Teaching Boys Good Habits Right Away

Pondering Placement for Boys

Teaching Boys Good Habits Right Away

I bought Heart of Dakota’s Little Hands to Heaven (LHTH) for my 3 turning 4-year old son. When it came time to start, he fought me on it! He was not excited to start like his sister was at that age. So, after a few days I set it aside. Since then, he has shown interest in the R & S Workbooks. He does them really well when he wants. He sees his older siblings doing their guides and has gotten more interested. So, we tried doing the first week of LHTH again. He just doesn’t seem as engaged as his older sisters were. I am doing Little Hearts for His Glory (LHFHG) with my 6 year-old daughter, but I don’t think that would be a good fit for him yet. It is too advanced for him. What should I do?

Carrie’s Reply in Regard to Teaching Boys:

I’ll share a few things I’ve discovered in my homeschool journey with my own 4 boys. One thing to be aware of is that many little boys will battle you just to battle. They have in their little minds what they want to do (which often is play), and they don’t want to be told otherwise. It’s important to remember that with homeschooling your role has shifted now with you being both the teacher and the mama.

Teaching Boys the Habit of Respectful Obedience

One thing that helps my boys is for me to tell them that if they went to school, they would have to do what their teacher said. When they are at home, the same is true now, because I am their teacher. This means when I tell them to do something, I expect them to respect me and obey. If they do not obey, there will be consequences. At our house, for a quick effective consequence, we had our little boys stand with their nose in the corner for not obeying. We had them stand 30 seconds up to a minute for each year of their age. They were not to look out from the corner, or we would start the timer again. When they came out of the corner, they needed to say why they were there and then apologize and behave differently. If not, it was back to the corner. For us, that was very effective.

How Carpet Squares Help Little Boys Focus

Next, for my little ones, I got a carpet square for them to sit on (one per child). I sat on my own carpet square. This delineates a space for them to be. To start our LHTH, we always got out the carpet squares and sat down. Then, we read the Bible story first. I held up the Bible and showed the pictures to my little one. He stayed on his carpet square, and I stayed on mine. This effectively ended all wrestling that had previously happened when I tried to keep my little one on my lap, and also ended any rolling around on the floor!

This also helped our boys see me as the teacher!

This also showed me as the teacher sharing the book with him. It helped establish my role. Honestly, teaching LHTH is much more about establishing your role as a teacher than it is about tricking your child into having fun. Your child will eventually have fun doing LHTH, once your role is established. Until then, your son will battle you for control by simply refusing and complaining. After I read the Bible story, then I asked the questions. I expected some answer, but I didn’t drag the activity out. Next, we put on the music and marched around the room while it played. We marched in a circle and kept even the marching in control (i.e. no falling down on the ground, pushing, etc.). I marched too.

Thoughts on Boys and the Fingerplays

Then, we came back to our carpet squares and did the fingerplay. My boys had to participate, or we would start over. I said a line and did the motion, then they said a line and did the motion (echo style). We did this the first 2-3 days of the fingerplay. The last 2-3 days we did it together with no echoing. They had two chances to start right in with me, or they went to the corner. I don’t allow any eye-rolling or silliness with the fingerplay, but we did have fun and smile.

The fingerplays actually are meant for the two sides of the brain to communicate with one another doing both sounds and motions at the same time. This takes coordination of the two sides of the brain, making the fingerplays have a hidden element. The motions also provide a great cuing system for the sounds later when your child begins to read. We only did the fingerplay once, so the whole activity even with echoing was over in just minutes. My boys need to be able to do what I tell them for just a few minutes cheerfully, even if it something happens not to be their favorite thing. This is because my time is important, and as a teacher I expect to be obeyed.

Boys and Hands-on Activities

Next, we went on to the letter activity or the hands-on activity. We typically left the more art-oriented things (or things needing to be done at the table) to be done last. In this way, we moved to the table last of all. Boys tend to love hands-on activities, so they would often keep enjoying this activity while I moved on to teaching an older son!

You can start LHTH half-speed to help train your son.

For now, I would work on doing LHTH at half-speed, doing 3 boxes each day. I would work on having your son come to school right when you call him and work on making sure he obeys you. To help him obey, I would make sure to do his school in the morning at about the same time, so he knows it is coming. Boys do better knowing what is coming! If he does not obey, I would warn him once and then give an effective, quick consequence each time he does not obey. You may find yourself giving more consequences than doing school right now. However, keep your cool and stay calm. If you do use the corner, then when he returns, after he apologizes, cheerfully go back to the school again.

Boys don’t like to be randomly pulled away from playing to do school, so routine helps.

Make sure that you do not pull him away from play randomly to do school, or he will really battle you. Instead, have his school begin after he has just completed something that has a definite ending point, like an educational DVD. Keep his routine the same, so he knows that school always comes after the same thing in his day. You want him to expect school and know it is coming.

Boys rarely battle when they see you as the teacher with an established routine to follow.

I say all of this to help you see that LHTH is about training your son to see you as the teacher and to obey you the first time you ask him to do something. This is so important to his schooling to come and will save you many battles along the way in the future. If you don’t feel that you want to train him now, then don’t start LHTH. When you do start, know you are about the training and will need to devote time to it each day. My hope is to give you some practical advice that helped me be a better teacher. I enjoy school with my older sons today, because the routine was established when they were younger. We battle very little with our older ones thanks to the foundation laid in the younger years.


Will R & S English 7 still benefit my high school student if she completed other programs?

Pondering Placement

Will my daughter benefit from doing R & S English 7 for 9th grade if she has already completed several other grammar programs?

My 9th grade, 15 year-old daughter will start using Heart of Dakota’s World Geography this coming year. My placement question is actually about grammar. She has already previously completed Analytical Grammar twice in her 6th and 7th grade years. Last year for 8th grade, she used the high school reinforcement book from Analytical grammar along with Easy Grammar Plus. She has always done most of her grammar on her own now. My question is will she still benefit from R & S English 7? She has been independent in this area and used to correcting her own work. I will confess, I’d love to hand her the teacher’s manual and student book and let her do this on her own. I’m not sure if I’m supposed teach it at this point, but I do want her to get all the benefit she can from English these high school years.

Carrie’s Reply:  Yes, I think your daughter would still benefit from using R & S English 7.

In my opinion, I think that your daughter would still benefit from using Rod and Staff English 7 because it integrates writing and a whole host of other English skills within the program. This will provide a different feel from what she’s already had in the past.

How My Oldest Son Completed R & S English in High School

As far as using Rod and Staff English, I’ll share that at our house my oldest son preferred to do his lessons orally with us rather than write out all of the answers. However, due to time constraints for his senior year, he did benefit from doing the last half of English 8 just the way you are describing in your post. He did the lessons and checked them himself using the Teacher’s Guide key. He did share that it was more difficult, and less interesting, to do Rod and Staff English this way. However, it did work for him for that season. 

How My Next Son Completed R & S English in High School

With my next son in line,we still went over his lessons regularly. However, he did enjoy writing out the answers ahead of time to save time during the meeting with us later. Sometimes he had the whole lesson done before he ever met with us. To me, this was still of benefit to him as well. We just orally did whatever he had left. With my younger kiddos, we definitely meet each time with them and do 2/3 of the English lesson orally and 1/3 on paper.

Students do benefit from some oral discussion and application, simply because English is a spoken as well as a written language.

So, with your older daughter you can decide how best to approach Rod and Staff English to best fit your needs and hers. There are benefits to both ways! It may be a changing approach from year to year, depending on what your schedule allows. I do feel that kiddos benefit from some oral discussion and application of the English lessons, simply because English is a spoken as well as a written language!


I’m in a Placement ‘Pickle’ After Taking a Longer Break

Pondering Placement

I’m in a Placement ‘Pickle’ After Taking a Longer Break

I’m in a pickle. Just over a year ago, my daughter had almost finished Beyond, and my son was about halfway through Bigger. Our son was having trouble staying on task. He isn’t a motivated student, and he had heart issues to work on. So, we took a longer break from Heart of Dakota. I now need to decide “what’s next.” The other night, lying in the dark and trying to quiet my own voice so I might hear God’s, the thought plunked in my head …. “HOD“. What? Is this my idea or His? Then this flood of memories hit me: washing our house like the Hollanders, playing games, hauling an egg in a container of flour all. over. the. house. Good memories. Heart warming memories. But, I’m in such a placement pickle! I wouldn’t even know where to pick it up again.

A Little Background on My Daughter

My 8 1/2 year-old daughter just started R & S Math 4, has had no formal grammar, and only does copywork for writing. We did read the Bigger Hearts Storytime and DITHOR books all last year. But, I’d just order a different Storytime set and DITHOR set. I just had my daughter try some lessons from R & S English 2, and they went well. She could keep her math and English.

A Little Background on My Son

My 10 1/2 year-old son just began R & S Math 5, completed English 2 back in Bigger, and does copywork in cursive and free writing in print. In Bigger’s dictation, he got to #40. Last year, he read the HOD DITHOR books I bought. I would place him in 4/5 or maybe 5/6. The pickle is I don’t know if I should put my son with his sister in Bigger with the extensions, or if I should place him in another guide? If another guide, which one? Preparing? CTC? If I look at the guides by age, I get a sinking feeling about putting him CTC when I see the amount of work and independence required. I’ve never had him tested, but he just seems to have some sort of slight delay. He is a smart guy, but he has issues following and  understanding directions. Hmmm. A placement pickle.

A Little Background on the Two of Them and the Rest of the Family

Ironically, being with his sister isn’t too competition-filled. He’s perfectly content to let her steal the show. It’s when he has MORE work/HARDER work than she does that he starts comparing and complaining (i.e. “Why do I have to do x, y, and z and SHE doesn’t?? I never finish at the same time as she does!” )  When I mentioned to him that if he did Bigger again I would be adding an additional reading assignment for him (the extensions), he complained. Preparing is one that I’d consider for him, but I’m concerned he’d give me grief about how his assignments are harder than his sister’s. I also know Bigger and Preparing are pretty teacher intensive. So, I should also mention that I’m going to start my littlest, 5 year-old son in Little Hearts for His Glory, so I’ll have 3 students. Placement pickle.

No matter what, I just have to say it’s really GREAT to be back with HOD! I just love HOD and feel… at home!

No matter what, I want to say it’s really GREAT to be back here with HOD! Over the last couple of days I’ve really been welling up with excitement and at the same time, peace. It’s hard to explain, but I just take it as God’s hand. Everyone has been so wonderful, as always. I find the boards here to be such a awesome place of support and advice. Just another reason I love HOD and feel… at home. I feel like one of the reasons I have been led back to HOD is because there hasn’t been much joy in the homeschooling part of our home. I’m hoping that will return. So, would you please help me with this placement pickle?

Carrie’s Reply to This Placement Pickle:

It’s good to “see” you! Thanks for taking time to share your journey with us. We all know that each family is different and that finding the right fit can be a process. As we work through this placement process, a couple of things keep coming to mind when I’m reading this thread. If I am misreading this, I apologize, but I’m feeling your concern over getting your plate too full and also feeling your concern over how hard to push your son without it becoming a daily battle. Be encouraged that these are concerns we all have! But, I do think it is wise to address those as we look at a potential plan to get you out of this ‘placement pickle’ for your year.

Advantages of Combining in Bigger Hearts

From what you’ve shared, it sounds like your daughter will fit well in Bigger. Since you have been away from HOD for a bit and never really got through Bigger, it is possible that your son could also join your daughter there. This would help with your workload, making it more manageable, and would also leave you some options as to how much to push your son.

Bigger with Extensions, DITHR, and R & S English for Your Son

Bigger with extensions for your older son, with the addition of DITHR and Rod & Staff English sounds like it might be a good step up for him. Doing DITHR and Rod & Staff English daily (as scheduled in Bigger) sounds like it would up the writing component for him quite a bit. As the year progresses, having him also do the twice weekly oral and twice weekly written narrations (even if it is just a paragraph) with the Bigger Extensions would continue to raise the bar. But, you could work up to that, simply beginning with having him do the Extension reading and oral narrations first. The Bigger Extension Pack also has once weekly science readings with brief questions to answer which would up the level of science.

Language Arts Options for Each Child

If you combined your kiddos in Bigger for most things, I think your daughter could do English 2 (as scheduled in Bigger). Your son could do English 3 or English 4. It sounds like your daughter could do the Emerging Readers or DITHR 2/3, depending on her level. Your son could do DITHR 4/5 (with the 4/5 Boy Set of books). One thing to ponder is that it helps to do a guide that still allows enough time for you to do English and DITHR as scheduled, as these are two of the 3 R’s (making them so important). If you get yourself spread too thin, you might find that you are regularly skipping DITHR or English, or both.   I do think combining your kiddos in Bigger would allow time to do that.

I’d try combining in Bigger first to see if it might be a fit.

If you did pursue the combining in Bigger path, and later felt your son needed to move forward, you could always assess again and move him forward if needed. In addition, there are many skills taught in Bigger that are realized in Preparing, so your time spent teaching and training the kiddos in Bigger is always worthwhile. I do think pondering doing both Bigger and Preparing is a pretty heavy load. There are mamas that do pull it off and have it go well, however they have settled in for longer days, knowing those two guides together can be a challenge. I’m not saying that you could not pull off Bigger and Preparing, but I’m more inclined for you to try combining in Bigger first to see if this might be a fit. If it is, it would be a blessing to you as you journey. Sometimes what is best for a season or a year changes the next year, but for this moment in time these are my thoughts.

In Closing

Anyway, just a few thoughts to ponder that should fix this placement pickle quite nicely! Feel free to share your own thoughts too! I’m so glad that you have had a chance to sift and sort through options and pray over them to find the Lord’s leading. What a blessing it is that we can gather together here to encourage one another on this journey! I’m so glad that you found some threads that were an encouragement as you pondered. The board is full of wisdom, and full of families seeking the Lord’s best however that looks for them.


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!


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?


“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.