Heart of Dakota Curriculum for Homeschool Review

Heart of Dakota, a beloved homeschool curriculum, has naturally earned a dedicated following with its unique blend of features and philosophy. Spanning from preschool to high school, this curriculum is rooted in the Charlotte Mason style, offering open-and-go daily plans, captivating living books, and hands-on activities. Infused with a Christian foundation, it emphasizes character development alongside academic learning. This curriculum has undeniably become a go-to choice for families seeking a holistic and engaging homeschooling journey.

Rebbecca Devitt

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want to do my course on how to homeschool, click here.

Join us as we explore the reasons behind the love and occasional debates surrounding Heart of Dakota in this comprehensive review.

Let’s get started.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

What is the Heart of Dakota Homeschool Curriculum?

Heart of Dakota is a Christian homeschool curriculum designed for Preschool through high school.

It follows the Charlotte Mason style, using:

  • living books,
  • hands-on activities, and
  • a Christian foundation.

The program offers open-and-go plans with a unique color-coded system for easy use.

Known for its slightly more rigorous approach, Heart of Dakota combines challenging activities with unit studies.

Some appreciate its immersive approach and Christian values, while others find it demanding.

This review will objectively explore both the strengths and weaknesses, providing insights into the diverse opinions about Heart of Dakota.

To save costs you can get the economy package which is your basic package. For high school, you may need to add on extra subjects though.

Features of Heart of Dakota

Heart of Dakota offers a number of things I like:

  • Educational and Christ-centered: Blends educational excellence with a Christ-centered focus, integrating biblical content into character training and worldview development.
  • Open-and-Go Daily Plans: Provides time-saving daily plans in a Teacher’s Guide for a user-friendly experience, with subjects rotated for a well-rounded education.
  • Time-Conscious School Days: Minimal planning allows for shorter school days, offering time for children to explore personal interests and hobbies.
  • Quality Living Books: Carefully chosen living books replace overwhelming reading lists, encouraging students to savor engaging content over an extended period.
  • Choice of Resources: Offers various resources for customization and meeting individual family needs.
  • Lessons for Various Learning Styles: Programs cater to auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners, fostering a love for learning with a balanced approach.
  • Skill Progression Leading to Independence: Emphasizes skills that progressively prepare children for the next level, fostering confident, self-sufficient learners through gradual transitions to independent work.

With time-conscious school days and various resource choices, Heart of Dakota caters to diverse learning styles, fostering a lasting love for learning.

There are lots of choices with Heart of Dakota primary years. Postage is free for orders over 250.

Pros and Cons of Heart of Dakota

Heart of Dakota, like any curriculum, has its pros and cons, which helps us decide if this program will be a good fit for our families.

Pros

Here are some basic pros of using this homeschool curriculum.

  1. Open-and-Go Daily Plans: Heart of Dakota’s daily plans are ready-made, saving parents time on preparation and planning.
  2. Living Books Approach: The curriculum incorporates engaging living books, fostering a love for literature, history, science, and God’s Word.
  3. Hands-On Activities: Including hands-on activities adds a dynamic and interactive element to learning, appealing to various learning styles.
  4. Christian Foundation: Heart of Dakota strongly emphasizes God’s Word, integrating biblical teachings seamlessly into all subjects.
  5. Charlotte Mason Style: Drawing inspiration from the Charlotte Mason approach, the curriculum focuses on short lessons, narration, and exposure to the arts and nature.
  6. Family-Owned: Heart of Dakota is a family-owned business, reflecting a personal touch and commitment to homeschooling families.
  7. Unit Studies Flair: The unique unit studies flair provides students with a well-rounded and interconnected learning experience.
  8. Color-Coded System: The color-coded system helps parents identify where students can work independently and where assistance may be needed.
  9. Offline workbooks: With no video lessons, you can get your children screen-free for a more relaxing homeschool. (This is sometimes seen as a con, too, though!)

This program hits many high notes and will be the right choice for many families.

Discover this review of the Heart of Dakota curriculum which is a paper-based Charlotte Mason curriculum that's heavy on nature study and the gospel.Cons

But Heart of Dakota might not be right for everyone. Let’s take a look at some potential cons of the curriculum.

  1. Not Accredited: Heart of Dakota lacks accreditation, which may be a consideration for some families seeking accredited programs.
  2. May Not Suit Every Learning Style: While the curriculum aims to cater to various learning styles, it might not fit every student.
  3. Hands-On Activities Might Not Suit Everyone: Families who prefer a more traditional or less hands-on approach may find the activities challenging.
  4. Requires Parental Involvement: The open-and-go nature of the curriculum still requires some parental involvement, which may be a consideration for busy families.
  5. Potential Cost Considerations: While not overly expensive, the cost of Heart of Dakota materials may be a factor for families on a tight budget.

Ultimately, you must weigh whether the pros outweigh the cons and whether this curriculum is right for your family.

It’s a Family Owned Business

Heart of Dakota is a family-owned curriculum that began over 20 years ago.

Started by Cindy and her sister Julie, the program expanded from a literature initiative to a complete curriculum for Preschool through high school.

The family’s journey, marked by challenges and blessings, reflects their dedication to serving homeschooling families.

From a small living room meeting to a thriving educational resource, Heart of Dakota is a testament to the family’s commitment to making homeschooling a shared adventure.

What is Their Educational Philosophy?

Heart of Dakota’s educational philosophy is built on over 30 years of experience, focusing on engaging students and making learning active.

Inspired by Charlotte Mason’s ideas, the curriculum uses short lessons and interesting ‘living books‘ and includes:

  • poetry,
  • music,
  • art, and
  • nature.

Here’s a quick review video of the CM method:

It’s unique because it offers guides for smaller age groups, not just one grade level.

The curriculum emphasizes building a love for Christ and learning, with biblical foundations woven into each guide.

God’s Word is central every day.

Heart of Dakota also uses captivating books to create enthusiasm for literature, history, science, and faith.

With a mix of a Christian view and Charlotte Mason principles, it aims to foster a love for Christ and learning while maintaining strong academics.

The goal is to provide families with a successful and God-honoring homeschool experience.

Approach to Different Subjects in HOD

Heat of Dakota has a unique approach to teaching subjects. You may be interested to see how they do it…

History

This curriculum teaches history, starting with the Bible, then progressing through American history and later, world history. The curriculum uses hands-on activities and inspiring stories, focusing on American heroes and God’s role in history.

Science

This program makes science fun by starting with hands-on activities and gradually moving to daily science studies. It covers various scientific topics using engaging biographies and activities to keep students interested and curious.

Language Arts

In Language Arts, Heart of Dakota covers oral language, handwriting, spelling, writing, grammar, mechanics, usage, and vocabulary. It provides a balanced approach, teaching each area systematically and incorporating vocabulary into literature, history, and science.

Reading

The Heart of Dakota curriculum aims to help students appreciate literature without making it overwhelming. The curriculum uses short lessons, discussions, and narrations to help students understand stories better. Families can also choose their own books to encourage a love for different types of literature.

Math

HOD makes math enjoyable and foundational with hands-on and written lessons. It progresses from simpler to more complex lessons, emphasizing visualization before workbook practice. Short lessons help students focus, and the upper-level programs focus on problem-solving and critical thinking.

Bible Study

The Heart of Dakota homeschool curriculum integrates God’s word throughout various subjects, ensuring Bible study is part of everyday learning. The curriculum encourages students to think and act according to God’s word throughout the day, emphasizing the importance of seeking God’s word daily. The ultimate goal is to help children glorify God in their lives.

Plus More…

Many subjects are covered in the included guides, so you can do a lot more than you might think (see below).

Many subjects are covered in the guides.

Is Heart of Dakota Gospel-Centred?

In researching homeschool programs, I often look for a program that’s gospel-centered. Something that teaches my children the good news of Jesus and trains them to love prayer and Bible reading.

Heart of Dakota certainly does this.

What Denomination Does It Come From?

In terms of a denomination, HOD doesn’t say they’re from any denomination but tend to be conservative Christian.

(It’s interesting to note that some people consider Dakota to be part of the Bible Belt in America.)

What Grades Do They Offer?

They offer all grades from Preschool Through to 12th Grade.

They offer full packages for preschool ages 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5.

What Subjects Do They Offer?

History, Science, Language Arts, Reading, Math, Art, and Bible Study.

For international people, it’s useful to note that their history has a strong American flavor, like you’ll find in BJU Press, Abeka, and many other homeschool programs produced in America.

What is the Cost of Heart of Dakota?

Heart of Dakota is decently priced. For the:

  • preschool package, you’ll be looking at around $130 + Postage. This will give you a year’s work (ages 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5).
  • primary school package is around $170 + half Postage (see below). ECONOMY PACKAGE – Add-ons not included
  • middle school package around $200 + half Postage (see below). ECONOMY PACKAGE – Add-ons not included
  • high school package is around $500 plus add-ons + half Postage (see below). ECONOMY PACKAGE – Add-ons not included

This might seem expensive, but remember, the curriculum can span several years, making the program more affordable than you think. You can get extension packs, too, to make the curriculum relevant to older children.

Postage Costs

Orders of over $250 are free. Orders of between $150-250 are half-price postage. For orders below $150, the customer pays all the postage.

International postage is worked out on a separate scheme as postage is calculated.

Extension Packs to Use Over Multiple Years

Remember that you can get extension packs to include children a couple of years older than the package you choose.

You can also do add-ons to your basic economy package to include other subjects your children might be interested in.

Is Heart of Dakota Accredited?

Heart of Dakota is not accredited. Accreditation is typically reserved for schools or organizations affiliated with schools, such as BJU Press and Abeka.

If you’re after an accredited homeschool curriculum, look here.

Become an Expert at Homeschooling!

Want to become an expert at homeschooling? You could take years to do it, or you could do the Homeschool Parenting Program.

This affordable online course for new homeschool parents will teach you everything you need to know about home education, including choosing a homeschool curriculum and organizing your homeschool.

If you don’t want to commit to a homeschool course, SUBSCRIBE to my informative YouTube channelHow to Homeschool, here

Or you can look at these helpful articles:

You’re sure to find something you love here.Discover this review of the Heart of Dakota curriculum which is a paper-based Charlotte Mason curriculum that's heavy on nature study and the gospel.

Choose a Curriculum by Homeschool Method

You may not know, but you can also choose a curriculum based on the homeschool method you like best:

But there are other ways you might prefer to choose a program…

Choose a Curriculum Another Way

People also love to choose based on these factors:

Or you can do it by subject:

God bless on your homeschool journey!

The Bottom Line…

Opinions about Heart of Dakota are as diverse as the families who use it. Some love the hands-on activities, the living books, and the strong emphasis on God’s Word. Others find it’s not the perfect fit for their approach to education. Whether you’re a fervent supporter or harbor reservations, the beauty of Heart of Dakota lies in its commitment to providing a comprehensive Christian education. As I conclude our in-depth review, I invite you to consider how this curriculum aligns with your homeschooling goals and philosophy.

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Rebecca Devitt

Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.

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