Does IEW’s Student Writing Intensive A have to be completed prior to IEW’s Medieval-History-Based Writing?

Dear Carrie

Does my son need to do the IEW Level A Course before he does Resurrection to Reformation’s IEW Medieval course?

My son has severe dyslexia, and our primary focus has been reading. Right now, he dictates his Creation to Christ written narrations to me, and I write them. However, he’ll be 12 next year, and he needs more writing instruction. I know IEW’s Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons are included with Resurrection to Reformation. He’d really enjoy the history connection, but I’m not sure he’ll be ready for it. Does this program require prior writing instruction? He is a motivated writer and is hard on himself. Nothing he writes for fun measures up to his expectations. I think he’s comparing his writing to authors’ writing he reads in all of those awesome living books! I’m wondering if Medieval writing lessons requires a prior writing curriculum, or if it will teach writing as a stand-alone? Do I need to do the Level A course from IEW first before doing the Medieval lessons?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Know If My Son Needs to do the IEW Level A Course Before the IEW Medieval Course”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Know If My Son Needs to do the IEW Level A Course Before the IEW Medieval Course,”

I’m thinking that you’re asking whether your son needs to complete IEW’s Student Writing Intensive A prior to beginning Medieval-History-Based Writing. Your son actually does not need need to do IEW’s SWI-A first, as the instruction in Medieval History-Based Writing is so well-done that no prior IEW experience is necessary. I had one son who had done IEW- SWI A and B prior to Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons, and another son who had no prior IEW experience when coming to Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons. Both did equally well with the program (and my husband taught the lessons to my second son and did well even though both father and son had no prior IEW experience)! I also much prefer Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons to IEW-SWI.

There are two levels of instruction offered within Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons (Level A and Level B). Both are scheduled in the Heart of Dakota guide. As long as your son sticks to the Level A schedule, he will be fine. We would also encourage you to follow the Medieval Writing plans the way they are scheduled within Heart of Dakota, as we spread out the writing sessions to keep them more manageable, and we also omit several of the writing units that are either covered in Rod and Staff or are covered in other ways through Heart of Dakota.   The Heart of Dakota schedule also allows for some great connections between the history and writing portions of the plans!

Blessings,
Carrie

 

 

 

Consider your child’s personality when scheduling artistic subjects

Teaching Tip

Consider your child’s personality when scheduling artistic subjects.

Do you have a child who loves to take his/her time when doing any assignment that requires drawing?  If so, you may wish to consider placing subjects that require drawing or artwork as the last subject.  One of our sons really enjoys doing each art-related assignment meticulously. While this results in beautiful work, it can also make this mama want to constantly hurry him along! This results in stress for both us.

Schedule art-related subjects last in the day.

The solution for me was to schedule any art-related assignments within my son’s HOD guide after lunch.  This was when he did his last subjects of the day.  In that way, my son could take as long as he wanted to complete the assignment.  He’s on his own time then, and I am not rushing him. This is because I try to be done with most formal teaching from his HOD guide by then.

Various assignments can fall into the artwork category.

Notebooking assignments and lab sheets for science often fall in this category.  Timeline entries and Draw and Write entries fall in this category for us too. The painting assignments in CTC, the composer study in Rev2Rev, and the nature journal in MTMM are also in this category.

Even if you don’t have a child who is artistic, any assignment with drawing typically takes more time.

Once you figure out which drawing assignments are taking more time, consider placing these projects last in the day.  This will help keep the rest of your schedule on-track. And, when your child is on his/her own time, he will be less likely to drag an assignment out.  Try a schedule redo and see if it helps your day run more smoothly!

Blessings,

Carrie

Choosing Between Preparing Hearts and Creation to Christ

Pondering Placement

Choosing Between Preparing Hearts and Creation to Christ

My fourth grade daughter is just turning 10. She has taken her time in becoming independent in her reading. Last year she got through about Unit 24 in Bigger Hearts and did really well. She did not continue into Preparing Hearts because I wanted her to spend lots of time on intense phonics review and reading. Blessedly, she’s grown leaps and bounds in her reading. She can orally narrate and write about 3-5 simple sentences. Also, she’ll complete Singapore 3B, Dictation 2, Rod and Staff 3, WWE 3, and 3rd grade readers. She is self motivated. Yet, she can be a big complainer if she thinks she cannot do something. I’m not quite sure if she can do DITHOR 4/5. One minute I’m convinced she should be in Preparing Hearts then I switch to CTC. What do you think?

Carrie’s Reply to Choosing Between Preparing Hearts and Creation to Christ

With what you’ve shared so far, I’d be inclined to suggest Preparing Hearts. I am basing this mostly upon her reading and writing level. Creation to Christ (CTC) is also quite a step up in independence and in reading and following lengthy written directions. I would be hesitant to put a child who has been a bit of a late bloomer in reading into CTC without first having that child go through the stepping stones that are built into Preparing Hearts.

I’d recommend Preparing Hearts with DITHR Level 3 books.

I think that a year in Preparing Hearts would also keep her from being too overwhelmed with the addition of DITHR to her days. With this in mind, I’d lean toward having her do Preparing Hearts with DITHR Level 2/3 (if she hasn’t already done it) or 4/5 (if she has already been through DITHR 2/3). I’d also lean toward the level 3 Book Pack (which actually has a reading level in the range of 3.5-5.1). If you think that is too young, you could move into the 4/5 Book Pack. However, I would do that with some hesitation as you want to encourage her to feel good about her reading without overwhelming her.

I’d recommend R & S English 4 half-speed, as well as the Preparing Hearts poetry writing lessons.

I would have her move on into Rod and Staff English 4 at half speed, spreading each lesson out over 2 days. Then, I’d move onto dictation Level 3 (which is in the Appendix of Preparing Hearts). I would move away from Writing with Ease, as you’ll have too much duplication between that program and the writing across the curriculum we do in Preparing Hearts (through guided written narration, oral narration, and dictation). I would make sure to do the writing lessons from the poetry as scheduled in Preparing Hearts to build those writing skills that are not covered elsewhere in our guide or in Rod and Staff. She will also be getting quite a bit of writing instruction through Rod and Staff.

I’d recommend Singapore 4A and the Preparing Hearts Deluxe and Science packages.

She can also move easily into Singapore 4A as that is scheduled in the Preparing Hearts Appendix. I would have her do the Deluxe Package with Preparing and also the science too. These will be her independent areas and will do a great job of building independence incrementally.

I’d definitely encourage a year in Preparing Hearts with your daughter, rather than jumping ahead to CTC.

In looking down the road at the level of reading, written work, and independence required in CTC and RTR on up, I would definitely encourage you to spend a year heading through Preparing  first with your daughter. The leap from completing 2/3 of Bigger and then jumping to CTC would be very huge (without having Preparing in between first).

Blessings,

Carrie

Should I add the extension books to change up the units we’re repeating?

Dear Carrie

Should I add the extension books to change up the units we’re repeating?

Last year, we started Bigger Hearts with my 2nd grader. Though we enjoyed it, I ended up having some unexpected life challenges, and we set it aside for a textbook/workbook approach. I feel, like I did last year, that God has led our family to Heart of Dakota. I prayerfully want to make this work. Although my son was doing fine with Bigger for 2nd grade, I feel like it would still be a good fit for him. Plus, I am familiar with it, so it’s not like I’d be trying to learn something new. So, I was considering buying the Extension books to read along during the units he already covered. He will only be in 3rd grade though. Will they be okay as read alouds? (NOT independent reading.) Just looking for a way to repeat those units (1-15) and change it up a bit. What do you think?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Decide If I Should Add the Extension Books for the Units I’m Repeating”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Decide If I Should Add the Extension Books for the Units I’m Repeating,”

If you made it partway through Bigger Hearts last year, I would be inclined to just pick Bigger up where you left off and go forward from there with it as written. For a third grader, I wouldn’t add the Extension books as a general rule, but would instead encourage you to do the Storytime books (either boy, girl, or classic set). The skills in the Storytime box are really important, and the books in the Storytime sets were chosen for their read-aloud quality.

The Extension books were intended to be read independently by the child and were chosen to extend the study of American history for an older learner. So, the Extension book readings will be much longer as read-alouds, as they were not intended for that purpose. If you love to read aloud, you can certainly read aloud some of the Extension titles. However, we wouldn’t want that to replace the very needed Storytime read-aloud sessions and skills.

Blessings,
Carrie

How can you challenge your child to take a more active role in his learning?

Teaching Tip:

As your year progresses, are your children becoming more comfortable with their HOD guides?

As the school year progresses, I am reminded of a tip that is helpful as children get further along in their guides. This tip is especially targeted at students in Little Hearts for His Glory through Preparing Hearts for His Glory. As your kiddos travel through their guides, they will become comfortable with the patterns in their particular guides. They will begin to instinctively “know” what to do when they come to certain parts of their day. As your children’s comfort levels rise, they are ready for more of a challenge.

How can you challenge your child to take a more active role in his learning?

When your child seems comfortable with the guide, it is time to start letting him take a more active role in his learning. One easy way to do this is to allow your child to look at the daily plans and get out his own materials. Once your child excels at getting out his own materials, move on to letting your child read directions from the guide.

Allow your child to read directions right from the guide.

Allowing your child to read directions right from the guide helps him prepare for the learning coming that day. Reading directly from the guide is also great preparation for what is coming in future guides too. Future guides begin labeling boxes in the plans as ‘T’ = Teacher Directed, ‘S’ = Semi-Independent, and ‘I’ = Independent. As your child matures, the move toward more independence will be encouraged and expected.

Allowing your students to read directly from the guide has many benefits.

Reading directly from the guide allows students to become more self-propelled learners. It also allows students to take more responsibility and ownership for what they are learning! So, once your students are ready, start letting them read directly from the guide. Begin with only one or two boxes at a time. See what a change you notice as your children enjoy taking ownership of their learning.

With growing independence comes greater accountability.

Just be careful that you don’t let your children’s new ownership nudge you out of too many areas! It is still important to oversee and check each part of your children’s school work. Accountability becomes even more important with independence.

Blessings,
Carrie