Switching to Heart of Dakota for High School

Pondering Placement

Switching to Heart of Dakota for High School

I used another curricula through 7th grade for my oldest son. He has completed (by the end of this year) all of the history time periods. I really am thinking that Heart of Dakota will be the best fit for him for high school. However, I would like to have him complete one of the middle school guides for 8th grade. I want him to be familiar with the flow of Heart of Dakota. Even though he would place in MTMM, I don’t think that would be best, as we are studying that same material now. (We are even using Story of the World 4). My thought was to place him in Revival to Revolution. I would add the extensions and the advanced science package. I am a little nervous about the switch, but my heart keeps coming back to this curriculum! What would you advise for placement?

Carrie’s Reply to Placement Questions About Switching to Heart of Dakota for High School

Normally, we would encourage you to place your son in MTMM if that is where he fits best on the placement chart, even if he is switching to HOD from another Charlotte Mason-style curricula. However, if you feel that he has done that particular time period this past year, then it would be workable to consider Revival to Revolution instead.

Switching to Revival to Revolution would give a good introduction to Heart of Dakota.

I do think that Revival to Revolution would give you a good introduction to HOD. Your son would also be able to get into the pattern and the feel of the guides prior to high school. There is a jump between Revival to Revolution and World Geography. So, you may want to take another look at MTMM just to be sure that there is as much overlap in content as you think. Yet, I do think switching to Revival to Revolution is a workable plan in your placement situation.

Your son should also switch to Drawn into the Heart of Reading 6/7/8, as well as the correct levels of grammar and math.

In order to be well-prepared for the high school literature in the World Geography guide, you would want to do Drawn into the Heart of Reading Level 6/7/8 with the level 6/7 or 7/8 book pack as part of whichever HOD guide your son is switching to. You will also need to make sure to have the correct level of grammar and math in place too! I pray you enjoy HOD as much as we have and are!

Blessings,
Carrie

MTMM for High School: Science Path Questions

Pondering Placement for High School Science

MTMM for High School: Science Path Questions

We are using HOD’s Revival to Revolution this year. My son will be using MTMM for 9th grade this coming year. He said he would like to do something different for science this year than chemistry. So, we were thinking of having him do biology. In doing this, would we need to use the health resources from WH as well? I know you said this was a good pairing science-wise. I really don’t want things to become disjointed for him. He reads and comprehends very well above his level, and he will turn 15 shortly. We will not make it through all the guides. So, as we go through and incorporate things one year, this may open up room for something else another year. At the same time, we don’t want to weigh him down with too much. Would adding the health with the biology in MTMM be too heavy?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help with High School Science Decisions”

Dear “Ms. Please Help with High School Science Decisions,”

As you look at your son’s year and your decision to use MTMM for his freshman year, we want to take care not to switch out so many things and add so much that MTMM actually becomes more difficult and heavy than simply using World Geography for his freshman year. With that in mind, I would lean toward using as much of MTMM as written.

For your son’s high school science, I’d add to the MTMM science and leave the WG, WH, and USI high school science plans intact.

The science in MTMM is actually a pretty good mix of chemistry, physics, and biology with some geology thrown into the mix through the study of fossils. It is a great year of study and quite different than the science the students have just come out of in Rev2Rev. I would encourage your son to use the science in MTMM as written and add either the Chemistry 101, Biology 101, or Physics 101 dvds on his free 5th day – choosing whichever set best suits his fancy. I would leave the sciences in World Geography, World History, and US1 intact for the time when he arrives at those guides. By the time he gets to his senior year, and is likely using US1, we can look more deeply at his interests and plan his science for that year accordingly

High School Literature for MTMM

For literature, I would either use DITHR Level 6/7/8 with the 7/8 DITHR Boy set, or he could instead use the boy literature set from World Geography along with DITHR 6/7/8 Student Book (and then the following year do only the BJU lit along with World Geography, thus lightening his load for literature for the World Geography year). If you did use the Boy Lit set from World Geography with DITHR, you would just plug each of these books into whatever DITHR genre fits best and teach your way through the DITHR unit with the book. I would stay with WWTB Vol. II as scheduled in MTMM for composition and do the Rod and Staff English as scheduled in MTMM. This combination will give him one full credit in lit/comp.

High School Economics for MTMM

For Economics, he could either add the Economics study from US2, or he could simply do what is scheduled within MTMM and wait to do Economics until his senior year of high school. Either option would work.

High School Foreign Language for MTMM

I would plan to add Getting Started with Spanish from the World Geography guide, which you can do without needing the World Geography guide. Simply have him do one lesson a day of Getting Started with Spanish. This will earn him 1/2 credit in Spanish I.

High School Credits for MTMM

I would leave the rest of MTMM as written. His credits then would be as follows:
1 credit in U.S. History II
1 credit in English (including lit, comp, and grammar)
1 credit in Science with Lab
1/2 credit in Spanish I
1/2 credit in Economics (if you add the study from US2 and 1 full credit if you also do the Farmer’s Market)
1 credit in Math (Algebra I or above)
1/2 credit in Bible (up to one full credit if he is also doing Bible reading outside of school time)
1/2 credit in Fine Arts: Drawing from Nature (if he adds additional nature journal entries during the week or during the summer)

Looking Ahead 

Hope this helps! Just for reference, for each year of HOD high school study once he reaches the official high school guides, your son will earn 6 1/2 to 7 credits each year. So, you can see the credits he will be earning through MTMM will be comparable. Most states require between 18-24 credits to graduate with this requirement differing from state to state.

Blessings,
Carrie

Should I separate my twins?

Pondering Placement

Question: Should I separate my twins by moving the more wiggly “Tigger-like” one down to Little Hands to Heaven?

One of my 5-year-old twins is very wiggly. He literally bounces (like Tigger) through the house. When I’m reading, he is standing up and moving. However, when I ask questions, he answers them using phrases from the book I just read, so I know he’s listening. I tell him some things he just has to learn in school, whether he wants to or not. But, then starts the rebellion and the ‘It’s too hard for me! I can’t do it!’ Am I being too hard on him? Is he just not ready for Kindergarten? His twin brother is doing great. Should I separate my twins and move my ‘Tigger” down to Little Hands to Heaven? Also, my 8-year-old doing Bigger Hearts is a VERY slow writer! It took him 45 minutes today to write one vocabulary card. With these 2, our days are long! Words of wisdom please! Thank you!

Carrie’s Reply: Rather than separating your twins, I’d keep them together and adjust the expectations you have for your ‘Tigger.’

While you could easily separate your twins by sliding your wiggly twin down into Little Hands to Heaven, I think you’d find that since you have twins you’d rather keep them together in the long run. So, in order to do that, there may be a bigger learning curve for your “younger” twin than there is for the “older” one. If you just expect that going into each day, you most likely won’t be as frustrated when his attention, concentration, and focus doesn’t seem to be up to the same level as the older twin. Your little one will come along too, it will just take time.

My own sons were quite different maturity-wise!

My sons have always done separate guides due to their ages, but I still find myself comparing them, just as you are comparing your twins. When I look at the difference among my boys, it never ceases to amaze me! My third little guy just wasn’t as school ready, maturity-wise, as my other boys were and just took a little longer to come into his own in that area. But, I want to encourage you that with him the difference in attention span and understanding was HUGE between being a young 5 (when we started Little Hearts for His Glory LHFHG) to when he was 6 and completing LHFHG.

I am careful to keep our activities moving forward quite quickly throughout the day.

I also have always been careful to keep all of our activities moving forward quite quickly throughout the day, so they do not get drawn out. We do each box and move on, being careful to systematically develop the habit of attention. I don’t re-read or discuss again or repeat an activity very often. This keeps our day on schedule and helps if kiddos don’t “love” a certain activity to realize that it’s only a small portion of their day before it’s over.

I’d set the timer for the vocabulary activity for your older son.

With your older one doing Bigger Hearts, I would recommend setting the timer for 15 minutes for vocabulary. If it isn’t done when the timer rings, set it aside to be done in the evening with daddy, and move on. This way it still gets done, but it isn’t dragging your school day out all day. I do use the timer for any activity that my kiddos dawdle at doing. This helps them stay on task and to realize that it won’t go on forever! This will work for your kiddos in their separate guides too!

A Quote About Dawdling from Charlotte Mason

Here’s a quote from Charlotte Mason’s Vol. I p. 141 on her thoughts about this: “Never let a child dawdle over a copybook or a sum, sit dreaming with his book before him. When a child grows stupid over a lesson (meaning daydreaming), it is time to put it away. Let him do another lesson, as unlike the last as possible, and then go back with freshened wits to his unfinished task. When the child returns to the lesson it is now time for the parent to “pull him through; the lesson must be done, of course, but must be made bright and pleasant to the child.”

So, rather than separating your twins, I’d keep them together but adjust expectations for your little “Tigger.” Given time, I think he will rise to the occasion and grow into his guide very nicely!

Blessings,
Carrie

Should I delay starting grammar?

Pondering Placement

Should I delay starting grammar with my 2nd and 3rd graders?

We just finished our 3rd week of Bigger Hearts, and I couldn’t be happier! We are all loving Heart of Dakota! Placement seems right for everything, except R & S English. My 2nd grader is using level 2, and my third grader is using level 3. The work isn’t too hard. I just keep wondering why it’s necessary to learn formal grammar at this age? I know Charlotte Mason started grammar later. I’m not sure what I think about that either. Or, I could switch to Primary Language Lessons? But, I’m not sure about that either. R & S English seems more thorough. Any thoughts or suggestions on delaying grammar? Thanks!

We don’t delay starting grammar because we find more time is needed for solid retention.

Charlotte Mason (CM) advocated delaying formal grammar instruction until age 10 or even later. She felt all grammar could be absorbed in a single year with review after that. I was definitely on board with her idea when we switched to a VERY CM education for my oldest son during his third grade year. But, even CM’s own grammar book (republished by Karen Andreola as Simply Grammar) needs to be used more than once over time in order to cement the grammar concepts. Catherine Levinson, a leading CM educator, mentions using Simply Grammar two or three times to get retention from her kiddos. So, grammar is not a one-shot deal as we’d love it to be. So, at Heart of Dakota, we don’t delay starting grammar because we find more time is needed for solid retention.

We don’t delay starting grammar because of the increased requirements in state standards.

We also don’t delay the start of grammar due to the upped requirements in states with writing assessments. In order to have a common language about how to write better, we found it necessary to do an earlier introduction to formal grammar than CM proposed. For example, to point out whether kiddos are writing in complete sentences, they need to understand what a subject and predicate are and what is missing from their sentence (making it a fragment).

We don’t delay starting grammar because it is helpful for students to have a common language about how to write better.

This common language between parent and student helps make the editing process smoother. If we wish to have the child add more detail, it is VERY helpful for kiddos to understand what adjectives and adverbs are and how they function within a sentence. When we ask for written answers, it also helps if they can compose their sentences in a way that makes sense (with parallel usage). When asking kiddos to fix sentences that aren’t grammatically correct, it helps if the kiddos know their basic parts of speech. If we delay starting grammar, there is no common language to base our editing comments upon.

We don’t delay starting grammar because the mechanics and usage portion of state tests expect students to know this common language.

Another reason we don’t delay starting grammar is because in the mechanics and usage portion of standardized tests (Iowa Basics or SAT’s) kiddos need to understand the use of commas, end punctuation, and capitalization. Kiddos are expected to recognize proper mechanics and usage to be able to know the right answers to the questions. So, even though it makes sense to delay formal grammar instruction, we are forced by the state to show progress in these areas by the way we report to them.

We use Charlotte Mason’s language arts approach to copywork, dictation, narration, poetry, and literature. 

At HOD, we use copywork, dictation, oral narration (and later written narration), poetry, and literature in a very Charlotte Mason way. We delay formal grammar instruction until Bigger Hearts. However, at that point we find it easier to do a little grammar instruction each day, rather than waiting for a heavy introduction to grammar later. That happens to be our philosophy.

While Rod and Staff is not flashy, it thoroughly gets the job done and has better retention overall.

If your heart is leading you toward a different grammar program, by all means follow it! That is the beauty of HOD. But, for the record, I will say that Rod and Staff while not flashy, does get the job done. For the time I put into teaching grammar in the past (including “Intermediate Language Lessons”), I will say that Rod and Staff sticks much better, making the teaching time better spent for me!

Blessings,

Carrie

 

 

 

A Suggested Sequence of Guides for a 14 Year-Old

Pondering Placement

Question: What placement and guide sequence should I use for my 14 year-old?

We’ve homeschooled my 14 year-old since kindergarten, but he’s behind two grade levels. I’m counting him as an 8th grader. I’ve tried to push total texts with him, but it’s just not working. Presently, he’s using IEW SWI-B. He’s almost finished with the first book of Fix It grammar. He read The Sign of the Beaver and did a Progeny Press guide. He doesn’t like reading, probably because he’s too into video games. He’s never done dictation. I have had him narrate some. He’s using MUS math but is behind in that too. Looking at the placement chart, Resurrection to Reformation might be a fit, other than dictation. I like the fact that Heart of Dakota uses some of the IEW material. That is a plus for me. Is this type of study even possible? I guess I just need some insight for a placement and guide sequence to use?

Carrie’s Reply:

In thinking through your son’s age and in pondering what he has done thus far, I do think he will make steady progress as you move through the Heart of Dakota guides. Often you will see the most fruit in your second year of HOD. This is because the skills taught in one guide help prepare your child for the next guide. The layering of skills over time produces strides in learners as time passes that are definitely noticeable. So, be encouraged that your son can make needed gains in his difficult areas! I am confident we can find a sequence of guides that works well for him!

A Suggested Sequence of Guides

For now, I think we can go into Resurrection to Reformation considering this to be his 8th grade year. This will give him earth science exposure. This would mean that for high school he would follow the sequence below:

  • 9th grade Revival to Revolution (last half of English 5 and Advanced EE Physical Science for high school as scheduled in guide)
  • 10th grade Missions to Modern Marvels (all of English 6 – as scheduled in the guide and Chemistry with beef ups as scheduled in guide)
  • 11th grade World Geography (first half of English 7 – as scheduled in the guide – possibly IPC as scheduled in guide or other science)
  • 12th grade World History (last half of English 7 – as scheduled in the guide and Biology as scheduled in guide)
A Short Explanation of This Sequence of Guides

This sequence will give him needed credits in American History, Geography, and World History. It will also give him a steady rise in skills in the language arts area and cover his needed sciences. For math, it would be good to get through a minimum of Algebra I and Geometry (with a possible hope of also doing Algebra II – albeit in a introductory way). We can address the sciences as we go to be sure he is getting what is needed in that area each year as it arises.

A Reading Suggestion for This First Year in This Guide Sequence

In pondering that we would be considering your son as an 8th grader this year, we have a bit more wiggle room in using this year as a skill-building year in this sequence (picking up needed teaching in some key areas). With that in mind, I would lean toward doing Level 6/7/8 of Drawn into the Heart of Reading Student Book along with the Boy Set from Creation to Christ. Since you won’t get to Creation to Christ with your son, you can use the CTC Boy Set with Drawn into the Heart of Reading (as there is one book for each genre). This set will work well for your son’s age and should include topics of interest. Or, if preferred, you can choose different books that are at this reading level.

Some Language Arts Suggestions for the First Year of This Guide Sequence

When you begin your son’s RTR guide, I’d recommend you begin Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons (setting aside SWI-B even if he did not finish it). Be sure to follow the plans within the RTR guide for Medieval Writing Lessons, as we omit some assignments and stretch others out longer. I think Rod and Staff 5 (first half only – doing a lesson each time it comes up in the plans twice weekly) will be a good fit as well. Charlotte Mason studied dictation exercises are in the back of the RTR Guide. You will want to begin your son at a level where he is having to repeat a passage only once or twice a week. Otherwise, he will be at a frustration level. The RTR Guide tells you when to do studied dictation.

Some Thoughts on Packages for the First Year of This Guide Sequence

I would also encourage you to either have your son read the Basic Package or do the Extension Package but not do both. This is due to the new level of work and skills that will be required already within the RTR Guide. I would allow your son to choose between the two sets to see which he desires to read. The Basic Package is scheduled in the daily plans. The Extension Package is scheduled by day in the Appendix.

The Importance of Completing All That Is Scheduled Within This Suggested Sequence of Guides

It will be important for your son to fully complete all that is scheduled within each day of plans within this sequence of guides. Some of the assignments may feel young at times, as he is on the highest age range of the guide. However, the skills gained by reading and following written directions, adjusting to the volume of the readings, becoming comfortable in writing across the curriculum, and being trained in a higher level of independence, when combined with regular skill practice will all be needed in preparation for high school next year. Try to keep in mind that if you skip a box, you skip a skill. I think this is a workable plan, which we can revisit as your son progresses. But, I hope this suggested sequence gets you started!

Blessings,
Carrie