Heart of Dakota - running 3 guides in the early years

Hi! I have 3 boys (8,6, almost 4)… Is HOD going to wear me down? I know I cannot combine the older two - it won’t work so I would need 3 separate guides. I would be looking at Bigger, LHFHG & LH. I love how integrated the history, bible, science is. We lean more CM, also. Are these 3 guides going to overwhelm us? Thank you!

Have you checked out the forums on the HOD website? I’ve used it with one child and we really enjoyed it. My gut reaction would be this: I’m wondering about the 4 year old. Is it necessary that you have him formally included?
If the answer is yes, somewhere on HOD’s site Carrie has posted how long a typical day should take for each of the guides. I would look at that and also I would print out the sample weeks for each of those guides give it try and see how it goes. Even if you don’t have the books sub them for what you do have. The samples are exactly what is in the guide book so iIt will give you an idea of what will be expected for each day.
Finally have you done the placement with each child? Could you combine the 6 and 4 year old? Good Luck!

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I tried to use the same 3 guides about 2 years ago.
I honestly didn’t have time to use LHTH, I was trying to focus all my energy on LHFHG and Bigger.
LHFHG I was using with a 5 yo and Bigger with an 9yo. It was a lot of reading on my part and depending on the skill level of your children it takes a while to get into at first. The work load required from each child etc… and again the amount of work required from me. We didn’t finish any of the guides but I still have them all on my shelf because I DID love HOD and plan to use them one at a time with my younger children (there is a big enough gap for it to work)! It was a wonderful well rounded program, but it requires a lot of organization and in order to complete some of the boxes you need materials you may not have around the home, getting a list and making sure you purchase those items ahead of time will help.
I have seen some people are able to complete 3 guides but I definitely believe that the more independent a guide is, the easier it would be to do more guides.

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Thank you! I am not able to combine the two. That was my initial hope. I am actually looking at MFW now (easier to combine). I may go with MFW ECC.

I agree with @Proverbs31 you would have to be very organized! I actually had two kids in HOD, but one was independent and it didn’t work for her anyway. I was thinking about how my son and I used it. I loved, loved, loved the layout of the daily work. But it was me sitting with him for nearly every subject, because that’s what he needed. So I would envision that being quite difficult time 3. Trail Guide to Learning might be another viable option to consider.

2 minutes after I posted this I got this email from GeoMatters about Trail Guide Paths of American History:
"Interested in trying it out? For a limited time download the first six week unit in Paths of Exploration for FREE! A savings of $35! Simply click here and complete the checkout process. "

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I had a similar situation. The preschool level of HOD took us around 30 minutes a day, we used it for Pre4. I did Bigger Hearts for His Glory with a 6 year old and 8 year old our first year of homeschooling and did COAH Pre 3 Curriculum for my 3 year old, but I did separate language arts and math at grade level for each of my older kids (I went with different choices than what was in the guide). I also had different expectations for the first grader than for the third grader, I didn’t have her do as much writing and copy work (I eliminated some of that for both of them because copy work doesn’t work well for us so we just do some).

I switched year 2 to MFW because we were having a 4th baby so I knew that ultimately we will have a wide variety of ages to combine and multiple trips through the learning cycle so it made more sense. I also like that MFW has printed worksheets and pages, instead of having to copy down maps and pictures by hand out of the books for notebooking which was cumbersome and difficult for my kids. I think they learn more from labeling things on a map that is already drawn. They have really enjoyed the Geography game and activities. I did MFW ECC at the same time I did Little Hands to Heaven with the preschooler and had a newborn. We did skip more of the arts and crafts than my kids would have liked but they all do Art at Coop and I didn’t want to get all of the supplies and devote that much time to it.


Thank you so much for sharing this. I actually decided on ECC for my two older ones and continue with Animal Train with my 3-1/2 year old. I decided that I need to be able to teach them together as much as possible.

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At the ages your older two are at, I highly recommend looking into doing the Adventures in MFW first. When I used MFW-ECC, my oldest was 4th grade, and my next was 2nd. It was a bit of a struggle, as it’s just geared for a bit older kids than mine were. Adventures would be perfect for those ages! :wink:

That said, after our year with MFW, we started using Heart of Dakota and it’s been wonderful. It can be done, and done well, but you need to make sure you’re not overwhelming yourself with too much on your plate. It does get easier as the kids get older as they become a little more independent. LHTH wouldn’t be absolutely necessary, as your littlest could possibly come along for the ride with your 6 year old in Little Hearts. You could do Bigger at half speed until your 8 year old had a good handle on things, then gradually move up to full speed. You could possibly just do one read aloud for both, reducing the amount you have to read. Just throwing some quick thoughts out there.

They’re both great programs…I wish you the best! :wink:

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Thank you. We actually just finished Adventures last week. :wink: That was something I was afraid of with ECC. Really like what I see with HOD but need to combine subjects if I can. I’m hoping to keep things simple with ECC and focus more on Math, Reading, Spelling, extracurriculars. I was also eyeing The Good and The Beautiful for History and Science.