Heart of Dakota Blog

Better Beloved Living Books Instead of Less Loved Dry Textbooks

Heart of Dakota From Our House to Yours - Photo of a red painted fence with two heart shaped holes cut in it. Through the holes, a blurred snowy background is visible.
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From Our House to Yours

Why homeschool? Use better beloved living books to teach your children instead of less loved dry textbooks!

There are many reasons to homeschool, and we are exploring some of them in this From Our House to Yours series. Take a moment to think back to your favorite books from your time spent in school. How many of them are textbooks? Now, think back to your favorite authors. How many of them are authors of textbooks? Chances are your answer to both these questions is ‘none.’ Why? Textbooks are often quite dry, utterly forgettable, and definitely less loved than the average book. Though we know this to be true, textbooks continue to provide the basis for the bulk of educational instruction in most brick and mortar schools. This brings us to a very good reason why you should consider homeschooling! You can use better beloved living books to teach your children rather than less loved dry textbooks!

Living books are better because they are remembered long after the last page has been read!

Have you ever read a textbook from cover to cover and longed to read it all over again? When you finish reading a textbook, do you rush to find another textbook by that same author? As you read a textbook, do you find yourself excitedly sharing what you’ve read? Chances are you don’t. Living books are the opposite. You do long to read them cover to cover, you do rush to find another book by that same author, and you do find yourself excitedly sharing what you’ve read with whoever will listen! When our children read living books for their education, the same holds true for them. They can’t wait to find out what will happen next. Finding books by the same author is a must. Sharing what has been read is exciting (and it’s called oral narration – thank you Ms. Charlotte Mason)!

Heart of Dakota provides a living books, literature-based, Christ-centered education!

There are many books that are lining the shelves of libraries, bookstores, and homes, that are simply not good books. We are a conservative family and try to have a similar standard for our children’s free reading time as we do for their homeschooling time. I must admit, hard as I try though, our children’s free reading books are not as wonderful as Heart of Dakota’s book picks. I have really struggled with finding books for our children to read for free time, and these books don’t even have to fit into a specific historical time period, a particular science focus, a certain genre, or an exact age level! Having used HOD from PreK to 12th grade now, one of the things I am most thankful for is the book choices! Thank you, Heart of Dakota, for a living books, literature-based, Christ-centered education!

Build your own home library of wonderful living books!

I have a bookshelf in my bedroom that holds my most beloved books. Not one of my most beloved books is a traditional textbook. I have my favorite books grouped by authors as well. Not one of my sets of books grouped by authors is a set of textbooks. Why? Textbooks belong in my office with my bill-paying caddie. I use these books for occasional reference rather than for reading cover to cover. These books would never make it onto my beloved bookshelf in my bedroom. In homeschooling, you can build your own home library of wonderful living books that you and your children love! These are books you enjoy returning to from time to time and rereading just because they are THAT good! So, why homeschool? You can enjoy reading better beloved living books instead of wasting time with less loved dry textbooks!

In Christ,

P.S. Do you have a student who was used to textbooks in public school and seems to be more comfortable with textbooks than quality living books?  Click here to read Carrie’s thoughts on helping a mom who posed that very question!

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Suanna Sears

    I like the variety and selection that Heart of Dakota offers. My shelves are full of “school” books and I will often open the “school” shelf for summer reading and my children can choose any books that they have read previously or would have been for a level that they have completed. If they books are in a level of HOD that they haven’t complete then I ask them to wait to read those until they have been through that level. I have each level of books labeled with colored stickers so it is easy to find the books that go to each HOD guide, since I have several children who are going through HOD.

    1. I do this exact same thing, Suanna! Only I have my HOD books marked with white address labels. It really helps to find these HOD gems back after summer because I can see the white labels on the books’ spines on the shelves in their rooms! It’s kind of fun to see what they choose. I remember one year one of my children who was in 5th grade chose American Pioneers and Patriots from Beyond and read it cover to cover over a few days. He just said he found it so inspiring! The red Eggleston books are often sought after as well – our sons are quite patriotic! Tirzah and Traveling the Way were more surprise rereads to me, not because they aren’t wonderful reading, but because the covers aren’t all that flashy. This is actually another reason I love living books! Our sons have learned not to ‘judge a book by its cover’ literally. Some very excellent living books happen to have just okay covers. They’ve learned to delve into the reading before judging a book’s worth. Anyway, thanks for sharing, and I hope your kiddos enjoy another blissful summer of rereading their HOD favorites!

  2. Bethany

    My son and I are so loving the science read alouds for Bigger this year! When I was a kid I struggled to enjoy science from a textbook. With living books my kids are begging me to keep reading! Another one of our favorites is “Stories of the Pilgrims” in Beyond. And I love discovering new favorites from the story time selections. We read “Follow my Leader” last year and it has become my boys’ favorite book and they are begging to read it again this year!

    Thanks Heart of Dakota for your wonderful book selections I can trust!

    1. I’m so happy to hear you and your son are enjoying the science living books in Bigger, Bethany! My own memories of science readings back when I was in school are much the same as your memories. No fun. Not enjoyable. Isn’t it exciting to have our children beg us to keep reading?!? Our boys loved Stories of the Pilgrims and Follow My Leader too. What stories of resilience, of forgiveness, and of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles! We need inspiration like that today for our children to model. Keep up the good work you are doing homeschooling your children with HOD’s living books, Bethany! Your kiddos will love it all the way to its last ‘chapter’ – 12th grade USII, and so will you! God bless!

  3. Ann G.

    Do you have a list of the living books you recommend for each subject and grade level?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ann! Heart of Dakota uses living books for virtually all subject areas (i.e. history, science, reading/literature, read alouds, etc.). To see which books are recommended for each age range and subject area, you can either order a free catalog or visit our website and click on a guide and its ‘packages’…



      If you have any other questions, please let us know!

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