Need help placing and combining 6 kids close in age.

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Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 5:20 am

Need help placing and combining 6 kids close in age.

Post by Shelly » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:33 am

I thought I had this all figured out, but then I realized what HOD may look like for me down the road as my kids grow up: 4-5 guides back-to-back all the way through graduation! Is this doable? This is where my dilemma lies: I have 6 kids very close in age. I have been advised not to do guides back to back, but with the ages of my kids and their skills, I don’t see how to avoid it. Here’s a run down of my kids ages and language arts skills from oldest to youngest. My 9-year-old is reading independently at a 3rd/4th grade level, is currently using the McGuffey 2nd reader, copying paragraphs, doing weekly spelling lists, and can compose simple sentences. He hasn’t started formal grammar study yet but has had a simple introduction to it. My 7-year-old is reading at or below the emerging reader level, is currently in the McGuffey Primer, copying words and simple sentences in cursive, and memorizing the weekly McGuffey word list as his spelling words. My 6-year-old is beginning phonics and reading instruction with Alpha-Phonics and can trace cursive lower-case letters well (we do cursive first). My youngest three are 4, 2, and a newborn, so we just do reading aloud with them. I don’t plan to start them in HOD yet. We like to do family Bible time together as it gets too hectic to do a separate Bible program with each level. Looking at the placement chart, my older 3 place best in Little Hearts, Beyond and Bigger, but I was advised that running these 3 guides back-to-back would be too much work. We are a busy family as we do language study all morning. We only have afternoons for homeschooling. My husband and I team-teach the kids in the afternoons so I am not without help, but it’s a lot to get done in a short window of time. Any better ideas for placing and combing 6 kids close in age for a busy family? I realize I have an advantage with the younger 3 not in school yet, but as most moms know, they still take up a lot of time and need their "preschool" time. It looks like HOD will get crazy for me as each one moves up into Little Hearts and my oldest moves into the next guide. Maybe HOD will not work for a large family? I hope so because it really fits my desires for home schooling and I'm excited about it.
expat living in Asia, language student, wife, mother to 5 boys ages 9, 7, 6, 4, 2, and a new baby girl

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Re: Need help placing and combining 6 kids close in age.

Post by Gwenny » Sat Feb 04, 2017 9:46 am

Based on what you have shared, I would look at Preparing for the 9 yo, and Beyond for the 6 and 7 yos. If you think that that is too advanced, then Bigger and the youngers in Little Hearts. If you decide Preparing and Beyond, you don't have to go full speed. You could begin 1/2 speed and work into it.

HOD does work for large families. It is a great curriculum. Carrie has done such a great job putting it all together.
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

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Re: Need help placing and combining 6 kids close in age.

Post by Rice » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:23 pm

I, personally, would go with Bigger and LHFHG (to keep the next 2 together; possibly using a more challenging handwriting book, and of course math for the 7yo).

In my experience, erring on the side of "too easy" is far better than erring on the side of "too challenging", especially with multiple guides to start and manage. Our first year with HOD we had some unique challenges (one who had some challenges surface with the change in curriculum/routine; another with reading challenges diagnosed just months before we started), and had to change guides for them after 3 months. That time of being too highly placed and of transition was very challenging, especially since we'd started 2 other kids in HOD at the same time.

Now we're running 5 guides: the oldest 2 in RTR (but the older one doing higher LA, science and math), the third in Rev2Rev (so 3 kids across 2 guides, yes, with the youngest in the higher guide!), and two more following in Bigger and LHFHG. I am glad those younger two are two guides apart (running Bigger/Preparing/CTC WAS a challenge, even with older kids who were mostly working independently), so I understand your wish not to do back-to-back guides through their whole school career. :)

Having your 7yo in LHFHG will give him the time he needs to continue growth, especially in reading so when independent reading is introduced in Preparing it will be something easy, rather than difficult for him, making things easier on you as you by that time are teaching the next ones to read in younger guides. FWIW, my guy turned 7 a few couple months after starting LHFHG and is now 9 in Bigger. It's been a great fit for him! :)

DS 17 parts of WG, WH's EIW, US2 Finance (DONE: Prep-MTMM)
DD 15 WG, US2 Finance, different lit (DONE:Bigger-Preparing & RTR-MTMM; Irlen)
DS 9 Preparing
DS 7 3Rs,
DD 6 phonics + 2yo DS

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Re: Need help placing and combining 6 kids close in age.

Post by Nealewill » Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:17 am

In reading your description of your 9 year old, I think that child places solidly in Preparing. If that child is already doing quite a bit independent reading, then they would be able to read the science to themselves and to complete those boxes alone. In addition, they would have half of their history that they did alone as well. Preparing is the guide that starts getting kids independent. It is written to 35 weeks but school is only for 4 days a week. With the other guides, you could combine the 6 and 7 year old in either Little Hearts or Beyond. Those guides are written to be completed 5 days a week for 34 weeks. Since it sounds like the 6 year old is just learning how to write, I think I would complete Little Hearts for both of them.

One thing I noticed though is that you posted that you have language studies all morning? Do you mean language arts? Or just foreign language? What I do love about HOD is that it is a very complete program but if there was a subject or two you wanted to add (like Latin, we do Latin), then I can easily add it. But if your kids are already doing 3 hours of school in the morning than doing HOD in the afternoon, I am afraid that they may feel overwhelmed. As the levels increase in HOD, so does the volume. They only things we add to our day is Latin, Piano practice, studying AWANA. Currently, my kids in Preparing take about 5 hours to complete their day. My oldest takes around 6 because she has to practice her piano for a longer period of time. My kids are definitely not stressed but as you look at the guides, you may consider looking to see if there is anything that would be double duty. And with Little Hearts, should have no issue completing that one. It only takes about an hour a day. Preparing will take around 4 hours though to complete it. But again, it is written as a full program.

DD 13 WG
DS 12 R2R
DD 10 R2R

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

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Re: Need help placing and combining 6 kids close in age.

Post by Shelly » Sun Feb 05, 2017 6:51 am

All my kids, except the 9-year-old, attend a Chinese Montessori preschool in the mornings.They play and are immersed in Chinese for about 3 hours. There is no homework. My 9-year-old will be tutored in Chinese by a teacher at home in the mornings for an hour or so. He will complete all his writing/exercises with the tutor. I will also have Chinese classes in the morning, but don't know yet if it will be though an in home tutor or going to a class. I'll have a newborn, so we're waiting to see how things go before I commit to anything. So yes, our mornings are full with language study, but it doesn't add much to the workload of home schooling. It's just the time it takes up.
expat living in Asia, language student, wife, mother to 5 boys ages 9, 7, 6, 4, 2, and a new baby girl

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Re: Need help placing and combining 6 kids close in age.

Post by Mommamo » Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:43 pm

What a neat situation you're in with the language learning! I wish we had an option like that (only with Spanish) with my kids.

From what you've said about your kids, I would do either Bigger or Preparing for your oldest. Preparing is a huge step up in work, including being able to work independently. Do you think he would be able to do independent work? If so, Preparing should be a good guide for him, but if you have any doubts, I would go with Bigger.

For your younger kids, I think that Little Hearts sounds like a great option since they aren't yet confident readers. You could always get the Beyond guide and use the ERs schedule in it for your 7 yo and use the first grade options in Little Hearts to bump it up just a bit. It teaches such great foundational skills and is a sweet, gentle introduction to school. Beyond might be okay, but it really does help to bump up, not to try to simplify. I don't think you'll have to bump up much, though. It's a great program.

If you use Little Hearts, will that put you in a position where you're having to run back-to-back guides with younger kids coming up? Or will that leave at least one guide between kids? One option as you look towards the future is to use Little Hands for Kinder for your current 4 yo and the Little Hearts for 1st. At that point, your older kids would be getting into more independent guides, freeing up some time for you to work with the younger ones.
Momma to my 4 sweeties:
DD 14 - MTMM and DITHOR (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, took a couple years off, and now she's back!)
DS 11 and DD 9 - Preparing(completed 2 rounds of LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, and Bigger)

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