Will it be too much to do DITHOR and Storytime in Bigger Hearts?

Dear Carrie

In Bigger Hearts, will it be too much to do Drawn into the Heart of Reading and Storytime?

Dear Carrie,

My 9 year old is doing Heart of Dakota‘s Bigger Hearts. He started the Emerging Reader’s Set (ERS) last year. He’ll finish it soon. (I took longer, lack of consistency on my part)! Anyway, I want him to grow into a stronger reader. I hear Drawn into the Heart of Reading is both interesting and enjoyable! However, I currently read aloud the Bigger Hearts Storytime books. We are on historical fiction now and enjoying it very much.  I certainly don’t want that to end. Can I do both DITHOR and Storytime, or will that be too much? Is it practical to be reading two different genres at the same time? Like him reading biography while I’m reading historical fiction to him? Or him reading his own fantasy book while I am also reading a different fantasy book? Thanks!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Understand DITHOR and Storytime in Bigger Hearts”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Understand DITHOR and Storytime in Bigger Hearts,”

Since your son is 9, we would plan for him to be heading into DITHOR after the Emerging Reader’s Set is done. If you don’t plan to use DITHOR, then we would be expecting you to be choosing a different reading program in its place to make sure that he is getting the skills that are required in the area of reading state standard-wise. The area of reading has many standards that are to be met, and those standards include understanding, discussion, and analysis of character, plot, setting, mood, comparison/contrast, theme/moral, rising action, prediction/inference, and so on.

One aspect of understanding literature is knowing the genres, and another more important aspect is knowing moral discernment while reading.

Another aspect of understanding literature is knowing the various genres and what makes a certain type of book a certain genre.   These areas of literature do not typically come up in regular discussion unless you plan specifically to talk about them and address them within your child’s daily reading. But, an even more important component we feel with reading instruction is that of teaching moral discernment in light of the Bible as kiddos read. This is another aspect that DITHOR addresses, which often does not come up in regular conversation as much as we’d like, without it being planned within the day.

Bigger Heart’s Storytime covers needed reading standards, with a focus on applying these standards to books they are listening to as read alouds.

Bigger Heart’s Storytime does have a mini-DITHOR planned within it, which serves two purposes. One is that it covers the needed reading standards that I’ve mentioned above for students who may still be doing the Emerging Reader’s Set. Two is that it focuses on applying these reading skills and standards to books that the children are listening to as read-alouds. This is different than applying these skills to books students are reading on their own. Listening to a book read aloud and reading on one’s own are two different skills of reading.

Students that complete the ERS are to move up to DITHOR next.

So, as soon as kiddos complete the Emerging Reader’s Set, we are expecting that they are heading into DITHOR (unless they happen to be younger than 7). If the child is younger than 7, then it would be alright to ease into DITHOR slowly (as the state standards for reading are not as exhaustive or in-depth for a child of that age).

Having children simply reading silently alone will not address state standards.

While every state is different, all states do have set standards in reading that are along the lines I’ve mentioned above. Once you get to our guides from Preparing Hearts on up, we no longer do a mini-DITHOR in the Storytime box. At that point it is really important to be doing DITHOR or something comparable, or you’ll be missing needed literature/reading instruction. Simply having your children silent reading on their own does not address the standards mentioned above.

At times we mention waiting on DITHOR, but this is the exception, not the rule.

While we do at times mention that families who are very busy or very large can wait on DITHOR until their children are a bit older, this would be the exception rather than rule. This is because very large families, or those who have extreme health issues, or those with heavy work situations must make choices between what they are able to accomplish in any given day. So, we are mindful of that in our recommendations, knowing each family is different. In your situation though, it sounds like your 9 year old is ready for DITHOR and with his age in mind, he will be in need of its instruction.

Blessings,
Carrie

What should I do for Drawn into the Heart of Reading our last 2 weeks?

Dear Carrie

What should I do for Drawn into the Heart of Reading for our last two weeks of Bigger Hearts?

Dear Carrie,

So next week my son will be finishing up his realistic fiction project and presenting it. Then, I will only have two weeks left of the Heart of Dakota‘s Bigger Hearts manual. So, does that mean I do nothing for DITHOR for the last two weeks? Read the folk tale books for fun? I am just trying to figure out those last two weeks and how I could fit folk tales into that time slot? Thanks! This is our first time with Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR), and we love it. My son has done wonderfully with the projects, and we look forward to using it in the future!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help with the Last 2 Weeks of Drawn into the Heart of Reading”

Dear “Ms. Please Help with the Last 2 Weeks of Drawn into the Heart of Reading,”

How exciting that you are close to finishing Bigger Hearts! I am so glad that you have gotten a chance to use and enjoy DITHOR too. Since you are only two weeks away from being done with Bigger, I can see a couple of options working for DITHOR.

Option 1: Use the folk tale unit when you start Preparing Hearts.

One option would be to set aside the folk tale unit to start when you begin Preparing instead. If you chose to do this, then DITHOR would just drop out for the final two weeks of the Bigger Hearts guide.

Option 2: Read the folk tale books without doing the DITHOR unit.

A second option, if you feel your child may outgrow the folk tale books as a reader before you begin Preparing Hearts, would be to read the folk tale books while you finish Bigger Hearts (but not do the DITHOR unit). If you chose this option, your child would finish reading the Folk Tale books over the break before you begin Preparing. Then, when you do Preparing you would move onto the next book set and get to do the folk tale unit from DITHOR along with the new folk tale books in the next book set.

Either option would work! Happy reading!

Blessings,
Carrie

Follow-Up from “Ms. Please Help with the Last 2 Weeks of Drawn into the Heart of Reading”

Thank you Carrie! I think we will enjoy some cuddle time and just read those books together the last two weeks and start Preparing’s Drawn into Heart of Reading with folk tales too. Best of both worlds, and we can enjoy those great books! Love DITHOR and look forward to many more years with it!

How we use the Emerging Reader Set

Heart of Dakota Tidbit:

How we use the Emerging Reader Set

Did you know that the Emerging Reader set of books is the same exact books in both the Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory guide and the Bigger Hearts for His Glory guide? There are not two different Emerging Reader sets. We have the schedule for this set of books in the Appendix of both guides, but it is the exact same schedule in both of them.

Here is our progression for reading:
Phase 1 – Phonics
Phase 2 – Emerging Reader Set
Phase 3 – Drawn Into the Heart of Reading

We only do one phase of reading at a time, so once your child is all done with phonics, we move her into the ER set. Once she is all done with the ER set, we move him/her into DITHOR.

Have a great weekend!

How can I beef up Bigger for 5th graders so they are ready for CTC?

Pondering Placement

How can I beef up Bigger Hearts for fifth graders so they are ready for Creation to Christ?

We are lovers of Heart of Dakota and completed LHTH, LHFHG and Beyond! However, then we discovered our twins have dyslexia. We had many issues and took a hiatus from HOD. I tried to keep a Charlotte Mason approach but didn’t do so well. We did manage to read aloud Preparing’s history books, most of the science, some read alouds, and a few extensions. I love Carrie’s book selections! Now we are ready for a new chapter. My twins just turned 10 last week and will be in 5th grade. I’m going to put them in Bigger. I am thinking to then skip Preparing. My question is how can I beef up Bigger so we can make a smooth transition into Creation to Christ? I’m so excited to be back. I really need the structure I get with HOD. Otherwise, I feel like a wanderer with no clear direction.

Carrie’s Reply: The easiest way to beef up Bigger is to add the extensions.

Welcome back! It sounds like you have a good plan forming. As I was thinking through some of what you shared, I do think that Bigger sounds like a good placement for your twins. The easiest way to beef up Bigger is to use the Extension readings as assigned in the Appendix. I’d recommend reading those aloud to your kiddos if time permits, since the reading level is likely a barrier for them to read the extension books independently.

You could possibly omit the Storytime books, but then you would definitely need to do DITHR.

You could possibly forego the Storytime books in lieu of the Extension books to add greater depth to the study. However, the Storytime books have excellent literary skills that you would then miss. In this scenario, you would for sure need to do DITHR then, in order to compensate for losing those skills from the Storytime box. I hesitate to suggest this option, as it would benefit your kiddos so much to have the Storytime and follow-up skills as a daily part of their learning.

I would wait to decide what to do next until you are within 8 weeks of finishing Bigger Hearts.

In looking ahead, I would honestly wait until you are within 8 weeks of finishing Bigger to decide what to do next. This is because kiddos grow and change so much in a year’s time. By the end of Bigger, we will have a better idea of whether they should just head into Preparing, or whether they can make the jump to CTC. Even if they need to head into Preparing, doing the guide fully along with the readings will provide a very different experience from simply reading the books aloud. Not to mention it would be a terrific stepping stone for your kiddos to do the “I” boxes in Preparing by reading their own assigned material (which they may be able to do in a year’s time).

Whether you use Preparing or CTC next, your next step after Bigger will be a good one.

Kiddos often like hearing stories more than once, and Preparing is a whirlwind tour through all of world history. There is so much content that it actually would be good to cover it again. So, either way your next step after Bigger will be a good one. For now, I would just settle into Bigger and enjoy the journey. There are so many skills wound within Bigger that I think you will have a good year of growth ahead of your twins.

Blessings,
Carrie

Trying to decide between Beyond Little Hearts and Bigger Hearts?

Heart of Dakota Tidbit:

Trying to decide between Beyond Little Hearts and Bigger Hearts? 

Bigger Hearts for His Glory is rightly considered our most teacher intensive guide as there are many tedious skills that are being taught every day that will enable your child to gain their independence, but one thing to consider is that the guide right before it called Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory is more rigorous done at full speed, than Bigger is at half-speed. So, if you are looking at placement and your child falls right between these two guides, you can consider Bigger at half speed (left page one day, right page the next) or Beyond at full speed (left and right page).

Have a great weekend!