, soldiers, doctors, lawyers, inventors, educators, kings, politicians, priests, pastors, musicians, mathematicians, artists, and entertainers – history acquaints us with them all. And as we interact with these diverse figures, we learn more about their fields of expertise. You see, the study of history is far more than a boring list of names and dates. It is a grand, ongoing dialogue with figures from all other fields of study!

Because of these reasons (and many more!) I remain an unabashed apologist for the study of history.

How do we at Heart of Dakota incorporate history into our guides?

Because history is such a foundational area of study, we include it in each of our guides. Starting with Little Hearts and going all the way through US History II, the left side of our daily plans is the “Learning Through History” section. This side of our daily plans features a unit study feel of topics that naturally fit with the history topic for that day’s lesson. While these are all united around a historical theme, these assignments cover a vast array of skills! Some examples of topics/assignments included in this section are…

  • Timeline projects
  • Topical research
  • Geography
  • Read-alouds
  • Audios
  • Student notebook entries
  • History projects
  • Written and oral narrations

Finally (and most importantly), these subjects are integrated with a Biblical worldview.

God belongs at the center of history.

Perhaps the best way I can illustrate the importance of keeping God at the center of history is demonstrating what history looks like without Him in the picture…

Without God, history is merely the study of a specific group of mammals who by some freak accident have become self-aware and who nonetheless die with an alarming amount of regularity. In their relatively short lifespans, these sentient mammals build empires and try to leave their mark on the world. But without God in the picture, to what end do they do this? If this world really is just a random rock spinning through the cosmos until it finally burns out, is anything accomplished on it really worthwhile? What good does it do to study the legacy of those who came before us if it is all meaningless anyway?

Put God in His rightful place in history, however, and suddenly the past becomes rife with meaning. If, as Christians like me believe, God created the world and that one day He is coming back again, then history has a point and a direction. God is both the Author of history and the Destination towards which it travels. Therefore, what people in history did in their time echoes into eternity. The same is true of our own actions. Therefore, as we study the legacy of the past, we end up gaining the wisdom needed to better shape our own legacies to the glory of God.

In conclusion, when the complexity of human history meets the unchanging truth of God’s Word, we are able to find the meaning amidst the madness. And this is something we pray our students will experience for themselves as they study history in our guides.

In Christ,

Cole Austin