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Heart of Dakota?
May 22, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Hello ladies!!!! 

I'm back, with yet another question. Ha! One of these days, I'll be able to pitch in on answering other people's questions! ;) 

We are starting homeschooling this fall. I have a 6 year old and a 4 year old (he'll almost be 5 by the time we start school). The 6 year old will be in first grade and I'll start kindergarten with my youngest. He will be ready. If we stayed in public school, he would have to wait another year. 

I was planning on making my own modgepodge of different curriculums and using those. I've started the 4 1/2 year old on All About Reading (which I love!), the pre-reading level. I have Singapore Math materials for the 6 year old. I was going to get Singapore Earlybird for the little one too. I was planning on doing AAR with the 1st grader too. Then, we were going to use Elemental Science for science. 

I've recently been looking into Heart of Dakota though, and it looks very interesting to me. It seems very gentle and not so "school-like", which is great. My three main problems with it: 
1) I'm worried that it won't be advanced enough in some areas for my 6 year old. Looking at the samples online, the math part does not seem advanced enough for him. He's pretty good at math and I think he needs to be challenged more. So, I'm thinking maybe we would still need to do Singapore with him. But then, does that defeat the purpose of HOD by adding things into it?
2) We are not religious. I know I can leave out the bible studies and readings, but I'm also wondering if I edit out the religious stuff, will it make it weird or choppy? Especially for the younger one. They really need to have separate levels and the younger one seems to have a lot of focus on religion. For example, the history is biblical history and the science lesson I saw had you turn off the lights and talk about how there was no light on Earth until God created heaven or something like that.
3) I see it not working out for us to combine very well. Not at this point. My 1st grader has a solid foundation in the basics of math and reading and my kindergartener will be just getting into it. So I'm wondering if it's worth it for me to try it if I'll be purchasing two levels of HOD and then still Singapore Math and anything else I feel like we might need to suplement with?

I just really like the IDEA of it, but I'm wondering if it will logistically work out.  


  • Leissaintexas
    May 23, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    If you try to take all the religion out of HOD, you are left with  a couple of read-alouds and some notebooking. Thats about it. It is intensely religious, so probably not a good fit for you. I personally loved it for those ages, but we homeschool for religous reasons. But as far as the math goes, you add in whatever Singapore level you want,  you're meant to do that. Its very flexible and will expand to inclued 3 different ages. It sounds like you really want to use a CHarlotte Mason approach, but secular. I'm pretty sure there is something out there like that, but since I never search "secular materials" Im not sure what's out there.

  • lucsch
    by lucsch
    May 23, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    You can not edit out the "religious stuff" from HOD. The Heart of the curriculum is Christ. It is integrated into nearly every subject. On the other hand, I change things around and swap out some things, and it still is a great curriculum.

    I and others agree there needs to be a level in between Little Hands and Little Hearts. The younger years are gentle, but it ramps up after the Bigger level to be quite rigorous. We plan on using it through high school. It is a mix of Charlotte Mason, Classical, and the author's own teaching background.

    Sonlight a curriculum which is relatively easy for you to pull out the religion. It is more of a Ruth Beechick/John Holt way of teaching--lots of read-alouds.

  • Boobah
    by Boobah
    May 23, 2013 at 3:55 PM
    What is it you "like" about HOD? Could you recreate just those things? I agree that it would probably be awkward if the religion was taken out, and you're paying for that, kwim? You could easily make the atmosphere yourself. We don't do things "school-like" either, and I love it. We are Waldorf inspired, which is pretty different from mainstream homeschooling but again, we love it. It is learning through living, stories, art, etc teaching a child as a whole - head, heart and hands.
  • ashlelyb_0827
    May 24, 2013 at 3:08 PM

    Thanks for the feedback! I was pretty certain you probably couldn't pull the religion out and it still be the curriculum you paid for. 

    I do think I could possibly recreat it, but this is going to be our first year and I'm feeling very nervous that I won't be able to come up with the right material to make sure they're getting everything they can out of it. I guess what I'm saying is that I would be more comfortable with a "read this book and talk about this -----" instruction instead of me coming up with it on my own. At least for our first year or so until I can get the hang of it and know how we all work homeschooling the best! 

    I WANT to do something laid back and CM inspired. But I am also scared that they won't be properly moving up in each subject, which is why I would love to have some instruction myself. 

    I'll check out Sonlight! 

  • ashlelyb_0827
    May 24, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    I should also add that I do not have a problem with religion! I am not religious myself, but I grew up as a Catholic. My children have both attended religious  based preschools and frequently talk about God and Jesus. Just about every day, they mention something here or there. I don't discourage it. I want them to make their own choices regarding religion. I've never even discussed with them my own beliefs. They haven't asked! However, I feel like I don't want our entire curriculum to be revolving around it. Especially when it comes to some science topics and history topics. 

  • ashlelyb_0827
    May 24, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    HOLY COW! Sonlight = mega expensive!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

    Am I totally reading this webpage wrong or is it actually $800 per kid for the year? 

  • lucsch
    by lucsch
    May 24, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    Yes, it is pricey, and HOD gets that way, too, in the upper levels, which is why I always search for it used.

    You could use the same core level with the two children together (makes it more fun, too). I would start with Core A. Buy separate Reader/LA levels, as well as, separate math. 

    We did that Core in 1st grade, with SonlighCore A for K, but my dd still needed picture books to keep her attention. The readers in Core A are chapter books. So, we used core P4/5 for K, with Readers/LA1 for Kindergarten. Fun, fun!

    Quoting ashlelyb_0827:

    HOLY COW! Sonlight = mega expensive!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

    Am I totally reading this webpage wrong or is it actually $800 per kid for the year? 

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