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How do I handle my son not completing the last high school guide?

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Dear Carrie

How do I handle my son not completing the last high school guide?

We are excited to switch to Heart of Dakota! Previously, my 4th and 5th graders were combined for everything except math. My fifth grade son struggles with reading skills, while my fourth grade daughter can read anything. However, she doesn’t like to read, and neither enjoy being read to. They have not done much independent work, since I typically teach them most subjects. I would like to move them to more independence. However, the reading in Creation to Christ would be too much for my son. Preparing Hearts would be more his speed. I could combine both in that guide. If I did this, it would mean that he would not get to the last year of American History. How do you work around not completing the last guide? I’m not sure how I feel about him not completing the last guide! Help!


“Ms. Please Help with My Son Not Completing the Last Guide”

Dear “Ms. Please Help with My Son Not Completing the Last Guide,”

This is a great question because it is one that so many families will face! I just wanted to share my perspective on not completing all of the guides, as I experienced this very thing with my own oldest son. I find it interesting that my oldest did not complete all of our guides. In fact, he was always ahead of my writing. He missed out on many of the wonderful things we now have planned within our guides. Yet, he benefitted greatly from any of the areas he was able to use from our guides.

Even if students don’t end up completing all of our guides, their education will still be richer overall than it would be without HOD.

In looking at my next son’s completing all of our guides, I can honestly say that he had a richer homeschool path being able to use all of the Heart of Dakota (HOD) guides as written. Yet, if he had ended up not completing one or even several of the guides and would have still been able to use HOD, I think I would still say that his education was richer overall than my oldest son’s was without HOD. (This is not to take anything away from my oldest son’s accomplishments, as he has now successfully graduated college with a history major. I just would have loved being able to use more of HOD with him as well; the guides were just not written at the time.)

It is more important to place your students where they are skill-wise for them to be truly successful in HOD.

This leads me to advise that it is more important to place your students where they are at skill-wise in order for them to truly be successful in HOD, rather than pondering how to complete all of the guides. If that means leaving off some of the end guides in the HOD line-up, then it does. Their education will still be very rich, and much more balanced, then most of us probably had in our high school education.

Plus, the Biblical aspect of the guides will also hopefully lead to a deeper spiritual communion with our Lord and lead to a deeper understanding of His Word (and that is a benefit that cannot be measured)! This benefit will deepen from using as many of the guides as possible on your homeschool journey, but it also comes from our Lord Himself (meaning there is no set amount of guides that must be completed to this end, because it is our Lord who ultimately equips us)!

There are times, for whatever reason, it may be the better path for a student not to complete all of the guides.

This is why, from my perspective, the finishing path for each family through HOD may differ. That is actually a good thing, because it means that we are truly looking at kiddos as individuals and charting their course based on their skills, needs, aspirations, and future plans. It also allows us to look at the whole child as part of the family unit and ponder the special circumstances under which he/she is functioning as part of placement. I love that! So, while it may bother us in our head not to complete all the guides, it may be the better path for the child not to complete all the guides (which we will ultimately know and accept in our heart).


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Suanna Sears

    Thanks for addressing this question. I will probably have a student in this situation as well. I also have a student who will have finished the 4th H.S. guide after her 11th grade year, because I combined her with an older sibling from an early age. Any thoughts on how we should proceed for her senior year. I’m thinking a lighter year with room for fun electives, since she will have completed all the required classes.

    1. Crystal

      Have you considered dual enrollment for her senior year? In many states, you can take free or reduced rate college courses while in high school.

    2. Congratulations to both your kiddos for completing all of the high school guides! As far as your daughter, I’d probably officially graduate her from high school, as she has completed all the work and deserves that recognition. She can still do some elective, interest-led learning, but I’d probably have her study for CLEP/DSST tests and/or begin online college courses. We have really enjoyed this route with our own oldest son!

      In Christ,

      1. Suanna Sears

        Thanks for your thoughts.

        1. Hi Suanna! I see from your other comment that your daughter is not interested in college. I think there are some really neat home education classes that I would have LOVED taking at your daughter’s age! Cooking, baking, sewing, quilting, canning – I would have enjoyed them all and they would have all been beneficial to me as a mom and wife too! We also have lots of really neat community classes where we live – not sure if you have those available where you live or not – but we have taken some community classes for fun in the summer and really enjoyed those as well. Our church also has a college/career class that is really special for kiddos about your daughter’s age. I’m not sure if any of these ideas help, but if I had a daughter, I would have pursued them!

          In Christ,

      2. Suanna Sears

        Thanks for the reminder. She’s not interested in attending college, but I will keep this in mind.

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