November Library Builder: Save 10% on the Drawn into the Heart Level 2 Book Pack!

Library Builder

Use coupon code NOVEMBER-LIBRARY for 10% on the Level 2 Book Pack for Drawn into the Heart of Reading!

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 NOVEMBER-LIBRARY on our website for the entire month of November to save 10% on Drawn into the Heart of Reading Level 2 book pack. To view all of the books in this set, just click here!

How is the Level 2 Book Pack used in Drawn into the Heart of Reading?

(From the package description in our online store):

“These optional book packs are to be used after the ‘Emerging Reader Set’. They are for use with children who are ready for chapter books with fewer pictures and are ready for more advanced reading material. Average second graders should follow the Emerging Reader’s Schedule. The Level 2 book pack is for use with Level 2 of Drawn into the Heart of Reading. These books are for advanced Level 2 readers.

In these levels, your child will read the chosen books out loud to you for a total of 15 days for each genre.  Each book in the package has an approximate reading level noting the grade and month next to it.  Use this information to choose the set that best suits your child’s reading level. Please keep in mind, these specific titles are not needed, but each book was very carefully chosen as an excellent reading selection for the noted reading level.

Our book sets were created to save you time and to help you find quality books at the right reading level. This is one of the keys to a successful reading experience for your child. You are welcome to use your own book selections if you prefer. Drawn into the Heart of Reading truly works with any books you choose.”

Use coupon code NOVEMBER-LIBRARY to save!

To apply this month’s savings, just enter coupon code NOVEMBER-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 Drawn into the Heart of Reading looks like in your home, have a look at this article!

Setting Up for Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR)

From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR)

So, I’ve placed my children, had my Heart of Dakota  ‘box day,’ and am setting up for Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR). My first step is to read through DITHOR’s Introduction, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. This helps me envision my year and understand what my guide covers. Likewise, it is important to read through the beginning pages and the “Getting Started” section in the Appendix.

Setting Up for Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR)

You can either set up DITHOR at the start or do it as you move through the plans. If I do this at the startI fill out each DITHOR Student Book’s “Reading Calendar.” Using HOD’s “Optional Book Recommendations,” I fill in the page numbers to be read each day. For example, if my son is using the DITHOR Level 7/8 Boy Interest Book Pack, I see ’15 days’ next to Biography: Stonewall Jackson. So, I divide the total number of pages or chapters in Stonewall Jackson by 15 and fill out the Reading Calendar accordingly. I might do this for each genre or just the first one. Or, if I am choosing my own books and not using a book pack, I choose 1-3 books and pace them out accordingly. Also, I might choose my first genre kickoff in my DITHOR Teacher’s Guide.

Genre Log, Reading Strategies Lists, Qualities of Good Reading Lists, and Optional Vocabulary Activities

One final thing I like to do is make a photocopy of the Genre Log found in the Appendix. I note the books my child is reading on this log and include it in his portfolio binder as a record of what he’s read for the year. The Appendix also includes excellent reading strategies and qualities of good reading tips. I like to photocopy the Reading Strategies: Teacher’s List, Reading Strategies: Student’s List, Qualities of Good Reading: Teacher’s List, and Qualities of Good Reading: Student’s List. Carrie does give permission to photocopy these. I keep the teacher’s lists for me to reference and the student’s lists for my child to reference. However, you can always just put a tab in your DITHOR guide’s Appendix and label it “READING TIPS,” if you’d rather.

Notes on DITHOR’s Pacing Options

If you’re using DITHOR alongside a main HOD guide, follow the pacing in your main guide. For example, if you’re using DITHOR with Beyond… or with Bigger Hearts…, the pacing of DITHOR is 5 days a week. If you’re using Preparing Hearts through Missions to Modern Marvels, the pacing of DITHOR is 3 days a week. You can find the pacing for DITHOR noted in the Language Arts box of the daily HOD guide’s plans. Finally, if you’re using DITHOR as a stand alone program, you can choose whatever pacing you’d like. In general, a pacing of 3 or 5 days a week works well. If you choose a pacing of 3 days a week, you’ll get through about half of the 9 DITHOR genres one year, and the other half the next year. A 5 day a week pacing will get your student through all 9 genres.

Notes on Vocabulary Options and Phonics Options for DITHOR

If you are using DITHOR and not an HOD main guide alongside it, you may want to photocopy the optional Vocabulary Activities from the Appendix. These vocabulary activities can be used when the DITHOR teacher’s guide suggests them as optional activities. Heart of Dakota’s main guides that include all subject areas already include vocabulary activities in their daily plans. Because of this, there is no need to add the additional optional vocabulary activities noted in DITHOR’s Appendix, unless you feel this is an area your child needs to work on improving. Likewise, if your child still needs additional phonics practice, there is a reminder in the DITHOR plans to include this another way. However, this is optional. If your child is past needing phonics, there is no need to include it.

In Christ,


What high school literature should I use for my 10th grader who used DITHOR for 9th grade?

Dear Carrie

What high school literature should I use for my 10th grader who used DITHOR for 9th grade?

Dear Carrie,

My 15 year old 9th grader is using Resurrection to Reformation with extensions. He is also using Revival to Revolution’s  writing and science, with at-level grammar, DITHOR, and math. Next year for 10th grade, he will use Revival to Revolution with extensions. He will also use Missions to Modern Marvels’  writing, with World History science/health, and at-level math and grammar. However, I’m unsure of what to use for his high school literature component.

I have two ideas! My first idea is to continue using DITHOR for high school literature for 10th grade. He’s using 5 genres of the 6/7/8 level this year for 9th grade. So, the following year, I could finish the rest of the genres and maybe double up on one to make 5 genres again for 10th grade, but use harder books than HOD lists for 7/8. My second idea is to use World Geography’s  BJU literature set. His reading level is certainly high enough to handle 10th grade literature. It’s difficulty with organization and time management that has kept him in lower guides, not comprehension. Or, is there a third idea you might have? By the way, thanks Carrie and Julie for helping me with the rest of the plan earlier! Although sometimes a bit busy, using multiple guides for different level subjects has worked really well for him!


“Ms. Please Help Me Choose High School Literature for My Son’s 10th Grade Year”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Choose High School Literature for My Son’s 10th Grade Year,”

We are so happy to hear your son’s year has gone well! As far as literature for 1oth grade goes, it would be fine to do the high school literature from the World Geography guide. In the event that doing all of BJU Lit and the accompanying novels feels a bit heavy for your son, one option you could consider is to split the World Geography Guide literature, doing only the novels from World Geography along with DITHR Student Book 6/7/8 this year and then doing the BJU lit the following year (when your son uses the World Geography guide for his writing along with MTMM). So, this will give you a back-up plan to consider.

Looking Ahead to Make a Plan for High School Literature

If you can look ahead and plan for your son to do the high school literature from the World History guide as written for either his junior or senior year, that would be good. Also, if your son is required to do American Literature for any future college entrance, then you would do that his senior year. If the American Literature is a necessity, then you would likely do the World Geography guide’s lit this year without splitting it in order to get to the American Literature in the USI guide before graduation. In that case, if you get into this year and feel the literature with both BJU and the novels is too heavy, you could do just the BJU Lit without the novels and then move onto the World History high school literature the following year. So, these are all options that would work!



DITHOR Lessons and Projects with Two Students in Different Levels

Dear Carrie

How does a DITHOR lesson and project look with two students in different levels?

Dear Carrie,

How does a DITHOR “lesson” look with two students in different levels? I’m trying to figure out how we do this when they’re reading different books. If my boys are in different levels (older reading 4/5 and younger reading 2/3), but we are studying the same genre, do I choose the same project for them? Thanks!


“Ms. Please Describe a DITHOR Lesson and Project for Two Students in Different Levels in Heart of Dakota

Dear “Ms. Please Describe a DITHOR Lesson and Project for Two Students in Different Levels,”

You can choose the same project for your two students if desired, or you can do different projects. I often let my boys choose from among the project options. Sometimes they choose to do the same project, and other times they choose to do a different project. I just have the planning meeting with them on the “first” project day, as laid out in the guide. Then, I typically break the task down for them, so they know what to do each day for 5 days. I keep the project time each day the same as a typical DITHOR lesson, so in that way the project does not take over our day.

I use the first day of our scheduled DITHOR time to map out the pages they’ll be reading and choose a kick-off.

One thing I do to keep DITHOR going well throughout the year, is on the first day during our scheduled DITHOR time, I just sit down with the kiddos and map out the pages they’ll be reading in their Student Books and also choose a kick-off. I count that as my first DITHOR day. Then, I put the guide away, and the next day we do the kick-off. As each day passes I just teach through the guide, one day at a time, and when I get to the project day, we just pick the project and map it out. Then, we put the guide away. The next day we begin the project.

I plan DITHOR right within my school day to avoid planning in the evenings.

This way, I don’t have to do planning at night ahead of time but can just sit down and do it when it comes up in my DITHOR time during the school day. If I need a bit of planning for DITHOR in which the kiddos aren’t needing to be present, I send them to do their next subject instead. It sometimes adds a few days to DITHOR to do it this way, but it keeps us going forward steadily and keeps me from having any planning to do in the evenings. It makes DITHOR fit right within the school day, and I’m never caught unprepared. DITHOR truly can be open-and-go, as long as you’ve chosen the books to read. But, if I do come across something I’m not ready for, I just stop and plan it then and there and then do it with the kiddos the next day.

My oldest two sons reaped the benefits of DITHOR in high school level literature.

My oldest two sons really reaped the benefits from DITHOR with a seamless transition to high school level literature. Their moral discernment far outweighs what I had book-wise when I was their age too! They actually choose to read classic novels and enjoy themselves in the process. Their love of reading was truly encouraged with DITHOR, and I am thankful daily for the discussions we had about literature in light of the Bible throughout their elementary and middle school years thanks to DITHOR. I hope you have a great start to DITHOR!


Four fun ways to encourage summer reading!

A Heart of Dakota Life

Four fun ways to encourage summer reading!

Summer is fast approaching, and we have found this is a wonderful time to read!  I like to encourage keeping up the habit of reading in the summer, but I also like to keep it fairly simple. Below I will share four fun ideas we have incorporated to encourage summer reading.

Tap into your Heart of Dakota personal library this summer!

One thing you will accumulate by homeschooling with Heart of Dakota is excellent literature.  Carrie has carefully chosen Charlotte Mason style living books for every subject area. Just as we like to reread favorite books as adults, I have found my children do as well. When my children were little, I only owned 3 or 4 Heart of Dakota guides and their accompanying books. So when the summer began, I set out all of the books we’d previously used. Then, I let them choose one by one any books they wanted to reread for fun. Of course, they could only read books from guides they’d already completed. We can’t spoil the next guide, can we?!? Once my children were older and I owned too many books to set out, we made a trip to our basement library shelves of HOD books.

Order from Heart of Dakota the Extension Package for the guide you just completed!

When we have just finished studying a time period together, I have found it such fun to order the Extension Package for the guide we just completed! If my children are mature enough and good enough readers to enjoy the Extension Package, I love for them to read them. I make sure not to expect any follow-up assignments to be done because it IS summer. However, I do find I still hear many impromptu oral narrations anyway! I like to put them in a basket in each child’s room. Then, they can read them at their leisure. For my children who are more sequential, I might give them a copy of the Extension Package books printed from the Internet or copied from the Heart of Dakota Catalog. Then, they can read them in the order they are listed, which is the chronological order they are planned in the guide.

Check out from the library the Emerging Reader’s Set supplemental titles!

If you have a child that just completed the Emerging Reader’s Set, why not check out from the library the supplemental titles? Carrie painstakingly chose supplemental titles of comparable reading levels and listed them by unit in your Emerging Reader’s Set schedule. These supplemental titles are a super way to keep the ball rolling for brand new readers! When we take a break from reading with newly independent readers, I find they often backtrack. This is why it is a great idea to enjoy the supplemental titles for the Emerging Reader’s Set!  Yes, the first ones will be easy, but that’s alright! Though we can read at a college level as adults, that doesn’t mean we want to read at that level for fun all the time! Our children enjoy reading at different levels other than their highest level too.

Get ahead in Drawn into the Heart of Reading by doing a few genres in the summer!

If there is one thing I love, it is that feeling of ‘getting ahead’ somehow! That is why I have often enjoyed doing 1-2 genres of Drawn into the Heart of Reading in the summer. I remember one summer in particular. Looking at the genres, I decided Adventure would be a wonderful genre for the summer!  For each of my sons, I chose a different Adventure book from their upcoming homeschool year of DITHOR books. Then, we did the kickoff up really big! I had the time!  Likewise, we did the final project up really big!  Again, why not? I had the time!  I remember actually burying pirate hats, pirate eye patches, and pirate swords in a tote in our garden. At the end of their treasure hunt, they got to dig up the tote. We even invited the cousins to be a part of it all!

I hope this gives you some ideas of how you can encourage your children to read this summer!  Give us a call at Heart of Dakota if you need help choosing a book pack to order – we love to help! We also love to think of children reading for the pure joy of it in the summer!

In Christ,