Heart of Dakota Blog

Why shouldn’t I just place my children where they would fit next in the history cycle?

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Dear Carrie

Why shouldn’t I just place my children in Heart of Dakota where they would fit next in the history cycle?

I love the history cycle, which is why I love what I see in Heart of Dakota! Had I known about Heart of Dakota when I began homeschooling, I wouldn’t have to ask this question. I would have just started at the beginning and worked my way through the guides. However, sadly, I just found Heart of Dakota. I’m hooked. I’ll be using it for sure. But, oh, I do love moving through the history cycle! I’ve been using family learning with another homeschool curriculum. It is not working. No one is properly placed. I want a change. We need a change! However, old habits die hard.

The old me wants to just force fit everyone into the next period of history we’d study. The new me wants to – NEEDS to – make sure my kids are each placed in guides that actually fit them.  Help me get my thoughts right on this! Help me have peace of mind! Why can’t I just place my children in HOD where they’d fit in next in the history cycle?


“Ms. Please Help Me Get My Thoughts Right on the History Cycle”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Get My Thoughts Right on the History Cycle,”

It is amazing to me in homeschool circles, how much emphasis we give to the history cycle in planning our children’s homeschool years! In fact, it is so much this way that as a new homeschool mom twenty-plus years ago, I was sure that the history cycle was to be the focal point of my children’s homeschool plan for all of their years of schooling. To point out how misguided the incredible emphasis on this focus could be, consider if we made other decisions in our life like this.

Let’s compare the history cycle to an exercise cycle to illustrate the dangers of making the history cycle supreme.

What if, as adults, there was a “set” 4 year exercise sequence that all adults followed, however this sequence did not take into account any variables that may affect your success in this plan. For example, prior to starting this exercise plan, no account would be taken of what you weighed, what your previous workout history had been, or whether or not as a woman you were pregnant or had just had a baby, and no thought would be given to your age, or even to your gender in considering the best exercise plan for you. Let’s just say that all persons followed this same 4 year exercise sequence no matter what, and what’s more you had to complete this exercise plan in sequence no matter how you changed over the years.

How successful would this plan be for you?

Ask yourself, how successful would the exercise plan be for you? Would you feel that all of your needs were considered in placing you in this type of a plan? Now, before you say that this is ridiculous, think of how closely this parallels the thinking that the history cycle should dictate what our children do from year-to-year and how little placement by this guideline takes into account the needs of your individual children?

The history cycle is only one small piece of the learning puzzle.

At HOD, placement is based mainly on family dynamics, mix of personalities, and individual needs of family members. It is not based on the history cycle, because this kind of placement does not take into account the family’s needs but instead makes the history cycle the supreme focus and deciding factor. While we do include the history cycle at HOD, and we do love history, you’ll notice that on the HOD Board (when placing families) we rarely ask what a family has done in the past for the history cycle. This is because the history cycle is only one small piece of the learning puzzle, and decisions based solely on the history cycle overlook much of the academic and spiritual needs of the individual children.

Just as the history cycle is only one indicator used for placement, so is age.

Age is also only one indicator used for placement. At HOD, within our placement chart, you’ll notice that the target ages on our guides overlap. This is because age is only one piece of the puzzle that needs to be considered prior to finding the correct fit. You’ll find that families with similar aged kiddos often follow different HOD paths and end up in different HOD guides, based on their child’s skill level and their family dynamics.


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