When I first started looking into Heart of Dakota for my four younger children (back in 2015), I read many comments and reviews on the message boards about PLACEMENT. Honestly, I paid no heed to those warnings. I figured placement wasn't such a big deal; after all, I had been homeschooling for so long I thought I knew what was best for my kids. Plus, I was dead-set on combining Eli and Mercie - my then-5th and 2nd graders.
We completed 18 units in Bigger Hearts for His Glory. It wasn't working for us. Eli was too advanced for the material, even though I ordered the extension package for him. It wasn't enough for him. Mercie wasn't quite ready for the history readings and Notebooking assignments. We boxed it up, along with the Little Hearts for His Glory I was using for Silas, who was 5 at the time. He wasn't ready for Little Hearts, either. The story-time and history readings didn't hold his attention at all.
*Sigh* I really wanted Heart of Dakota to work for us. I loved the concept of it, the layout of the teacher's guide, and the wonderful books that go with it. I tried so hard to make it work, but it just didn't.
Now, Mercie is nearly through with 3rd grade and Silas is 6 and 1/2. I was thinking about pulling out Little Hearts for His Glory and starting over with it with him. When I pulled the enormously heavy plastic tub out of the storage building, Mercie dug into the box. She pulled out her binder and started flipping through all of the Notebooking pages. She asked if she could do Bigger Hearts again, and I thought it would be a great idea. We picked up on unit 19 this morning, right where we left off last time. I could tell right away that it was going to be a great fit for her now. The history and science seem just right for her. I even dug out her Rod and Staff grammar book, and we picked up in the middle of the book. She completed her regular Math Lessons for a Living Education and continued reading "The Mouse and the Motorcycle".
Silas also enjoyed the history and story-time readings today. He continued in Math Mammoth, which he enjoys. I also grabbed "The Reading Lesson" from the box, which we had started but it was too much for him. Now, it seems perfect. He flew through the entire first chapter of the book, and we will pick up on chapter two tomorrow.
I was thinking this morning how important placement is in Heart of Dakota. It is totally skill-based and keeps progressing with each level. If your child is placed too low, it will be boring; yet, if your child is placed too high, it will be frustrating. If you are looking into Heart of Dakota for your child or children, I implore you to take the placement chart seriously. Pour over the samples of the first week, also, which will give you a good idea of what the projects and reading assignments will be like.
I am excited that we are starting Heart of Dakota again, at least with a few of mine!