Does MTMM need the extensions to be appropriate for grade 9?

Pondering Placement

Does MTMM need the extensions to be appropriate for grade 9?

Great question! Yes, it does! That is the reason for the MTMM Extension Pack. It is meant to raise the level of the study in the guide to be able to include high school students. (High school students are technically outside of the target age range of the guide). The extension books are chosen to show different sides of issues and situations that students are often reading about briefly in the text. This is a different experience than simply reading books for pleasure. Instead, each extension book holds a purposeful place in the telling of history. It adds many facets to the study that require the student to think and assimilate information on a higher level.

High school students should do both the extension readings and the follow-up assignments.

Additionally, we are assuming that students at the extension level are also doing the recommended written narration/oral narration/and research follow-ups. This really raises the level of the Extension Pack.  The student is made to sift and sort through what was read to share about it in a Charlotte Mason way. Without doing the follow-ups, your child is missing the upped level of skills needed for a high school student in writing written narrations, giving oral narrations, and choosing topics of interest to include for research/notebooking. (This is described fully in the Appendix). I would consider both the extension readings and the follow-ups to be a necessary part of the readings at the 9th grade level. 

Extension books may be found on audio or read by a parent for students who have reading challenges.

I will mention that for those students who have reading challenges, my response may differ. That is because students who have difficulties reading will flounder under the weight of more reading. In this case, perhaps some books in the Extension Pack could be found as audios to listen to. Some could also possibly be read aloud by a parent. Others who have difficulties in the area of reading may have to omit the extensions all together. This is because school is such a challenge already without adding more. This would definitely be the exception, however.


Charlotte Mason’s “Presence” in Our Average High School Day

More Than a Charlotte Mason Moment

Charlotte Mason’s “Presence” in Our Average High School Day

By the end of this homeschool year, I will have graduated my second son, Riley. Though I have mixed emotions, the most prevalent one is gratitude. I just feel incredibly blessed to have been Wyatt’s and Riley’s teacher. I look forward to finishing my teaching strong over the next four years with my last son, Emmett. Homeschooling is just such a blessing. We have a way of life I would not trade for anything. Faith, family, and a love for learning – all an amazing daily part of our homeschooling. One primary thing I am eternally grateful for is God’s abiding presence in our day-to-day learning. Another secondary thing I am especially grateful for is Charlotte Mason’s presence in our schooling each day. I was worried she might disappear in high school, but she is alive and well.

Charlotte Mason’s “Presence” in U.S History II’s Day 2 Plans of Unit 14

Riley and I just finished U.S. History II’s Unit 14, Day 2’s plans today. This was just an ordinary day. However, ordinary days seem extraordinary to me during the senior high school year. Everything just comes together beautifully. In this blog post, I thought we could see how Charlotte Mason’s presence makes each high school day special by just looking at a random day like today.

Charlotte Mason’s “Presence”… found in reading living books for history, completing Book of Centuries timeline entries, and copying famous quotes for Living Library

Riley read some amazing living books today!  Starting with the U.S. History box of plans, Riley read Mystery of History. In response to the reading, he added three entries to his Book of Centuries. Moving on to his History Activities box of plans, Riley read more of his Mystery of History book. His U.S. II notebook included multiple quotes from Gandhi that were taken from his reading. Beneath each quote, Riley noted the quote’s context, its significance, and any insight it provided into Gandhi. He also shared his own thoughts and reactions to each quote. Moving on to the Living Library box, Riley read A Room of My Own. He responded to his reading with a Triple-Entry Journal Assignment. In this assignment, he copied a favorite quote, explained its context, and shared his reflections on it. Now, that’s quite a Charlotte Mason “presence,” isn’t it?!?

Charlotte Mason’s “Presence”… found in reading living books for Economics and Finance, in studying citizenship, in learning Latin, and in studying the Bible

In Economics, he read Economics: A Free Market Reader. We then had a wonderful discussion about the circumstances under which a government should be able to use its power to compel citizens to comply. We moved on to Latin, where Riley translated sentences written in Latin to English. Next, came Finance with Dave Ramsey – a man truly passionate about this topic! Riley read Foundations in Personal Finance and answered written questions in response to his reading. After he watched Dave’s DVD, he completed journal questions about student loan myths and shared his answers with me. As he quoted Dave and excitedly shared his answers, this really turned into an oral narration. Likewise, after reading and annotating his Bible box’s I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, he gave another impromptu oral narration after sharing his workbook answers. Yet another indicator of Charlotte Mason’s “presence” in high school!

Charlotte Mason’s “Presence”… found in reading living books and doing copywork for Science, in British Literature poetry study, and in studying Great Communicators in Speech

In Science, Riley read The New Astronomy Book and watched the DVD What You Aren’t Being Told About Astronomy. After answering workbook questions, he moved onto his notebook. In his notebook, he completed copywork regarding “What You Aren’t Being Told About Uranus and Neptune.” He was so intrigued by this! As always, he did his copywork in cursive – he reserves cursive writing for copywork, which he deems as more special than other writing. In British Literature, Riley read and annotated The Devotional Poetry of Donne, Herbert, and Milton. In response, he did the “For Reflection or Discussion” questions and completed a narration entry in his literature journal. Finally, in Speech, Riley read about another amazing speech and continued to apply what he learned to take steps to become a better communicator.  Charlotte Mason’s “presence” found again!

In Closing

Charlotte Mason’s “presence” can be found all through Heart of Dakota’s high school, and I find it such a blessing to have her present. At a time when many curriculums fall away from much of what makes education an atmosphere, a discipline, a life, Heart of Dakota’s high school holds steady. For those of you looking ahead to high school who love Charlotte Mason, I just want to give you a glimpse of what is to come. Her presence remains throughout, all the way to the end of the homeschool journey – and let me tell you, it’s a glorious end.

In Christ,



Should my 9th grader skip MTMM & do WG, or do MTMM with extensions?

Dear Carrie

For 9th grade, should my daughter skip MTMM and do WG, or stay the course with MTMM and add extensions?

We have had the best year with Heart of Dakota, and running three guides has gone well. My oldest daughter is really enjoying Revival to Revolution. At first she was surprised by the workload, but now she seems to just fly through it. She will be in 9th grade starting high school next year. I am considering skipping Missions to Modern Marvels and moving my daughter right into the World Geography guide. She is doing great with Revival to Revolution and is excited to start the new guide. I am thinking to have her read some of the books from Missions to Modern Marvels over the summer. She loves to read, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Does this sound like too much? What advice do you give to students doing Revival to Revolution for eighth grade? Skip MTMM and do WG? Or, stick with MTMM and beef it up?


“Ms. Please Help Me Decide Whether to Skip MTMM or Stick with It for 9th Grade”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me Decide Whether to Skip MTMM or Stick with It for 9th Grade,”

For me, as I talk with families about what will be best in the situation where a student is headed into high school (but is coming from a younger HOD guide), it always ends up to be placement that I go back to again and again. This is what makes the decision such a unique one for each student. Each student’s “best” placement will be his/her own!

We weigh many things when considering best placement for high school.

Placement becomes trickier as a child gets older. It isn’t always as readily-apparent where a child fits skill-wise. Maturity also begins to play more of a role in placement, as does independence, and work habits. A child heading into the high school HOD guides will also have to be committed to a longer school day. Each of these areas will play a huge role in a student’s success and overall feelings about high school. So, all of these areas have to be weighed. Then, there also begins to be the state requirements and college entrance requirements to be met as students head through their high school years. So, all of these areas become a part of weighing correct placement too!

I recommend bathing the decision in prayer and going back to placement chart as you weigh your options.

So, I usually end up going back to the placement chart first to gain placement knowledge (paying the most attention to the first page of the chart) with the 3R’s heavily in mind. Next, I weigh the science, as kiddos are heading into the high school years. After that I begin weighing the other deciding factors: maturity, independence, work habits, commitment to longer days, and state/college requirements. Usually, by that point I have a clearer picture of what the “right” placement for that student might be. Then, I recommend bathing the decision in prayer and waiting on the Lord to see if He confirms the decision.

MTMM is a wonderful guide, but the decision to skip it or use for 9th grade comes down to the best placement all around.

I agree that while MTMM is a wonderful guide, in the end the decision of whether to use it or not really comes down to the best placement all around. However, in placement it is very wise not to overlook maturity, work habits, independence, and commitment to a longer school day!

I would never skip a guide if a student is needing extra time in the 3R’s or if a child is behind in math.

If a student is needing extra time in any of the 3R’s, I would never bump that child forward past a guide. If a student struggles or is a bit behind in math, I would definitely keep in mind then how much time math will add to a child’s day as math gets harder as you go up! This additional time needed to complete math each day, would make the high school guides much longer than we intend.

So, I wouldn’t bump a child struggling in math forward either. I would also never bump that child forward in the sciences (as the sciences become driven by math skills in high school). If a student did not have strong, independent work habits, or a willingness to commit to longer school days, with an increased work load (then I wouldn’t bump that child forward either, or you’ll be dragging him/her along for years to come).

I’d also consider any additional pressures caused by health issues, by family issues, and by outside commitments.

If a student has health issues or family issues or commitments in many outside areas, I would make sure to balance school accordingly so that it doesn’t add additional pressures that would overwhelm the student.   I could go on, but you’re getting the picture that placement advice is affected by so many personal factors! This makes it impossible to give pat answers.

How to Receive Personal Placement Advice

So, for those of you who are trying to make this decision for your own student, you may wish to each post a thread about your student and his/her skill-level placement chart-wise and let the wise ladies on the HOD Message Board talk through placement with you. Dialoguing specifically about your student may really help! Or, if you’d rather not visit about your student on the board, simply reading others’ posts may help. If you get a chance to give us a phone call at HOD, we can personally visit with you about your child’s placement.

Treat this as if you are brand-new to HOD and are seeking placement advice.

No matter which route you choose to go, the best advice I can give you is that you may just want to treat this as if you are brand-new to HOD and are seeking placement advice for your student. This may make it clearer to you as to what you should do! I know it makes it clearer to me as I help families.

I’d recommend making high school placement decisions when your student is on the verge of high school.

Last, I’ll say that usually when looking at high school looming several years ahead on the horizon, and wondering whether to fast-forward a child up a guide earlier in the guide sequence (i.e. like in the guides before RevtoRev or MTMM), I’m more prone to wait to make that decision until the child is right on the verge of high school. This is because kiddos can change so much in just one year and also because it is tough to back up a guide if it doesn’t go well at that point. So, this is typically the reason why I don’t advise jumping a child past a guide too early in the sequence (especially once a child’s placement seems right). However, just as is true anywhere along the HOD path, if a child seems like he/she is not well placed in a guide, then it is always wise to reassess and move that child up a guide to get a better fit.


When and where should I separate my children?

Dear Carrie

When and where should I separate my children?

I have a nearly 13 year-old daughter and a nearly 11 year-old son. I started them in Creation to Christ, and we are about to finish Resurrection to Reformation. My question is when and how do I separate them? My daughter will be in 8th grade this coming year, and my son will be in 6th grade. I could have them continue the next 2 guides together. Then, once we finish them, my daughter can easily move into the high school guides. However, where does that leave my son? He’d be too young for the high school guide. I wouldn’t have HOD material to cover that year. If I move him up with her, he’d graduate too young. Should I separate them now? I could move my daughter into Missions to Modern Marvels. That means she would miss all of the history and science in Revival and Revolution. What do you think?


“Ms. Please Help Me with When and Where I Separate My Children”

Dear “Ms. Please Help Me with When and Where I Separate My Children,”

You could honestly separate or continue to combine. You really could go either way. Since you are on the verge of high school, but not actually there yet, one thing I would really use to make my decision to separate or combine for the upcoming year is how well you feel your older daughter is placed right now. Do you feel that she is well-placed and did well with RTR? Or, did you feel that she was done very quickly and waiting on her younger sibling a lot? If the placement felt right this past year, then I would be more inclined to keep your kiddos together for the upcoming year, and then reassess as your daughter is ready to enter high school. At that point, we could ponder again whether to move her forward to the first high school guide.

Or, if the reverse is true and you felt she literally flew through her school and was always needing more, often waiting on her younger sibling, then you could look at separating them and moving her to MTMM this year instead. Whatever you do, it will be very important for your older daughter to be doing Drawn into the Heart of Reading this coming year in preparation for high school level literature. It will also be important for her writing skills to be very strong and moving forward and for her grammar to be on track (especially if you are looking to bump her ahead). Last, it would be good if her math skills were also on track. Otherwise, if she is a bit behind in any of her 3 R’s, then moving her ahead in the other areas could quickly cause an overload. I just want to encourage you, either path could work. However, based on how she is doing now in RTR, one path should show itself to be better.



Is getting the World Geography guide early for science worth missing the package savings?

Dear Carrie

Is getting the World Geography guide early for the IPC science worth missing the package savings?

I will be using Heart of Dakota’s Missions to Modern Marvels (MTMM) for my son’s first year of high school. However, my son will use the science from the World Geography guide. My question is: will I need the World Geography guide to do the science? My plan is to use Heart of Dakota (HOD) all the way through graduation, but I would rather wait and buy the guide when I buy the rest of the World Geography Economy Package the next year. I love the package savings – $72!  Wow! So, I am just wondering if I can do the World Geography science without the guide. Thanks so much!


“Ms. Is Getting the World Geography Guide for the Science Worth Missing Out on the Economy Package Savings”

Dear “Ms. Is Getting the World Geography Guide for the Science Is Worth Missing Out on the Economy Package Savings,”

I wish I could tell you that you didn’t need to have the World Geography guide for the science portion, since you’re using it with MTMM. While you could certainly do the readings and follow-ups for science without the guide, you’d still have to figure out how to pace them to finish on time. Another factor to consider is the labs. While you can do the labs on your own schedule as well, in order to know when to do them to match the readings you’d need to have the guide.

It would be more cohesive and balanced to have the labs match the text.

Also, there are 36 labs, which means that even if you forego matching the text, and just did the labs independent from the text, you’d still need to determine how to get the labs in while balancing that with the readings in the text. With this in mind, from my perspective, it would be much more cohesive and balanced to do the science with our plans as written in the World Geography guide. I think it is always better to have the labs match the text, and these two programs actually ended up going very well together, once I was able to figure it all out for the plans.

You can still take advantage of the package savings the next year.

So, as you ponder what you want to do, I will share that if you do decide to purchase the World Geography guide for the science portion of the plans, then the following year, you can still order the Economy Package for World Geography and receive the discounted price and receive money back for your guide! Simply include in your “Ordering Instructions” box at checkout that you purchased the World Geography guide the previous year for the science plans, and now you’re ordering the rest and won’t need the guide. My husband will then credit you back the entire price of the World Geography guide as well as giving you the package discount! So, it is like we are loaning you the guide for a year, and then you receive all of your money back for it as part of your package purchase the next year.


Follow-Up Reply:

Thank you, Carrie!!! I am already so thankful for the curriculum you produce! Now I know your customer service is the best too! I already ordered and received my things from HOD. My son loved unpacking his things. I am SO THANKFUL to have the World Geography guide alongside the IPC plans. So worth it! Thanks!