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Curriculum Reviews

Trying a New Curriculum: Heart of Dakota Week 1

This year I am trying a whole new curriculum for History, Geography, Timeline, Notebooking, Poetry, Bible and Science etc. Heart of Dakota. A friend showed me this curriculum at the beginning of last year and after a ton of research and the fact I LOVE the Charlotte Mason approach, I fell in love with it. Now, we are still using our own curriculum for Math and Reading, but everything else is through Heart of Dakota. The main thing I loved about this was it was a complete open and go curriculum. No downloading and researching like I had done in the past. That is my kind of curriculum. Yet is stays in with the Charlotte Mason style of teaching

My first week went really good. The first day was a little longer then I had planned, but that was due to "old habits die hard" attitude in teaching that day. I found the rest of the week if I just followed the teachers' guide I was able to get it done by 12:30pm or so everyday starting at 9:00am or so! As I said before, I am doing a different Reading program and Math program for each child then what HOD is asking us to do because my daughter is not up to Bigger Hearts for His Glory's standards. She is still learning to read and my son is above it the Bigger guides Math standards. The main reason I chose Bigger was so they could learn all the Non-Academic subjects together which is what I have been doing all along with them!

They both said they had a great time this week. The only thing was, we are so use to Apologia Science (which we LOVE) and it has always been about 25 minutes each day or so that HOD science seemed REALLY light. But today we were talking about the beach and tides and waves and my daughter told Daddy all about  how the tides work and how the waves wok etc. My son chimed in with his $.02 too. That told me I was doing the right thing! The science was not light, it was just perfect!

On Friday I started playing Jeopardy with the kids. In a nut shell each day I pick 2 or 3 facts from the reading and mark them down on index cards. Each day we go over the previous days cards and then add more cards. On Friday I have a board with numbered index cards starting at 10 going to 160 (counting by 10's) and as the numbers get bigger of course the questions get harder.

They each take turns calling out a number and trying to answer the question. If that child cannot answer then the other child gets a chance to steal the question and answer it. Each correct answer gets 1 M&M. In the end the person with the most M&M's get a prize. The prizes are no more then a $1.00 item from the dollar store. Today they both got 6 out of 16 question. YEA! Not bad. That meant Mommy got a few M&M's too! Yea me! And they each got a prize…Whao Hoo! Great way to end the week! They were having so much fun with this that Daddy had to come downstairs to find out what all the commotion was. He was absolutely shocked to see them screaming and yelling answers and having the time of their life answer school questions!!!!!

This week is our first week starting Heart of Dakota (HOD) and we have had a blast!

We have learned more about Christopher Columbus and his adventure to North America.

Leif's Journey

Columbus' Journey by My Son


Columbus' Journey by My Daughter

We learned about what makes the Waves vs. what makes the Tides. In one week we have learned so much more then I could ever imagine. And since I placed my kids in the same book…Bigger Hearts for His Glory…I am happy to see my daughter doing so well! Like I said before, this is one of the reasons I decided to do my own reading and math program. Because the math in Bigger was to easy for my Son and the reading was too hard for my Daughter and I wanted them to be learning the non-academic things together. This is working well so far. Anyway, here are some more pictures showing us learning why things sink vs. floating

Balloons Float

Empty Cans Float but full ones sink

Coins Sink


My Daughter's floating diagram and my Son's sinking diagram

Also we learned where the continents and the different oceans are and their names. So we got a balloon and made the kids write out the 4 oceans and 7 continents and place them on the balloon. My Daughter was a little off on the continent placement the first time through, but she got all the oceans right. My Son, he got them all right!

My son's placing his continents

My Daughter placing S. America. Just a bit off! Good try babe!

Also we learned about how the moon makes the tides and the wind makes the waves. We used a blow dryer to make waves and see how the wave erode the sand on the shore of the beach.

Homemade beach in a baking dish


My daughter's rendition of Low and High tide!

All in all I can honestly say we had a great time this week and I can see that this year will be a great year for learning for both children! My goal is to take pictures each week and post about it on each of my kids blog as well as my own. Lets see if I can keep that up for 36 weeks. I will surley try!!!!

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