March Library Builder: Save 10% on the Resurrection to Reformation Basic Set!

Library Builder

Use coupon code MARCH-LIBRARY for 10% on this month’s Library Builder book set: The Resurrection to Reformation 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 MARCH-LIBRARY on our website for the entire month of March to apply the savings to your order. The coupon applies to the Resurrection to Reformation Basic Package set of books.   To view all of the books in this set, just click here! (Scroll down until you see the “History Read-Alouds” section.)

How is the Basic Package used in Resurrection to Reformation?

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 Resurrection to Reformation Introduction, so why don’t we have a quick look at that?

(From the Introduction to Resurrection to Reformation):

Daily storytime sessions are linked to the “Reading about History” box of the plans by similar historical time period. These books provide the historical backdrop, or a panoramic view of history, while the “Reading about History” readings provide a more factual view.

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 a Basic Package, or sold individually, at

The following activities rotate through the “Storytime” box of plans and coordinate with the read-aloud assignments: orally narrating, finding vivid descriptions, locating new vocabulary, identifying plot twists, recognizing strong moods, copying great lines, and watching for life lessons. Students will record their answers on index cards. Depending on how large students write, they will need 12 or more index cards. We suggest placing the cards on a ring for organizational purposes.

Note: If you are already doing a Storytime package with a different Heart of Dakota program, you may choose to have 5th-6th grade students read the books in this package on their own by following the plans in the “Storytime” box. These students should be strong, independent readers who aren’t overly sensitive. Otherwise, reading aloud is the preferred method for using this package.

Use coupon code MARCH-LIBRARY to save!

To apply this month’s savings, just enter coupon code MARCH-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 Resurrection to Reformation looks like in your home, have a look at this article!

Resurrection to Reformation: Heart of Dakota’s Homeschool Program for Ages 10-12, with Extensions for Ages 13-14

Resurrection to Reformation: Heart of Dakota’s Homeschool Program for Ages 10-12, with Extensions for Ages 13-14

From Our House to Yours

Resurrection to Reformation: Heart of Dakota’s Homeschool Program for Ages 10-12, with Extensions for Ages 13-14

Heart of Dakota‘s Resurrection to Reformation is a homeschool program written for ages 10-12. Furthermore, it includes extensions for ages 13-14. This guide provides a Christ-centered overview of the early church, the Dark Ages, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the exploration of the New World, and the Advancement of science.  Get ready for an inspiring biographical approach to learning!  You will see how the strengths and gifts people were given equipped them to persevere through persecution and trials. Likewise, you will enjoy seeing how the strengths and gifts of your own children show themselves!

Students take over the reading of more Reading About History living books!

As Charlotte Mason advocated, students at the age of 9 should be more responsible for reading in all subject areas.  Why?  Well, because simply put, they remember it better. Picture yourself.  Would you rather have someone read aloud to you? With you only listening? And then be asked to share what you remember or answer questions about what was read? Or, would you rather have held the book in hand, have read it yourself, and then be asked to share what you remembered or answer questions?

Likewise, if you were required to write what you remembered, would you rather have read it yourself, with book in hand, or had someone else read it to you?  Let’s say the reading was about Charlemagne.  Would you be more likely to spell ‘Charlemagne’ properly if you read it yourself, or if your parent read it to you? The point is, once you are able to read, it is beneficial to read for yourself. Why? Because it begins to impact your comprehension, your retention, and your writing abilities. Hence, children are the same.  Therefore, Carrie wrote Resurrection to Reformation to have students read more of their history on their own.

Students respond to their reading in a variety of ways to help them become well-rounded students!
Students respond to their history readings in a variety of ways, so students can enjoy their strengths and improve their weaknesses. How? Well, first, students give an oral narration by retelling the history reading using oral narration tips. Second, students summarize biographical information about famous men and women from the history reading. Third, students locate the places around the world where famous people made their mark on history. Fourth, students write a written narration to reflect upon the history reading. Carrie made sure to include written narration tips to help.
Full-color student notebook pages provide a timeless keepsake of what was learned through the year!

Student notebook pages come printed in full color to provide a timeless keepsake of the year. Customized postcards of the cities researched, portraits of the people studied, maps of the places mentioned in the stories, paintings by great Renaissance artists, and authentic artifacts grace the pages of this lovely resource. Additional skills of research, timeline, geography, and independent history study skills round out the notebook entries.  The notebook pages also provide helpful visual aids for completion of history projects.

You choose whether you want to read the history-focused read alouds or not!

History read-alouds that are Charlotte Mason-style living books march alongside the history theme chronologically.  Since 10-12 year old children vary greatly, you choose whether you’d like to read these books aloud or not.  The following varied activities rotate through the “Storytime” box of plans and coordinate with the read-alouds:

  • orally narrating
  • finding vivid descriptions
  • locating new vocabulary
  • identifying plot twists
  • recognizing strong moods
  • copying great lines
  • watching for life lessons
What study of this period would be complete without a celebration of art and of Shakespeare?

Who could study this time period and not be awed by the visual beauty of art and the written words of Shakespeare?!?  Resurrection to Reformation does not disappoint.  With Art Appreciation, students enjoy Looking at Pictures to gain a more complete understanding of art. But, they also enjoy picture study more Charlotte Mason style with full-color art gallery pictures.  Never will they enter an art gallery ill-equipped to fully appreciate the art gracing the walls.  Likewise, Tales of Shakespeare and its accompanying Shakespeare Student Notebook pages help students enjoy Shakespeare.  This low-key introduction to Shakespeare is the gift that keeps giving!  Why?  Well, students who first enjoyed Shakespeare at a young age will likely enjoy it more fully in high school.

At a time when students are growing and changing, a girl and boy study is included!

One of the only things that was constant during the time period of Resurrection to Reformation was change.  Likewise, our children are experiencing much change during this time in life. RTR recognizes and honors this! How? Well, two days in each unit are focused on a devotional study about becoming a Godly young man or woman. This devotional Bible study is scheduled for the parent and student to complete and discuss together. At a time where there can be much confusion about this all-important topic, this study gives us as parents a Biblical way to be sure our children get it right.

Formal writing instruction makes a further connection to history with IEW’s Medieval History-Based Writing!

This IEW formal writing program by Lori Verstegan’s adds another important connection to the history theme!  No need to watch instructional videos, this writing program provides all you need in the plans. It includes two levels of instruction, checklists, samples, notes, vocabulary cards, and quizzes. The source material for the lessons is provided within the IEW Student Book.  Furthermore, it corresponds beautifully with the time period!

Get inspired by Bible Quiet Time!

Each daily Bible quiet time includes independent Bible lessons from
Hidden Treasures in Philippians. Students move step-by-step through Philippians to lead them to discover timeless truths. Each quiet time also includes a prayer focus, Scripture memory work, and music. Within each unit, students rotate through the 4 parts of prayer: adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

Just as the Bible Quiet Time is sure to inspire, Emily Dickinson’s poetry is sure to do the same!

A different classic poem written by Emily Dickinson is studied in each unit. Carrie chose each poem for its enduring quality and its ability to withstand the test of time. She chose the following varied activities to link to the poetry:

  • introduction of unfamiliar vocabulary
  • questions and discussion related to the meaning of the poem
  • lessons focusing on poetic devices
  • memorization of previously studied poems
  • copywork of selected poems within the Common Place Book
Daily science includes living books’ readings that encourage a love for God’s creation of Earth!

Unforgettable living book science readings provide the backbone for this year of earth science study.  Forget about the less than exciting textbooks you read about earth science in school.  Blot from your memory the science experiments you more than likely watched your teacher perform due to lack of supplies for every student.  This exciting year of earth science includes the varied science activities that are sure to make science come alive!  How? Well, first, students create a science notebook entry that includes diagrams, scientific terms, and Biblical copywork. Second, students alternate between oral and written narration to retell the science reading. Third, students alternate between oral narration and a choice of written narration topics with accompanying vocabulary words. Fourth, students conduct an experiment related to the reading and log it in a science notebook or on a copy of the “Science Lab Form.”

Finally, keep moving forward in language arts and math!

Reading, writing, copywork, spelling, grammar, and math – progress in these areas cannot be stressed enough.  With multiple levels of choices in each of these critical areas, students are sure to continue moving forward.  Incremental building upon these skills each year is necessary. Consequently, students are not ‘surprised’ by the rigor of upper middle school and high school.  Resurrection to Reformation recognizes the importance of taking a student where they are and moving them forward incrementally with purpose.

In closing, check out the areas linked with Learning Through History, in list form:

Corresponding History Readings
Who’s Who? Entries
Written Narrations
Oral Narrations
Timeline Sketches
Postcards of Places Researched
Mapping Exercises
Shakespeare: Readings, Coloring Pages, Copywork
History Interest Read-Alouds
Weekly Hands-on History Projects
Copywork: Quotes and Verses
Step-by-step Sketching with Draw and Write Through History: Vikings, Middle Ages, and Renaissance
Artist Overview Pages
Creation of a History Notebook
Corresponding Audio Overview of History with Diana Waring’s What in the World Vol. II
Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons

Additionally, here are the areas included in Learning the Basics, in list form:

Classic Poetry from Emily Dickinson: Read and Respond to a new poem weekly; Memorize one poem per quarter
Art Appreciation using Looking at Pictures
Personal Quiet-Time Bible Study of Philippians
Bible Passage Memory Work of Philippians 1 with CD
Bible Study: Becoming a Godly Young Man or Woman using Boyhood and Beyond or Beautiful Girlhood
Spelling: Choice of three sets of Dictation Passages
Grammar Lessons using the Text Building with Diligence: English 4 or Following the Plan: English 5
Literature Study using Drawn into the Heart of Reading
Choice of Math
Daily Living Book Science Readings in the area of Earth Science
Science Experiments with Written Lab Sheets emphasizing the Scientific Process
Notebooking in Science
Science Written Narrations with Guided Questioning

In Christ,


Charlotte Mason’s Picture Study Inspires Art Appreciation

More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment

Charlotte Mason’s Picture Study Inspires Art Appreciation

Charlotte Mason loved to inspire children to appreciate art by using the format of picture study. According to Charlotte Mason, We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture. (Volume 1, p. 309)

So, how do you do Charlotte Mason style picture study?

It is not as hard as one might think! In fact, many times people try to over-complicate Charlotte Mason’s picture study. Simply put, during picture study children spend time studying artist’s pictures, absorbing their details, and discussing what they noticed. In the process of picture study, the goal is for children to learn to appreciate art. Through picture study according to Charlotte Mason, Children learn not merely to see a picture but “to look at it”, taking in every detail. (Volume 6, p. 214-215)

So, what does Carrie have to say about her journey with Charlotte Mason’s picture study?

Our family pursued Charlotte Mason style picture study for many years before I wrote it into our guides. I must admit I was extremely skeptical about the simplicity of the Charlotte Mason approach to picture study in the beginning. But, I have become a firm believer in it as the years have passed! Because of picture study, my kiddos and I have learned to appreciate and love beautiful art. We spent time studying pictures, absorbing each picture’s details, and discussing what each of us individually noticed. Best of all, we did find we truly learned to appreciate art in the process. We also learned art study doesn’t have to be long or in-depth to resonate. It just needs to be meditated upon and shared.

So, when is picture study included in Heart of Dakota?

Heart of Dakota includes picture study one day in each unit of Resurrection to Reformation.  Parent and student get to do art appreciation together, so both can enjoy it! Art prints for the picture study either use full-color prints from Looking at Pictures or from the full-color “Art Gallery” provided in the back of the Resurrection to Reformation Student Notebook. Looking at Pictures with its 150 stunning illustrations in full color from The National Gallery in London (including entries from Leonardo, Rembrandt, Matisse, Seurat, Picasso, and many more) partnered with the full color Art Gallery in RTR’s notebook work together beautifully!

Closing Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but I am personally thankful we get to enjoy Charlotte Mason’s ideals in such a way that I can actually do them! If I were to try to do every Charlotte Mason ideal every day or even every homeschool year, I think I would fall down eventually. I feel I have the best of both worlds with the way Carrie has written HOD’s guides. The tenets of Charlotte Mason are always present in the guides – dictation, copywork, oral narrations, written narrations, timelines/Book of Centuries, and living books. But, the other Charlotte Mason led activities (such as hymn study, composer study, nature study, and picture study) rotate. Each gets their moment in the sun! We get to do each activity thoroughly and completely, so we can remember and enjoy it for years to come.

My children will never walk into an art museum without appreciating the art they see, and I have Charlotte Mason and Carrie Austin to thank for that!

 How do we prepare a child, again, to use the aesthetic sense with which he appears to come provided? His education should furnish him with whole galleries of mental pictures, pictures by great artists old and new. (Charlotte Mason, Volume 6, p. 43)

 We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture. (Charlotte Mason, Volume 1, page 109).

In Christ,



Reading the guide’s “Introduction” is great preparation for the school year

Teaching Tip

Reading the guide’s “Introduction” is great preparation for the school year.

You may be beginning to turn your thoughts toward school. One of the best ways to prepare for the upcoming year is to read through your HOD guide’s “Introduction.” There is such a wealth of information in the “Introduction” that we should truly title it something else!

How does reading the “Introduction” help prepare you for the year?

The “Introduction” will give you a feel for how each area is handled in the guide and the goals for each subject. It will let you know what notebooks, binders, etc. are needed for each subject area. Reading the “Introduction” provides a great summary of what to expect for the coming year. The “Introduction” is the last part of the guide we write. In this way, we can be sure that it truly summarizes needed information for you in one place!

If you have students in different HOD guides, read only one guide’s “Introduction” each day.

If you will be teaching more than one Heart of Dakota guide, read the “Introduction” for different guides on different days. This will help you focus on one guide at a time and will keep you from getting overwhelmed.

Can you use the guide without reading the “Introduction?”

Of course you can skip reading the “Introduction” and just jump right in and teach. However, often when families do this they miss the big picture of the guide. They also miss out on some gems that are referred to in the “Introduction” and included in the Appendix.

So, let’s get started!

After more than 15 years of homeschooling my boys with HOD, I still read the “Introduction” at the start of my school year! So, grab a cup of tea or coffee, cuddle up with your highlighter, and read away. Just reading the “Introduction” will make you feel more prepared!


Top Ten Tips for Teaching Multiple Guides