Help for a Child Who Has a Math Disability

Pondering Placement

Question: Hello to the Austin family! My 11 yo son is in Preparing… in Heart of Dakota now and doing great going full-speed! However, math is another story.  Could you please help me with placement in Heart of Dakota’s Singapore Math for my son with a math disability?

A Little Background on His Math Struggles

My 11 yo son used another math program (ACE) this year and has 1 ½ books left before he is done with the 2nd grade level. This has not been the best math curriculum for him. But, we used it as he could do it by himself, due to other time constraints I had. I now have more time to spend with him on the subjects in which he struggles. I am considering the Singapore math Heart of Dakota recommends. My question is if Singapore can be used successfully with a child who has a math disability? Thank you for help in pondering this placement!

Reply:  Thanks for sharing about your son’s math background!

This is an interesting dilemma. With the age of your son in mind, and considering the challenges he has had in math thus far, Singapore Primary Math could work well. The reason for this is because it is easier to move at a varying and/or accelerated pace through Singapore than it is with other programs that are more lock-step and have large volumes of daily work for each level.

Be sure to give the Singapore Math placement test first!

Singapore Math has a free and accurate placement test.  I would definitely give him the placement test, by clicking here.  Be sure to give him the placement test for the Primary U.S. 3rd Edition. I would begin with the 2A test and see how he does. I would be inclined to think he might begin in 2B, but with testing you will know better.

Be sure to assist your son during math time by sitting near him and drawing his attention to the word bubbles!

Since math is a challenging area, I think you will have to commit to sitting with him or being available nearby to help often as needed. Be sure to teach the Singapore method in the word bubbles of each lesson, as this will help! Then, I would move quickly through what your son knows and spend longer on what he does not. In this way, you could cover more ground. Be sure to use the U.S. Edition of Singapore, as the other editions have too much volume added to them which will slow you down.

Once you place your son, you can click here and scroll down on the following to order the needed levels of Singapore. This honestly may be a good option with only a semester or so of instruction time to move forward. I hope this helps!

Blessings,

Carrie

Making Bigger Hearts More Independent for a 5th Grade Homeschool Student

Dear Carrie,

We are finishing Unit 3 of Bigger Hearts…, and we are really enjoying it! The only issue I’m having is I’m doing it with a 5th grader.  I feel I need to make Bigger Hearts more independent for my 5th grader, who needs more independent work. My son would fit perfectly into Preparing Hearts…, but we really wanted to do a year of American History. The more I look at it, the more I really think I should have chosen Preparing Hearts… for my son. I looked at the placement chart, scope and sequence, etc. However, I focused focused so much on American History that I never really paid attention to those like I should have.

The only areas he really doesn’t place in Preparing… for are Poetry, Math, and Reading. Should I just save Bigger for my younger son next year and do Preparing for my older son? I’m really starting to think that may be best. I want his Science and History to be at his level. I know the extensions bring it up to level some, but I need him working more independently. How can I make Bigger Hearts… more independent for my 5th grader, or should I have him do Preparing Hearts…?

Sincerely,

“Please Help Me Make Bigger Hearts More Independent”

Dear “Please Help Me Make Bigger Hearts More Independent,”

When we did Bigger Hearts with our son, we looked at it as a year of training. We taught him to read from the guide and to do his own readings. This really helped my son be quite independent and was excellent preparation for learning how to follow written directions!

Charlotte Mason says a child of 9, who is able, should read his/her own books.

I had him do his own history readings and science readings. Charlotte Mason says a child of 9 who is able to read his/her own books should, and mine could. He would get me when he was done reading, and we would do the follow-up activity together. However, before getting me, he read the directions for the activity in the bottom left box. Additionally, he was responsible for getting everything ready for me as best as possible. So, by the time I arrived, we were ready to go!

The timeline, art, note booking, vocabulary, and Bible copywork can be done independently.

He did his timeline, art, notebooking, Cheerful Cursive, and vocabulary (eventually) on his own, reading right from the guide. I just checked them when he was done. He practiced his Bible verse on his own and did his Bible verse copywork on his own. My son also read over any questions in the Bible study box. Likewise, he thought about the answers prior to me coming to discuss with him. Then, we did the Bible Study discussion. We listened to the hymns at lunch with all of the kiddos and me singing along.

English and Math can be semi-independently done.

My son read over his English lesson and started on it by the time I joined him. We always did at least half together though, to make sure that he got it. He began his math on his own, and I’d go over the textbook lesson with him after he’d read it.

Drawn into the Heart of Reading needs to be more teacher-directed.

I did formally set aside a specific time each day to teach Drawn into the Heart of Reading. This is because DITHOR is such an important area to cover well! When kiddos learn to think beneath the surface of what is read and learn to read with discernment, two important skills are learned.

Students can do the science quite independently, with the teacher just making sure to go through assigned follow-ups.

My son honestly did the science completely independently. I checked in with him to make sure he did his lab sheets correctly and performed the experiment correctly. I did listen to his oral narrations with the science book in hand. Sometimes, he narrated to a younger sibling (with me looking over his shoulder).

Fifth graders should do the Extension Package readings and assignments independently.

The Extension Pack readings are meant to be done independently. From what you’ve shared previously, I agree having him work on his writing and spelling skills this year is important. The level of writing in Preparing Hearts continues to rise. Placement in Preparing is based on the skills noted in the first page of the placement chart. You can see these skills include a good dose of writing and spelling. Without those skills in place, moving into Preparing would only suit him in the area of reading material. The practice of core skills needed for good writing may be lost in the shuffle.

Adding independence to Bigger Hearts seems to make it a good placement for your 5th grade son.

These are just my thoughts, and you will certainly know best! However, I wanted to give you some food for thought on the many needed skills woven within Bigger Hearts. With our son who was older when he completed Bigger Hearts…, the independence I’ve mentioned worked well. When he began, Preparing Hearts…, he was ready!

Blessings,

Carrie

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!

Blessings,

Carrie

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

Is your child placed in the right guide?

Teaching Tip

This is the next post in our series of things to check if your school day seems too long. I know this can happen to any of us, and hopefully these tips may help! Correct placement in Heart of Dakota is a big key to success.

Is your child placed in the right guide?

At Heart of Dakota, correct guide placement is so important! This is because we do not have one-size fits all placement advice. Instead, we look at each child as an individual to determine his/her best placement. One of the gifts of homeschooling is being able to meet our children where they are and teach from there. So, correct placement makes a huge difference in how successful your child is in school. It also makes a huge difference in how much time a guide will take each day.

Wise counsel will help you determine your child’s best placement.

This is where wise counsel comes in to charting a good path. Surround yourself with wise counsel on this important decision from those who have used Heart of Dakota with their children. These wise advisers can help you talk through an accurate placement plan for your child. Remember that each child is a unique individual with unique needs. This means that placement may look different for same-aged students. By following the age line on our program selection chart, you can see several possible options for each age.

Different family dynamics may result in differing guide placements.

Another factor in guide placement is family dynamics. Whether you desire to combine a student with another sibling is a factor in guide placement. Using our placement chart will help you determine whether children in your family could possibly be combined. Due to skill level some combinations work while others do not.

Different children in a family may have a different path.

Looking at each child as an individual means that different children in a family may have a different path. For example, one child may do Creation to Christ at age 9. Another may do the same guide at age 10. A third child may do the guide at age 11 or 12. Each of these placements will work, as long as the child is well-placed according to skill and family dynamics.

If a child is routinely struggling in a guide, it’s wise to check for correct placement.

If you find a child is routinely struggling with a guide, your child may be incorrectly placed. Or, if a guide seems way too easy, perhaps a move forward is needed. Sometimes changing guides is easier than tweaking guides for years to come. We are here to help with placement questions. To discuss your child’s placement, feel free to call us at 605-428-4068. Or, ask questions on the Message Board. As you ponder ask the Lord for discernment, and I know He will answer!

Blessings,
Carrie

Guide Placement for My 10-11 Year Old Dyslexic Son

Pondering Placement

What placement would you suggest for my severely dyslexic 10-11 year old son?

Question:
Hello to the Austin Family!
I have a 10-11 year old son who is severely dyslexic. I’m trying to decide what guide to place him in. I’m thinking Bigger Hearts for His Glory. Before this we only really have done the Bible and the 3Rs because it was such a struggle. But now with therapy, I think he’s ready for something more. What would you suggest?

Reply:
One thing you’ll discover with Heart of Dakota is that there is not a one-size fits all placement for kiddos. So, we spend time learning about your specific child and situation to find the best placement for your family.

Bigger Hearts will give a solid introduction to American history and a good exposure to science.

Considering your son hasn’t had a chance to do more than Bible and the 3R’s, I’d lean toward Bigger Hearts. This would give him a good solid introduction to American History and a good overall exposure to science too. I think that Bigger will actually be quite challenging in many ways, as it has many skills woven into it. You would still be reading aloud the science and the history to your son in Bigger. This will give him another year to make gains as a reader before tackling some of those subjects himself later.

Bigger Hearts will provide good practice in writing, spelling, and reading skills.

There is also a lot of writing practice in Bigger including copywork, which will good for your son as well. The spelling lists are another area where your son can utilize what is scheduled within Bigger. This will be excellent preparation for the dictation passages that are found within Preparing Hearts for His Glory. It also sounds like your son would be well placed in the Emerging Reader’s Set. This set is scheduled for you daily in the Appendix of Bigger, with follow-up oral comprehension questions.

Bigger Hearts will teach many skills needed to transition successfully into the increased independence of Preparing Hearts.

If you jumped into Preparing now, your son would miss the spelling lists and Emerging Reader schedule he needs. Many skills are introduced and honed in Bigger that help a child successfully navigate more independence in Preparing. In weighing that you are currently reading aloud and enjoying beginning chapter books, placement in Bigger fits well. Bigger will encourage expanding his current listening level to challenge him even more without losing the enjoyment. We want to give your son every chance to succeed, and Bigger… is the placement to help him do so!

Heart of Dakota carries all the needed resources for Bigger Hearts for His Glory.

As always, our family carries all of the needed resources for Bigger Hearts for His Glory. You can check out these resources on our Heart of Dakota website here. Or, just give us a call at 605-428-4068, and we’d be happy to help with any further questions. Please do leave us a message if we don’t answer right away, as we will probably be homeschooling ourselves!!! We usually return phone calls within 24-48 hours.

Blessings,
Carrie