All in the family!

Heart of Dakota Tidbit

All in the family!

Did you know that the children who are pictured on the front of Little Hearts for His Glory, Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory, Bigger Hearts for His Glory, and Preparing Hearts for His Glory are our boys? The beautiful girl who is pictured is our niece from Texas, Rachel.

Have a great weekend!

Guide Placement for My 5 ½ Year Old Kindergarten Son in Heart of Dakota Homeschooling

Pondering Placement

Question: Hello to the Austin family! Could you please help me with placement in Heart of Dakota for homeschooling my  5 1/2 year old son? He will be 6 in October, and this fall will be his kindergarten year. What placement would you suggest for my kindergarten 5 ½ year old son? Looking at the first page of the placement chart he is…

  1. 5  1/2 years old and turning 6 in October
  2. ready for phonics instruction
  3. at the beginning stages of writing
    • dislikes handwriting and coloring
    • writes the ‘J’ and the ‘u’ in his name really well, but the ‘d, ‘a,’ and ‘h’ are questionable
    • occasionally writes from right to left instead of left to write (but this is sometimes normal, and he’s not dyslexic)
    • can draw a stick figure and most of the body parts
  4. ready for gentle intro to basic parts of speech
    • he was a little late to the game with speech due to allergies
    • he tested for speech therapy and did not qualify
  5. math will be no problem, as he is strong in this area

With handwriting being second on the placement chart in order of importance, would Little Hands to Heaven be best? Although with him just finishing Pre-K, perhaps Little Hearts for His Glory for kindergarten would be a better fit? I know it is not advised to repeat the same guide twice, so I don’t want to repeat Little Hearts. Which guide would you suggest I place my kindergarten 5 1/2 year old son in this year?  Any advice is appreciated!

Reply: Thanks for sharing your findings about your son in regard to the placement chart!

That is always the first and best step to determining placement! We find this information incredibly helpful, as every child is different in needs and skills. As I was reading through your initial post, I think Little Hearts… would be a good fit for your son. It sounds like he fits well there on the placement chart overall. Much of what you shared as far as fine motor challenges isn’t that uncommon for boys upon entering Little Hearts. Your description actually fit my own third little guy when he began Little Hearts as he was turning 6.

Three Factors to Consider When Choosing Placement Between Little Hands… and Little Hearts…

There are three factors to consider when choosing Little Hearts… or choosing doing Little Hands… with Little Heart’s… kindergarten options. First, we want to consider your son’s age. Second, we want to consider the fact that he has already been through quite a bit of kindergarten readiness. Third, he seems to really make strides when you work with him one-on-one. In conclusion, all of these factors make me lean more toward Little Heartswith the K options.

An Easy Pacing Schedule for Your Kindergarten Son and for You

This could perhaps be done just 4 days a week, stretching 9 weeks into the next school year to finish. This plan would allow him to grow up a bit before getting to Beyond. But, it would also keep him moving forward more closely with his age-mates. While I dislike comparisons, age does help give us some guidelines when we’re trying to decide between two good options. In your son’s case I think it tilts the decision more in favor of Little Hearts.

Once you get Little Hearts… and its resources that go with it from us, you’ll be able to tell better. You’re also welcome to return anything within 30 days for a full refund or in exchange for something else. This should help ease the decision-making process a bit!



P.S. For more on placing your child in the right guide, click here!

How to Review Phonics for a Third Grader

Dear Carrie

How can I review phonics with my third grader?

Dear Carrie,

Can you recommend a phonics review resource for a 3rd grader? My daughter is reading Level 2 books in Drawn into the Heart of Reading. When she comes to a word she doesn’t know, it’s like she doesn’t know how to sound it out. She just speeds through it, making something up. She doesn’t enjoy reading. I believe this is primarily because her foundation is not solid, and she does not feel confident. She gets frustrated and embarrassed when I try to help her sound words out.

“Searching for Phonics Help for a 3rd Grader”

Dear “Searching for Phonics Help for a 3rd Grader,”

Depending on how much phonics instruction your daughter had in the past, she may need another quick pass at phonics. Or, if she can decode but chooses not to, she may just need to read aloud with you helping.

I would recommend using Sound Bytes Reading under these circumstances:

• if a student did not have a thorough pass through formal phonics
• if a student missed some of the formal phonics due to other life issues
• if a student missed some of the formal phonics due to hearing or eye related concerns

We carry Sound Bytes Reading just for these reasons.

The program takes 3-4 months and is a good way to firm up any needed decoding skills. You can use the program through the summer if desired, while still having her read real books. At that point you would then know she has the needed decoding skills and just needs practice gaining fluency.

I wished I’d had a program like Sound Bytes Reading for my last son.

He struggled with reading after going through formal phonics instruction. I later found out this was due to the tubes in his ears being plugged, so he wasn’t hearing. Anyway, I put him through another entire phonics program from beginning to end at that point. A quicker refresher course, like Sound Bytes Reading, would have been a better choice.

I also would drop back the level of the books she is reading to make reading more fun and easy.

Sometimes when we are consistently pushing the child’s level of comfort reading-wise, it steals the joy of reading. Returning to easier books for a time can make the child feel successful and help reading be enjoyable again.