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?

Sincerely,

“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.

Blessings!

Carrie

Should I separate my twins?

Pondering Placement

Question: Should I separate my twins by moving the more wiggly “Tigger-like” one down to Little Hands to Heaven?

One of my 5-year-old twins is very wiggly. He literally bounces (like Tigger) through the house. When I’m reading, he is standing up and moving. However, when I ask questions, he answers them using phrases from the book I just read, so I know he’s listening. I tell him some things he just has to learn in school, whether he wants to or not. But, then starts the rebellion and the ‘It’s too hard for me! I can’t do it!’ Am I being too hard on him? Is he just not ready for Kindergarten? His twin brother is doing great. Should I separate my twins and move my ‘Tigger” down to Little Hands to Heaven? Also, my 8-year-old doing Bigger Hearts is a VERY slow writer! It took him 45 minutes today to write one vocabulary card. With these 2, our days are long! Words of wisdom please! Thank you!

Carrie’s Reply: Rather than separating your twins, I’d keep them together and adjust the expectations you have for your ‘Tigger.’

While you could easily separate your twins by sliding your wiggly twin down into Little Hands to Heaven, I think you’d find that since you have twins you’d rather keep them together in the long run. So, in order to do that, there may be a bigger learning curve for your “younger” twin than there is for the “older” one. If you just expect that going into each day, you most likely won’t be as frustrated when his attention, concentration, and focus doesn’t seem to be up to the same level as the older twin. Your little one will come along too, it will just take time.

My own sons were quite different maturity-wise!

My sons have always done separate guides due to their ages, but I still find myself comparing them, just as you are comparing your twins. When I look at the difference among my boys, it never ceases to amaze me! My third little guy just wasn’t as school ready, maturity-wise, as my other boys were and just took a little longer to come into his own in that area. But, I want to encourage you that with him the difference in attention span and understanding was HUGE between being a young 5 (when we started Little Hearts for His Glory LHFHG) to when he was 6 and completing LHFHG.

I am careful to keep our activities moving forward quite quickly throughout the day.

I also have always been careful to keep all of our activities moving forward quite quickly throughout the day, so they do not get drawn out. We do each box and move on, being careful to systematically develop the habit of attention. I don’t re-read or discuss again or repeat an activity very often. This keeps our day on schedule and helps if kiddos don’t “love” a certain activity to realize that it’s only a small portion of their day before it’s over.

I’d set the timer for the vocabulary activity for your older son.

With your older one doing Bigger Hearts, I would recommend setting the timer for 15 minutes for vocabulary. If it isn’t done when the timer rings, set it aside to be done in the evening with daddy, and move on. This way it still gets done, but it isn’t dragging your school day out all day. I do use the timer for any activity that my kiddos dawdle at doing. This helps them stay on task and to realize that it won’t go on forever! This will work for your kiddos in their separate guides too!

A Quote About Dawdling from Charlotte Mason

Here’s a quote from Charlotte Mason’s Vol. I p. 141 on her thoughts about this: “Never let a child dawdle over a copybook or a sum, sit dreaming with his book before him. When a child grows stupid over a lesson (meaning daydreaming), it is time to put it away. Let him do another lesson, as unlike the last as possible, and then go back with freshened wits to his unfinished task. When the child returns to the lesson it is now time for the parent to “pull him through; the lesson must be done, of course, but must be made bright and pleasant to the child.”

So, rather than separating your twins, I’d keep them together but adjust expectations for your little “Tigger.” Given time, I think he will rise to the occasion and grow into his guide very nicely!

Blessings,
Carrie

Should I separate my 3rd and 5th graders, and if so, who should I move?

Pondering Placement

Question: Should I separate my 3rd and 5th graders, and if so, who do I move?

Our two sons are in Unit 10 of Preparing Hearts for His Glory (PHFHG). My younger son just turned 9 and is in 3rd grade. My older son is almost 11 and in 5th grade. Full-speed is too heavy a workload for my 3rd grader. It takes him twice as long to read and write than what is listed as approximate times. He’s also unable to do the science independently. The reading is above his level. I’m having him skip boxes to stay on the same unit as his brother. My 5th grader is spot on going full-speed. I DO want to separate them in the future when the guides become more independent. My question is this: should I separate them now? If so, who do I move? We never did Bigger Hearts for His Glory (BHFHG), but I’m not sure I can do these guides at the same time.

Carrie’s Reply: I’d either separate your 3rd and 5th graders, moving your 3rd grader down to Bigger Hearts, or I’d slow Preparing Hearts down to half-speed and add the extensions.

From what you’ve shared, it sounds like your 3rd grader places in Heart of Dakota’s Bigger Hearts. Based on this, one option would be to separate them by moving your 3rd grader down to Bigger. I am thinking that you would likely need to read the history readings to your son if you moved him to Bigger (at least at first and with A First Book in American History and the storytime). However, you could consider doing the science a bit more independently, as suggested in this thread.

If you separate your sons by moving your 3rd grader down into Bigger Hearts, you can probably move him toward more independence.

You may be able to move toward doing Bigger more independently with your son if you move him down. With my second son, who was an early writer and excellent reader, we did Bigger more independently than I did with my subsequent kiddos. You can click here to to read my post where I described the way I did Bigger with my second son.

Your older son in Preparing Hearts could also move toward more independence.

You could also move toward more independence in Preparing with your older child. We also did this with my second son, who was ready for more independence. For example, if your oldest son was ready to read the history readings on his own, this would help. Charlotte Mason said a child of age 9 on up who can read his own material should. It aids in retention, making connections, and retelling. Also, if your older son can begin reading more directly from the guide and doing as much as he can to prepare ahead for his times with you (as we mentioned in the above links for Bigger), then this would help too.

If you don’t separate your sons and instead keep them together in Preparing, I’d slow it to half-speed and add the extensions for your older son.

If you decide to stay with Preparing for both kiddos, I would definitely slow it down so that your younger son is doing all that is in the plans without skipping anything. I would also add the Preparing Extensions for your older son. Supposing you do this, I think you will be able to tell if Preparing at a slower speed with extensions is enough for your older child. If it isn’t, then you’ll want to allow that older child to move ahead at full-speed in Preparing more independently (which he is going to do once he gets to CTC anyway) rather than continuing to add more and more material to fill time for the older child just to keep the kiddos together.

If you do end up going full-speed in Preparing with your older son, you can either continue going half-speed in Preparing with your younger son, or move him down to Bigger Hearts full-speed.

In the event that you do end up continuing full-speed Preparing with your older child, you could either go to half-speed Preparing with your younger son or move him down to full-speed Bigger. Honestly, full-speed Bigger will have more of the skill-building that it sounds like your son is needing than half-speed Preparing. Those are just a few things to ponder. It can be challenging to find the right fit at times, but it is worth the effort to search for the correct combination. No matter what though, I wouldn’t continue doing Preparing the way you are currently doing it with your younger son. There is just too much that he is missing to adequately prepare him to enter CTC in the future. Hope this helps as you ponder your options!

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