A Typical Day Running 3 Heart of Dakota Guides

From Our House to Yours

Creation to Christ’s “Reading About History” part of the plans is fascinating!
Creation to Christ - Unit 12 - The Divided Kingdom
Creation to Christ – Unit 12 – The Divided Kingdom

In Creation to Christ Emmett has been learning about the ancients time of King Solomon and the time of the divided kingdom. He researched Solomon’s Temple online and answered questions about where it was built, how long it took to build, the materials used, the outside/inside of the temple, what Solomon did when the temple was complete, and how we know the Lord was pleased with its completion.

Creation to Christ’s 3-Day “History Projects” are so much fun!
ten white pockets for the tribes of Israel and two blue pockets for the tribes of Judah

His history project pictured above shows the division of the 12 tribes of Israel. While Solomon originally ruled all 12 tribes, due to his worshiping other pagan gods (as well as Israel), the resulting punishment was his kingdom being torn away from him. Ten tribes were given to Jeroboam, and two tribes were given to Rehoboam. Emmett made ten white pockets for the tribes of Israel and two blue pockets for the tribes of Judah. He then tore a piece of cloth into 12 pieces, just as the prophet Ahijah did with his robe, to signify the dividing of the kingdom. Each pocket has a piece of the robe in it. What a neat project and a memorable way to retain this part of ancient history!

You can also see Emmett Heart of Dakota history notebook pictured above, which shows his timeline entries, historical written narration, meaningful copywork from a history living book, and independent history assignment.

Creation to Christ’s poetry by Robert Frost and watercolor painting is a great combination!
Robert Frost's poem
Water color painting of Robert Frost’s poem “Going for Water”.

A few other highlights of the week were his watercolor painting of a night sky with the moon rising for Robert Frost’s poem Going for Water and his science experiment showing how a dinosaur moved for his Land Animals… science reading. He decided he’s very thankful he is not a dinosaur and can simply walk and run on 2 legs!


World Geography and World Religions and Cultures are two studies that complement each other very well!
He also made matzah, which is unleavened bread

In World Geography Riley finished his history theme for Unit 12 and started Unit 13. He really enjoyed his assignment in Mapping the World with Art. He drew and colored his own Medieval/Renaissance compass rose. He read about explorers, such as Diaz from Portugal, who used a magnetic compass such as this to navigate the southern coast of Africa. He also made matzah, which is unleavened bread in response to his World Religion and Culture’s reading. It was good the first time, but the second day, we were all happy to go back to our homemade leavened bread!

World Geography’s 1/2 credit Logic elective has been fascinating!
. . . knowing fact from fallacy is important!

Riley has absolutely loved his Fallacy Detective book. He said he was sad it was the last reading. As this is an elective, I often let him check his own answers with the answer key and just meet with me to informally share what he’d learned or what struck him the most from the day’s reading/assignment. He always had something clever or witty to share, and he often shares examples of logic he’s seen in billboards, commercials, or magazines. What a neat elective to do – and an important one, as knowing fact from fallacy is important! Finally, he worked on his English assignment, and I stressed the important of writing neatly.

US II teaches our boys how to prepare talking points just as if they were to give a press conference!
Bismarck the German Navy ship

In USII High School Wyatt finished Unit 18 and started Unit 19. On an index card, he prepared a list of talking points for his oral narration. He spoke about Britain standing alone against Hitler, Hitler’s plans for the Soviet Union, Bismarck the German Navy ship, and FDR’s promise to help Britain. He also used his USII Notebook as a visual aid by sharing the drawing of the Loss of H.M.S. Hood.


USII’s full-color notebook pages are a great way to organize each week’s studies!
The Dawn of World War II

The full-color Heart of Dakota notebooks are so beautiful and add much learning to Wyatt’s school day. The photographs, charts, portraits, political cartoons, maps, etc. you see pictured all provided a visual basis for his topic oral narration. I love to listen to Wyatt narrate! It is obvious he enjoys history, remembers what he has read, and gives a very ‘narrative’ narration – in other words, I think he’s become an excellent storyteller! Just what Charlotte Mason would have liked! Wyatt also worked on his Economics elective and his Algebra, which you can see in the pictures.

I hope that this snapshot of a typical day running 3 Heart of Dakota guides is a blessing to all of you amazing moms who are doing so much to make your children’s lives all that they can be!

In Christ,


Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 3

From Our House to Yours

Can you encourage personal style within the provided structure of Heart of Dakota’s plans?

Without a doubt! As I shared last week, the opportunity to include creative personal style is already part of Heart of Dakota’s plans. So, how are both included then you may wonder? Well, the daily plans provide specific guidelines for each school subject, which gives structure for each assignment. Structure might include questions that must be answered, topics that must be addressed, key words that must be included, etc. So, specific parameters are given, but they need not take away the creativity of personal style!

How can students get creative with their personal style then?

Glad you asked! Personal style is included in a living books approach to homeschooling, and Heart of Dakota uses a living books approach. Narrations have structure, like which book to read, which pages to narrate upon, and which kind of narration to give. However, they still encourage personal style. Students can choose what to retell, how to retell it, and when to connect it to an author’s style. In contrast to Heart of Dakota’s living books approach, a textbook and workbook approach includes a more robotic response. Likewise, assessments in textbook and workbook approaches include one right answer only questions – not much personal style allowed there! Instead of this dry approach to learning, Heart of Dakota includes varied assessments within the daily structure of the plans.

Do you have some examples of personal style being encouraged within the structure of the plans?

Absolutely! This week, let’s chat about my son, Wyatt, who is using Heart of Dakota’s U.S. History II. I’ll start with the ‘Key Word’ Written Narration assignment. Wyatt is my ‘big picture’ narrator, so including key words in his oral narrations is something he does quite naturally. Writing 4-5 paragraphs in response to his America: The Last Best Hope II reading is something he does well now. But at the start, we worked together to learn the ins and outs of the structure of the plans. Underlining each required element of structure helped nothing to get missed.

Initially, I assigned points for each structure noted in the plans. For example, 10 points for choosing key words, 10 points for including key words in the writing, etc. I didn’t assign a grade for this as he was still learning how to follow the structure of the plans. But, if he received 40 out of 50 points, he could see where corrections needed to be made. A few months into the guide, this point system was no longer necessary. Spending time helping him learn the structure of each assessment set him free to add his own personal style! Once all the structured elements are included, personal style can then be added, and that’s when the fun begins!

Key Word Written Narration Assignment
US II: Key Word Written Narration Assignment
US II: Key Word Written Narration Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•a key word list must be made
•key words must be included in written narration
•written narration must be 4-5 paragraphs long
•key words used must be highlighted
•written narration must be read aloud
•narration must be edited using Written Narration Skills checklist


Personal Style:

•decide which key words to use
•chose own topics to narrate upon
•determin how to include key words such as names, dates, places, actions, and/or quotes
•pick to write in print or cursive
•chose to read aloud written narration to me

A Few Things to Remember:

Key words are to be chosen by the student. If the key words aren’t the words you’d have chosen – for personal style – let it be! However, structure demands key words are pertinent to the reading and included in the narration. Likewise, students need not be made to write in cursive. But, if the writing isn’t legible enough for the student to read it aloud, it must be fixed.

Living Library ‘Triple-Entry Journal’ Assignment
US II: Key Word Written Narration Assignment
US II: Living Library “Triple-Entry Journal” Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•meaningful passages or quotes should be flagged
•triple column entry format must be used
•1st column must include quote
•2nd column must include the context
•3rd column must include personal commentary

Personal Style:

•determine to use own quotes or passages
•pick own personal reaction to share in commentary
•decide to write quotes in cursive and context and commentary in print
•chose to read aloud triple-entry journal assignment to me

A Few Things to Remember:

This is an extra credit option in the plans. So, if the quotes chosen aren’t your favorite – in the name of personal style – let it be! However, structure demands the triple-entry journal format is followed. So if any portion of the assignment is missing, it must be completed to be called ‘done.’

Key Decisions in U.S. History II History Activities Assignment
USII: Key Decisions History Activities Assignment
USII: Key Decisions History Activities Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•certain pages must be read
•specific question must be answered
•a decision from provided options must be chosen
•chosen decision must be supported and explained
•Key decision actually made in history must be read at end

Personal Style:

•determine which decision he would have made
•chose to support his chosen decision by explaining why he would have not chosen the other decisions
•decide the length of his explanation
•chose to read his decision aloud to me

A Few Things to Remember:

One of the decisions listed was actually the decision made in history. However, in the name of personal style, if the student chose a different decision, that’s absolutely fine! That’s the goal of this assignment, to show how decisions made in history are not always easy. Nor are the decisions made always right. However, structure demands one of the given decisions is chosen, explained, and supported.

British Literature Journal Assignment
USII: British Literature Journal Assignment
USII: British Literature Journal Assignment

Structure in the Plans:

•ponder the questions in the Introduction
•read and annotate given pages
•include given annotation
•must reflect in writing upon given questions in British literature journal
•need to  view Pride and Prejudice DVD

Personal Style:

•determine his own annotations to make
•chose how much detail to include in his answers in his journal
•decide whether to write in print or in cursive
•pick to read aloud his British literature journal assignment to me

A Few Things to Remember:

This isn’t a quiz! So, if your student didn’t make the annotations you would have – for personal style – let it be! However, structure demands annotations are made and questions are answered. If all of the questions are not answered in writing, the assignment isn’t ‘good enough’ until they are.

The past few weeks, I’ve shared assignments from Creation to Christ, World Geography, and U.S. History II. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed seeing how the structure of Heart of Dakota’s plans still encourages personal style! I hope you can embrace not only the solid academics structure provides, but also the joy personal style can bring. Have a wonderful week, ladies!!!

If you would like to read the previous 2 posts in this series, here they are:

Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 1

Personal Style Within the Structure of the Plans, Part 2

In Christ,

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Heart of Dakota

Living Books Bring History to Life

From Our House to Yours

The “Living Library” set of books in USII brings history to life.

In USII, Wyatt has been reading I’ll Watch the Moon for his living library selection. This book is a page-turner that just cannot be put down! The characters have so much depth to them, and his favorite is a holocaust survivor who brings hope and peace to all who know him. There are some hard things to read in this book! But then life is hard sometimes, especially in the aftermath of the holocaust. He worked ahead and did multiple journal entries each day at the end of the book because he just had to know how it ended. I’ll Watch the Moon is a gem of a book that is a rare find – thank you Carrie for choosing so carefully! To read more  about the “Living Library” books in this guide click here.

US II - Detailed Highlighted Written Narration
US II – Detailed Highlighted Written Narration

In USII History, Wyatt has been learning about “I Like Ike,” the end of the Korean War, Billy Graham, and McCarthyism. He did a detailed high-lighted written narration about his reading from America: The Last Best Hope. Answering some wonderful critical thinking questions really got him thinking deeply about what he read. The critical thinking question “State Department Worker: What should you tell the Senate Foreign Relations Committee?” put him in the role of decision maker. Reading the actual outcome is always interesting as well!!!

Writing a good research paper in World Geography takes . . . research!

In World Geography, Riley wrote a persuasive essay for Essentials in Writing Grade 10. He researched and wrote about the dangers of chewing tobacco. We know some young adult men not much older than Riley that chew tobacco, and it really worries Riley. It would be wonderful for them to stop! His essay explains the dangers of chewing tobacco, and he did an excellent job researching it. I like that he can choose his own topics within the realm of the requirements of the assignment. This allows him to be personally invested in his essay right from the start!

World Geography - Notebooking
WG – Labeled picture of Davis’ invention of the backstaff

World Geography History has had Riley learning about Davis’ polar journeys, Hudson’s and Baffin’s Bay, and Raleigh’s Ed Dorado. He drew and labeled a picture of Davis’ invention of the backstaff, which allowed navigators to have more accurate latitude readings. An important quote from Davis was also copied in the notebook. Earlier he wrote a written narration about Martin Frobisher as well. He is truly loving learning about all of these brave explorers!

Watercolor paintings in Creation to Christ are a great connection to the poetry of Robert Frost.

In Creation to Christ, Emmett first learned about Alexander the Great conquering Persia and then moved on to learn about Alexander’s entire empire. He used strips of paper to make his own ancient map of the places he has been reading about. He also drew the famous horse Bucephalus. Timeline entries on the Peloponnesian War, Philip of Macedonia gaining control of Greece, and the Reign of Alexander the Great were added to his notebook as well. He researched Olympia, which was so fitting as the winter olympics are soon beginning here! Don’t you just love it when the Lord makes neat connections between HOD history and real life like this?!? Finally, he drew the famous Lighthouse of Alexandria.

Creation to Christ Watercolor Robert Frost
Watercolor of a sunset to go with Robert Frost poem “Acceptance”

One of his favorite activities this week was painting a lovely sunset to go with his Robert Frost poem “Acceptance.” He also enjoyed adding to his plant notebooking booklet. Researching and drawing the dead nettle plant, as well as copying a Bible verse beneath it, added another lovely entry to his growing plant book. Finally, we all enjoyed getting together at our house to watch the Superbowl!

What a terrific week! Hope you had a good homeschooling week too!!!

In Christ,