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Choosing Between Preparing Hearts and Creation to Christ

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Pondering Placement

Choosing Between Preparing Hearts and Creation to Christ

My fourth grade daughter is just turning 10. She has taken her time in becoming independent in her reading. Last year she got through about Unit 24 in Bigger Hearts and did really well. She did not continue into Preparing Hearts because I wanted her to spend lots of time on intense phonics review and reading. Blessedly, she’s grown leaps and bounds in her reading. She can orally narrate and write about 3-5 simple sentences. Also, she’ll complete Singapore 3B, Dictation 2, Rod and Staff 3, WWE 3, and 3rd grade readers. She is self motivated. Yet, she can be a big complainer if she thinks she cannot do something. I’m not quite sure if she can do DITHOR 4/5. One minute I’m convinced she should be in Preparing Hearts then I switch to CTC. What do you think?

Carrie’s Reply to Choosing Between Preparing Hearts and Creation to Christ

With what you’ve shared so far, I’d be inclined to suggest Preparing Hearts. I am basing this mostly upon her reading and writing level. Creation to Christ (CTC) is also quite a step up in independence and in reading and following lengthy written directions. I would be hesitant to put a child who has been a bit of a late bloomer in reading into CTC without first having that child go through the stepping stones that are built into Preparing Hearts.

I’d recommend Preparing Hearts with DITHR Level 3 books.

I think that a year in Preparing Hearts would also keep her from being too overwhelmed with the addition of DITHR to her days. With this in mind, I’d lean toward having her do Preparing Hearts with DITHR Level 2/3 (if she hasn’t already done it) or 4/5 (if she has already been through DITHR 2/3). I’d also lean toward the level 3 Book Pack (which actually has a reading level in the range of 3.5-5.1). If you think that is too young, you could move into the 4/5 Book Pack. However, I would do that with some hesitation as you want to encourage her to feel good about her reading without overwhelming her.

I’d recommend R & S English 4 half-speed, as well as the Preparing Hearts poetry writing lessons.

I would have her move on into Rod and Staff English 4 at half speed, spreading each lesson out over 2 days. Then, I’d move onto dictation Level 3 (which is in the Appendix of Preparing Hearts). I would move away from Writing with Ease, as you’ll have too much duplication between that program and the writing across the curriculum we do in Preparing Hearts (through guided written narration, oral narration, and dictation). I would make sure to do the writing lessons from the poetry as scheduled in Preparing Hearts to build those writing skills that are not covered elsewhere in our guide or in Rod and Staff. She will also be getting quite a bit of writing instruction through Rod and Staff.

I’d recommend Singapore 4A and the Preparing Hearts Deluxe and Science packages.

She can also move easily into Singapore 4A as that is scheduled in the Preparing Hearts Appendix. I would have her do the Deluxe Package with Preparing and also the science too. These will be her independent areas and will do a great job of building independence incrementally.

I’d definitely encourage a year in Preparing Hearts with your daughter, rather than jumping ahead to CTC.

In looking down the road at the level of reading, written work, and independence required in CTC and RTR on up, I would definitely encourage you to spend a year heading through Preparing  first with your daughter. The leap from completing 2/3 of Bigger and then jumping to CTC would be very huge (without having Preparing in between first).



This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Tiffany Crawford

    Is this an appropriate place to ask this? I have a fourth grade nine year old son, placed well, in Preparing. He will turn ten this summer and will still have half of Preparing to finish as a fifth grader. Should he just continue as is, or should he do the extensions for the second half. He’ll be within age range of the guide, but above grade level for the suggested grades. – Unsure what would be best for him.

    1. We’d recommend finishing Preparing Hearts. This will prepare him the best for the next guide. Not to mention, Preparing Hearts is a wonderful guide!

      In Christ,
      Julie Grosz, M.Ed.

  2. Louise

    My 8 1/2-year-old daughter is bright and gifted in all areas except reading. She has made a lot of progress this year, and we plan to work on it all summer long, hopefully finishing up All About Reading level 3.. She has a very strong desire to study world history, particularly ancient and medieval. We have not used HoD before. Will Preparing work for her, even though I may need to assist a little at first with the reading/independence? I’ve looked at Bigger and I feel that she’s already covered most of what’s there. She’s extremely well-read via audiobooks. Her favorite book at 3 years old was the full-length Old Yeller. If we were using Singapore, she’d be going into level 4. I would love your input/advice.
    On the other hand— my 14-year-old daughter has learning disabilities in reading/spelling. I’m planning on using Rev to Rev with her this coming year, again never having used HoD. I might have gone with Res to Rev but we are studying medieval history this year, and she’s expressed a desire for American history. Any suggestions on how to modify to make it work the best for someone with learning challenges? She’s about halfway through Math-u-see Epsilon level. She’s reading at about a 4th grade level. I have access to lots of audiobooks and I’m planning to have her follow along in the print books while listening for at least some of the more challenging reading assignments.

  3. Hi Louise! I responded to your HOD Message Board post, but you probably didn’t get a chance to see that yet! Here was my response…

    Thanks for sharing about your daughters and the placement you’ve chosen for them! Rice had some solid and wise advice already – thanks, Rice! As she said, you would order the Bigger Hearts guide for the Emerging Reader’s Set daily reading schedule and daily comprehension questions. As far as skills to work on over the summer, reading and writing skills would be at the top of my list. I would even consider doing the Emerging Reader’s Set reading/questions through the summer, as this could help your daughter be more ready for the “I” independent reading in PHFHG for the science and the independent history. Then, she could finish out whatever she had left of the Emerging Reader’s Set and start Drawn into the Heart of Reading, joining big sis (probably second semester) in whatever genres she had left to do, but using the Level 2 Book Pack.

    In this blog post, I compared skills in PHFHG and CTC. I was thinking it might be helpful to see the details about skills in PHFHG…
    https://heartofdakota.com/2020/07/17/co … to-christ/

    For your older daughter, you could possibly start RevtoRev now, but half-speed. This would let you take two days to do one day’s worth of plans. It would also help you really begin to slowly train your daughter how to use the guide and how to follow the directions. Additionally, it would help you see firsthand what skills you would want to work on over the summer. Of course, this may not be possible! If it is, I would give it a go though! Otherwise, in general, I’d have her reading each day (audio books are also a wonderful idea), writing/journaling, casually narrating, and following step-by-step directions this summer. I hope something here helps!

    I think you’ll love Heart of Dakota! It has been such a joy in our lives – I hope it is in yours as well!

    In Christ,

  4. Louise O'Neil

    Thanks, Julie! My first big box got here today so I’m happily going through all the Preparing materials. I’ve shown my younger daughter the list of Emerging Readers and she was quite pleased with it to work on over the summer. From what I’ve seen so far, I think she will do well with Preparing. All the books look amazing! One question- should I continue with the All About Reading level 3 as well?
    My Rev to Rev box is due on Friday. I will look over everything with my older daughter to see what she thinks about starting early with it. I am curious about how long things will take every day for her working fairly independently. I was going to leave out the state study and the Signers, but I decided to go ahead and get them as well. After researching them, I think she would enjoy both.

    1. You’re welcome, Louise! I hope you had a fun ‘box day’ unpacking all your new HOD things! There is no need to use another reading program alongside the Emerging Reader’s Set. To see the skills that are incorporated in the Emerging Reader’s Set, click the link below and scroll down to “Features” and click the + sign next to “Literature”:


      Be sure you have the plans use alongside the Emerging Reader’s Set (which are part of either Beyond Little Hearts or Bigger Hearts for His Glory).

      As far as RevtoRev, here are the suggested time allotments for each box of plans:

      Hope that helps!

      In Christ,

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