Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

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4froggies
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:02 am

Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by 4froggies » Tue Aug 19, 2014 12:39 pm

We are three weeks into Bigger with my 8yo ds- 3rd grade. (I am also doing CTC and half-speed LHGHG for the other kids) My son is a struggling reader- he has come far, but it is something we are still working on. He also struggles (more than I realized) with his writing. During his copy work, he often leaves words out or all of a sudden will start writing a letter previously mastered incorrectly. (doing his p's backwards lately!) It is very time-consuming for me to sit with him for the copy work (bible verse, science verse, one vocabulary word and definition, etc.) He has to erase, correct, and it still looks really sloppy! Will he just grow into this throughout the year or I'm should have placed him in Beyond? Last year, he copied from "Drawing to Write" and seemed to do fine (which is part of the reason I placed him in Bigger) - maybe guided lines on the paper would make a difference for him?

I am worried if I put him in Beyond, that he will get further behind (English, writing skills) and also that the science will be WAY too simple- he is a math and science kind of kid! :wink:

Also, I am 7 1/2 months pregnant, and the hands-on activities are stressing me out- CTC is much easier because my dd is so independent with the hands-on activities. And LHFHG half-speed is pretty easy. I know Bigger is more teacher-intensive, I just feel like I can't handle it right now with three other school aged kids and a two year old.

Any advice?
Beth

Mom to 5 great kiddos (15,11,8,5,2) and one due in October!

raindrops
Posts: 303
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:51 am

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by raindrops » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:33 pm

Maybe shorter bits to copy? My main concern is neat handwriting, a small amount done well. I will gradually increase the amount as the year goes on. Could you just scale back to what he is comfortable with, even if it is just two or three words printed neatly? I told my son to do 2 lines neatly and if it is pretty then that is all he has to copy. One time i erased an entire line and made him redo it and he hasnt gotten sloppy since.... 2 lines is a good fit for him, but i would do whatever your ds can do confidently and happily. "Show me these two words written pretty and then do 3 p's at the end and that is all."

May i just say youre amazing because wow, you have a lot on your plate! It sure is a teacher intense guide. I keep a supply of snacks beside us to keep us going. From Little debbie cakes carrots and tiny tomatoes... breathe in.... out... think happy calm thoughts, eat... LoL.
9 yr old boy in Preparing
6 yr old girl loving all things LHFHG

bethelmommy
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:34 pm
Location: Alaska

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by bethelmommy » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:06 pm

We are just getting ready to start Bigger, so I'm not speaking from experience, but what about dropping to half speed Bigger for awhile? You can still do full speed math, writing and reading, but 1/2 speed for everything else will cut down some of the daily writing. You can go back to full speed once ds is more comfortable with writing or when you have more time to oversee his work. It is OK for a child to grow into a guide. He just needs to be able to comfortably complete a full days work by the end of the guide in order to be prepared for the next one.

We will likely start Bigger at 1/2 speed for the first few weeks/months since writing is difficult for my ds8 and dd will just be turning 7. Certain seasons of life and child readiness level sometimes necessitate modifications. Fortunately, HOD is very flexible that way.
Grace and peace,
Alicia
DS 13 RTR, DITHOR 6/7/8
DD 11 CTC, DITHOR 4/5
DS 8 Beyond, DITHOR 2/3
DD 6 LHFHG, Emerging Readers
(Previously completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, and DITHOR 2/3, 4/5)

Nealewill
Posts: 1611
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:08 pm
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by Nealewill » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:54 pm

I would just recommend going half speed with Bigger. The beauty of HOD is that these levels are great for various ages. With many of the books in Bigger, you can easily use them for 4th grade too. If your son is struggling with reading, I would make that a priority. And if he is struggling with writing, then that is going to take time to build up to as well.

I know with my son, the honeymoon has worn off a little bit with doing Bigger and now I am getting a little bit of resistance. The other day he started crying when I asked him to do something. He usually doesn't cry much honestly. I asked him, why are you crying? He said it was because he didn't want to do it. Bingo! I am not sure if your son is the same but it does take a little bit of time to get used to workload. So for him, I have decided to slow down a little bit. I don't know that we are going "half speed" but we are going as fast or slow as he needs. Some days he can do more and some days less. It is all good :-) Once he gets comfortable with writing each day and he gets used the schedule, I think the day will go much smoother. We are in until 3 now. He loves what he is learning. But I think with having the grammar (we write one activity a day) and the writing with the history and science, it is just more than he used to. But he will get thee.

I wouldn't in anyway stress about being behind though. I would just work on the things you need to work on most, and go slower some stuff if you can.
Daneale

DD 13 WG
DS 12 R2R
DD 10 R2R

Enjoyed DITHOR, Little Hearts, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, R2R, RevtoRev, MtMM

Motherjoy
Posts: 376
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:52 pm

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by Motherjoy » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:25 pm

Skip the hands-on activities. :)

Have him copy one word perfectly. When he can do one word perfectly, move on to two words. Then three, four, etc. Perfect execution is more important than getting the entire assignment done. Stop the copywork at 15 minutes, no matter how much he has done.
Last edited by Motherjoy on Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
MJ, mom to 8
2015-2016 plan
*17yo is dual-enrolled after using HOD for 7 years
*11yo, 10yo, 9yo, and 7yo - CTC with modifications
*5yo, 4yo - LHTH
*3yo - playschool

Accomplished: LHTH, LHFHG, BHFHG, Beyond, PHFHG, RTR, Rev to Rev, MTMM, WG, WH

MelInKansas
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by MelInKansas » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:54 pm

Hi there! Oh boy, do I know how you feel. My DD had gone through LHFHG and Beyond, seeming to do well with both, but when she hit Bigger it became obvious that her copywork skills/handwriting skills and interest in that were not up to the task. So we slowed it down. You can certainly write light pencil lines for him to write on, to help him learn to make the lines straighter. I did that for a while. My DD still does not write straight on unlined paper. We've worked on the writing and erasing skills. If they write really hard the first time, then even if you erase and try to write over it, it looks like a mess. Writing is really hard work, and if he needs to slow down, then do it. If you feel he is placed well in all other areas, History, Science, etc I would stay with Bigger and just work with him on growth in the areas he struggles with.

What do you have him doing for reading right now? You mentioned he is struggling there too, but you didn't say where he is at or what you are using or have tried.

I would not encourage you to skip the activities. They really add to the learning. Plus they will definitely increase his joy in learning. Try to make it easier on yourself if you can. Take heart, in Preparing is when they do start doing more of those on their own, or at least semi-independently. Maybe your older child could help out? I used to skip things a lot, but after seeing the progression, and knowing how much my children enjoy from the hands-on activities and learn from them, I prefer to slow down the guide rather than skipping the hands-on activities. They really don't take that long. They do take more energy than getting out a book and putting it away, but it's well worth it!

Also, the first several weeks are the hardest. As you tweak it, and get further into it, it will get easier for both of you, and perhaps you can give him more independence where it's appropriate. Just take a deep breath, don't stress over the pace, and keep on swimming.
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

MomtoJGJE
Posts: 1534
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:20 pm
Location: Gastonia, NC

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by MomtoJGJE » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:13 am

I would also suggest slowing down to half speed. And as for copywork, maybe you could tell him that as long as all his other work is done well (vocab, notebooking, cheerful cursive, etc) that he doesn't have to copy the poem until after Christmas? Maybe the sheer amount of writing is just too much for him?

My girls love writing and write well, but Bigger is a huge amount of writing over Beyond. We do tend to skip copying the poem because of this reason. Preparing does not seem to be as big of a jump in writing from Bigger as Bigger is from Beyond.

MelInKansas
Posts: 1700
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by MelInKansas » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:40 pm

I thought that if you were doing Cheerful Cursive then you weren't supposed to copy the poems in Bigger anyway. At least, that's how I interpreted it.

I too think there is plenty of writing practice in Bigger and copywork (as in copying the poem) isn't needed.
Melissa
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DS5 - LHFHG
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

StephanieU
Posts: 1549
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by StephanieU » Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:42 am

I was just coming to say what Mel said. Here is what it says int he introduction to Bigger:
Handwriting or Copywork
Cursive handwriting practice is scheduled daily using either Cheerful
Cursive or Getty & Dubay Italic: Book ‘D’. Short, daily practice sessions
are most effective when learning a new type of handwriting. If you prefer
a different handwriting program, just to substitute it in place of those that
are scheduled.
If your child is not ready for cursive handwriting, he/she should do copywork
instead. Students are directed to copy a portion of the poem being studied
in the unit each day. A different classic poem is introduced each unit.
By copying from a correctly written model, students gain practice in
handwriting, spelling, grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and vocabulary.
Copywork also prepares students to eventually write their own compositions.

Some students will be able to copy directly from the typed poems in the
Appendix. Other students will need you to write a line or two from the
poem on paper for them to copy directly below it.

Copywork sessions should be limited to 5-10 minutes. Work should be
required to be done neatly and correctly. It is more important for students
to produce careful, quality work, rather than a large quantity that is
carelessly done. Copywork assignments can be done in a notebook or
on loose-leaf paper to be collected in a binder.

Note the part I put in bold. It is okay to write a few lines and then have him copy just that too.
Mom to 4
DD (12) MtMM (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, RtR, and Rev2Rev)
DS (10) CtC (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, and Preparing plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Preparing (completed LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, and Bigger)
DS (4) LHTH

4froggies
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:02 am

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by 4froggies » Thu Aug 21, 2014 10:26 am

Thank you all for your helpful replies! He is actually not doing either the cursive or the poem copywork right now. What we are struggling with is copying the bible memory verse, the bible verse for science, the vocabulary words and definitions and the written work for the history/science notebooking (I am helping him write for quite a bit of the science notebooking.).

In thinking about it more, I believe he is not so much struggling with tiring because of the amount of writing, but instead is having a hard time forming the words correctly without lines- he really does well when he has the second grade type lined paper with the dotted middle lines. This is just hard to do with the HOD notebooking, copying onto index cards etc.

Also what he struggles with is copying incorrectly- copying the wrong letter or leaving letters out. My sixth grader still does this too for her CTC copywork. Is this normal? I know we have some learning challenges that run in the family and in know transposing letters etc can be a sign of dyslexia etc.
Beth

Mom to 5 great kiddos (15,11,8,5,2) and one due in October!

raindrops
Posts: 303
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:51 am

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by raindrops » Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:43 am

What is the benefit of unlined paper? I missed that part. We have been using a journal with college ruled size lines and he does fine with that... looks neat and he doesnt complain. I write the poem on the left side of the journal a d he copies it on the right. He also does a page of cheerful cursive but I think he personally needs the print copywork as well because he still wants to do some letters uppercase all the time.

For the bible verses I do fill in the blank and let him write in some words. As the year goes on he will write more until he is doing the entire verse, if he seems ready.

Or is this not okay?

I think most boys just do not like copywork. My little girl volunteers to write... all day long actually, for fun. I just want to leep it simple for the boy and not ruin it.
9 yr old boy in Preparing
6 yr old girl loving all things LHFHG

4froggies
Posts: 125
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:02 am

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by 4froggies » Thu Aug 21, 2014 12:08 pm

The unlined paper I'm referring to is for notebooking when the guide says something like "on a piece of unlined paper, write the bible verse at the top and then draw such and such..." I actually printed out the science notebooking pages found online that have wide ruled type lines for the verse at the top and space for the drawings. But he is all over the place with the size of his letters without the lines with dots in the middle- does this make sense? I also started with a wide ruled composition book for some writing but he still needs more guidance than just the two lines and is not used to having to write so small and, again his letters are not the proper size (Capitals vs lower case etc. )
Last edited by 4froggies on Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Beth

Mom to 5 great kiddos (15,11,8,5,2) and one due in October!

MomtoJGJE
Posts: 1534
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:20 pm
Location: Gastonia, NC

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by MomtoJGJE » Thu Aug 21, 2014 1:45 pm

you can find notebooking pages that have the lines with the dotted middle line... let me see if I can find a link for you.

The alternative is to draw the dotted lines on what you have...

farmfamily
Posts: 237
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:20 pm

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by farmfamily » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:02 pm

For my daughter's history & science notebooks in Bigger we are using a blank notebook with no lines. I printed a piece of cardstock with heavy lines with a dotted middle line (or you could draw one with a sharpie). We then place or paperclip this behind the page she is working on so that the lines show through the paper. This has worked great for us. My daughter really needs these lines to stay neat. For the Bible verse I draw lines on an index card faintly with pencil.

My daughter has also needed a lot of reminding about making her letters the right size. Her lowercase s in particular is usually much too big. She also routinely skips letters in copywork, though she doesn't have any formation problems. She has slowly improved in this in the last year. She is now in Unit 33 of Bigger. It has been a challenging year for her. When she finishes she is going to join her younger brother in Beyond for a bit (with add-ons & beef-ups to make it similar in work-load to Bigger & to mix it up a little since she has already done Beyond) before we try to tackle Preparing.

I think it sounds like half speed may be good for your son, just to get him used to the writing. But going to Beyond might not be a bad idea either. I really struggled with my oldest the first time we tried Bigger & ended up dropping her back. I have never regretted it. Her Beyond year in third grade was I think my favorite year of homeschooling her. You could always add a little extra science readings & perhaps Rod and Staff 2. When does he turn 9?

Hth
Last edited by farmfamily on Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
blessed to be married 17 yrs to my hardworking farmer dh, mom to:
daughter 13 MTMM
daughter 11 Rev to Rev
son 10 CTC

Enjoyed Little Hands, LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, Res to Ref, and Rev to Rev!!

Samuel'sMommy
Posts: 646
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:59 pm
Location: TN
Contact:

Re: Help! I'm drowning in Bigger!!!

Post by Samuel'sMommy » Thu Aug 21, 2014 2:05 pm

On the notebooking pages for science and history, I just draw a couple of lines if there is alot to copy. For instance, on the science pages, I use a ruler and draw 2-3 straight lines at the top for him to copy his verse and then leave the rest of the page blank for him to do his drawing. On experiment days, I draw lines for the questions, guess, and then for him to write procedure, then leave a blank area for him to draw the procedure and then add a couple of lines at the bottom for his the conclusion. I won't do it forever, but this is a new skill for him and his writing is all over the place without it. I don't draw the top line and dotted lines in the middle, just a line for his letters to sit on to help get them straight.

For the Bible verse we use lined index cards and he has no problem writing on them.
Stephanie
Wife to Adam for 19 years
Mom to Samuel (12) and Isaiah (2) through the miracle of adoption
Using and loving RTR!

Loved using LHTH, LHFHG, BLHFHG, BHFHG, PHFHG, & CTC!

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