Monday, July 30, 2012

My Reasons for Switching to Heart of Dakota

I am a curriculum junkie, I admit it. I've tried lots of them. I'm subscribed to the different curriculum review boards and I love looking at new curriculums. In January, I usually begin figuring out what we will use the next year. We never use exactly what we used the previous year; although, I do seem to be nailing down what works best for us...finally--after 8 years of homeschooling!

This year I looked into using a more prepared curriculum for my youngest son who will be in the 3rd grade this coming year. We contemplated My Father's World for about two months. In fact, I was just weeks away from making my order. Then on a whim, I decided to go check out Heart of Dakota because I had heard that the two curriculums were similar. Within a couple hours of looking, reading and spending time on the message board; I made a complete turn around on my curriculum decision. We are going to use Heart of Dakota.

A couple months ago, I was at our local homeschool book store and I noticed a couple with some Heart of Dakota curriculum and they were trying to figure out some things. I thought I'd be helpful (I do try to do that when I can) and spoke to them about HOD. Since I've been homeschooling for so long and am now switching to HOD, they wanted to know my reasons why. The bottom line is (drum roll)--this curriculum does what I always try to do except it's even better.

Here are my reasons for switching to Heart of Dakota:
1. The philosophy of HOD matches my philosophy (mostly). You won't find a curriculum that is 100% perfect, but that is what's so great about homeschooling. You can change it to make it work. It mostly follows a Charlotte Mason philosophy mixed with a Unit Study focus.
2. It is obvious that the author, Carrie Austin, has experience both in the classroom and homeschool. She has a masters in education and you can tell by the way she put this program together that she knows what she's doing.
3. It is going to make my life a whole lot easier because most of the planning is already done. All I have to do is put together my Language Arts and Math lessons (since we use something different than the HOD recommendations) and any additional elective-type classes like Latin.
4. I love the book choices. They were books I would choose. When I look at the book choices of My Father's World and even SonLight, my choices fell more in line with HOD. (Of course, some book choices coincide with all three of these companies.)
5. The Biblical philosophy is apparent throughout the curriculum. It isn't just included in a separate Bible class but is integrated throughout all the subjects.
6. For me this year, the price was right. I had a lot of the books already and the rest I can get at the library. Mainly, I had to get the teacher's manual. The few books I decided to purchase I got with a couple gift cards that I had.
7. The way subject matter within the lessons all flow together so seamlessly from subject to subject as the learning is extended (unit-study style) is phenomenal.
8. It just looks fun. My 8-year-old is going to have a great time with this curriculum.

This Fall my 3rd grader will be using Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory. This level is recommended for ages 6-8. My guy will be 8 most of this year and so falls into this level no problem. I could have placed him in Bigger Hearts for His Glory but decided to wait. Since this is a new curriculum and style for him I knew it would be best to hold off. He isn't big on writing yet and he is reading at slightly below level due to a medical eye condition. I think Beyond will work great with him in conjunction with the extras I've thrown in there. This year I plan to blog about our adventures with HOD so stay tuned.


Dawn @ Our Little Monkeys said...

Now that you've had time to get a good feel for Beyond, how are you and your son liking the program?

We are planning to use HOD's Little Hearts program next year. (We are currently halfway through MFW K.) I have the manual, and I am thoroughly impressed. Now I am just hoping it will live up to my expectations :)

Cindy K. Green said...

I think it's a great program and working well with our family. I plan to use it again next year and use the first high school guide with my oldest.

Old Blue Window said...

We have a son going into 3rd grade and will be using Bigger Hearts for His Glory. I've used HOD for second grade and LOVE it. HIs composite ITBS score was in the 99th percentile. We add a second reading program and phonics and also use A Reason for Handwriting because he loves it so much but HOD is the the true heart of our program!