Should my oldest child be combined with his younger siblings?
My nearly 12-year-old places in Resurrection to Reformation (RTR) according to the placement chart. He is an advanced reader and an excellent writer. Being my oldest, he enjoys independent work. We are new to Heart of Dakota (HOD), and he has done a lot of American history. He could do RTR, or he could be combined with his siblings.
My youngest child is 8 1/2 years old, and my middle child just turned 10. They both place in Preparing Hearts for His Glory (PHFHG). My youngest son can write a small paragraph and reads Level 3 and 4 books. My middle is more average and is a more meticulous, slower worker. He also loves to ‘teach’ his little brother. In looking at the ages for PHFHG, I see my nearly 12-year-old fits in the extensions range. Should I combine him with his younger siblings in PHFHG? Or, should I do RTR with him?
HOD’s Reply to Should my oldest child be combined with his younger siblings?
In answer to your question about if your oldest son should be combined with his younger siblings in Preparing Hearts for His Glory (PHFHG), if you need to combine your three children due to health, time, budget, etc. constraints, then PHFHG is the guide to use. So, I want to make sure I say that first!
However, if there is not an absolute need/strong personal preference for some reason for them to be combined, we would definitely recommend for your oldest to do Resurrection to Reformation (RTR). I’ll try to explain why!
Guides get progressively harder and build in skills.
First, HOD guides get progressively harder in all subjects and skills incrementally build upon each other. The target age ranges exist because the bulk of the guide is written for those ages. So, PHFHG has a target age range of ages 8 to 10. Yes, there are extensions for ages 11 to 12, but the bulk of the guide is still written for 8 to 10 year-olds.
Target age ranges indicate the ages the bulk of the guide is appropriate for.
The level of reading, maturity of content, amount of writing, level of independent work, discussion questions, projects, time the guide takes, experiments, etc. is most appropriate for an advanced third grade, an on-grade-level/average fourth grader, and a young or slightly behind/less mature/not ready for independence/no experience with Charlotte Mason narration, etc. fifth grader.
So, placing your youngest child in PHFHG makes sense. He will be 8 1/2, he can write small paragraphs, and he can read Level 3 and 4 books. Placing your middle child there makes sense, as he just turned ten, he is more average, he is a slower more meticulous worker, and he is people-oriented/a good teacher/ and he loves to help his little brother.
Your oldest places soundly in RTR.
Placing your oldest son in PHFHG is another story. He is going to be 12 soon, he is a strong reader, an excellent writer, advanced, verbal, and independent. He didn’t even place in the next guide up (Creation to Christ). Instead, he placed two guides up in Resurrection to Reformation (RTR). Also, he is in middle school this year, which is beginning preparation for high school. Not having him work at his grade level begins to be a more serious matter when kiddos are in middle school. The Medieval time period will be new for him, the reading/writing/maturity/independence/projects/amount of time of doing school in RTR is all geared toward ages 10-12 years old. RTR is appropriate for advanced fifth graders, average/on-grade level sixth graders, and young or slightly behind/less mature/not ready for independence/no experience with Charlotte Mason narration, etc. seventh graders.
Solid preparation for the future is an HOD goal.
Our goal at Heart of Dakota (HOD) is to make sure kiddos are appropriately placed and adequately prepared for first middle school, then high school, and finally for college entrance requirements after high school, so they can attend a four-year college should they wish to do so. So, when kiddos reach middle school, our advice becomes more geared toward them and their future, as opposed to when children are younger and have many years ahead of them.