New to homeschooling with placement questions

This is where new posts begin. All questions or discussions about any of Heart of Dakota's curriculums start here. If you wish to share a one-time post about your family's experience with our curriculum, you may post under the specific curriculum title (found beneath this "Main Board" heading).
MamaKB
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue May 31, 2016 1:26 pm
Location: Pendleton, NY

New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by MamaKB » Tue May 31, 2016 5:23 pm

Hello! I'm brand new to HOD, brand new to these message boards, and brand new to homeschooling altogether! I'm a mama to four awesome kids, and will begin homeschooling them starting this summer. Up until now, both my boys (ages 7 and 6) have attended a private Christian school at our church. My boys are currently in 2nd grade and kindergarten, and the school uses Abeka to teach the students there. Having our boys there up until now has been a good solution for our family up until this point, as we have decided long ago that public school is not for our family, but the thought of homeschooling has been tugging at my heart for a long time. God has finally opened the door for this to happen, and after researching different curricula for months, I feel as though HOD is where we are being led. So here we are! :D

So, having said all of that, I'm having some trouble deciding on where to place my boys. My girls are still a bit young (DD1 just turned 3 this month, and DD2 just turned 18 months). Like I said above, my boys are currently in 2nd grade and kindergarten.

DS1 will be 8 at the end of October, so he is a bit young for his grade. He reads out loud quite well, and takes his time to sound out words. He will literally read anything, anywhere (he reads store signs while we are out shopping, he'll read my text messages over my shoulder, he'll basically sound out anything he sees, lol). His reading comprehension is pretty good too, as he will read the instructions to a board game, for example, and then tell his brother how to play the game. He loves math, seems to grasp the concepts pretty well, and is at (what I would consider) an average level in 2nd grade math. He struggles a lot with spelling words. This might have to do with what/how it has been presented to him, and the fact that he is a daydreamer and sometimes has trouble sitting down, focusing on his work, and just getting it done. He is usually assigned 23-26 spelling words a week. He's expected to write each word 4 times every night for homework, and then he is given a spelling test on them every Friday. He HATES this homework, as he feels that it's boring (I agree). He doesn't seem to retain anything at all when he writes the words as assigned, but if we study with him by giving him a small whiteboard and quizzing him on the words over and over, he enjoys that much more and will do quite well on his spelling tests by studying this way. So again, it's hard to tell if he struggles with spelling due to the fact that he's given lots of mundane homework and doesn't learn well this way, or if he truly has struggles with spelling. He's very inquisitive, and very active, and while he will sit nicely a lot of the time, he loves to be up running around and playing. As far as placement goes, I was thinking about starting him with Beyond Little Hearts. He's 7 now, and won't be 8 until October. But he'd technically be starting 3rd grade. I'm not sure if Beyond will be too easy for him, or just right, and I was also considering Bigger Hearts. I don't know why I'm leaning toward Beyond instead of Bigger - I think my reasons are mostly 1) He's young for his grade, being a late fall baby, and could technically be in 1st grade right now, if we had held him back a year (although he's been doing quite well along side his peers); 2) He's been struggling with a very difficult/rigorous (for him, at least) spelling program this year, and it's making him stressed out and hating school; and 3) He's been bullied in school ALL YEAR LONG :( and it's definitely made things really hard on him this year. I was thinking that Beyond would maybe be exactly what he needs....a breath of fresh air, if you will....to kind of take things more slowly, and re-kindle his desire and love of learning that he once had. Am I correct in my thinking? Of course, I would still want him challenged, and if he's not going to be challenged in Beyond, then maybe I would need to place him in Bigger. What are you thoughts/suggestions? I have never chosen curriculum before, so I'm a little nervous about me choosing the right thing. I also wanted to add the Drawn Into the Heart of Reading package for him, but again, I'm confused as to which level to put him in. I'm pretty sure he would be at level 2/3, but which readers would I choose? Level 2 readers, or level 3? How can I determine which one would be the right fit for him?

As for my younger son, DS2 just turned 6 yesterday (my Memorial Day baby :D ), and has been having fun in kindergarten this year. In January, he started to read short stories that have mostly 3 or 4 letter words, and he's been doing pretty well. He takes a good amount of time sounding out words, but at times, he does tend to just guess instead of sounding out the words. I remember his older brother doing that at this age, too. He loves numbers and math, and LOVES to be read to. He loves stories. Thankfully, kindergarten in this school is a lot of active play, so there's not much more to report about regarding his education/level. I'm pretty sure I will be starting him with Little Hearts for 1st grade. Does that sound about right for him?

I obviously don't need to purchase anything for the baby (18 months), but DD1, who just turned 3, is chomping at the bit to do some sort of "school," just like her brothers, and I was considering maybe getting Little Hands for her, and doing it very slowly with her, here and there. I was thinking maybe even spreading it out over two years, and including the baby in it, too. Is this a good idea, or could I possibly be taking on too much?

One last thing (and if you've read this far, I thank you so much)....I have looked into different math, science, and bible programs, and would like to supplement with those in addition to HOD being my kids' core curriculum. Is this unwise to do? I know for sure that I would like to use a different bible study program - not that there is anything at all wrong with the HOD one, but I found one through our church that is perfect for our family, and will be using that. For math and science, I would like to supplement with something different - again, not that there is anything wrong with the ones through HOD, but I found other programs I really, really like. Please let me know if you think this would be an unwise decision at their ages.

Well, I'm sorry for my very long-winded post, but thank you so very much for reading all of this! I've looked at the placement charts over and over, and I don't feel 100% certain about where I should place my boys. I'm pretty sure DS2 should be place in Little Hearts for 1st grade, but I don't know which reading program to choose for him. I'm not sure whether to place DS1 into Beyond or Bigger, and I'm not sure which set of readers I should choose for him (level 2 or level 3) in the Drawn Into The Heart of Reading set. I would really love to hear your thoughts, and I graciously accept any suggestions you could give.

Thanks so much! :wink:
Last edited by MamaKB on Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Follower of Jesus
Wife to amazing DH
Mama to 4 incredible kiddos:
DS (7.5) BHFHG
DS (6) LHFHG
DD (3) LHTH
DD (20 months) Just along for the ride!
BRAND NEW to homeschooling :shock: :mrgreen:

rumkimom
Posts: 253
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:25 am

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by rumkimom » Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:48 am

Welcome to the board and to homeschooling!! I am graduating my oldest this year, so we have been doing this for a long time (started homeschooling her in 1st grade) and my youngest was in 1st grade this year (so we have many years to go yet!).

Have you checked the placement chart? Where do your boys fit there? Many people combine their children when they are only 1 year apart in school and that is a personal choice. My boys are too competitive to combine (they are 2 years apart).

If your older one places in Bigger, I would put him there. The spelling is very gentle as is the English ( you might want to do dictation with him rather than the spelling, unless he does not know those words). Also check out the emergent readers for the older one as well. With my older son (9 last year when we started Bigger, he is a slow reader) we started with the Unit 10 readers instead of in Unit 1. He is now in the second to last ER and it is 3rd-4th grade reading level. He will start DITHOR in the fall when he starts Preparing. Oh, the level 2 books are grade level 3.0-4.1 so they might be a little too hard for him. The ER books my son started with are the Frog and Toad books (check them out this summer to see how your son does with them, if they are too easy you might be able to start with DITHOR and level 2 books. I would not start with the level 3 ones.)

You can see if your younger son can read the emergent readers yet or if they are still too hard for him (the first one is reading level 1.8). You might just want to do phonics with him yet. It sounds like LHFHG might be perfect for him. Last fall my younger son was 7 and it was perfect for him. He is a struggling reading (can read only a few CVC words now....but then again he has not had the desire to read until recently and English is not his first language as he was adopted from another country less than 2 years ago).

The other possible choice is to see if you younger one places in Beyond and if so, you can place both boys there this year. Then next year when they move on to Bigger, the older one can do the extensions and you could keep them together for a few year (if it works with your boys).

We will be using Beyond and Preparing in the fall with my boys. They really like having their own work and it keeps them from being competitive!

Oh, another thought....when you start them in the fall, if you choose to do DITHOR for the older one, wait a few weeks before starting DITHOR and just let him get used to the curriculum and then add it in after a month or so. During that time you can read the last few books from the ER set (questions for those are in both the Beyond and Bigger guides).

Doing LHTH with your little one could be fun. Just do as much as she wants (1-3 times a week to spread it out). You might find yourself too busy in the beginning though. If you do use LHFHG and BIgger it will take about 3 hours to do both of them (at least that is what it takes us). I also have an older child in RtR so we are quite busy all morning as I have to get her going and keep they boy busy as well.
----
Wendy C.
DH-Owen
Emily (19 - graduatated from UCC spring 2018, Fashion Design Program)
Melody (17 - Rev 2 Rev-unit 21, IEW for writing, grammar, completed math)
Steven (12 - CTC, IEW for writing, grammar, spelling, TT Math)
Clarence (10 - PS)

StephanieU
Posts: 1534
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by StephanieU » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:46 am

Considering your kids alone, I think your placement isn't bad at all. But my fear is down the road. Normally, the recommendation is not to do back to back guides in the early years because doing Bigger and Preparing together is a lot of work. Those two guides are the most teacher-intensive guides, each taking 2-3 hours of your time probably. So, in two years, you will have those two guides PLUS a kindergartner. That could easily lead to burn out. So I would consider two options:
1. Place them in Bigger and LHFHG. The oldest could start out half speed for the fall, taking more than a year to complete the guide, if necessary. This would mean you would be running Bigger and Preparing together for a little bit possibly, but it wouldn't be the whole year AND the oldest would be near the end of Preparing, which means he would probably be able to do more independently that at the beginning.
2. Combine them in Beyond. This would be good if you think your second child is ready for Beyond. Coming from Abeka, it is definitely possible for a 6yo 1st grader to be ready for Beyond. But you would also want to consider if the boys work well together. My middle kids do not school well together since they want to compete with each other in everything (from my attention to finishing work first).
A final option would be to combine them in LHFHG, but I think that would be too simple for the oldest since he has done Abeka in the past.
Mom to 4
DD (12) Rev2Rev (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, and RtR)
DS (10) CtC (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, and Preparing plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Bigger (completed LHTH, LHFHG, and Beyond)
DS (3) Starting LHTH soon!

MamaKB
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue May 31, 2016 1:26 pm
Location: Pendleton, NY

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by MamaKB » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:34 am

Thank you both so much for your replies! I truly appreciate it.

I have looked at the placing charts, but I'm still torn on which way to go with my oldest son, even after looking at the charts. I am going to go back though, and take a deeper look at them to see if one level stands out to me as more fitting for him. I'll have to take a closer look.

Combining the boys in Beyond is an option, but I fear that it might be too challenging for my younger son, and perhaps not challenging enough for my older son (if he does indeed seem to place closer to Bigger). They are both very, very competitive with one another as well, so there's also that to consider.

One thing I forgot to mention, which may or may not make a difference, is that I have decided already to school the kids year-round. My plan (which I know will probably shift/change a bit as I, too, am learning how to do all of this) is to start on August 1st this year. The boys' last day of school is June 10th (next week Friday), so it will still give them plenty of time off from traditional school before starting homeschooling in August. My (loose, not set-in-stone) plan is to homeschool from August to June/July each year, in a 6 weeks on/1 week off schedule, and breaks around holidays.

So, with an all-year schedule in mind, would that make any difference in what levels to place them in? Would doing back-to-back levels then be more manageable (even in the Bigger/Preparing years, with a kindergartener)? Or would that still be too much?

I have to admit that I am still leaning toward placing DS1 (7yo) in Beyond and DS2 (just-turned-6yo) in LHFHG. I know I still have some research to do, particularly taking another look at the placing charts, but this is what I'm feeling in my gut right now. However, if burn-out down the road with having two kids in back-to-back levels is a real possibility, even with an all-year schedule, then I do very much need to take that into consideration. I am a planner, and thrive on being busy, but I can and do get overwhelmed at times. I just want to do what's best for all my kids (don't we all?!) :D
Follower of Jesus
Wife to amazing DH
Mama to 4 incredible kiddos:
DS (7.5) BHFHG
DS (6) LHFHG
DD (3) LHTH
DD (20 months) Just along for the ride!
BRAND NEW to homeschooling :shock: :mrgreen:

StephanieU
Posts: 1534
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by StephanieU » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:38 am

Have you looked at the first weeks and introduction to each guide? They are free pdf files you can download. They may help you decide which is a better fit.
Another option depending on finances is just to buy all three levels. Then once you have them in hand, you can make a decision.
Mom to 4
DD (12) Rev2Rev (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, and RtR)
DS (10) CtC (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, and Preparing plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Bigger (completed LHTH, LHFHG, and Beyond)
DS (3) Starting LHTH soon!

MamaKB
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue May 31, 2016 1:26 pm
Location: Pendleton, NY

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by MamaKB » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:29 pm

StephanieU wrote:Have you looked at the first weeks and introduction to each guide? They are free pdf files you can download. They may help you decide which is a better fit.
Another option depending on finances is just to buy all three levels. Then once you have them in hand, you can make a decision.
No, I haven't looked at the first weeks and introductions, but that is a great suggestion! I will definitely do that. As for buying all three levels, I suppose that's a possibility, too. I will have to buy them eventually for my two littlest ones anyway, right? I don't know if I can squeeze that out of the budget, though. We're a little tight right now as it is, but maybe I could talk to the hubby and see if there's any room where we could squeeze out a bit more. That's another great suggestion. Thanks!

For now, I'm going to take a look at the placement charts again (I just printed them out). I think I read somewhere on here about a method someone had to cross off things or check things or something on the charts, to narrow down the choices in order to get to the right level for their child. I'll have to look for that post again. I'll also take a look at the pdf samples of the guides.

Thanks again! :D
Follower of Jesus
Wife to amazing DH
Mama to 4 incredible kiddos:
DS (7.5) BHFHG
DS (6) LHFHG
DD (3) LHTH
DD (20 months) Just along for the ride!
BRAND NEW to homeschooling :shock: :mrgreen:

MamaKB
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue May 31, 2016 1:26 pm
Location: Pendleton, NY

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by MamaKB » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:15 am

So, I looked over the placement charts again, and after studying them some more and carefully assessing where my boys are currently, I'm still thinking that LHFHG and Beyond is where they should be. There's no doubt in my mind that LHFHG is perfect placement for DS2. When looking at the charts for DS1, however, he is kind of split between Beyond and Bigger, but leans heavily toward Beyond. And to be honest, it's not so much that I don't think he's academically capable of the work in Bigger, but I think he's actually not mature enough to handle the seemingly more "ramped-up" work load that Bigger seems to have compared to Beyond. He struggles a bit with being able to sit down and focus, is a daydreamer, etc. and I can't see him being able to do all the writing and such that's in Bigger. I figured he would do better his first year with Beyond, building a solid foundation, give him time to mature a little, and then move on to Bigger. Does that make sense? He's already so burnt out from the hours of homework he has had all this year at school (only second grade!) and has told me numerous times that he hates school. I was hoping Beyond might give him that gentle approach, that stepping stone, he needs to develop a love of learning again before ramping up to more sit-down writing that is in Bigger. Am I right, or do I sound totally off track? Perhaps Bigger isn't as rigorous as I'm making it out to be?

Hmmm, re-reading what I wrote above, I realize that it might sound like I'm trying to "baby" him and don't want him challenged. I hope it doesn't come across this way. I don't want to place DS1 into a level that is too easy for him, and yes, I do want him appropriately challenged. When I look at the charts though, I'm not convinced that he's ready for the concepts in Bigger. He has had no study so far on grammar/parts of speech. He can write a sentence on his own, but it is choppy with tons of spelling errors (he spells everything phonetically, almost every word). He's a great reader and will read everything in sight, but does not read independently to himself (still reads out loud). He knows adding and subtracting, but will often rush through things and/or gloss over the instructions and get things wrong because he's not paying attention to the directions (for example, adding when he was told to subtract).

So, I'm still thinking Beyond for DS1, unless someone thinks that's a mistake and can convince me otherwise! I'm very open and willing to hear out any suggestions, in case I'm totally off-base with my thinking.

Now, if I put DS1 in Beyond this year and DS2 in LHFHG, then I run into the problem of having back-to-back guides, and eventually coming to a year where I am teaching Preparing, Bigger, and LHFHG (K) in the same year. I'm told that that will be too much, and could cause burn-out. I do worry about that. What if I end up combining the boys as they get older? Would it be ridiculous to do it like this:

Year One - LHFHG and Beyond
Year Two - Beyond and Bigger
Year Three - Combine both boys in Bigger, with an extension packet for DS1
Year Four - Combine both boys in Preparing, with an extension packet for DS1
.....and so on?

The boys would then be combined each year once DS2 reaches Bigger, but I do realize that that would mean DS1 would always be, technically, a level behind (but with an extension packed for his age). Is this a stupid way of doing this? Or, maybe it's better to bite the bullet and just take on the challenge of back-to back guides? Or, maybe it's better for everyone in the long run to push DS1 up a level and just start him with Bigger?

Ugh, I'm so lost as to what to do..... :?
Follower of Jesus
Wife to amazing DH
Mama to 4 incredible kiddos:
DS (7.5) BHFHG
DS (6) LHFHG
DD (3) LHTH
DD (20 months) Just along for the ride!
BRAND NEW to homeschooling :shock: :mrgreen:

Gwenny
Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:07 pm
Location: Texas

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by Gwenny » Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:41 am

I think I would put your younger in Little Hearts and your older one in Bigger and do it half speed for however long you feel he needs it. There are many posts on doing things 1/2 speed, but I am horrible at searching and finding links. :) Basically, you split each day of the unit into 2 days--typically doing math daily. You can do whatever math level he is in currently. Math doesn't affect placement. This would also give him a break from too much schoolwork and he could have more time for reading, playing, Legos or whatever it is he'd love to do. It would keep you from having the back-to-back later that really is a big deal. This will be a big change for everybody already, and this will give you some breathing room and time to adjust to this new life. :)

Just an idea. :)
Nancy
Dd29 married (w/2 sons 1/2/14, 5/24/16), ds27, dd25 married (w/dd born 8/9/16), dd25, dd22
Dd 19 HS in special ed
Dd14 RevtoRev
Ds12 RevtoRev
Ds 9 Preparing
Dd 5 LHFHG

rumkimom
Posts: 253
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:25 am

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by rumkimom » Fri Jun 03, 2016 6:02 am

If your son is going into 3rd grade Bigger might be better for him (it is great for 3rd grade!). My son (then age 9) started with Beyond this year and it was way too easy so I switched him up after a week (and switched his brother, then age 7, down to LHFHG as it was too hard for him...also those 2 are way too competitive to be together!!), but he was also older than your son (but still only ready for 3rd grade academically). Like the previous posted said, you could always do bigger 1/2 speed for awhile and then speed up when you feel like he can handle it. I do not think that there is that much writing in Bigger. We do most of the grammar and spelling orally. Oh, also the level 2 grammar is a great beginning grammar. This was my son's first year with any grammar also. The level your son is at sounds very much like where my older son was at last fall. There is always the option of that is you think it is too hard, you can always drop him back down to Beyond.

Other idea is to call HOD and see what they suggest. :)
----
Wendy C.
DH-Owen
Emily (19 - graduatated from UCC spring 2018, Fashion Design Program)
Melody (17 - Rev 2 Rev-unit 21, IEW for writing, grammar, completed math)
Steven (12 - CTC, IEW for writing, grammar, spelling, TT Math)
Clarence (10 - PS)

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

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by farmfamily » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:10 am

My 3 kids are all 2 grades apart and have done HOD all the way. I have done both combining (putting one in a guide a level off from where they placed) and separating at various places in Little Hearts,Beyond, and Bigger. I have also run Bigger and Preparing simultaneously. I will say that even though I do not have many other commitments than homeschooling (I have a house cleaner who comes twice a week and does virtually all my laundry and a lot of the housework - cheaper than private school!), I was NEVER capable of running those two guides full speed. My middle child did half speed in Preparing when she started while her younger brother did Beyond. When the younger one started Bigger he did it half speed and she moved to full speed Preparing. That is what we did for most of this school year. My youngest was totally ready to go full speed in Bigger, but I found there was just not enough time for ME to teach both. Only when the middle one started CTC a couple months ago was I able to move my youngest up to full speed in Bigger.

If you really wanted an easier year for yourself (less time spent homeschooling), combining would be the way to go. Since Beyond is really not a lot different in skill level than Little Hearts, and since your younger one is in the age range and would enjoy listening to longer read-aloud books, I would combine them in Beyond, possibly adding Rod and Staff Grammar for your older son. At the end of the year you reassess. If your younger one is not ready for Bigger, then you can have him do Little Hearts (beefed up if necessary). I know others have done this. Under this scenario he would move from Little Hearts (while brother does Bigger) to Bigger half speed, while your older one does Preparing. Alternatively if combining in Beyond goes well for both you can continue combining and do Bigger with them both together. This is what I was doing with my older two until it became apparent as Preparing loomed that my middle girl was not ready for the independent reading in that guide. Then I had to split them. But I am still glad that they were combined in Bigger. It saved me a lot of time!

If you want to do separate guides (and this may be a good idea if your boys are competitive with each other), I agree with Gwenny and the pp. Do Bigger, going half speed as long as needed and Little Hands. Honestly it sounds to me with all the work your son was doing in second grade that he is ready for Bigger. The grammar in Beyond is very basic and you could easily do Bigger without having done any grammar. In Beyond there are only 10 spelling words a week and not studied nearly so intensively. My middle daughter was an atrocious speller when she finished Beyond and started Bigger. I wonder whether she is dyslexic because she had SO much trouble with the spelling in Beyond. Anyway being a poor speller really isn't a problem in Bigger. Virtually all of the writing is copy work. If there was anything to be spelled you can write it on the whiteboard or orally dictate how to spell the particular words needed. This daughter also struggled with reading and that was the reason she was unready for full speed Preparing when she finished Bigger. She took one and three quarter years to complete Preparing and now I'm happy to report that she is a pretty good speller and reader. Studied dictation has worked miracles for her. It sounds to me like your son is a good reader and will do well in Bigger. If you don't want to burden him with too much school, just go half speed.

Personally, I would choose one of the above scenarios. I would not place them in back to back guides.

My second grade son, who turned 8 in February did Bigger this school year. He had to do it half speed most of the year only because I didn't have time to teach it full speed. Even so we have comfortably made it to Unit 20 by now. I wouldn't say he is advanced academically (except in math and we do a different program for math). Bigger has been great for him. And I love the fact that we can afford to go slowly and don't feel pressured to finish a guide a year at this stage.

A couple of final thoughts on Bigger versus Beyond. How does your older son feel about writing (copying text - not spelling)? If he can do at least a sentence without much complaint, it will help for doing Bigger. Second, is your son a perfectionist with drawing? Both my daughters are and so the notebooking assignments in Bigger were more challenging for them. My son is much more slap-dash with his drawings. He (mostly) enjoys adding to his notebook.

I hope this helps. I know that making these decisions can be so difficult! I am praying for you and your kids today...
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!!

MamaKB
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue May 31, 2016 1:26 pm
Location: Pendleton, NY

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by MamaKB » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:53 pm

Thank you all so much for your helpful suggestions and advice! I am taking every word to heart, and I appreciate all of your comments. You've all got me thinking that maybe Bigger truly would be the better program to place DS1 in this year. A lot of you have suggested doing Bigger at a slower pace, like half-speed. Well, I was already planning on homeschooling year-around (I plan on starting August 1st and going until June/July). Would stretching out the school year to 11-12 months allow enough time to work on Bigger at a slower pace? Or, would I need more than a year to complete Bigger at half-speed?
Follower of Jesus
Wife to amazing DH
Mama to 4 incredible kiddos:
DS (7.5) BHFHG
DS (6) LHFHG
DD (3) LHTH
DD (20 months) Just along for the ride!
BRAND NEW to homeschooling :shock: :mrgreen:

StephanieU
Posts: 1534
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by StephanieU » Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:39 pm

It really depends on how fast he adjusts to the way HOD does things. We ended up taking 13-14 months to do Bigger. The main reason it took longer is pregnancy and new baby, but my daughter is not a fan of the physical act of writing, so a slower beginning was helpful. She will start Preparing next month, and I think that guide won't take more than a year.
Mom to 4
DD (12) Rev2Rev (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, and RtR)
DS (10) CtC (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, and Preparing plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Bigger (completed LHTH, LHFHG, and Beyond)
DS (3) Starting LHTH soon!

Gwenny
Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:07 pm
Location: Texas

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by Gwenny » Sat Jun 04, 2016 6:02 am

It does depend on how soon he can move to full speed. Another thing to think about though, don't worry about finishing a guide in one year. If you had decided to put him in Beyond, it would put him at least 2 years from completing Bigger anyway. Something that a lot of people have learned and come to be okay with here--it's okay to not finish a guide in a year and also, it's easier to stagger-start the guides. In other words, it's easier when your children are starting new guides at different times--not necessarily right at the start of the school year. There is a learning curve to each new guide, for the teacher and the student. Many times they will do the first couple of units at 1/2 pace since everything takes just a bit longer.

If you were to start your boys with Little Hearts and Bigger. You can start your older one 1/2 speed. You may or may not need to with the Little Hearts. Then, your younger one will most likely finish at the end of the year and you can start him in Beyond after whatever break you are taking. Your older still has some units to finish up in Bigger so he is still moving along easily and nothing is new there for you or him. Then, as you are more comfortable with Beyond and it's going smoothly, your older will finish Bigger and start Preparing--1/2 speed if necessary.

This way also, it isn't as stressful if 'Life happens' and you get a unit or so behind but yet it's the end of your school year!
Nancy
Dd29 married (w/2 sons 1/2/14, 5/24/16), ds27, dd25 married (w/dd born 8/9/16), dd25, dd22
Dd 19 HS in special ed
Dd14 RevtoRev
Ds12 RevtoRev
Ds 9 Preparing
Dd 5 LHFHG

MamaKB
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue May 31, 2016 1:26 pm
Location: Pendleton, NY

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by MamaKB » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:29 pm

Great advice from all of you, thank you all so much!

Can I ask a question to all of the mamas who have used a level half-speed or have recommended me doing Bigger half-speed? You all said it's okay to take over a year to complete a level, and to do it at a speed my son is comfortable with, even if it takes 13, 14, 15 months or more. I'm wondering how that would work in a highly regulated state such as ours (New York). We have to report to the state, but we don't have to start standardized testing and reporting scores to the state until 5th grade. If I have my son move through the levels slowly, would that technically make him "behind" as far as the state is concerned? Wouldn't he then test behind on his exam at the end of 5th grade? Or, would he have enough time to catch up before then? Or maybe I'm just making a big deal out of this, and it doesn't matter what level he's at come 5th grade? I know many homeschoolers don't even use "grades," but instead just have their children learn at the level and pace that they feel comfortable with. I wish I had that kind of freedom to do it that way, but I'm afraid of the state giving us trouble if we go at a slow pace, and then he tests "behind."

Has anyone had any experience with this?
Follower of Jesus
Wife to amazing DH
Mama to 4 incredible kiddos:
DS (7.5) BHFHG
DS (6) LHFHG
DD (3) LHTH
DD (20 months) Just along for the ride!
BRAND NEW to homeschooling :shock: :mrgreen:

StephanieU
Posts: 1534
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: New to homeschooling with placement questions

Post by StephanieU » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:34 pm

If you are going half speed for a long time, I would do math and language arts daily. So you would finish a grade of those each year. Doing that, you won't be behind when it comes to testing.
So you would do history, rotating box below history, and Bible one day, and then science, poetry, and hymn study the next day. We often did storytime daily and just read two books per genre instead of one.
Mom to 4
DD (12) Rev2Rev (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, and RtR)
DS (10) CtC (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, and Preparing plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Bigger (completed LHTH, LHFHG, and Beyond)
DS (3) Starting LHTH soon!

Post Reply