How do I manage different levels with littles?

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mylittlewomen
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 2:32 pm

How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by mylittlewomen » Wed May 13, 2015 5:21 pm

Hi! I’m Janelle and am new to the boards, but not totally new to HOD. A friend recommended LHTH for preschool (with our 2 & 4 year olds), and we have LOVED it this past year!

Our current plan is to continue on, with our oldest starting K in the fall (she just turned 5). My first thought is to move on to Little Hearts for His Glory. But then, what to do with my then-3.5-year-old?? She loves school, and has done every bit of LHTH with us! She is only 3, of course, so naturally she’s a bit behind her big sis in some things (math, phonics readiness, memorization skills), but she is already showing more interest in writing than my 5-year old, and her motor skills are as good as, if not better than, her big sis’s. They can write, draw, and cut about the same at this point. My 5-year-old also has no interest in learning to read, though she knows all her sounds, is very bright, and if coaxed, CAN sound out words (we’ve tried BOB books and she doesn’t enjoy them at all, so we set them aside). I am sure this summer will give her plenty of time to warm up to the idea of reading, but she is in every way the type of child who will get to things when she’s good & ready, and not a minute before. But I know things stick with her, even if she doesn’t let on at first ;) I see it as putting tools in her toolbox and letting her pull them out when she is ready.

Anyway, my main point is that I (as are all homeschool mamas), am sooo busy with the littles and keeping a home. Add to that the fact that my husband and I are currently planting a church. ☺ We can handle one guide, but I can’t imagine trying to manage two!! I wouldn’t be able to do LHTH as well as LHFHG. Would it be crazy to try to keep them in the same guide, with different phonics & math levels? I could see waiting a year and doing LHFHG with them both. But what to do in the meantime? I have tossed around the idea of doing FIAR for a year, then coming back to HOD with both girls at the same level. But I also know by then my youngest (she’ll be 2.5 by then) will want in on the action too, as this is the age my 3 year old jumped in on the preschool fun!

The other option is to just go ahead with K this year and keep letting my 3yo tag along, getting out of it what she gets, until they’re all older and I can manage 2 guides. I’d love to hear some input from mamas who have been here already ☺
Janelle
Married to my best friend for 12 years
Mama to 3 sweet girls, ages 6, 8, and 10
Working Bigger with my oldest two, and Little Hearts with my little one!

twolittlebears
Posts: 70
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 10:17 pm
Location: North Idaho

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by twolittlebears » Wed May 13, 2015 6:05 pm

HI! I have used FIAR and LOVE it! We still row books every few weeks and my boys are almost 7 & 9! :D That would be a great option. Another thing you can do for the 3.5 yo is to buy the Rod and Staff preschool workbooks (starts with A and goes through J now, I think) and have her do those. That's what I did when my youngest was that age, of course he still listened in on story time. Then if you lightly row a book and do a fun craft, you are getting the skill work in through the Rod and Staff workbooks. In Little Hearts, the older workbooks are used, and by that point, she may be right there in the series when she is ready to do Little Hearts. I've done lots of things with my youngest, waiting to do Little Hearts, and he is just now doing it and ready at almost 7! Those R & S workbooks kept us busy for a couple years, adding in other things too. I also think that I've read that other mamas have even repeated Little Hands with their littles, because they're really so little! They will get more out of it the next time around. Just my thoughts....others will have some great ideas too!!
Married to my best friend 18 years
DS 10yo CTC (finished: MFWK, SL Core A, LHFHG, Delectable Ed, PHFHG)
DS 13yo CTC w/extensions (finished: WP Animal Worlds, MFW1, SL Core B, BLHFHG, BHFHG, Delectable Ed, PHFHG)

Jennymommy
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 2:19 pm

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by Jennymommy » Wed May 13, 2015 6:27 pm

We just repeated a level when we had a similar issue, and my ds loved it. The familiarity of the activities was a bonus for him, and we just found books that he liked to read at the library. The Rod and Staff activity books is a good idea too.

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

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by MomtoJGJE » Thu May 14, 2015 9:03 am

If I were you, based on what you said, I'd do LHTH again with both of them but add in the R&S workbooks that others have mentioned and do phonics and math and writing at their levels with both of them.

gardenmama28
Posts: 54
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:27 am

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by gardenmama28 » Thu May 14, 2015 9:35 am

I agree that I would not jump into Little Hearts yet this year. 5 years old is the very youngest age recommended for that level, and you don't need to rush things. I think that doing LHTH over again will cement what you have learned this year for your 5 yo and help her to be ready for Little Hearts next year. If you wanted to beef it up for her a little you could add some rod and staff workbooks, the reason for handwriting K book, and some explode the code primer books A, B, and C. That is what I did this year for my 5 year old and it worked well.

Another option would be to go on to Little Hearts, but only half speed (one side per day) for this year. That way your workload won't increase too much.

Or do FIAR for a change of pace and come back to LHFHG next year.

Also, rod and staff has a younger series of preschool books than HOD mentions...... it is geared for 3-4 year olds and starts off with a book called About 3. You could have your 3 yo do those while her older sister does her work.

mylittlewomen
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 2:32 pm

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by mylittlewomen » Thu May 14, 2015 1:51 pm

Thank you, all! I wouldn't have thought to do LHFHG half-time...that could work! I hadn't really thought to re-do LHTH either, mostly because I need to keep the scenery changing a bit just to keep myself motivated :) Although I LOVED it. So we could... :)
I was just looking through the Rod & Staff workbooks, and while they look great for my 3-year-old, I am not sure my 5-year-old will go for them. Does anybody have any suggestions for kiddos who aren't into workbooks? I was throwing around the idea of using Handwriting without tears, since it's not just workbooks...any thoughts?
Janelle
Married to my best friend for 12 years
Mama to 3 sweet girls, ages 6, 8, and 10
Working Bigger with my oldest two, and Little Hearts with my little one!

my3sons
Posts: 10604
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by my3sons » Thu May 14, 2015 2:11 pm

Hi Janelle! :D With 3 dc 4 years apart, to meet everyone's needs you are more than likely going to eventually be doing 2 guides. No worries though- this is not hard when dc are placed accurately! In fact, I think it can be easier, as no one is being pushed too fast, and no one is being held back too much. We have done 3 guides many years, and I am one busy mama too. If I can do it - and enjoy doing it :D - you can too! :D :D :D

So, I have a few questions. Who is closer in age? The older 2 dc? Or, the younger 2 dc? Who do you see being combined better? Are more dc a possibility? Does your 5 yo place in Little Hearts for His Glory when you look at the placement chart now? Please share about her in regard to the first page of the placement chart if you could. I have a couple of good options to share once I know your answers here. :D

In Christ,
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
Blogger https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/
Sister to Carrie

mylittlewomen
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 2:32 pm

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by mylittlewomen » Thu May 14, 2015 10:45 pm

Thanks, Julie! As far as the placement chart goes:
-Reading: She definitely knows her letters & sounds and is ready for phonics instruction developmentally. Doesn't seem too interested in learning to read yet, but then, we have a full 3 months till fall anyway, so she might change her mind by then.
-Writing: I'd say this is her weakest point. She doesn't love to draw either; she is more of an abstract artist for sure. It's not that she can't draw, she just doesn't care to. She can write her name, but doesn't really care to practice writing either. I am going to try working through a preschool-level writing-readiness book with her this summer & see how she does. I was thinking of using Handwriting w/out Tears' first book, since I have heard good things about using their stuff to teach lefties. (She is a lefty)
-Grammar: I am not sure how to answer this one. How do i know if she’s prepared in this department?
-Math: She has done well with the math activities in LHTH and I think she’ll do fine moving on from here.


My oldest (5) and middle (3) daughters are exactly 2 years apart. The middle & youngest are 20 months apart, so they're closer in age. But at 16 months, it’s hard to tell much ;) My oldest & middle have done school together this past year, so we’re used to it, and my middle likes to be doing whatever I am doing. So it might be a bit of a challenge to explain to her that they’ll have separate school. She’s also currently my “WHY?!” girl ;) And It’s not in the current plan to have more siblings, but w/ the Lord, you never know ;)

Also, I’m sure someone else has asked this, but what does your typical day look like, not just in regards to school, but managing the rest of life? I mean, really, when do homeschool mamas clean their house or do laundry?!? :)
Janelle
Married to my best friend for 12 years
Mama to 3 sweet girls, ages 6, 8, and 10
Working Bigger with my oldest two, and Little Hearts with my little one!

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

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by MomtoJGJE » Fri May 15, 2015 6:15 am

You clean house and do laundry when you don't have three that little ;) About the time your oldest is 6 or 7 and can REALLY start to help out. Until then you survive the mess and enjoy the kids as much as possible. After that time comes you look back and wonder how you survived it :shock:


Some of mine aren't workbook kids either, but they have all enjoyed the R&S books. Those books have a bunch of different activities mixed together so they aren't just writing or cutting or coloring every day. They also don't take much time to do. So I'd encourage you to just have them as part of your school day.

And one tip to helping a lefty learn to write (my oldest two are lefties) is to sit across from them instead of beside them and let them mirror you.

mylittlewomen
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 2:32 pm

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by mylittlewomen » Fri May 15, 2015 4:48 pm

Thanks Lora Beth, that's good to know!
Janelle
Married to my best friend for 12 years
Mama to 3 sweet girls, ages 6, 8, and 10
Working Bigger with my oldest two, and Little Hearts with my little one!

StephanieU
Posts: 1552
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by StephanieU » Fri May 15, 2015 7:17 pm

I don't have a ton of advice, but I want to share a little of or journey in hopes or might help, as my kids are close in age. We just did math and phonics (with penmanship) for K for my oldest. Then we came to HOD for 1st grade. My daughter was 5.5 at that point, and I was looking mainly to add history and science. She has progressed through LHFHG and Beyond, and we are doing Bigger slowly right now until mid summer. With my next two, I planned to combine them. We tried LHTH when they were 2 and 3.5, but we only got a few units in. It was hard to find a time both were willing to do school work around naps and my oldest's school work (and my work- I teach a few online college classes a term). We tried again when they were 2.5 and 4 and then at 3 and 4.5. At that point I realized combining them wasn't ideal as they competed for attention and it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be to give them both chances to answer questions. So, I decided to concentrate on the 3Rs for the now 5yo. Around his 6th birthday he will start LHFHG (depending on when a friend is done with it). At that point, the youngest will start LHTH, probably doing 3-4 day a week so it takes over a year.
Mom to 4
DD (13) MtMM (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, RtR, and Rev2Rev)
DS (11) RtR (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, and CtC plus some of LHTH)
DD (9) Preparing (completed LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, and Bigger)
DS (4) LHTH

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

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by MelInKansas » Sat May 16, 2015 7:10 am

Just to kind of let you know for your planning purposes, if you combine two kiddos in the same guide it is generally advised to place the younger one where they fit very squarely and then add on challenge for the older one as needed. Since your kiddos seem to be on the same level in some areas, it does seem like combining is a possibility for you. But that would mean waiting to start LHFHG until the younger one is ready for it, and probably until that one is 5. Even if the 2nd is ready younger than 5 the age guidelines are really important too, as far as them being ready for a longer school day, and mature enough to deal with the things that will be presented. This is more critical in the higher guides than the first 2-3, but it bears thinking about so you don't end up in a bad place down the road.

So all signs would seem to indicate staying in LHTH or finding something else to do for a year or 1.5 years to let that younger one get ready.

Also I would encourage you (as it seems you already are thinking) to not push reading or phonics with your oldest until she is ready. Be patient and give it time. The more mature they are the easier it is for them to pick up on, and there is much more to it than learning letter sounds. It's holding the information in their brain and connecting the sounds together, and then recognizing what word that makes. I definitely had no concept of how difficult that is for them to learn. Just by giving it time it went from crying and difficult for one of my kids to easy and something she felt very successful at. Time is your friend.

What I did when I was in that situation (and I had done LHFHG and was facing Beyond with a 6.5 year old and a 4.5 year old and knew the younger wasn't ready for Beyond) is I just went ahead with the older one and let the younger participate in what she wanted to along with us. The crafts and hands-on activities work just fine for a younger one too, but I didn't expect my younger one to answer questions, do much writing, or sit through the whole thing if she didn't want to. My 4.5 year old started a handwriting workbook and I think when she turned 5 we started phonics with her, so her school was part of older sister's, part playtime with younger sister nearby, and handwriting and phonics. Then the next year I started LHFHG with my 2nd born on her own, which she LOVED. It was wonderful to have her placed in her own guide, doing her own school, and thriving there without having to worry about combining them. I now see that to try to combine would have been holding my oldest back. My first two are less than 2 guides apart because my oldest had to slow down at one point.

Really, once you move up in the guides and once you've done the guide before, it is so easy to add in LHTH or LHFHG along with another guide. The older one will grow and get more independent so you're not having to be as involved in every moment of their school day. I really enjoy having one-on-one time with each child and I appreciate that the material is right at their level.
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

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

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by MelInKansas » Sat May 16, 2015 7:15 am

Ha I love MomToJGJE's reponse to how do you clean and do laundry. I kind of agree. Homeschooling changes the rhythm of your day. I used to do housework in the mornings, when my kids were their happiest. Now a lot of it gets pushed to afternoon and evenings, and as she also mentioned, I now have kids who are big enough to help (though their clothes are also bigger and they help make the mess too, but they do clean up after the younger siblings as well). It is hard when you are the one doing most everything. My other suggestion is to have them "help" you as much as possible. It may seem like less help, but I think it does 2 things 1) it shows them they can be part of it and 2) it keeps them from trashing other parts of the house while you're cleaning. My 3 year old is on assignment with me when it's chore time. Sometimes he is splashing in the dishwater but at least I know what he is doing.
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

my3sons
Posts: 10604
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by my3sons » Sun May 17, 2015 8:44 am

Thanks so much for sharing more about each of your dc! :D It sounds like it will work well to combine your 2 oldest daughters. I would do LHTH again with the higher level devotional with the 2 of them. I'd also add the Kindergarten Essentials Math from Little Hearts for His Glory (LHFHG) for your 5 yo, as well as a handwriting program that works on the formation of letters. A Reason for Handwriting K or Italic A would be the choices HOD recommends, but you can use any handwriting you'd like. I'd also add the Fine Motor Skills books from LHFHG, which are "Do It Carefully" and "Finding the Answers." I'd wait on phonics. This will 'up' the level of LA/math in the areas your 5 yo is needing it, while still make it successful to combine the 2 girls. I've done "Little Hands to Heaven" too many times to count - with each of our 3 sons, and multiple, multiple times with 2-5 yo dc in our church during women's Bible studies. I never grew tired of it, nor did the dc who repeated it. I think just by switching the devotional and also the Bible (if you haven't used "The New Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes"). Personally, I'd get the LHFHG guide for the hands-on math lessons. If you do so, the following year when you get the rest of the LHFHG Economy Package, be sure to let HOD know you already got the LHFHG guide, and they'll verify your past order and credit back your savings of about $16. :D I like this plan because it sets your 2 girls up nicely to be combined the entire way through. It also meets both of their individual needs in LA/math. :D

As far as laundry and cleaning, the ladies are right, it is tough with little ones underfoot! We had our dc begin helping at 5 yo with simple routine chores. I had them gather all of the bathroom garbage bags and consolidate them in 1 big tall kitchen garbage bag and take it out to the garage. Then, they put new bags in all the garbages. I also put away any sharp knives/dangerous things from the clean dishwasher, and had them unload the rest of the clean dishwasher, making piles on the counter, and sorting and putting away silverware. As they were able, they put the dishes/glasses in the cupboards. To do this, you have to be ok with occasional broken glasses and dishes. :wink: I also had them fold washcloths and towels, and pair socks together from the laundry. They were responsible for bringing down and sorting their laundry on laundry days in the laundry sorter in our laundry room (whites, colors, towels). After meals, they 'swiffer' and 'shark' the kitchen floor, which entails going around the edge of the kitchen with a swiffer and using the cordless Shark to vacuum the kitchen floor (we have hardwood floors in the kitchen). Throughout the day, all dc are responsible for picking up their toys/games/DVDs/projects when they are finished with them. (Ongoing games and puzzles and building projects can be left out with my permission. :wink: ). Finally, at the end of the day, everyone can help with a "cleansweep," which is basically 'sweeping' through the house to pick up, clean up, bring up, put away anything that will make next morning's school day start without a mess. :wink: In the morning, rooms must be picked up, beds made, and personal hygiene done (i.e. brush teeth, wash hands, clean clothes). All of these things our 5 yo dc could do, they felt proud to do it and contribute to the needs of the home, and I appreciated their help. The chores and responsibilities of our older dc change and increase as they get older, as I have a goal for them to leave our house fully able to care for their own house. :D

These are just a few ideas for your 5 yo. Training a child to do 1 chore well at a time routinely has helped things go smoothly. I usually train alongside them daily for several weeks. Then I check their work. I also give $1 allowance a week at this age that they may save/spend on anything they wish (even if it's not the best choice - this teaches much about money management. :wink: ).

As far as the house goes, at this stage, whatever you can do so you can wake up and start your day with a fairly clean house, as in 'clean' so you are not weighted down with a bunch of tasks in the morning that stress you out, that's the overall goal! For me, the things that bug me and weight me down are dirty dishes in the sink from yesterday, toys out everywhere from yesterday, garbages overflowing, piles of things places, etc. Hence the cleansweep the night before, and the morning chores I mentioned for your 5 yo. :D You will know what drives you nuts and what you can let go! Get out of the way the 'drives you nuts stuff' right away, so you can get to enjoying your day! :)

For laundry, each of our dc has their own laundry basket in their bedroom. We do laundry 2 days a week. Everyone throws their laundry down the stairs (the boys like this - go figure), and then sorts it into the sorter. I used to do laundry as able throughout the day, putting clean laundry in baskets our on drying rack. We used to fold as a family then at night and put it all away. We usually do laundry Wed. and Sat., with towels on one of the days and bedding on the other as able. When I began working some afternoons, I hired a homeschool gal to watch the boys, and then she would fold the laundry on her days she came (I'd have it all clean and ready to fold, as she was there only a short amount of time). If you have a babysitter help out, this is a great thing for them to do as they watch dc too. I just had her set the folded clothes on each of the boys' beds, and then they put it away. This is what we still do now. I hope something here helps! But just know, a less than perfectly clean house with homeschooling getting done happily each day is SUCCESS in my eyes! :D HTH!

In Christ,
Julie
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
Blogger https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/
Sister to Carrie

mylittlewomen
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 2:32 pm

Re: How do I manage different levels with littles?

Post by mylittlewomen » Sun May 17, 2015 3:49 pm

Thank you, everyone! Great input! I will continue to pray and see what we decide :) I asked my 3yo if she wanted to do her own school next year, and she said NO. She wants to continue schooling alongside her sis. So that's something to consider too. I'll see where they're at in the fall, but for now I will either:
1. Do LHTH again, with different Bible & devo books, adding math & writing (wait on phonics till she's ready)
or
2. Move on to LHFHG with my oldest and do BFIAR with the youngest because it's easy and plus we love reading books together :)

Thanks, Julie!! Great stuff. I have also thought about doing LHTH with Sunday School kids, and I started a new thread with that question! I'd love to hear more on that topic!
Janelle
Married to my best friend for 12 years
Mama to 3 sweet girls, ages 6, 8, and 10
Working Bigger with my oldest two, and Little Hearts with my little one!

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