Before and After Pictures Show Progress in Homeschooling

From Our House to Yours

Snap Before and After Pictures to Show Progress 

Many of us are in the homestretch of completing our homeschooling year with Heart of Dakota. Students might be nearing the end of their Heart of Dakota guide. Or in contrast, as homeschooling has flexible pacing, students may be starting a guide or in the middle of a guide. If your student is in the middle or end of their guide, this post is for you!  Heart of Dakota guides are front-loaded, with all skills being taught right away.  This allows students to improve their skills day by day, week by week.  One way to celebrate this progress is to snap “before” and “after” pictures!

As all of our kiddos our nearing the end of their guides, we decided to celebrate progress with each other!  First, I asked each of them to choose an assignment they felt they’d shown the most improvement in.  Next, we shared them with each other and snapped pictures.  Finally, we shared them here with you!  This has been such fun!

Emmett’s Before and After Pictures for Creation to Christ:  Most Improved in Notebook Assignments 

Before… Comments by Emmett:

  • notebook writing was very large
  • my notebook writing ran together
  • not even sure what I drew for the notebook illustration in Box 4
  • totally missed completing an notebook assignment in Box 6
Before… Unit 3 CTC Notebook

After… Comments by Emmett:

  • notebook writing neater and fits in boxes
  • timeline assignment more colorful
  • illustrations in notebook improved
  • completed all my notebook assignments well
AFTER… Unit 26 CTC Notebook







Riley’s Before and After Pictures for World Geography:  Most Improved in One Sentence Summary Assignment 

Before… Comments by Riley:

  • writing of the summary was too small
  • spelling in the summary was not right
  • didn’t fill the box completely with my sentence

After… Comments by Riley:

  • included all elements needed for the one sentence summary
  • remembered to box, circle, cloud, star my summary without being reminded
  • summaries were more descriptive and interesting to read
Before and After Pics from Units 3 and 30 of World Geography
Wyatt’s Before and After Pictures for U.S. History II:  Most Improved in Opinion Narrations 

Before… Comments by Wyatt:

  • opinions were randomly presented
  • wasn’t clear what was my opinion and what was fact
  • my opinions interrupted the storyline of my retelling

After… Comments by Wyatt:

  • better job evenly expressing my opinions throughout the narration
  • improved at clearly presenting them as my opinions
  • my opinions were interspersed so the story retelling went smoothly
Before… Unit 15 on Left; After… Unit 31 on Right from U.S. II History

As you near the end of your homeschool year, whenever that may be according to your chosen pacing, why not celebrate?  One great way to show progress in homeschooling is to snap “Before” and “After” pictures.  Hope this idea helps your family celebrate the progress your kiddos are making in Heart of Dakota!


In Christ,


P.S. To read more about Creation to Christ’s notebooking, click here!

P.S.S. To read more about written narrations as a form of assessment, click here!

P.S.S.S.  To read about another way to share favorite homeschool assignments, click here!





Celebrate Students’ Progress by Comparing Work from Start to Finish

From Our House to Yours

Heart of Dakota’s guides include front-loaded plans for the intentional building of skills from start to finish!

Students soon discover that Heart of Dakota’s guides are front-loaded with skills. All year long, students strive to show progress in these skills from unit to unit.  Students find some of the skills to be totally new, and these are the most challenging.  They find other skills were introduced previously in an earlier guide but have another level of difficulty added.  Finally, students recognize other skills were previously introduced and are being maintained with continued practice.  One of my favorite things to do is to celebrate progress by comparing our children’s work from start to finish!

Celebrating Progress in Creation to Christ’s Prophecy Chart from Start to Finish 

The Skills Taught

Creation to Christ‘s prophecy chart assignment includes many skills. First, students find and read Old Testament verses.  Then, students find and read New Testament verses.  Finally, students compare them to show how God has had a plan for “His-story” since the beginning of time.  

From Start to Finish

When this skill was first introduced, Emmett wrote a few phrases that stood out to him.  Gradually, Emmett progressed in this skill and found the most important words to show the fulfillment of the prophecy.  Finally, he wrote lengthier more inspirational portions of the Scripture, and this is where it gets exciting!  This is when he truly made the connection how amazing it is that God plans THAT FAR in advance!  He made an incredible connection here! I cannot imagine studying the ancients and missing that connection.  Christ is the fulfillment of the prophecies, and because of Him our future is bright!  

Celebrating Progress in Creation to Christ Notebooking Pages from Start to Finish

The Skills Taught

Students follow directions to organize their work in full-color notebooking pages for the first time in CTC .  With guide in hand, they need to carefully read step-by-step directions to complete each unit in their notebook.  Teacher and student share the CTC guide at this point, as it’s used as teacher’s guide and a student planner.  Students must locate box numbers within the pages and follow directions to complete each assignment.  They must note whether the plans say to write in cursive or print, as both skills are practiced in CTC.  Finally, each box of plans is linked to a different connection to the history theme.

From Start to Finish

When Emmett first began writing in his notebook, he had trouble carefully following directions.  He sometimes wrote in the wrong boxes, wrote outside the boxes, forgot steps, wrote in cursive instead of print, etc.  Now, he has learned to read directions carefully, to follow them in order, and to check his spelling.  What progress!

Celebrating Progress in Creation to Christ’s History Projects from Start to Finish

The Skills Taught

Three days of each unit are devoted to completing a history project in connection with the  history theme.  Students follow step-by-step directions for the history project that are given directly in the guide.  About 20 minutes each of the 3 days is devoted to the completion of one history project.  The skills needed to complete a project from start to finish take time to develop.  Students quickly learn that a missed step equals lost time and a project that may not turn out.  These skills are invaluable.  Many future high school and college courses include the completion of projects as a large portion of the final grade.  Portfolio-based assessments are a part of many syllabi.

From Start to Finish

Emmet completed the project he is holding 100% on his own, as I was sick with the flu.  It has many steps, and he followed them all.  His coloring isn’t perfect, but he did master the skill of following steps to complete a project over multiple days.  He was so proud of his history project!  There is much satisfaction in independently completing a project well from start to finish.  It is something to be celebrated!

Take Time to Celebrate 

I hope this encourages you to take a moment to reflect on the progress you’ve seen in Heart of Dakota!  Try comparing assessments at the start of your student’s portfolio to assessments near the end of your student’s portfolio.  I bet it will give you both cause to celebrate!  We need to do this from time to time because progress on this homeschool journey deserves attention.  We needn’t wait for the end of the journey to celebrate! Steps along the way are worthy of celebration too, so why wait?

In Christ,