Is Heart of Dakota college worthy?

Dear Carrie

Is Heart of Dakota college worthy?

I guess rather than this being a question I’m asking Carrie now, this is my answer to a question I used to have for Carrie. I’ve been meaning to share this, but I have just been so busy. Anyway, my oldest graduated after completing 9 Heart of Dakota programs. I know the question comes up – is Heart of Dakota college worthy? The answer is ‘yes!’ My first HOD kid graduated, and she received a full scholarship for tuition and books at a private Christian college. That is for the first four years of college, completely paid in full. She has friends going to the same school, and none received the kind of scholarship she did.

My daughter received high scores on the ACT, and we give Heart of Dakota the credit for that!

She did score very well on the ACT and that helped. So, I asked her what she thought helped the most with the ACT. She said that honestly it was HOD. I sort of expected she was going to say it was me making her study, hahaha! But, apparently nope; it was HOD. She said it really helped her with the language on the test and interpreting the questions in particular. That turns out to be a huge thing for these tests. Also, she had a very rich transcript and that was because of the wide coverage HOD gives in terms of credits you can claim legitimately for their study. That turned out to be huge in terms of making her stand out.

My daughter was well prepared for college, and we give Heart of Dakota credit for that!

The other question people have is, will they be able to make it in college? Well, I think HOD helped us there. She is scoring very high so far, and she was very worried she would not be able to cut it in college having been homeschooled. Now, she is completely confident because she is seeing she was very well prepared. All the writing and narration in HOD and the organization she learned in how to study really helped her. And by the way, she keeps on coming home and telling me that she has yet to read a story for her English course that was not covered in HOD. So, I’d say that is a big plus in the choosing of material within HOD.

My daughter initially struggled with choosing a major, but we think the spiritual content in Heart of Dakota helped her with that!

I want to also say that she struggled with choosing a major. I think HOD and the spiritual content helped her there as well. She ended up picking something completely different than she was thinking. But, I can see it is definitely a full circle God thing. She is going to get a degree in Christian counseling and specialize in the area of adoption. As she was adopted herself, I think HOD helped her to have more of a mission focus along the way. She has big goals and plans to go on to the PhD level, so apparently HOD gave her a love for learning.

I am a mom of six, and I’m so glad HOD teaches children how to learn to be independent!

Ok, having said all that, I am a mom of six, and we have had a lot of tragedy during our homeschooling years. I would say I am really a very average and somewhat easily distracted teacher. A lot of her schooling was very independent. But, isn’t it great we can choose a curriculum that really teaches them how to learn and be independent?!? Ultimately, that is the goal. Thank you Carrie, Julie, and Mike for all of your help along the way. Next year, I have three more graduating with HOD. It’s good to know it really was enough, and they really are prepared for the real world.


“Ms. Thank You Heart of Dakota for Preparing My Daughter for College”

Dear “Ms. Thank You Heart of Dakota for Preparing My Daughter for College,”

It was wonderful to hear an update on your kiddos and so encouraging to read about your oldest daughter’s experiences – coming from an HOD background as she headed into college. As homeschool moms, we want to be sure that we are preparing our kiddos the best that we can for what lies ahead, and that burden can feel heavy at times!

We celebrate with you, and we thank you for sharing your story!

It helps to hear stories from moms who have finished the homeschool journey as you have with your oldest daughter. We celebrate with you in that accomplishment!! I know that you have more kiddos to go yet, and I pray the Lord will walk with you and uplift you as you travel the homeschool road. I’m so glad to “see” you again! It seems like yesterday I was talking to you on the phone about putting your older kiddos in Bigger Hearts!! I also remember the blessing of meeting you at convention. Oh my! I often wonder where the years go. Thank you for taking the time to post an update to encourage all of us!


Nervous About Homeschooling in High School to Be Ready for College

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