I knew that we needed a change in our curriculum this year. I previously wrote about how switching to Tapestry of Grace was working out well for our family, and for a year or so it was. Then all the lesson planning that was required each week really started becoming a burden, and I also had to tweak so many book suggestions. We are not a classical education family, and Tapestry of Grace is more of a classical style.

We also have used Notgrass History, which has been a blessing for the busy years when I just couldn’t be as involved as I would like. Mosiah read through all of the elementary/middle school books, and I wasn’t ready to move him on to high school level. I really wanted to give him a year of literature and spending a lot of time reading.

I finally decided we needed a change, and I found myself thinking about Heart of Dakota. The homeschooling mom who was tutoring Mosiah in math last year had been using it for years with her children, so I was able to chat with her about it which helped.

We had previously used Heart of Dakota and I loved the memories we had with it. I had gone through the Preparing guide with my children and loved reading the history to them. Then it became overwhelming to keep up, and I decided to set it aside until my children were a little older and could read all the books for themselves.

Mosiah is in 8th grade this year (where has the time gone?!), so we are going to be using the Mission to Modern Marvels guide. This goes through some of his favorite time periods in history, so he is pretty excited about the books he gets to read!

Heart of Dakota Mission to Modern Marvels

We are both pretty thrilled with the books he gets to read through this year! I don’t have every single book shown in the  picture, but it gives you an idea.

History – For history he will be reading through parts of Story of the World, Volume 4, All American History Volume 2, Hero Tales, volume 2 and 3 (a must for anyone to read!), Great Events in American History, Book of Great American Speeches for Young People, and Great Events in American History.

He also will be doing a study of the Presidents this year, along with making a notebooking journal.

Bible Time – He is working through Faith at Work, which is a study of Romans, Galations and James. I’m thankful for how this walks him through step by step in his personal quiet time with God, and even gives instruction in prayer time. Sometimes it’s nice to have freedom in this area, but he is at the age where I think this will be very beneficial. He also will use the Apologia Who Am I? book, and Hymns for  Kid’s Heart (so sweet!).

Science – I’ve changed things around several times on this child, but one thing that I’ve been very consistent with is having him use Apologia science every year. He loves science and has really enjoyed using Apologia. This year he is in the Exploring Creation with Physical science book for middle school and he can’t wait to dive in! Weather has always been his particular interest, so I think he will really enjoy this year.

I’m also having him read through the science books with Heart of Dakota, but not do any of the assignments for the sake of time.

Economics – He is reading Whatever Happened to Penny Candy and Common Business Sense for Kids, and doing assignments with those books. The stocks interest him (he loves looking at them each day on my phone), so I’m thinking he will really enjoy this.

Math – Teaching Textbooks is what we will be continuing, as so far it’s been the best fit for him. I anticipate us needing to use a math tutor again in the future, but for now he is doing great.

Literature – Heart of Dakota has 14 books selected for his literature, some of them include Factory Girl, War Horse, Candy Bomber, I Am David, and Mama’s Bank Account. He loves to read, so this should be a highlight of his day!

Grammar – This is one area we are not strong in (and it’s all my fault!). We will be doing a combination of Rod and Staff Grammar (fingers crossed that we can make it through), and we are also trying The Good and The Beautiful Language Arts this year for the first time. I just discovered this curriculum and I’m in love! It combines art appreciation, spelling, grammar, geography, vocabulary and reading!

The Good and The Beautiful Language Arts

I actually decided to put the three oldest together in level 3. They don’t go by grade level, just by skill. It covers a good foundation of grammar. The other parts of it will be easy for him, but he should be able to get through it quickly because of that.

If you are new to The Good and The Beautiful, they offer free downloads of their Language Arts curriculum! I purchased the physical copies because it wasn’t terribly expensive, but if your budget is super tight you can try the download!

Music – He will continue taking cello lessons, he is in the Suzuki cello book 3 and he also plays in an orchestra in the fall and spring.

Handwriting – I grabbed the handwriting book from The Good and The Beautiful, level 5 for him to work through. It’s sweet and simple, and focuses on cursive.

The Good and the Beautiful Handwriting

Nature Journaling – Heart of Dakota requires him to nature journal this year, but I also grabbed every child a nature journal through The Good and The Beautiful. We will use those on Fridays. I like how it breaks up the journaling by season, and also tells them what to look for.

The Good and the Beautiful Nature Journal

The Good and the Beautiful Nature Journal

That is pretty much everything we are doing, along with lots and lots of free reading when school is over!

I’m thankful for all the amazing curriculum choices we have to pick from! When my mom started homeschooling us in the 1980’s, the only options she knew about was Abeka. Things have certainly changed! It can get overwhelming, especially attending a curriculum fair, but choices excite me so I appreciate it. 🙂







10 Comments on Our 8th Grade Heart Of Dakota Curriculum For 2017-2018

  1. I always look forward to your new school year choices, it’s helped me a lot in my choices for my kids, will you be doing the other grades too? Particularly 1st grade/2nd grade choices? 🙂

  2. Thanks for the info, Caroline. My oldest is in 6th right now, and last year and this year we’re using Notgrass, for similar reasons you mentioned. I’ve wondered what I will have him do for eighth grade, since there are 3 Notgrass books for 4 years and he probably won’t be ready to skip to high school level that early. We also used Heart of Dakota a few years ago and liked it (and I still follow some of her book lists), so your option looks good. My sixth baby is due in a month, so with more littles than older ones, I’m happy with Notgrass’s independent study. Obviously, the year has just started, but do you have a feeling if you’ll stick with Heart of Dakota after this, or return to Notgrass for high school (or something else)? 🙂

    • I really think it depends on if we have another baby, and what that high school year might look like. 🙂 It is a lot of work, I have the three oldest in Heart of Dakota right now so I’m juggling a lot, but I really wanted to give it a try this year. Today was a lot smoother, so I’m thinking they are getting the hang of it. I do like Notgrass, so I guess we will just see how this year goes with Heart of Dakota. Ultimately I would like Mosiah to go through Heart of Dakota all the way through high school, but I’ll see if I can do that.

  3. I really enjoyed the history portion of the high school American History by Notgrass, but I didn’t like the literature portion. Too many books my daughter didn’t feel were appropriate, and after reading them, I felt the same. We switched to the history and literature from Generations.com that Kevin Swanson just created over the past few years. His first year of literature basically is autobiographies by great Christian leaders. We both appreciated that more than the traditional American Lit courses I could find.

  4. It looks like you have an exciting year ahead!

    Do you mind my asking about your son’s name? Is it a biblical name I can’t place?

    • Emily, our son’s name is from the Book of Mormon. We believe in the Book of Mormon, even though we are not members of the Mormon church.

      • Thanks. I didn’t think I was familiar with the name. I wasn’t aware that anyone outside the Mormon church believed the Book of Mormon.

  5. Did you end up successfully combining The Good and the Beautiful with Rod and Staff? I’m trying to decide between those two for my kids and wondered about combining them. Every other day or something like that.

    • No we didn’t. We only used The Good and The Beautiful, and I plan on using it for our next school year as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *