RuthAnn (and Deena too) -
I do believe the placement chart offers the best guidance overall for choosing which HOD manuals to do with dc. I think it is important to go back to the placement chart at the conclusion of this year and see where each of your dc would fall individually. Then, the next consideration would be your thoughts on combining or not combining, what would work best for your dc's personalities as far as working together, finances, your thoughts on teaching several HOD guides at once, and your own family's goals, etc..
As a general rule of thumb, when a family is coming to HOD for the first time with dc in the BHFHG on up range, I think it's often nice to start all of the dc (if it's feasible) in one guide for the core, as you chose to do. This allowed you to get used to HOD, to see how each of your dc did with that placement, and to consider how you'd feel about continuing with them combined vs. separating them. So, what I'm trying to say is I think you both started off on the right foot and are well equipped to choose what will best fit you and your dc next year!
The reason I am hesitant to recommend skipping a guide is because I know many, many other ladies are also reading this, and for the most part, skipping HOD guides is not a good idea.
However, in your case, you have older children, have tried combining already, and can see which dc could benefit from being placed separately from their siblings. So, if your older dc place soundly in CTC rather than PHFHG next year, and you are comfortable with teaching several guides, I'd place them there with total confidence, and place your younger dc in the appropriate younger guide(s). I am currently teaching CTC and Beyond, probably adding in LHTH around January, and am very comfortable with that - in fact, I'm loving this first week of school. We just had Day 3 of it, and we thoroughly covered everything, enjoyed ourselves immensely, and finished before noon (starting at 8:15 AM). So, we like doing school this way, but I know some families prefer to combine and love doing it that way. It's extremely helpful to figure out what kind of family you are.
CTC is meant to be more independent for the child, and it will feel that way. After I'd spent my time with my oldest doing LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, and PHFHG - he was ready and I was ready for his independence in CTC. I view it as a positive and so does he.
I say this because if you are new to HOD and starting with CTC, you may think it's pretty independent. It is.
It's meant to be - and if you spent a good deal of your time with little kiddos previously (as HOD has us do and then gradually backs that time off), then it feels just right. If, however, whatever you did prior to HOD did not have you spend a good bulk of your time establishing the 3R's, teaching CM style skills, research skills, notebooking skills, learning to love classical-type living books, etc. - then CTC may be harder for dc to do independently and you may feel the need to hover and help more than was intended. So - that is why I am reluctant to just give a definite shout out to just skip PHFHG and go to CTC
. I am envisioning some type of post later from someone saying - "I followed the placement chart, and Julie even told me to do CTC with my child, and it's just too difficult (or just too independent) for my child." Ohhhhhh, I shudder to have given improper advice when it can effect your entire year so much.
O.k. - boiling it down - here's what I think:
If your child places best in CTC...
If you are willing to spend the first month training your child to do the CTC things that are meant to be independent, independently...
If you are ready for your dc to be more independent...
If your dc are ready themselves to be more independent...
If you are ready to teach more than one HOD guide...
If you won't be tempted to put the youngers with the oldest in CTC halfway into the year...
Then YES! I DO think this is a fabulous idea, a good placement, and the ticket to a super year next year for you and your families!!!
I hope that helps some - I am not trying to be elusive in my answer here, but I truly believe you know best here. We are loving CTC - it is an outstanding study of the ancients, and it is the next level up of learning for my ds - where independence comes into the plans, and he has more control of his day. We are thrilled with our day - and I think you'd be too if your dc are ready for it - it's just not always a thing that can be determined by age. I hope something here helps - your dc are so blessed to have moms carefully and prayerfully considering what's best for them!!! I am praying for clarity for you.