Monday, July 29, 2013

{Why Heart of Dakota (HOD) did NOT work for our Family}

When your knew to homeschooling you spend months looking at curricula, you weigh the pros/cons, the cost, the viewpoint it comes from, and you read what others think of it. 4 years ago I started my now 3rd grader in Kindergarten. I had spent those months before looking through so many curricula choices my face turned blue, I read about the curriculums viewpoint and goals, I read what others thought of the curriculum, and I weighed the money out. My final choice was Heart of Dakota. Kindergarten, and 1st grade were fine, they fit really well to the age of child in those grades, however when you hit 2nd grade it’s a different story.

The 6 Reasons Heart of Dakota did NOT work for us:
  1.  It didn’t fit the time required daily by our state: This one I would say depends on the state you live in, in the state we live in we are required to do 4 hours of instructional learning per day, this curriculum only took my daughter about an hour to do per day, that left 3 hours that I had to fill in to fit our states requirement. Now some of you may say “Well, there are other ways of learning” yes, you are correct, and I used that to fill in those gaps but I expected more from this curriculum overall in that area.
  2. Some things you just cannot do that are in the books given. One of our Science books was Seashore (One Small Square) by: Donald Silver & Patricia Wynne, great book, the series is really neat, however using this book to its fullest requires a beach, and sadly we live in the middle of the US, no beaches near us for about 20 hours, so we ended up having to find another science curricula to use that actually fit where we live.
  3.  Bible: this one area just didn’t fit our family, I liked the way it was described but implementing it wasn’t so much fitting for my kids.
  4. Math: This curriculum uses Singapore Math, I actually think this is a good math program for some but not my daughter, I don’t believe that doing 1 maybe 2 short pages of math is enough a day, some of the exercises are about 3-4 pages long and could easily be done in one sitting, so that’s what we ended up doing, but it needs more repeating for a child to retain information, which Singapore doesn’t do.
  5. Reading Program: this is really lacking, none of my children learned to read with the options given by this curricula. My daughter cried so bad using the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by: Siegfried Engelmann that after about 10 lessons we tossed the book to the side, it hasn’t been opened again. I bought my son this past year another option from them called The Reading Lesson: Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons by: Michael Levin and again it was a failed book. My son hated it and it was plainly boring and uninteresting to the child.
  6. Boring: this program lacks retaining interest, it not only bored my kids to death but me also, as a mom who wants the best for my kids, this program was really boring overall.

Overall I don’t look at this curriculum as a wholesome one, its not updated enough to really support today’s learners and keep kids interested. The selections it offers are simple and look neat but don’t do much. I spent more time filling in those extra hours for my children’s learning time then loving this curriculum. The goal of the company is great but it just wasn’t a fit for our family. My suggestion to you as a mother who has really used this curriculum is for you to really look into it, see if you can find a used copy of the teachers manual before you buy the curriculum and really look at it, read the reviews of the books it that are used for the level your interested in, look at the companies that make those books and see if you really want that. If you are looking for boring, uninteresting, and plainly oldschool then maybe this will fit you and your family, but I am happy that I am moving on and that my kids will have a much better year using something else.

I feel that they offer a great Preschool and Kindergarten program but after that I would suggest exploring more options before going with this program again. 

(Disclaimer: My family purchased the listed curricula for use in our homeschool learning for the past 3 years, we are in no way affiliated with this company and all thoughts and opinions herein are that of my own)

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