Comparing Skills in Bigger Hearts and Preparing Hearts
Are you comparing Bigger Hearts for His Glory (Bigger Hearts) and Preparing Hearts for His Glory (PHFHG)? Does your child seem to be sort of between the two guides? Well, Bigger Hearts is a wonderful program, but I have to tell you PHFHG is too. When trying to choose between two guides, the guide that fits your child the best skill-wise will be the guide he/she probably gets the most out of and enjoys the most in the long run.
Why? Well, HOD’s assignments in history, storytime, and even in science, incorporate language arts skills within the follow-ups. The follow-ups get more in-depth, more difficult, and use higher level thinking in each subsequent guide. This is why placement charts can help so much! It is accurate and will usually show you which placement to choose. For example, comparing Bigger Hearts to PHFHG, here are some skill-based areas that come to mind (the numbers coincide)…
Bigger Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skills “1” to “5”:
- Parents read aloud all of the history.
- Students have the option to do copywork of the classical poetry, which coordinates with the history theme. Students also have a daily cursive writing assignment in a cursive workbook. There are no written narrations in Bigger Hearts.
- Students make simple timeline entries on a provided full-color, pre-printed grid-like timeline.
- History activities match the history theme, and they are parent-led. They are only once a week, and they are hands-on, short, and engaging.
- There is one preprinted, full-color, three-hole punched history notebook in which students complete their work. Notebook entries are limited to copying, tracing, and drawing from a model. All work is parent-directed.
Preparing Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skills “1” to “5”:
- Parents and students share the history reading. So, parents read part of the history with more difficult books, and students read the other part of history with much easier books.
- Students begin the year by dictating a 1-3 sentence written narration for parents to write and for students to then copy. They then progress to writing a 5 sentence written narration and hi-lighting the main idea of it by the end of the year. Daily copywork of cursive handwriting is scheduled from a variety of copywork sources.
- Students create a staircase timeline. They then assemble their cards accordion-style or on a closet door to be a visual timeline of the year.
- History projects match the history theme. Each week has one history project that is progressively completed in three short stages on Days 1 through 3 of the week. They are “S” semi-independent, so the parent assists students at the start of the project, and the student completes the rest more independently. They involve simple steps for baking, painting, designing, creating, etching, etc., and they are a step-by-step project response to the history reading.
- There are two preprinted, full-color, three-hole punched notebooks in which students complete their work. One is more parent-led, and the other is independent. Students independently follow short, multi-step directions to complete their independent notebook.
Bigger Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skill “6”:
6. Bigger Hearts for His Glory’s Storytime read-alouds are genre and Godly-character-trait based and have the following responses:
- First Day: Introduce and study different types of literature.
- Second Day: Model narration to foster comprehension. (The parent does the modeling following the guide’s instructions.)
- Third Day: Identify and analyze a different story element for each genre.
- Fourth Day: Relate personally to one Godly character trait, compare Biblical and book characters, and make a bookmark as a reminder of the trait.
- Fifth Day: Practice narration by retelling the story. (The student practices oral narration following what has been modeled earlier.)
Preparing Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skill “6”:
6. Preparing Hearts for His Glory’s Storytime read-alouds are history-based and have the following responses:
- First Day: Share personal connections that relate to the story.
- Second Day: Identify differences between the characters’ lives and the students’ lives based upon the historical time period of the story.
- Third Day: Evaluate the main character’s faith or its impact on the character’s life and the story.
- Fourth Day: Practice oral narration by retelling the story.
Bigger Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skills “7” to “8”:
7. For geography, once a week students use a world map/globe, a map of the United States, and the book Journeys in Time to learn basic geographical concepts. These basic concepts are built upon the following year.
8. Bible Study is led by the parent. Students have a new Proverbs memory verse each week. This verse has a practical meaning for young students and matches a Godly character quality that is brought out in the history readings. Daily memory activities use gross motor skills to help students enjoy memorizing these verses. Students copy the verse on an index card each week. There is no independent Bible Quiet Time.
Parents lead a short devotional once a week in Little Pillows and a hymn study with Hymns for a Kid’s Heart. These correspond loosely to the history theme. The purpose is to glorify God together in Word and song.
Preparing Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skills “7” to “8”:
7. Students complete Geography quick-finds. They use the globe and/or a world map one time each week for their quick-finds.
8. For Bible Study/Bible Quiet Time, two days a week students begin to learn to have their own Bible Quiet Time with parents overseeing it. The other two days students discuss their Bible with their parents, identify mood/purpose of Scripture selection, and copy verses in a Common Place Book. Students also memorize short passages from Psalms and sing with music throughout the year.
Bigger Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skills “9” to “11”:
9. Parents introduce a differ classic poem each unit, and many famous poets are represented. The poems reinforce the history theme. Each unit includes the following poetry study activities:
- First Day: Introduction of the poem and any unfamiliar vocabulary
- Second Day: Questions and discussion related to the meaning of the poem
- Third Day: Instruction on various ways to choral read the poem
- Fourth Day: A poetry lesson focusing on poetic devices
- Fifth Day: Reading of past poems for enjoyment
10. Students practice basic art skills to express themselves and create freely in a history-linked Art Activity once each week.
11. One day in each unit includes a vocabulary activity that uses 1-3 words from the unit’s history stories. Students use a dictionary for vocabulary activities.
Preparing Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skills “9” to “11”:
9. Students discuss Robert Louis Stevenson’s poems. Students make personal connections with each poem. They also share the poem with someone creatively and memorize a poem each 12 week term. Parents teach a creative writing lesson one time each week using the poetry as a model. This is the creative writing portion for PHFHG, in which students gradually learn to write their own poetry.
10. Students follow step-by-step drawing instructions in Draw and Write Through History to sketch and color history-related people, places, and events. Students independently sketch and color their drawings in their Independent History Notebooks.
11. One day in each unit includes a vocabulary activity that uses 3-5 words from the unit’s history stories. Students use a dictionary for the vocabulary activities. Students also research a specific topic using one source and orally answer one or more provided questions using one or more comprehensive encyclopedia(s).
Bigger Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skills “12”:
12. The parent reads aloud the science stories each day. The student works through the following science skills each week:
- First Day: Practice narration by retelling the science story.
- Second Day: Create a science notebook entry
- Third Day: Conduct an experiment related to the reading and log it in a science notebook.
- Fourth Day: Practice narration by retelling the science story.
- Fifth Day: Conduct an experiment related to the reading and orally discuss it.
Preparing Hearts for His Glory – Comparing Skills “12”:
12. The student independently reads the science resources each day. The student independently works through the following science skills each week:
- First Day: Create a science notebook entry.
- Second Day: Practice narration by retelling the science story.
- Third Day: Write answers to five provided questions (including one Biblical application question) based on the science reading.
- Fourth Day: Conduct an experiment related to the reading and log it in a science notebook.
Comparing the Level of Difficulty of Assignments and Assessments
As you can see, when comparing the skills in these guides, the level of difficulty of assignments and assessments increases from Bigger Hearts to PHFHG quite a bit. When students move through HOD’s guides in order, they incrementally move through skill sets in all subject areas. This is why placement is so much more than just the language arts and math labeled boxes. If you find yourself comparing Bigger Hearts and PHFHG, I hope this helps you see which guide would fit your student better. However, you can also print out the first week of plans of each guide to see. Students are predominantly parent-directed in Bigger Hearts. Starting in PHFHG, all “I” boxes are for the student to do independently, “S” semi-independently, and “T” teacher-directed.