As we near the middle of the school year, I like to reevaluate how our year how been proceeding to this point. Is the curriculum working for us? Have I seen growth? Do I need to change anything? There have been times (especially last year as we were in the beginning stage of our homeschool) when I needed to rework things. But I am delighted that we are in love with our curriculum for this year. Old Crow hasn't become bored with it and neither have I. Each day he is excited to begin. He is growing spiritually, academically, and developmentally. We couldn't have asked for a better year...and I am so thankful that I found Heart of Dakota when I did.
So today's Top 10 focuses on why we think Heart of Dakota's Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory is perfect for our family.
1. Biblical learning is the center of each day. Many Christian-based curricula can be found out there, and the Bible lesson is usually a separate subject....something done first to begin the day and then you move one to the academics. But Carrie Austin, the creator of Heart of Dakota Curriculum, weaves and integrates the Bible story and scripture into every subject...history, geography, science, storytime, and character education. Everything!!!!
2. Daily lesson plans are created for me. Once you open the teacher's guide, each unit and each day is planned for you. I don't have to plan one thing! It has been such a relief not to have to stress over plans...spending hours at the computer until my husband drags me away. Within the guide though, there is room for flexibility and tweaking so that it can be perfectly adjusted to each individual child. I enjoy creating thematic units and activities to go along with my child's interest at a particular time, but it is now optional and something I don't have to stress over.
3. It is easy to order. Carrie Austin has done the research for me and compiled the best of all curricula available (grammar, math, reading selections, etc). I am preparing for Crazy Horse's Kindergarten year and Old Crow's 2nd grade year, and it is so easy to purchase what I need. It is all in one spot and with one click the year can be bought. :)
4. This curriculum has been "piloted" and tested. Carrie and her family (a family of educators and homeschoolers) have tested and used this curriculum with their own families. They are so helpful with giving honest answers about concerns, scheduling, organizing, etc.
5. They have great customer service. On the Heart of Dakota's website, a message board has been created. I can write in with a question or concern and other's using the program will lend support and advice. Even Carrie or her sister Julie will chime in with their advice. Everyone is extremely helpful and passionate about homeschooling and promoting this product.
6. Heart of Dakota uses the Charlotte Mason approach. I don't want to bore you with talk of teaching philosophies. :) If you are interested in this you can read about it here. But basically as I watched how Old Crow learned and how I enjoyed teaching, I realized we were gravitating towards the Charlotte Mason approach to learning. Heart of Dakota incorporates many of these methods for teaching and learning.
7. It incorporates living books and not textbooks. One aspect of the Charlotte Mason method is the belief that children learn from living books, nature, and environment...not dry text books. A living book is usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject, and it makes the subject "come alive" for the reader. Here is a little more information.
8. It offers poetry. I have been pleasantly surprised at how much Old Crow likes the poetry section each day. He loves reciting, acting out, creating hand motions, and using art to depict the poem. He also copies part of the poem each day for his handwriting practice...this is probably the least favorite portion of his day as his hand "gets tired." We are working on increasing his time and strengthening his hand muscles.
9. It takes into account all learning styles. Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles are reinforced throughout the day. We manipulate objects for math, listen to read alouds, narrate, use movement to memorize scripture, copy poetry, listen to scripture in song, create art to reinforce history lesson, experiment with science topics. These are just a few of the ways each child can learn and be successful.
10. "...For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
This scripture is found throughout the Heart of Dakota website. Their motto is "Training children's hearts and minds, one child at a time." This scripture and their motto fit perfectly with what I pray and wish for my own children. Carrie Austin has a wonderful gift in her ability to create and develop a curriculum that puts this desire into action for parents. It is genuine Christ-centered learning.
In His love,
P.S. You can check out the Tuesday's Top 10 link-up over at Many Little Blessings. :)