Placement Help for Changing to Heart of Dakota Mid-Year

Pondering Placement

Placement Help for Changing to Heart of Dakota Mid-Year

I will be changing my 9 year-old son back to Heart of Dakota (HOD) mid-year. He completed Little Hearts for His Glory for first grade and Beyond for second grade. Then, I switched to something else. I don’t know why really because we loved HOD. Now my son is in week 18 of this other homeschool program for 3rd grade. We are both so unhappy. My son now hates to write. This program doesn’t have much notebooking or narrating this year. Basically, I am reading books to him, but we are really not doing anything else. We’ve done a little copywork, but not much. We use other programs than HOD for math and spelling. A few days a week, I’m using BJU for writing and English. We are both missing HOD terribly. I’m also just not seeing the growth in my son like I did with HOD. Please help me with changing my son back to HOD mid-year!

My son’s two favorite things this year have been the two I’ve kept from HOD.

I knew my son would love reading HOD’s Emerging Reader’s Set.  So, I did get those. However, he hasn’t been doing any kind of literature study with them. I also liked HOD’s recommendation for R & S English 2, so we are doing that. Really the only two things we have liked doing this year are from HOD. He reads well and is really enjoying the books in the Emerging Reader’s Set. He’s reading Tornado and can’t put it down! But then when he finishes reading, I don’t do anything with him. I’m just so depressed about homeschooling. I feel like I’ve wasted this whole year. Changing my son back to HOD – and soon – is a necessity.

I’m pondering changing my son to full-speed Bigger Hearts or half-speed Preparing Hearts. Thoughts?

So, now I know I want to make the switch back to HOD, even though it is mid-year (and then some). But, I am between two placements – stopping what we are doing now and changing to Bigger Hearts for His Glory? But then, he won’t finish all of HOD’s high school guides. So, would it be better changing to half-speed with Preparing Hearts for His Glory? What are your thoughts, Carrie?

Carrie’s Reply:

From what you’ve shared so far about your son, I would lean toward changing what your son is doing by placing him in Bigger Hearts. The jump up to Preparing with the struggles you mentioned in writing and narrating would be very challenging. Bigger is such a foundational year in helping kiddos grow in the areas of writing, reading, copywork, and spelling. I wouldn’t want your son to miss that. So, placement in Bigger Hearts makes good sense.

I’d suggest finishing R & S English 2 and changing from BJU

Whenever you head into Bigger, I would just finish Rod and Staff English 2 and move into Rod and Staff English 3. I wouldn’t use both BJU and Rod and Staff for English as you go up. This would be double-dipping.  We don’t want your son worn out from writing for grammar when we want to get him copying daily for practice. You wouldn’t need to continue on with BJU for writing either, as Rod and Staff will include writing in the coming levels when he is more mature and ready for it.

I’d suggest changing to studied dictation for spelling and continuing with your math.

For spelling, I’d be lean toward changing him to studied dictation (which is included in Bigger‘s Appendix). If you would rather continue with the spelling you are using, you surely could! However, I will say Charlotte Mason’s method of studied dictation is a very effective method for teaching spelling in a time conscious way. No matter what, I wouldn’t do both spelling programs though because his day will get very long. If your math is working well, I’d just keep on going with it. If it is not, you can give your son the Singapore Primary Math placement test by clicking here.

Your son can finish the Emerging Reader’s Set and then move into Drawn into the Heart of Reading.

It sounds like he is doing well with the Emerging Readers Set (ERS), which you can feel so good about. Rather than changing from that, he can just finish the ERS out. I would have him start doing the follow-up comprehension questions with the  ERS books he has left. Then, he can head into Drawn into the Heart of Reading Level 2/3 (DITHR). He can use the DITHR Level 2 Book Pack or books of your own choosing. The Sample Book Ideas List provides some good books to choose from as well.

Changing to Full-Speed Bigger Hearts vs. Half-speed Preparing Hearts

Honestly, changing to Bigger Hearts full-speed with daily grammar, math, dictation, and DITHR will probably be harder than changing to half-speed Preparing Hearts. It sounds like your son would be so well-placed in Bigger and be challenged by the work. Being well-placed means that he will be getting what he needs as he moves into each successive guide. Shooting for a challenge level can really result in frustration and in being unsure of how much to downsize each day to suit your child’s needs. It’s so much better to be accurately placed and know you can expect your child to do all that is within the guide each day. There are many families who will not finish all of the HOD guides, and that is fine. We can make sure that your son still gets what he needs to count credits for graduation and for his future plans.