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I’m in a Placement ‘Pickle’ After Taking a Longer Break

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Pondering Placement

I’m in a Placement ‘Pickle’ After Taking a Longer Break

I’m in a pickle. Just over a year ago, my daughter had almost finished Beyond, and my son was about halfway through Bigger. Our son was having trouble staying on task. He isn’t a motivated student, and he had heart issues to work on. So, we took a longer break from Heart of Dakota. I now need to decide “what’s next.” The other night, lying in the dark and trying to quiet my own voice so I might hear God’s, the thought plunked in my head …. “HOD“. What? Is this my idea or His? Then this flood of memories hit me: washing our house like the Hollanders, playing games, hauling an egg in a container of flour all. over. the. house. Good memories. Heart warming memories. But, I’m in such a placement pickle! I wouldn’t even know where to pick it up again.

A Little Background on My Daughter

My 8 1/2 year-old daughter just started R & S Math 4, has had no formal grammar, and only does copywork for writing. We did read the Bigger Hearts Storytime and DITHOR books all last year. But, I’d just order a different Storytime set and DITHOR set. I just had my daughter try some lessons from R & S English 2, and they went well. She could keep her math and English.

A Little Background on My Son

My 10 1/2 year-old son just began R & S Math 5, completed English 2 back in Bigger, and does copywork in cursive and free writing in print. In Bigger’s dictation, he got to #40. Last year, he read the HOD DITHOR books I bought. I would place him in 4/5 or maybe 5/6. The pickle is I don’t know if I should put my son with his sister in Bigger with the extensions, or if I should place him in another guide? If another guide, which one? Preparing? CTC? If I look at the guides by age, I get a sinking feeling about putting him CTC when I see the amount of work and independence required. I’ve never had him tested, but he just seems to have some sort of slight delay. He is a smart guy, but he has issues following and  understanding directions. Hmmm. A placement pickle.

A Little Background on the Two of Them and the Rest of the Family

Ironically, being with his sister isn’t too competition-filled. He’s perfectly content to let her steal the show. It’s when he has MORE work/HARDER work than she does that he starts comparing and complaining (i.e. “Why do I have to do x, y, and z and SHE doesn’t?? I never finish at the same time as she does!” )  When I mentioned to him that if he did Bigger again I would be adding an additional reading assignment for him (the extensions), he complained. Preparing is one that I’d consider for him, but I’m concerned he’d give me grief about how his assignments are harder than his sister’s. I also know Bigger and Preparing are pretty teacher intensive. So, I should also mention that I’m going to start my littlest, 5 year-old son in Little Hearts for His Glory, so I’ll have 3 students. Placement pickle.

No matter what, I just have to say it’s really GREAT to be back with HOD! I just love HOD and feel… at home!

No matter what, I want to say it’s really GREAT to be back here with HOD! Over the last couple of days I’ve really been welling up with excitement and at the same time, peace. It’s hard to explain, but I just take it as God’s hand. Everyone has been so wonderful, as always. I find the boards here to be such a awesome place of support and advice. Just another reason I love HOD and feel… at home. I feel like one of the reasons I have been led back to HOD is because there hasn’t been much joy in the homeschooling part of our home. I’m hoping that will return. So, would you please help me with this placement pickle?

Carrie’s Reply to This Placement Pickle:

It’s good to “see” you! Thanks for taking time to share your journey with us. We all know that each family is different and that finding the right fit can be a process. As we work through this placement process, a couple of things keep coming to mind when I’m reading this thread. If I am misreading this, I apologize, but I’m feeling your concern over getting your plate too full and also feeling your concern over how hard to push your son without it becoming a daily battle. Be encouraged that these are concerns we all have! But, I do think it is wise to address those as we look at a potential plan to get you out of this ‘placement pickle’ for your year.

Advantages of Combining in Bigger Hearts

From what you’ve shared, it sounds like your daughter will fit well in Bigger. Since you have been away from HOD for a bit and never really got through Bigger, it is possible that your son could also join your daughter there. This would help with your workload, making it more manageable, and would also leave you some options as to how much to push your son.

Bigger with Extensions, DITHR, and R & S English for Your Son

Bigger with extensions for your older son, with the addition of DITHR and Rod & Staff English sounds like it might be a good step up for him. Doing DITHR and Rod & Staff English daily (as scheduled in Bigger) sounds like it would up the writing component for him quite a bit. As the year progresses, having him also do the twice weekly oral and twice weekly written narrations (even if it is just a paragraph) with the Bigger Extensions would continue to raise the bar. But, you could work up to that, simply beginning with having him do the Extension reading and oral narrations first. The Bigger Extension Pack also has once weekly science readings with brief questions to answer which would up the level of science.

Language Arts Options for Each Child

If you combined your kiddos in Bigger for most things, I think your daughter could do English 2 (as scheduled in Bigger). Your son could do English 3 or English 4. It sounds like your daughter could do the Emerging Readers or DITHR 2/3, depending on her level. Your son could do DITHR 4/5 (with the 4/5 Boy Set of books). One thing to ponder is that it helps to do a guide that still allows enough time for you to do English and DITHR as scheduled, as these are two of the 3 R’s (making them so important). If you get yourself spread too thin, you might find that you are regularly skipping DITHR or English, or both.   I do think combining your kiddos in Bigger would allow time to do that.

I’d try combining in Bigger first to see if it might be a fit.

If you did pursue the combining in Bigger path, and later felt your son needed to move forward, you could always assess again and move him forward if needed. In addition, there are many skills taught in Bigger that are realized in Preparing, so your time spent teaching and training the kiddos in Bigger is always worthwhile. I do think pondering doing both Bigger and Preparing is a pretty heavy load. There are mamas that do pull it off and have it go well, however they have settled in for longer days, knowing those two guides together can be a challenge. I’m not saying that you could not pull off Bigger and Preparing, but I’m more inclined for you to try combining in Bigger first to see if this might be a fit. If it is, it would be a blessing to you as you journey. Sometimes what is best for a season or a year changes the next year, but for this moment in time these are my thoughts.

In Closing

Anyway, just a few thoughts to ponder that should fix this placement pickle quite nicely! Feel free to share your own thoughts too! I’m so glad that you have had a chance to sift and sort through options and pray over them to find the Lord’s leading. What a blessing it is that we can gather together here to encourage one another on this journey! I’m so glad that you found some threads that were an encouragement as you pondered. The board is full of wisdom, and full of families seeking the Lord’s best however that looks for them.

Blessings,
Carrie

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