Heart of Dakota

Return to Categories


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, December 29, 2015
  • Grades Used: CTC, Beyond, & the 1st five units of Preparing
  • Dates used: November 2014 - December 2015
The positives of Heart of Dakota:

*Everything is done for you.

*All subjects are covered.

*A tremendous amount of work was put into making the guides.

*I didn't have to think about what goals we needed to cover for the year since the goals were already pre-determined.

*The guides have some skills built into them.

*There is plenty of work in the program so there is a feeling of doing enough.

*Carrie does pick some spines and books that are written by Christian authors or published by Christian companies.

*Some of the literature books are written by Christians and have morality built into the stories.

*Diana Waring in Creation to Christ.

*Creation based / Young earth perspective in some of the resources.

*The Scripture scheduled in CTC Bible Quiet Time.

*History spines in Beyond.

*Rod and Staff English for grammar.

The negatives of Heart of Dakota:

*Child's History of the World that is used in Preparing.

*Christine Miller history spine in the first half of CTC.

*The Geography book in CTC.

*Early independence for young children whom may benefit more from mom teaching. The independence building starts in 3rd / 4th grade; however, this independent work is actually a transfer of dependence from mom to HOD & the directions in the guide. Real independent, self-motivated learning is discouraged by the construction of the guides.

*The TMs are too directive. I looked at the samples through Highschool and this element continues throughout the guides. The TMs don't leave enough room for student individuality or our youth taking responsibility for learning or finding.

*There isn't any wiggle room for mom to make it her own.

*Three guides I found to be too much juggling for subjects that can be combined and still allow for individual academic / skill expectations. I ended up combining two of mine into one guide.

*It has a school feeling with guides based on age ranges and one level of skills for every subject area, rather then one's children being able to work at their own level of ability in different areas. Their strengths are held back and their weaknesses can frustrate; a bit like a school classroom with same age children.

Mr. & Mrs. Austin are lovely people who have a successful homeschool business. Heart of Dakota wasn't a good fit for our family or my children's learning abilities, but I do think it works for a number of moms.

I hope this review is helpful.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, June 2, 2015
  • Grades Used: 4th
  • Dates used: 2014-2015
After researching and reviewing Heart of Dakota for a couple of years we finally decided to try it with my daughter. We chose Preparing Hearts for His Glory.

This curriculum has been the fit that I have been looking for. I love the unit study aspect of how everything, besides grammar and math, is weaved together in one learning sequence. One of the things that I appreciate the most is the independent study boxes. My daughter can learn science and history independently because of the way the curriculum is set up. She can also work on her timeline, and her story time can be done independently as well. This is a huge benefit when you are home schooling more than one child. The curriculum is played out in such an organized manner that there is no guessing. my daughter knows exactly what she is supposed to accomplish, and feels quite proud of herself when she is finished with her independent work.

We sound the readers to be fun, yet rich in content. we never grew tired of the stories that we read together. One of the books was named Grandpa's Box, and my daughter cried when we read the last page. To me, that is what homeschooling is all about. I love it when my kids are enjoying something so much that they don't want it to end.

I am a planner and organizer by nature, and this curriculum is perfectly organized and laid out. The boxes in the daily lessons are easy to understand, and even easier to accomplish without compromising a solid education. I couldn't be more happier then I am at the end of this year.

One thing that was also an encouragement to me was that I "like" Heart of Dakota's Facebook page... I had a specific question about whether or not I should finish this book of curriculum in the fall (because we did not complete it all inoneItearr) or if I should start the next book in the fall. It was so encouraging to me to get a response within 30 minutes giving me good advice to just continue the same curriculum in the fall, and to not skip ahead until I finish that guide. They encouraged me that this is a common practice with their study guides. The fact that someone wrote me back so quickly was a huge blessing. They put quotes on Facebook from time to time, and also educational tips.

I am very thankful that we found Heart of Dakota.


  • Reviewed on Sunday, September 21, 2014
  • Grades Used: Bigger Hearts through World History
  • Dates used: 2008-present
I would like to post a review of the World Geography guide. My family has used and enjoyed all the guides from Bigger Hearts to the brand-new World History guide. I cannot say enough about how much this curriculum has blessed our family!

In particular, the World Geography Guide was such a wonderful beginning to our high school years. We used it last year with our 10th grader and are using it again this year with two 9th graders.

The World Religions and Cultures study is our favorite part of the guide. We saw great growth in our children's hearts for the Lord and for people from other religions. The way that it is designed is such that you read about a religion's basic viewpoints and then you read a true story (autobiography or biography) about someone who left that religion and came to Christ. Each story is truly inspiring and faith-building. I read them all myself and even recommended them to others after I finished because they are so good! My own faith was greatly challenged as I saw the courage and the faith that each one of these individuals displayed as they left their false religion behind to follow Christ, many times in the face of great danger and even death. This study is not meant to be an in-depth study of each of these false religions, but an introduction into their beliefs. The point of the study is for children to learn that each false religion does not lead to God and will not satisfy or provide salvation. To read real stories brings this fact to life in a life-altering, memorable way. I still draw on these stories for inspiration and encouragement.

I feel the need to comment on a previous review that was very critical of this study. Some quotes were taken out of a book that is used about Jesus and His Jewishness. The quotes were taken completely out of context. For instance, this quote from the reviewer:

"That Jesus expected the hearers to be a sieve opposed to a sponge that would soak up everything he taught to (a sieve) filtering to remove the dross of what he said to take ONLY the treasures of his teaching. They claim our call is not to be "parrots" unquestionably repeating everything we learn from our favourite teacher, but to "Explore and experience" to be able to extract the treasure from the dross in His teachings. (Being Jesus) (Excerpt from Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus)".

In actuality, that quote is referring to people who had listened to a rabbi's teaching - not Jesus' teaching. And it is saying that no Christian teacher's words should be accepted without comparing them to the Word of God. In no way does the book suggest that Jesus' teaching is not absolutely infallible and completely true. And I would say this is right on - only God's words are to be taken as 100% true and everything else needs to be compared to the Word of God.

The curriculum always points everything back to the Word of God and has many, many Scripture references throughout that always point the student to God's Word to see what it says about a particular subject. This is something that I especially appreciate about HOD.

The previous review also states that HOD (or books that HOD uses) teaches there is more than one way to heaven. Again, nothing could be further than the truth. HOD consistently points to Jesus as the only way to heaven. In fact, that is the whole point of the World Religions and Cultures study. I believe the reviewer was referring to a particular book that had a controversial statement in it. It was noted in the guide and the students were told to compare it to Scripture and discuss with their parents. We will not always agree with every author and it is a wonderful skill for our kids to use to go to Scripture immediately when they sense that an author is saying something contrary to the truth. The book as a whole was a very helpful book that taught us a lot.

What I appreciate about this study the most is that it was written to prepare our kids for all the religious viewpoints out there that they will come across and that they can be assured that there is only one true religion - only one way to God and to heaven - and that is through Jesus Christ alone!

OK, enough about that! We have many favorites with this guide. The Literature study is fabulous! It takes BJU Lit and intertwines it with truly great novels. For us, it was the perfect balance and kept things mixed up enough that the kids really have enjoyed seeing what reading is coming next. I read them all and I really loved it!

The Logic study is a great mix of two interesting resources. My kiddos have definitely grown in seeing the fallacies in the world all around them by using these books.

I have also found the Bible study to be a great tool in developing their faith. It is not fluff at all and has led to great discussions about some topics that often are not really covered unless we make time for them. This is something that I would not expect your kids to do just on their own. The discussion time with them is really valuable. And the way that they pray for a people group around the world each week really ties into the Geography focus.

All in all, the World Geography Guide is very balanced and covers all needed topics and then some. I felt very reassured that my children were getting everything they need for high school and becoming prepared for college, if they so choose. The best part is the way that it is all planned out for me and that I do not have to do any scheduling work. It all flows so nicely and each day has a good mix up of readings and assignments so that you don't get into a rut. I am so thankful for HOD and the way that it has made homeschooling possible for us over the years. It is a truly Christ-centered, academically rigorous, living book-filled, balanced, doable(!) curriculum!


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, September 16, 2014
  • Grades Used: 9th
  • Dates used: 2013-2014
I really enjoyed Heart of Dakota World Geography for my ds first year of high school. I did not have to plan a curriculum, schedule his school day or search for books. That was all done for me. Even how to grade the different subjects and the credits were included. All I had to do was teach and have a wonderful year. The living books were amazing. We are looking forward to next year with World History.