Placement: PHFHG or CTC for a 10 yo newly independent reader and writer?

Pondering Placement

Would you recommend Preparing Hearts or Creation to Christ for a 10 year old who is a newly independent reader and writer?

I’ve been pouring over the HOD Message Board and catalog! My daughter is a 10 year old 4th grader. She’s taken time in becoming independent in reading. Last year, she did really well with Bigger Hearts, but she only made it through Unit 24. She didn’t continue into Preparing Hearts because she was not reading independently. This year, we spent lots of time with intense phonics review and lots of reading. She also completed Singapore 3B, Dictation Level 2, Rod and Staff 3, Writing with Ease, and Level 2 readers. She can read and orally narrate, and she can write about 3-5 very simple sentences. One minute I’m convinced she should be in PHFHG. Then, I switch to CTC! She might not be ready for DITHOR 4/5. I’m very unsure. She’s self-motivated but can be a complainer if she thinks she can’t do something. My worry is the reading!

Carrie’s Reply: Preparing Hearts for His Glory is my placement recommendation.

Thanks so much for sharing about your daughter! With what you’ve shared so far, I’d be inclined to suggest Preparing Hearts for her placement, based mostly upon her reading and writing level. Additionally, CTC is quite a step up in independence, in amount of reading, and in following lengthy written directions. I would be hesitant to put a child who has been a bit of a late bloomer in reading into CTC without first having had that child go through the stepping stones that are built into Preparing Hearts.

I’d recommend DITHR 2/3 along with the Level 3 DITHR Book Pack.

I think that a year in Preparing Hearts would also keep her from being too overwhelmed with the addition of DITHR to her days. With this in mind, I’d lean toward having her do Preparing with DITHR Level 2/3 (if she hasn’t already done it) or 4/5 (if she has already been through DITHR 2/3). I’d also lean toward the Level 3 Book Pack (which actually has a reading level in the range of 3.5-5.1). If you think that is too young, you could move into the 4/5 Book Pack, but I would do that with some hesitation as you want to encourage her to feel good about her reading without overwhelming her.

I’d recommend R & S English 4 at half-speed, Level 3 dictation, and the narration and writing skills planned in Preparing.

I would have her move on into Rod and Staff English 4 at half-speed, spreading each lesson out over 2 days. Then, I’d move onto dictation Level 3 (which is in the Appendix of Preparing). I would move away from Writing with Ease, as you’ll have too much duplication between that program and the writing across the curriculum we do in Preparing Hearts (through guided written narration, oral narration, and dictation). I would make sure to do the writing lessons from the poetry as scheduled in Preparing Hearts to build those writing skills that are not covered elsewhere in our guide or in Rod and Staff. She will also be getting quite a bit of writing instruction through Rod and Staff.

I’d further recommend Singapore 4A, the Deluxe Package of Books for the Newly Independent Reader, and the Science.

She can also move easily into Singapore 4A as that is scheduled in the Preparing Appendix. I would have her do the Deluxe Package with Preparing and the science too. These will be her independent areas and will do a great job of building independence incrementally. In looking down the road at the level of reading, written work, and independence required in CTC and RTR on up, I would definitely encourage you to spend a year heading through Preparing first with your daughter. The leap from completing 2/3 of Bigger and then jumping to CTC would be very huge (without having Preparing in between first).

Blessings,
Carrie

Placement Help for a 13 Year Old Son with an Extremely Busy Mom

Pondering Placement

Placement Help for a 13 Year Old Son with an Extremely Busy Mom

We’re new to Heart of Dakota, and I’m trying to place my 13 year old. His reading isn’t super strong. However, he’s not a struggling reader. We’ve had no previous exposure to dictation or narration. I’m an extremely busy mom with a baby on the way in 6 weeks, and I have difficult pregnancies. I have a 3 year old too. I’ll be teaching my 6 year old to read and starting Little Hearts for His Glory. We also live on a ranch with horses and chickens and a lot of responsibilities. We’ve already done some of the Apologia elementary sciences but not Land Animals. So I am wondering with my family dynamics and my son’s ability if starting him with CTC would be right or too easy. I originally wanted to start him with Revival to Revolution but am now thinking that would be way too hard. Help!

Reply: Placement Help for a 13 Year Old Son with an Extremely Busy Mom

I’d be glad to help with placement for your 13 year old son! From what you’ve shared, I would agree that placing him in CTC would be the best fit in pretty much every area. I would lean toward placing him in English 5, as CTC does only the first half of English 5 (with the second half in RTR). You can do much of it orally or on a whiteboard, with just a portion assigned to be done on paper each day. I do think it will be good for him to do Write the Best as scheduled in CTC for writing.

I would recommend Drawn into the Heart of Reading 4/5.

If you haven’t had much in the way of formal literature instruction, I would lean toward using Level 4/5 of Drawn into the Heart of Reading for one year. After that I would bump him up to Level 6/7/8 the following year. Even if you haven’t completed all of Level 4/5, I’d still move him up. Just make sure when you switch to Level 6/7/8, you do the genres you didn’t get to in Level 4/5 first. In that way, he’ll receive a balanced reading experience.

I would recommend doing the science as written in CTC, but add the Biology 101 DVDs.

As far as the science goes, I would lean toward doing it as written in CTC, however you may wish to add something like the Biology 101 DVDs for him to watch on the 5th day of each week, just to raise the content level a bit (since your son will be on the older age range of the guide).

I would recommend adding the CTC Extension Package for your son.

You’ll need the Extension Pack for your son in CTC, but not the Basic Package. This is because of your son’s age, and also because you will be doing another HOD program with a read-aloud already for LHFHG. In that way, you won’t need to do multiple read-alouds each day.

I think your 7 year old might enjoy The Reading Lesson for phonics.

I think you have a good plan coming together! As far as your 7 year old in LHFHG goes, you could consider The Reading Lesson with the downloadable CD for helping him learn to read. It is a good incremental approach and can be done cuddled on the couch in just short sessions each day. The downloadable CD is hugely helpful and entertaining.

I am sorry to hear about your difficulty pregnancies and pray for your babe and for you.

On a sidenote, I’m so sorry for your difficult pregnancies. I have had those too with every pregnancy I’ve had… bedrest and long hospital stays with babies finally coming early around 34-35 weeks (which was always a blessing for me to get that far). I pray for your babe to be here in God’s perfect timing.

Blessings,
Carrie

Is it normal for parental involvement to lessen in Creation to Christ?

Dear Carrie

Is it normal for my level of parental involvement to lessen in Creation to Christ?

Dear Carrie,

I have 2 children doing Creation to Christ. I’m blessed Heart of Dakota has taught them independence! They are wonderful at using the guide and finishing their work. Praise God! I answer questions, check work, and lead the teacher-directed things. But, I find it’s different this year. In the younger years, I read aloud all of the books. Now, I spend more time with my 7 yo in Bigger, my 5 yo in LHFHG, and my 3 yo. I feel like it’s impossible to be much more involved than I am! I’d love to have time to sit and read the CTC books with the olders, but I just can’t! I guess I need either encouragement or constructive criticism! Is it normal for my level of involvement to change in Creation to Christ?

Sincerely,

“Ms. Please Help Me Know If It Is Normal for My Level of Involvement to Change in Creation to Christ”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Know If It Is Normal for My Level of Involvement to Change in Creation to Christ,”

This is a great question! Whenever we write an HOD guide, we strive for balance. We especially find it important for us to have a balance of “Teacher-Directed,” “Semi-Independent,” and “Independent” activities. While we may have more ‘I’s in a guide, that doesn’t necessarily mean we spend more time on “I” activities. It just means that we often keep the ‘I’ activities shorter. We do this in order for them to be truly independent (so it takes more ‘I’ activities to equal out the minutes spent on ‘T’ and ‘S’ activities).

We systematically move skills we have taught toward being independent.

As kiddos progress through our guides, we systematically move skills we have taught toward being ‘Independent.’  This allows us to teach and practice new skills in each guide. With this thought in mind, once kiddos are able to read their own history and science material, we desire for them to be doing the reading. This aids in better retention, produces stronger written and oral narrations, increases a child’s vocabulary as they see and read difficult words in print, and gives the child a chance to pace the reading as needed to suit his/her specific reading level. We do keep storytime as an area where the parent can cuddle up with the child to share great books, and we tie follow-up skills to the readings.

Older children benefit from reading on their own, and teaching time is precious, so we choose teaching tasks carefully.

As homeschool parents, we likely have limited time each day to formally “teach” our children. If we choose to utilize that precious teaching time with our older children to read aloud material that the children would benefit from reading on their own, then we draw from our well of teaching time by doing a task like reading aloud that isn’t really a teaching task. We want to be sure that any task we choose for the teacher to do is truly a teaching task.

Allowing older children to read their own material frees up time to teach important things that otherwise could be missed.

By allowing the children to read their own material, we free up time to teach important things that may otherwise be missed. We can interact with our students in studies like the Genesis study in The Radical Book for Kids, or purity studies like Beautiful Girlhood or Boyhood and Beyond, or in Biblical worldview studies through Who Is God?. Likewise, we can enjoy working  through poetry, art, and music appreciation. Additionally, we can spend time teaching writing programs, interacting with grammar lessons, hearing narrations, and dialoguing as the students show us their notebooking. We can focus on interaction with the student that goes far beyond reading aloud.

Our guides incrementally prepare students for the level of independence needed in high school and college.

The design of our guides is also intended to prepare students incrementally for the level of independence that will be needed in high school and college. We teach a high level of reading and following written directions through the ‘I’ boxes of each HOD guide. Students also need time management skills to complete the boxes independently. The students learn these skills, yet parents always have a follow-up or a product that is produced, so they can monitor students’ progress in every subject area. Students love to move toward taking on more of their own learning as they get older, and our guides tap into that God-given path toward maturity by giving the child a bit more responsibility each year.

We are seeking for meaningful interaction moments in every teaching day.

We have truly enjoyed the interactions we have with our children at each level of our HOD guides. I must admit that my 3 youngest kiddos using HOD have had many more opportunities for interaction with me than my oldest son had. This is because we had previously tried so many of the various curricula out there on his homeschool journey. At HOD, we are seeking for “meaningful interaction” moments in every teaching day. We plan for them in each of our guides. So, rest assured, you can know teaching time is there for you each and every day.

Blessings,
Carrie

 

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

February Library Builder: Save 10% on the Creation to Christ Girl Interest Set!

Library Builder

Use coupon code FEBRUARY-LIBRARY for 10% on this month’s Library Builder book set: The Creation to Christ Girl Interest Package!

We are excited to continue our  Heart of Dakota Library Builder book set promotion! On the 1st Wednesday of each month we will be promoting one of our book sets with a 10% coupon code. For this month’s special, use coupon code FEBRUARY-LIBRARY on our website for the entire month of February to apply the savings to your order. The coupon applies to the Creation to Christ Girl Interest set of books.   To view all of the books in this set, just click here! (Scroll down until you see the “Basic Package Option 3” section.)

How is the Girl Interest Package used in Creation to Christ?

Well, we could tell you, but why reinvent the wheel? Carrie and Julie have already done an excellent job of outlining how these books are used in the Creation to Christ Introduction, so why don’t we have a quick look at that?

(From the Introduction to Creation to Christ ):

Storytime
There are 3 book set options for Storytime: History Interest Set, Boy Interest Set, or Girl Interest Set. If you desire to read aloud books that coordinate with the historical time period being studied, you will want to choose the History Interest Set. In keeping with the ancient time period, the History Interest Set does contain some violent content.

If you wish to avoid this, choose the Boy Interest or Girl Interest Set instead; these sets do not match the history, but were instead selected to provide excellent read-alouds from 9 different genres.

Sixth and seventh graders should either listen to this book set read aloud, or read the Extension Package books (as scheduled in the Appendix), or do both of these options in order to extend their learning. If you are a family that enjoys reading aloud, you may choose to read aloud more than one set of books from the Basic Package.

These scheduled read-alouds are highly recommended, unless you need to
economize. Complete listings and book descriptions for these books can be found in the Appendix. These books are sold as a set as Basic Package Option 1, 2, or 3, or sold individually, at www.heartofdakota.com.

Each unit includes the following activities in coordination with the “Storytime” read-aloud assignments:
*Day 1: give a detailed oral narration
*Day 2: rotate through the following 4 narration activities: an outline sketch, a short skit, a question and answer session, and an advertisement speech for the book
*Day 3: give a summary narration
*Day 4: make connections between the story and Proverbs

Use coupon code FEBRUARY-LIBRARY to save!

To apply this month’s savings, just enter coupon code FEBRUARY-LIBRARY on our website when you check out! We hope these books will be as treasured to you as they are to us!

Have a great rest of the week!
Heart of Dakota

PS: If you’d like a more in-depth look at what using Creation to Christ looks like in your home, have a look at this article!

Creation to Christ: An Intriguing Ancients Homeschool Program for Ages 9-11, with Extensions for Ages 12-13