Is Bible history covered in World History?

Dear Carrie

Is Bible history covered in World History?

Is there mostly a secular historical focus in the Heart of Dakota’s World History guide? Or, is there a good amount of content on Israel and the Hebrews? My 13 year-old daughter is finishing Missions to Modern Marvels. She really feels sad that she can’t remember much about Creation to Christ (CTC) years ago. I was contemplating going back and reviewing all of this with her. Or, will she hit it again in World History? For example, she doesn’t remember much about the 12 Tribes, the destruction of the temple, their exile, etc. It wouldn’t be hard to go through each page of her CTC notebook to refresh her memory. However, it might give her peace knowing that it will come up again in a couple of years. Come to think of it, does Heart of Dakota’s World Geography cover that material at all? Thanks!


“Ms. Wondering If Bible History Is Covered in World History”

Dear “Ms. Wondering If Bible History Is Covered in World History,”

The Archaeology Book covers ancient Biblical civilizations, especially the geography of the Bible Lands, in the World Geography Guide quite well. There is also coverage of the Hebrew nation and the Twelve Tribes integrated within that. The World History Guide goes deeper into Biblical history. It definitely studies the fuller history of the Hebrew nation and the rise of Israel. Several resources focus on Old and New Testament history, albeit in the scope of a one-year tour through World History. When combined with the Old Testament Bible Survey course in the World History Guide, excellent coverage of Old Testament History is provided.

With the Biblical content in each of the guides, there is no way the high school guides could be viewed as secular.

Of course, there is also coverage of New Testament history in the World History Guide as well, with the pinnacle leading to the resurrection of Christ. Additionally, a New Testament Survey course is planned for the American History Guide the following year to more deeply study the New Testament. With the Biblical content contained in each of the guides, there is no way that either of the high school guides could be viewed as secular guides. In fact, I make a point when writing the guides to be sure that they are steeped in God’s Word and contain Biblical history as much as possible!

Together, the World Geography and the World History guides give a wonderful foundation in the geography and history of the Bible.

I share this to give you a fuller picture of what is ahead, and pray that your child will be as richly blessed by the upcoming guides as our own boys have – and are being blessed. You can easily wait to cover the areas you mentioned once you get to the World Geography and World History Guide if desired. Together, the high school guides give a wonderful foundation in the geography and history of the Bible. I agree that these topics are too important to be missed, or to be passed over lightly! That is why they come around again and are given a deeper look as the kiddos get older! This was a great question to ask! Thank you for asking it!



Follow-Up Response from “Ms. Wondering If Bible History Is Covered in World History”

Thank you for your response! This really helps me in thinking through our next few years! It gives me a peace about covering this important time once again. I think I might have learned (and retained) more than my daughter with our first pass through Ancients, since she was so young. I am thankful and excited to spend more time in that period of history! Since the high school guide is written for high school credit, I was a little concerned that the history might have more of a secular slant. Thank you for working so hard to intertwine secular with Biblical history throughout high school!


Help with How to Correct the Total Health Chapter Reviews

Dear Carrie

Help with How to Correct the Total Health Chapter Reviews

We are using Heart of Dakota’s World History high school guide for 10th grade. My son is enjoying it – especially the Charlotte Mason living books for Living Library! We are both glad these are a part of my son’s high school years. I have a question about Total Health. The Chapter Reviews are part of the grading, but I don’t see an answer key. Am I looking the wrong place? Or, do you have tips for how to correct the chapter reviews? Thanks in advance.


“Ms. Please Help Me Correct the Total Health Chapter Reviews”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Correct the Total Health Chapter Reviews,” 

When putting together the resources needed for each HOD High School guide, we try to be as mindful as possible of which resources are truly needed to complete each guide. If we included all available ancillary guides for each subject areas, the overall price tag for a year of high school would quickly spin out of control. The Total Health Teacher’s Guide does contain the answers to the chapter reviews, however with that being the only purpose we would need the guide for and with a price of over $70 for that guide, we found it easier and more economical to refer to the student text for the answers to the chapter reviews.

We scheduled only a few chapter review questions each day, and the answers are found in order in the short reading assignment that day.

Each Total Health chapter is broken up in our Heart of Dakota guide so that the answers for the few questions scheduled from the chapter review each day are actually found within the reading pages scheduled for that same day. We did this purposefully so that the parent must do very little searching to locate the answers.

Total Health also encourages personal application with open-ended questions.

Having done Total Health two different years now with two different students, I didn’t seem to have difficulty with that part of the correcting. Often, we were scheduled to discuss things within the chapter that I had the book in hand for anyway.   Plus, depending on the question, the boys’ answers weren’t always the same.

We do carry the Total Health: Test and Quiz Master Book, which includes answers for the cumulative chapter tests.

I did appreciate having the answers for the Total Health tests though, as those were cumulative for each chapter (and would require scouring the entire chapter for answers to correct without an answer key). This is why we do carry the Total Health: Test and Quiz Master Book within our packages, as it contains both tests and an answer key.


Setting Up for World Geography

From Our House to Yours

Setting Up for World Geography 

So, I’ve placed my children, had my Heart of Dakota  ‘box day,’ and am setting up for high school World Geography (WG). My first step is to read through WG’s Introduction/Overview, Appendix, and first week or month of plans. This helps me envision my year and understand what my guide covers. Each high school credit includes its own specific course description, required resources, course materials, and suggested grading. So, taking time to read through these is time well spent. As I read, I make notes of supplies I need and don’t have on hand in the introduction’s margins. This way, I can easily make my shopping list later based on my notes.

Setting Up the Front of My World Geography Binder

First, I slide the preprinted full color World Geography Expedition Journal cover in the front of my 1 inch 3-ring binder. Second, I print the Overview of the guide off the Internet (click here). I use the Table of Contents as my attendance record, noting the dates we completed each unit (i.e. Unit 1:  Sept. 2-6, 2019). Likewise, I include the Earning Credits and Possible Grading Scale in my binder to show how credit was earned.  Third, I print the first week of plans (click here), which is a nice overview. If your state requires a completed portfolio for meeting with a principal or umbrella school, the Introduction and first week of plans give an excellent overview. (Carrie gives permission for the Introduction and First Week of Plans to be printed or copied for portfolio compilation. However, any other photocopies or retyping of plans would be a copyright infringement.)

Label World Geography and Living Library Tab Dividers 

Next, I label tab dividers for my WG binder. My goals are to show what my student did to earn his credit and how he progressed in skills. So, I label my first tab “WORLD GEOGRAPHY.” Behind this tab, I place WG’s history notebook pages inside clear page protectors. Throughout the homeschool year, my student takes out each notebook page he is using for the week. Then, when he is done with each page, he simply puts it back in a page protector for safe keeping.

If my student is doing the World Geography Living Library 10% extra credit option (which is an option I personally love for my children to do), I label my second tab “LIVING LIBRARY.” From the WG Appendix, I photocopy about 12-14 two-sided “Summary” pages or about 24-28 single-sided “Summary” pages (I like to have some extra on hand). I 3-hole punch these and put them behind the Living Library tab for my student to take out one at a time to use and put back as each page is completed. I don’t put these in clear page protectors, but you certainly can if you like.

Using Mapping the World with Art

To use Mapping the World with Art, I simply read through its first pages. The Introduction is short and sweet, and the “Tools and Materials You Need” section notes everything I need to have on hand. I usually just make sure I have the drawing tools, types of paper, general supplies, and extra art supplies on hand. As the “Course Materials” section in the WG Introduction notes, I just print pages as scheduled throughout the year from the “PDF Curriculum” CD of Mapping the World with Art. Likewise, I photocopy the “Activity Section” pages as they are scheduled throughout the year. (Actually, my sons printed and photocopied these themselves after I helped them a few times.) Next, I make sure to have a DVD player on hand. (My sons just used our laptop’s DVD/CD-ROM player for this.) Finally, I keep completed maps in order in a folder.

Setting Up the Book of Centuries’ Binder

For the Book of Centuries‘ portion of the World Geography credit, the WG Introduction suggests using a 1 inch 3-ring binder. The Book of Centuries (BOC) already comes preprinted and 3-hole punched.  So, I just slide the preprinted full color BOC Notebook cover in the front of my 1 inch binder. Then, I place the 3-hole punched BOC pages in the binder. As many different BOC pages are used at a time and there is gluing involved, I don’t put these in clear page protectors. Next, following the “Course Materials” section in the WG Introduction, I print the History Through the Ages: World Timeline Figures from the Timeline Figures CD. I put these in a pile in order and staple the top left corner to keep them together. Last, I slide the stapled together timeline pages inside the front of my BOC binder’s pocket.

Setting Up the World Religion and Culture’s Binder

For the World Religion and Culture‘s (WRC) course, World Geography’s (WG) Introduction suggests using a 1/2 inch 3-ring binder. The WRC Notebook already comes preprinted and 3-hole punched.  So, I just slide the preprinted full color WRC Notebook cover in the front of my 1/2 inch binder. Then, I place each notebook page in a clear page protector. Throughout the homeschool year, my child takes out the notebook page he is using for the week. Then, he simply puts it back in the page protector for safe keeping when he is done.

Per the ‘Course Materials’ section of WRC in the WG Introduction, I also photocopy the two “Bookmark” pages from WG’s Appendix. Then, I follow the directions on Unit 4, Day 4’s WRC’s box of plans in the WG guide to assemble 6-7 bookmarks (I like to have a few extra on hand). I put these in the front or back pocket of the WRC binder. Of course, you can always wait to assemble the bookmarks when they come up in the plans if you’d rather. Either way, as each bookmark is completed throughout the year, I 3-hole punch it and place it in the WRC binder in order after the notebook pages.

Getting Ready for Bible

To get ready for Bible, I make one or two photocopies of “Preparing Your Heart for Prayer” from the WG Appendix. Students keep a special prayer journal throughout their Bible course, and the photocopy of “Preparing Your Heart for Prayer” sheet is folded and kept inside the cover of the journal. A special bound book with lined pages should be chosen for this prayer journal. We found some beautiful, inexpensive journals at Walmart, and they had Scripture verses on the cover. These made such lovely prayer journals that I bought one for myself (which is why I made two photocopies of “Preparing Your Heart for Prayer” – I wanted my own copy for my prayer journal”)! Students use their Bible to look up Scriptures each day; it truly becomes personal and special to them throughout high school!  So, enjoy choosing whichever Bible you and your student would like best.


Getting Ready for English I

For English I, I use either 3 bound and lined composition books (1 for English Grammar, 1 for Literature, and 1 for Composition), OR I use 1 large bound and lined composition book with 3 section dividers (1 for English Grammar, 1 for Literature, and 1 for Composition). If my student is still completing his dictation levels, I use 4 composition books, OR 1  large book with 4 section dividers. I also make sure to have index cards on hand for Essentials in Writing’s research paper. Finally, I have fun choosing a Common Place Book with my student. Any keepsake-like bound, composition book with lines to copy memorable passages throughout the high school years can be chosen. We found some beautiful cloth bound and hardback options at our local Christian bookstore, and my sons each had fun choosing one!

Getting Ready for Logic, Spanish, Integrated Physics and Chemistry, and Math

For Logic, I have my student photocopy the Chapter Tests, Unit Tests, and Final Exams as they come up in the plans. Getting Started with Spanish is a workbook, so all I do to get ready for Spanish is bookmark on our computer the link for the free pronunciation recordings.  This just makes it easier for my student to find the site each time he needs to use it. For Integrated Physics and Chemistry, I use the ‘Course Materials’ notes in the WG guide’s introduction to gather the supplies not included in the IPC kit. Finally, I get ready for math using the notes in the WG Introduction and the notes in the math program I chose.

Thoughts on Record Keeping

For high school, I keep my student’s completed notebooks, binders, and workbooks. I put these all in order on a shelf each year, along with the checked off Heart of Dakota guide itself. Together these create a detailed record of the work that has been done to earn credit. Using, I create my student’s transcript. I also keep on file any required paperwork for my state, such as approved homeschool exemption forms and completed standardized test results. Each state can vary slightly in requirements for homeschooling, so be sure to check out your own state’s requirements at

Label Sticky Tabs to Mark Places in the WG Guide

Next, I label sticky tabs to mark places in my guide. I label the first tab “DAILY PLANS,” placing it on Unit 1, Day 1. If you are going to do things more as they come up in the plans, rather than how I’ve previously described setting up for WG, then you would also want to make sticky tabs for “DICTATION,” “BOOKMARKS,” and “SUMMARY,” placing them in the WG guide’s Appendix. One final thing I liked to do is make a photocopy of the Narration Tips, Written Narration Tips, and Written Narration Skills.  Carrie does give permission to photocopy these. I keep these lists for me and for my student to reference throughout the year. However, you can just put another tab in WG’s Appendix for “NARRATION TIPS,” if you’d rather.

Shopping for Supplies

Carrie’s plans use readily available household supplies, and many options are suggested. However, to get ready to begin WG, I just stock up on usual art supplies – like colored pencils, thick and thin markers, a few permanent markers and high-lighters, glue (sticks and liquid), scissors, construction paper, tissue paper (colored), tape (masking and clear), a ruler, a yardstick, sticky notes/tabs, paints/paintbrushes, cotton balls, yarn/string, etc. I also stock up on index cards and page protectors. Finally, a flashlight, paperclips, paper plates, food coloring, marker board with dry erase markers, and q-tips/toothpicks are also nice to have on hand.

Sorting Resources into “Things We Need Now” and “Things We Need Later” Bins or Totes

One of the last things I do is get two canvas bins.  I use one for ‘things we need now’ and the other for ‘things we need later.’ As I read through each box of my first week of WG’s plans, I put each needed resource in the bin  for ‘things we need now.’ I put the remaining items in the bin for ‘things we need later.’ Throughout the year as we finish using resources, I put them in the back of the ‘things we need later’ bin, and I move the next books or resources we need into the ‘things we need now’ bin or tub. This way, my ‘things we need now’ bin only contains what we need for each week. Another benefit is the ‘things we need now’ are always mobile! Likewise, I put many art supplies in a tool turnabout, so these are mobile too!

In Christ,


Prepare for the school year by reading the guide’s “Introduction”!

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

How should I go about grading Foerster’s Algebra I?

Dear Carrie

We are starting our first year of high school, and this is brand new to me. So, I really appreciate the instructions Heart of Dakota has provided in the World Geography guide! I am still at a loss on how to grade Foerster’s Algebra I, and I appreciate any help you can give me!


“Ms. Please Help Me Grade Foerster’s Algebra I”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Grade Foerster’s Algebra I,”

At the high school level, the way that you weight your grades can vary widely. Almost any combination of daily work, reviews, and assessment will work. For example, you could use daily work as 50 percent of the grade or you could change that percentage up or down. As mentioned, daily work can just be earned by effort and completion (and correcting one’s mistakes). This is because quite often in daily work the material is new, and as students are trying to learn new concepts they often falter. So, using students’ first efforts at something new is not a true grade.

Options for Grading Chapter Reviews and Tests

Next, in considering how heavily to weight tests, at the high school level completion of chapter reviews often take up a portion of the assessment grade. So, I might lean toward 20 percent for chapter reviews and 30 percent for tests. Again, these percentages can be changed up or down.

Options for Grading Using Open-Book Testing Or Written Notes During Testing

Another option that is used with increasing frequency is for tests to be open-book. Or, instead you might allow your student to write down on an index card any helpful formulas or notes to be used during the test. This type of grading was something that was done in my college math classes. I learned to write very small!!

How Grading Is Weighted Within College Classes Varies Widely

Even at the college level, where tests are weighted much more heavily, there is quite a bit of variation as to how much other output students are required to complete for the rest of their score. Some courses are almost wholly test based, and others split the grade out more with a large amount of other output. My oldest sons’ college classes have varied widely in how things are weighted. It is often the instructor’s prerogative. Since you are the instructor, your prerogative reigns. You just need to be able to justify how you arrived at the grade.