Are you a fast talker? Try slowing down!

From Our House to Yours

Are you a fast talker? Try slowing down!

Those of you who have called Heart of Dakota or met me in person probably know, I am a fast talker. I come from a family of fast talkers! Not only am I a fast talker, I am a fast mover. My car is barely in park, and I’m throwing open the door. If I need something from the basement, move out of the way! I’m coming down the stairs… fast. I have good intentions! Truly, I just want to get the most out of life. The trouble is, sometimes a fast pace is good, and sometimes it is not. How about you? Are you a fast talker, and a mover and a shaker? Well, you might want to try slowing it down now and then! It could make a big difference in how certain children do in homeschooling!

If you are a fast talker, slowing down might be hard to do!

I have learned to take time to purposely slow down. Sitting in my rocking chair on my porch petting Sweetie Pie, my cat, for awhile, for example, has been a good slow down for me. Dating my hubby once a week has been another good slow down for me. Watching a t.v. show or movie with my sons each week has been yet another good slow down for me. However, slowing down this fast talker has been a little harder!

What does being a fast talker have to do with homeschooling?

If you’ve hung with me so far, thank you. I’m about to do some fast talking and get to the point. What does being a fast talker have to do with homeschooling? Well, a few weeks ago I would have told you nothing. However, that was a few weeks ago. Today, I would tell you being a fast talker has a LOT to do with homeschooling! You see, I made an incredible discovery while teaching my youngest son, Emmett. I noticed he was catching bits and pieces of what I was saying. I always thought this was a focus issue. However, we are using for Pre-Algebra, and the online teacher speaks v-e-r-y slowly. Emmett is retaining math terms better than ever! Somehow, it must have been the good Lord’s prompting, I realized how I tend to talk much, much faster than the online math teacher. Hmmmm.

I decided to try an experiment!

R & S English has oral questions I ask at the start of every lesson. The questions are largely vocabulary-driven. I already knew it helped Emmett to study the questions and answers before I met with him. However, after trying this all last year, I realized this study method really worked better for my middle son, Riley. For Emmett, it was still somewhat hit and miss with what he remembered, and he didn’t like it. So, I decided to try an experiment. I slowed down my fast talking. I simply asked the questions quite slowly, pausing after phrases even. It was incredible! After just a few weeks of this, Emmett is answering everything correctly! Next, I tried slowing down my fast talking with dictation. Amazing! He is doing better than ever! Finally, I slowed down my oral discussion questions in DITHOR and in history. I also let him see the questions in the guides. Eureka! Emmett is answering questions like a champ!

If you’re a fast talker, try slowing down your talking, and see if it helps!

Are you a fast talker? If you are and you are thinking your kiddos don’t concentrate or focus well, try slowing down your talking! It is a simple experiment well worth trying. I want to stress that Emmett is an intelligent, creative boy. He is just a deep thinker who likes to take his time processing things. He’s also a teenager who has grown over 7 inches in the past year. Anyway, as homeschool moms we can test out hunches like this. Slowing down my talking and letting my son see the questions as I ask them (at least for history and for DITHOR) has helped Emmett make incredible strides in comprehension and retention! If you’re a fast talker like me, consider slowing things down; you might see a real change too!

In Christ,


How do I spread out Beyond and Bigger, so my son does Preparing at 9 years old?

Pondering Placement

Question: How do I spread out Beyond and Bigger, so my son does Preparing at 9 years old?

I am new to Heart of Dakota, and my oldest will be 6 next month. I’m fairly certain he places in Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory.¬† He reads books like Frog and Toad with no help from me. I can read just about anything aloud to him. He does like pictures, but he can listen/read books with just a few pictures too. We read several “Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories” each night. He loves this and usually draws several pictures after the reading. I really love the look of the Emerging Reader’s Set for him. However, if he starts in this level, I’m afraid he may be missing phonics instruction. He also writes well – several sentences on his own as well as letters to other people. My other son is wiggly, but this son is not.

I was thinking of doing Beyond Little Hearts and Bigger Hearts over 3 years. This is because I’ve read some concerns about going into Preparing Hearts on the young end. It seems others for some reason don’t want to go into Preparing Hearts before a certain age/grade (like age 9 or 4th grade). I think it’s because of the maturity level. So, I guess he would not be able to go straight through. I don’t feel Little Hearts for His Glory is the right placement for him. So, if I can’t do Preparing with him at age 8, how should I slow down Beyond and Bigger to make them stretch out longer? Help!

Carrie’s Reply: First-born children often are accurately placed on the young side of the target age ranges.

As we’re looking at placement for your son, and thinking down the road, it’s good to know that Preparing has a target age range of 8-10 with extensions for ages 11-12. As we look at the target age range of the guide, you may find that those kiddos who come into the guide at the youngest age range are often first-born children who were just born ready to go. (This could be because the parent had the time to really sit and work with the child from an early age, since this was their first-born child). While this is not always true, it does seem to happen more often! Additionally, God seems to equip those first-born kiddos to lead! He often gifts them in a unique way, so they are self-starters. All of this, when combined with solid skills in the 3 R’s, makes these types of kiddos thrive at the youngest age range of the guides.

While Preparing Hearts does work well for 9 or 10 year olds, it also works well for 8 year olds who are appropriately placed.

I think you’ll also find that if you visit with others, those who feel a child “must” be 9 to do Preparing are usually not talking about their first-born. They are often families who are either new to Heart of Dakota and started a young child too high up in order to combine with an older sibling. Or, they may not have placed their 8 year old based on skill level and have come into Preparing unable to do what is asked. Or, they may have a struggling writer or reader. While Preparing does work well for 9 or 10 year olds, it also works for 8 year olds who are appropriately placed from the beginning. My own sister has had this situation with her two oldest boys, who have always come in on the youngest age range of the guides and excelled.

I would lean towards placing your 6 year old son in Beyond.

With this in mind, and with the skill level you’ve already shared that your son has in the 3R’s, I would lean toward placing him in Beyond. I’d go through all of the rest of his phonics using The Reading Lesson, prior to having him begin the Emerging Reader’s Set. However, I would plan on the Emerging Reader Set being his reading as you are going through Beyond. I think finishing up his phonics will not be a long process. The schedule for the Emerging Reader’s Set is in the Appendix of Beyond. It includes follow-up questions and narration prompts. I would do Math 1A/1B with the plans in Beyond. If he can handle full-speed, I see no reason to slow him down. Doing school 5 days a week at the Beyond level is very doable if a child is well-placed. I think you’ll have a great year!

You’ll be able to tell if you need to slow down at the start of Bigger Hearts.

When you get to Bigger Hearts if you need to slow down at the beginning, you’ll be able to tell. However, it might not be necessary to do so. I wouldn’t make a plan to formally slow down a guide. Usually, we only suggest that route if a child needs time to grow into the skills in the guide at the beginning for a bit, or if a family has multiple students and needs more time to work with a certain child (and then slowing down one child’s guide gives them this time).