Should my 9th grader skip World Geography to be combined with her older brother?

Pondering Placement

Question: Should my 9th grader skip World Geography to be combined with her older brother in World History?

I’m wondering what to do next year. My son will be in 10th grade, and my daughter will be in 9th. They’ve both done HOD together until this current year. I had my daughter take a year off from HOD. I didn’t want her to start World Geography in 8th grade. However, now I would really like to combine them again. My son will do HOD’s World History. Would it work to let my daughter skip World Geography and jump into World History? I would like her to do the WG Logic package instead of the WH Fine Arts though. She could then do Fine Arts for 10th grade. She’s done Spanish with my son this year, so she’ll be ready for that. They will have their own math and grammar. Would it be okay if she did Biology in 9th, Chemistry in 10th, Physics in either 11th or 12th?

Carrie’s Reply:

Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend your daughter skip a guide to be combined with her older brother. I probably wouldn’t recommend any 9th grader do World History, unless she’d first done World Geography in 8th grade. This is because World Geography is a step up from MTMM in so many ways. Hence, this makes the leap from MTMM to World History massive!

To skip a freshman level guide to jump into a sophomore level guide would make for a tough year!

If you were concerned about your 8th grader doing World Geography, then the jump up to World History in grade 9 would be even bigger. At the high school level, it is so important to take kiddos’ ages, maturity-levels, skill levels, independence levels, and number of hours they are able to hang with school into account. So if a student could handle the level and length of the World Geography guide as an 8th grader, he/she would be well-poised to do World History as a 9th grader. But, if the student did a more typical 8th grade program rather than a freshman level program (like World Geography) in 8th grade, then to skip into a sophomore level program (like World History) as a freshman would be setting that child up for a tough year!

Rather than skip to combine, I’d place your 9th grader in World Geography and your 10th grader in World History.

I would be more inclined to place your 9th grader in the World Geography guide and your 10th grader in the World History guide. With the rigor of the high school day in mind, being well-placed matters so much! For example, depending on how many hours your daughter did school in 8th grade, the switch to World History (at 6 1/2 – 7 hours a day, 4 days a week) could be a fairly significant one! The quantity of reading and the level of writing required also jumps up. Without having the year of BJU literature/novels in the World Geography guide first, the literature in the World History guide could be a significant challenge for your daughter. Of course, it will make a difference what your daughter did for her 8th grade year in this area as to how much of a step up this would be.

Rather than skip ahead to combine in science and in health, I’d enjoy the 9th grade options for your daughter.

To skip ahead to Biology without first doing IPC could be another area of challenge. Biology is such a terminology heavy subject with significant output required. Doing IPC gives the student a segue of sorts to a higher level of expectations content-wise and lab-wise before diving into Biology. Depending on what you daughter did for her 8th grade year, she may or may not have a similar segue in place. Another subject area that could pose some challenges is Total Health. This is because it contains many sensitive topics that are better discussed individually with one student at a time (and with a more mature student). Doing Health with one student rather than with a pair allows for more free sharing between parent and child.

If you did combine your kiddos, there would still be challenges.

Even if you did combine your kiddos, your kiddos would still have to read their material on their own and do their written work independently. They would also have the added challenge of sharing all of their school books.  So, this also presents its own challenges.

There are many ways to encourage sharing without choosing to combine kiddos in the same guide.

On the other hand, if your son did World Geography last year, he will have much he can talk about with your daughter this year during off school hours. We share a lot about our school day at the dinner table. We also have a half hour family reading time where we all read silently in the living room after supper. Often, our boys will read their living library or their literature books from their guide during this time. After the half hour of reading, we each share something from our book. This is a great time for the family to learn about each other’s readings! There are many ways to encourage sharing without having kiddos doing the same guide.

By choosing not to skip to combine, we have been able to hold our older sons to a higher standard.

I will also say that we have enjoyed the private meeting times with our boys even more as they have entered the high school years. It has kept us plugged into their joys and their struggles. Many private discussions have taken place during our meeting times with our boys individually. This wouldn’t have occurred if we had planned to skip guide(s) so we could meet with our boys together. I have been glad for the opportunity to be alone one-on-one with each student. We meet daily with each student for 30-45 minutes to go over their work. We have also found that it is good for our older boys to own their age and be held to a higher standard than their younger siblings. This is harder to do if you combine two students of differing ages together for the bulk of things the same each day.

If you are facing a significantly challenging coming year, we can discuss other options.

My advice to you will differ if you have a significantly challenging coming year. If you are experiencing debilitating health issues, or if someone in your immediate family has a health crisis, or if you have suddenly become caretakers for your parents, or if you are headed back to work, or if you are facing any other life altering circumstances, then we can definitely discuss other options. This is because in these situations your students are going to have to keep each other accountable and possibly even check each other’s work due to the fact that you are facing some of these time-consuming, life altering circumstances. So, please let me know if this is the case! We can discuss options then!

Blessings as you ponder your options!
Carrie

Should we combine U.S. History I and II to have a lighter 12th grade year?

Dear Carrie

Should I combine U.S. History I and U.S. History II, so my son’s 12th grade year is lighter and he can pursue other interests?

Dear Carrie,

My son is currently doing Heart of Dakota‘s World History for 10th grade and enjoying it! Contemplating his next year, however, I’m wondering if it’s possible to combine the U.S. History I and II history portion? Our state only requires (1) credit of American History. While I’m sure the material is worth spending multiple years on, my son is anticipating a lighter course load his senior year. He wants some time to pursue other interests. If this is inadvisable, do you have any other suggestion? Thank you in advance!

Sincerely,

“Ms. Combine U.S. History I and II for a Lighter Year and to Pursue Other Interests Or Not”

Dear “Ms. Combine U.S. History I and II for a Lighter Year and to Pursue Other Interests Or Not,”

Many states require only 1 year of American History. Often that year of history does not even have to cover all of American History, making it fine from the state’s perspective to cover only a portion of American History as both the USI and USII guides do. This means that it would be fine to use either USI or USII to fulfill your state requirements. College requirements are often more rigorous than state requirements, so you may wish to check the requirements for any colleges your son may be considering before making any decisions.

I would suggest your son does U.S. History I next.

If your son is doing World History, I would be inclined to suggest he go into USI next. This will give him needed credits in Government and in American Literature, along with the required credit he needs in American History. It would also give him the needed Chemistry credit and allow him to continue along the foreign language path. In addition, he would be able to complete the New Testament Survey for Bible (after doing the Old Testament Survey in World History).

I like the options this leaves for your son’s 12th grade year.

I like that this choice leaves your options open for his senior year when he gets there. Much can change between a student’s junior and senior year. The USII guide has 1/2 less of a credit (with 6 1/2 possible credits) than the USI guide (with 7 possible credits). This makes the USII guide less time consuming than USI. The science is also lighter in USII with its astronomy/geology/paleontology focus instead of the more math-based Chemisty in USI.

I would not advise combining U.S. History I and II.

I wouldn’t advise trying to combine USI and USII for history, as it would be way too heavy both in volume and required output. You would also lose the connections by pushing through too much material too quickly. I will share that my two oldest sons truly enjoyed completing USII for their senior years. Since by the time they reach their senior year students (who have come up through HOD) have honed their reading, writing, critical thinking, and independent work skills, the senior year feels easier overall than previous years. It is a time of reaping what has been sown.

We purposefully front-load  a student’s credits the first 3 years.

At HOD, we choose to front-load a student’s credits the first three years of high school to be sure students are earning needed credits right from the beginning. This helps make the senior year less stressful and more enjoyable. From a personal standpoint, I would hesitate to miss the USII guide if at all possible, simply because there is such wonderful training for life in the Economics and Finance options, along with the apologetics course for Bible and the Speech course. The books in the literature study are not to be missed in my opinion, and the history part of the course is so helpful in understanding the times we live in today.

The science course may be a student’s last opportunity to know how to refute science that does not align with God’s Word. Simply being able to logically explain the creation-based perspective as adults when they visit museums, national parks, and planetariums makes doing the Astronomy/Geology/Paleontology course worthwhile! I pray this will help as you ponder your options! It is exciting to see students grow and mature. Congratulations on the hard work that has led to this point with your son!!

Blessings,
Carrie

 

Should I combine my high school students for electives?

Dear Carrie

Should I combine my high school students for electives, or is this more of a headache?

Dear Carrie,

I am wondering if I should combine my high school students for electives next year? My son will be doing Heart of Dakota’s World Geography in 9th grade. My daughter will be doing Heart of Dakota’s World History in 10th grade. So, I could have my 9th grader skip World Religion and Cultures (WRC) and Logic, to do Fine Arts and Health with his older sister. I had her do the WRC study and Logic this year. I would then have him do those two credits as a senior, since he will have done all the rest of the electives alongside his sister. The bonus would be that by that time, his younger brother would be in 9th grade, so he could do those with him. Would there be any benefit to choosing to combine my high school students for electives, or would it be more of a headache? Thanks so much for your help, Carrie!

Sincerely,

“Ms. to Combine or Not to Combine for Electives”

Dear “Ms. to Combine or Not to Combine for Electives,”

I can definitely see the reasons why you are considering combining your students for electives!  I’ll share a few thoughts that may help as you ponder what is right for your family. From a typical school perspective, electives are often just what they are named… elective credits.  In other words, these are credits that your student (or you as the parent) elect to include. These typically are not as necessary or as important as the required coursework.

HOD electives complement or enhance the credits already being earned in the rest of the guide.

I think what makes HOD electives unique is we designed the elective credits within each HOD guide to complement or enhance credits already being earned in the rest of the guide. So, we chose them to specifically be done in a certain year of study because they are more meaningful when combined with the other learning within the guide. We weighed subject content, time period, topic, or previous knowledge that we desire the student to have exposure to prior to completing the elective.

The World Religions and Cultures elective is partnered well with World Geography.

For example, the World Religions and Cultures elective will make much more sense and contain deeper connections when completed alongside the World Geography study. I wrote the two courses to complement one another. This foundation in World Religions and Cultures is also hugely helpful to have prior to progressing into World History the following year.

The Health elective is partnered well with World History’s Biology.

Another example is the Health elective in the World History guide. This study was written alongside the Biology study because the two courses complement each other very well. I also wouldn’t want a child below the World History level to study the Health too early, as it contains many mature topics that are better suited for an older student who is also currently studying the content within a biology course.

The Fine Arts elective pairs well with World History, and the Government and Constitutional Literacy electives pair well with USI.

The Fine Arts elective in the World History guide pairs very well with the study of World History. This is because study of the art and artists makes so much more sense within the framework of the study of history. Yet another example is the Government and Constitutional Literacy credits within the USI guide. The Constitutional Literacy credit is very challenging and definitely needs the Government study alongside it in order to make sense of what is being studied about the Constitution and the law. Both have overlap with the U.S. History study, and so together the three work to provide a fuller picture of the formation and governing of our nation.

Elective credits get progressively more difficult.

Another aspect of elective credit that is different in HOD is that the credits get progressively more difficult as the student’s critical thinking abilities, maturity, and level of academic skills rise. This is an often overlooked aspect when selecting electives, but in HOD it is very important. For example, the Logic study within the World Geography guide is scheduled at a time when students are ready to think more critically and logically. The fallacies students learn to spot in this guide are excellent training in how to think sequentially and logically, which is of benefit as students progress in the guides into more assignments that require these skills.

The World Religions and Cultures credit in the first year of study is meant to be easier than the Fine Arts and Health credits that are in the second year of study. The Government and Constitutional Literacy credits are meant to be much more challenging than the previous credits, which is why they are scheduled within the third year of study. Students below the third year of study would find these courses quite difficult, without first gaining the skills and knowledge within the World History guide (of various governments and types of law in past history – and their positives and negatives – and resulting successes or failures.)

Credits rise in difficulty and connect to other subjects.

So, within HOD, credits such as these are selected to rise in difficulty and to connect to other subjects scheduled within the guide. To do these credits out of order means that the harder credits may be done before we planned and that the easier credits may be done later than we planned. It also means that the connections and foundation we are planning for the student to have will not be there.

Electives play an important part in the intended balance within each guide.

The last thing to consider is the balance within each guide and the role that the elective credits play within that balance. Just as within any other HOD guide, all areas within the high school HOD guides are designed to complement and balance one another in reading level, quantity of pages, whether or not DVD viewing is included, the involvement level of the parent in the subject, the amount of writing required to complete the subject, and the way the assessments are handled. When courses are shifted from one guide to another, this balance is affected.

Elective credits are to be used in order, if possible, for these reasons.

So, while you can certainly do as desired with these credits, when writing the guide it was not my intention that the elective credits be used out of order for these reasons. It is no different in high school, with HOD, than it is with previous guides when it comes to borrowing subjects from one guide to add to another. It would honestly be easier to borrow a language arts, math, or science credit from another guide than it would be to shift around many of the elective credits.

I realize families who need only certain credits for graduation may need to tweak credits.

I do realize that for some families coming late to HOD, or for those families who need only certain specific credits for graduation, there may be more tweaking involved to get the needed credits. In those situations, my advice would differ in order to help the families get the credits they need in the least confusing way. I was thinking though, based on what you’d shared thus far, that wasn’t the situation you were asking about for your family. I hope this helps as you ponder what to do with electives!

Blessings,

Carrie

Should I combine my daughter and son in Beyond Little Hearts?

Pondering Placement

A Little Background

Hello to the Austin Family! I am so glad to be here ready to use Heart of Dakota! I am a mother to four: ages 2.5b, 4.5b, 6.5b, and 8.5g. We have homeschooled on and off for the past 4 years. Right now our two oldest children just finished at our private church academy. Our 4yo just finished 4K.  I was ready to combine the children this year using Beyond… , but my hubby was not 100% on board with homeschooling. God has changed his heart! He is seeing the need to homeschool, so we are preparing for this summer schooling.

Placement Question:  Should I combine my daughter and son in Beyond Little Hearts…, or separate them?

Our children have been separate using BJU, which does not hold their interest. I know I am going to use Beyond… with my 6.5 yo son.  But, I think our 8.5yo daughter could possibly do Bigger… My only “fear” is that she is a reluctant reader. She ‘knows’ that she doesn’t read well. This has come from her fear of reading in front of other children that are younger than her and read better. Actually, when she is reading something at home, she reads OK. But, I know she could improve greatly. Would you combine her with her brother using Beyond…? Or would you go ahead and put her in Bigger…? She does great in Math, Bible, and other things, but she truly struggles with Reading & English.

Carrie’s Reply: I would keep your 6 and 8 year old together in Beyond.

Thanks so much for sharing about your daughter!  From what you’ve shared, I would combine 6 and 8 year old together in Beyond...  Since your kiddos will be coming from private school to homeschooling, it’s always best to allow for a period of adjustment. Jumping into a curriculum that would really challenge your oldest, like Bigger…, wouldn’t allow time for that.

This will give time for your daughter to gain in reading, writing and English skills.

Also, since your oldest is still gaining as a reader and gaining English skills as well, Beyond… is the better placement in those 2 key areas. We consider the 3 most important areas for correct program placement to be reading, writing, and math.

Summer is a great time to try to combine and see if you like this placement.

If you start in the summer and feel your oldest has made significant gains by the end of summer, you could always reconsider moving her to Bigger… at that time. However, if she is thriving with Beyond…, I would continue to combine and finish the program with her.

You have several good options to choose from for reading.

As far as the reading goes, you would probably want the Emerging Reader Set for your oldest. Click here to view that set, so you can determine if that is the correct placement for her. If that set seems too easy, then you would be ready for Drawn into the Heart of Reading and possibly one of the book sets that goes well with that program. Click here for the link for the Level 2 book pack.

You can give the math placement test for the best math level to use.

Also, as far as math goes, if you are wanting to use Singapore, you can take the placement test to see which level is best for your kiddos. Click here for the test – just be sure to choose the Primary Mathematics U.S. 3rd Edition. Then, once you’ve determined their math levels, just drop us a line with your further questions on the Main Board of our message board!  The moms are super encouraging!  Or, give us a call!  We can help answer questions or help put together your order to combine two kiddos.

 

Blessings,

Carrie