Should my daughter switch to Preparing Hearts for His Glory now?
We are new to homeschooling this year after being at a STEM charter school. Homeschooling was something the Lord was already nudging me toward and COVID pushed us over the edge. I have a 9 1/2 year-old fourth grade daughter, a 7 1/2 year-old second grade son, and a 15 month-old baby. My daughter placed in Bigger Hearts, DITHOR 4/5, and Singapore Math 3A/3B. My son placed in Beyond Little Hearts, DITHOR 2/3, and Singapore Math 2A/2B. Our son is well placed. However, as the year has progressed, I feel my daughter is not. (We have completed 16 units in each guide.) I think she may need to switch guides.
When we started the year, my daughter had not done any history, grammar, or cursive. The switch to homeschooling was a big change, and she tends to fear change. She is also overwhelmed easily, so I felt Bigger was the right choice. I think it was a great place to start, but now most of her work just seems too easy. We are doing dictation, and she never makes a mistake. Likewise, she flies through Rod and Staff Level 2. She had not done any formal grammar in school beyond capital letters, punctuation, etc. So, I thought it was best to start there. Should we just keep going with level 2, or move along at a faster pace to get to level 3 sooner? She also narrates very well. I would like to see her doing more writing and just generally being challenged a bit more. DITHOR and math are just right, they are challenging at times but not overly so. She is definitely capable of working independently, and I already have her do that when possible.
Or, should we finish Bigger Hearts and switch to CTC in the fall?
So, is it a bad idea to switch to Preparing now? Or, should we finish Bigger and switch to CTC in the fall? I’m also concerned that she’s a year “behind” and wouldn’t be able to complete all of the high school guides unless we skip something at some point. What do other people do in that situation?
Carrie’s Reply to Should my daughter switch to Preparing Hearts now or switch to CTC in the fall?
We are glad to have you here! It sounds like you are off to a good start with your kiddos and are enjoying school. It can take some fine-tuning when first placing your kiddos in Heart of Dakota (HOD). In thinking about your options, the jump from Bigger Hearts to CTC is really large skill-wise and independence-wise too. It would be better for your daughter to have Preparing Hearts in between. When kiddos are coming to HOD from a school setting it can take time to find the right guide placement – as it takes a bit to see what each child can truly do. Some kiddos can really take off and need a new look at placement. That sounds like what has happened with your daughter, and sometimes it is then good to make a switch.
I would switch to Preparing Hearts after your next scheduled break.
Based on what you’ve shared thus far, I would lean toward having her begin Preparing Hearts after your next scheduled break. Taking into account her age, her skills, her move toward independence, along with her spelling/reading/math/English skills, it looks like she would be well-placed in Preparing Hearts. I would continue having her do her cursive workbook each day from Bigger Hearts to learn cursive handwriting. Just do a page a day until she is done.
I would switch to Rod and Staff Level 3, but I wouldn’t switch dictation levels.
I would lean toward beginning Rod and Staff Level 3 as scheduled in Preparing Hearts whenever you begin that guide. My oldest son began Rod and Staff English with Level 4 and did great! He did have previous formal grammar instruction, just not to the level of rigor in Rod and Staff. Typically, I wouldn’t advise skipping ahead a level in either grammar or in guides, but finding the correct placement can sometimes be a bit of a dance and each placement in unique!
As far as dictation goes, you may have a natural speller, so she may not be one to miss many passages even when you go up a guide. Don’t get too worried about over-challenging her as far as dictation goes. I had one child who never missed a passage for years. It didn’t hurt him at all to do all of the dictation levels. He is a terrific speller and still enjoys writing to this day. Dictation was just one of his “easy” subjects, and everyone needs some of those!
If you get a chance, feel free to pop back and share your thoughts! The good news is you’ll be able to use Bigger Hearts with your next son in the not too distant future!
Poster’s Reply to Carrie’s Suggestion to Switch to Preparing Hearts at the Next Break
Carrie – thanks so much for your thoughtful reply, I really appreciate it! My gut was telling me to switch to Preparing soon, and it’s very encouraging that you agree. It was definitely challenging to decide on placement when switching from public school, but I feel like we got a great start with Bigger and she’s ready to take on a little more. Rod and Staff 3 sounds like a good switch! It’s good to know that it’s ok for dictation to be her “easy” subject! She’ll be glad to hear that!
Thank you so much for your wonderful guides! I have been so impressed with how thoughtfully the subjects are woven together, and I have felt so well equipped to teach my children this year. That’s an incredible feeling for a new homeschooler! My kids have both become voracious readers this year, and I believe it is due to the fantastic books you recommend. I have to start hiding the DITHOR books when I pick them up from the library. My son read through his whole stack of mysteries before we even started the unit! Thanks so much for your help with making this switch! We loved Bigger Hearts, but we are excited for the switch to Preparing Hearts!