How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

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WrenRank
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:35 pm

How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by WrenRank » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:37 pm

Hello!

We currently use DITHOR from HOD, but all other curriculum is ala cart type-- eclectic. I've loved DITHOR, and I've recently been considering switching to the full HOD curriculum for next year. I have a few questions and hope that some (or many!) of you can help me out with them.
1) In the fall of 2020 I will have a 3rd grader and a 5th grader (and a busy 4 year old!) My 3rd grader excels in writing, and is pretty stable on her own with reading, but prefers to do a lot of our work together. She gets frustrated easily if she doesn't understand something, and it helps if I'm there to explain something right away. My 5th grader reads at a much higher level, but struggles with his writing (legibility). I was originally looking at BHFHG for the will-be 3rd grader, and CTC for the will-be 5th grader, but as I was writing down all the books that are included, I started to get nervous and overwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of having all those living books, and having everything planned out for me. But how in the world would I have time to work 2 teacher guides, read aloud 2 different times, still work with each student individually with math and dictation and narration and, and, and....and still be a wife and keep a home? So, I looked again and found Preparing, which would match both their ages (3rd grader will be 8, 5th will be 10). This would allow me to buy just one set of the read aloud books and do a lot of the work together, which is appealing. My only thought is that the books might not be challenging enough for my 5th grader who reads at a higher level. I would definitely purchase the extension books for my older student, but I wonder if this would be enough? Does anyone have experience using this curriculum with a 10 year old who would probably be able to be in the next level up....and how did it go? Were the extension books enjoyable and the right amount of a challenge for that student? On the flip side, would it be doable/manageable to work 2 guides, and would that be the better thing to do?

2) I'm wondering what you have chosen to do with a student who is 8, say, and finishes the Preparing curriculum, and then turns 9 before she goes into her next school year. Do you do Preparing again, and read all the same books again? Do you choose new books to sub in (for example if you did the history read-alouds the first year, you'd choose the extension pack for the second year?) Or does that student move on to CTC? Or does it just depend on the child and their ability? Would they do the same English books again, and all that? Or...?

Thank for your help for this newbie who doesn't have tons of time to scroll through old posts to see the hundreds that have probably already asked these questions :lol:

In Christ,
Wren

StephanieU
Posts: 1544
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 7:10 pm

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by StephanieU » Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:25 am

One thing I love about HOD is how it includes independent work for kids starting in Preparing. If you look at the first unit (PDF you can download), you will notice that boxes are labeled I (independent), S (semi independent), and T (teacher led). We start off a guide at half speed, intending the first 1-2 units yo take two physical weeks each to complete. This gives me time to work with my child to understand the instructions and flow if the guide. Each unit is very similar in formal and flow, so they get into a groove quickly.

We are about to start 4 guides, and it definitely is doable. We do school from 8am-3pm, and often we are done early. And with Preparing and up only being 4 days pretty unit, we can get into field trips, outside classes, etc on that fifth day (it split in guide day over two physical days).
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

Carrie
Site Admin
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2007 8:39 pm

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by Carrie » Mon Jan 27, 2020 2:37 pm

Wren,

With what you've shared thus far, I think you could consider placing your 3rd and 5th grader together in Preparing. :D To see if that might work, we'll have to take a bit closer look. Since your daughter is a pretty good writer and reader, it seem she could possibly fit in Preparing. When you were thinking of placing her in Bigger, in what areas were you thinking she did not fit well in Preparing? In other words, which areas were you thinking might be a struggle for her in Preparing?

Next, as far as your son goes, how does he feel about writing in general? Are his writing issues mainly legibility, or does he actually struggle with volume and getting words down on the page? Can he write a paragraph or two on his own pretty readily? How much does he write for school each day now? Is it several times a day or less?

As far as independence goes, is your son a pretty independent student right now? Does he read his own history or science already, or not yet? Is he doing more of his school with your help with you reading aloud? How does he do with following written directions on his own?

If you get a chance to respond that will be great! Understanding these key areas will help us advise you better! :D

Blessings,
Carrie

my3sons
Posts: 10583
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by my3sons » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:42 pm

I was wondering these same things, Wren! If you get the chance to answer Carrie's questions, we'll all chime in with placement advice that's more tailored to your kiddos! We'll check back for your response!

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

WrenRank
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:35 pm

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by WrenRank » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:50 pm

Hello! Thanks for the reply both of you!

My daughter (3rd) might be challenged with and take a little time to adjust to reading on her own using DITHOR. Currently she reads aloud to me. She will be moving into reading on her own (I'm amazed at just 5 months of her reading aloud to me how much her reading has improved!) and doing the worksheets from the student book for that curriculum. She will also be moving from the higher level "reader" type books to shorter chapter books. She will probably need my help with the worksheets, at least at first. Dictation and Narration will also be new to her and her brother. I think that she could fit nicely into either of the programs. I guess the reason I first thought of putting her into Bigger was because she will newly be 8 just before we start school in the fall of 2020. She's currently 7, and I saw the 7-9 and thought, "she'll be smack in the middle of that!" Then, when I saw the amount of books I got discouraged, wondering how I'd be able to do 2 separate programs. Then I saw that both she and her brother would fit into Preparing, and thought it could work!

My son doesn't enjoy writing. Let me clarify, he doesn't enjoy "assigned" writing. It's like pulling teeth to get him to write a few, legible sentences. He will write a letter to his friend or design an entire comic book (which, to my standards isn't very neat, but at least he's doing it with enjoyment!), but when it comes to "school" writing he balks. He goes too fast and throws it away...then gets upset when I point out what was wrong and show him how to do it correctly. Yes, I'd say that he struggles with volume. He writes one word answers to questions in our current poetry notebooking curriculum, and on the worksheets for DITHOR. He currently does one page of poetry notebooking (this might be fill in the blank, drawing a picture, and we JUST started using dictation this week with the poems. Poetry Notebooking is 3 times a week), one sentence out of Fix It! Grammar and 2 pages of cursive practice out of Handwriting Without Tears daily, and one worksheet from DITHOR (supposed to be daily, but sometimes it's difficult to get him to do it without lots of encouragement!). He enjoys doing independent work, but he still needs some accountability to make sure that he's doing it well/correctly. He seems to follow written directions well, but rushes to do what the written instructions say and doesn't check his work. He reads and does the DITHOR worksheet on his own, grammar on his own, cursive on his own. As far as Science, History, Geography, and Bible, we do that all together. We read aloud from Story of the World while they color a printed page from the activity book, and then together we answer questions and mark up our maps. We are doing Geography: A literature Approach from Beautiful Feel Books, which I read aloud from and then the kids help me color and label/draw on the maps. (We also do map location memorization) Science is from Schoolhouseteachers.com, and we read aloud together and then do the corresponding activity/experiment together. Bible is something that we do together as a whole family - Dad included. As you can see, we do A LOT together.

I'd love for him to transition to more independent work, but as I'm writing this out I'm sort of realizing that maybe he's not ready for that. The CTC program looks sooooo intriguing and inviting, maybe I am jumping the gun because I'M looking forward to it! Ultimately, I want what is best for him. I want him to thrive and be challenged, but I don't want to throw him into the deep end if he's not ready.

I hope I answered all of your questions and gave a little better of an idea where we are with our schooling. Thanks for taking the time to read what I wrote and to help us figure out where we fit! The more I research this program, the more excited I get to start school next year! Oh wait, I still have a few months of THIS year left! :wink:

With Thanks,
Wren

my3sons
Posts: 10583
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by my3sons » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:48 pm

Thank you for answering Carrie's questions! From what you've shared, it seems like your daughter probably places in Bigger Hearts (BHFHG), and your son probably places in Preparing Hearts (PHFHG). Though Preparing Hearts could be quite challenging for your daughter, I understand your desire to combine the two if possible. Because of this, it may work to try the two combined first, and then drop your daughter down to Bigger Hearts if Preparing proves itself to be too much for her.

Your daughter may find the "I" independent reading/assignments for Science and for Independent History Study a challenge at first, as well as oral narrations, dictation, and possibly notebooking. Written narrations are guided and begin with 1-3 sentences, so she will probably be fine with those. If she has not had at least one year of formal cursive yet, you can have her do Cheerful Cursive or Italic D, one page a day. When the PHFHG plans say for her to write in cursive, she will ignore that and instead write in print, as she should do the cursive workbook this year instead.

Your son will benefit from the "I" independent work in PHFHG, and as he is entering 5th grade, it will be especially important for him to do the intended "I" things independently, though it might be kind of tempting to have him read aloud these "I" things to your daughter. He will need to read these silently in his head independently. As you've shared you've been doing these subjects as read-alouds all together more, this will add some challenge and growth for your son (which I think he is ready for), as well as your daughter (which I'm not sure she is ready for, but you will know better). The Extensions add independent higher level history readings/follow-up assignments and have their own schedule he would follow in the PHFHG Appendix. They are for 11 and 12 yo dc usually, but as he is a good strong reader, you could definitely have him do these and just have your dd do the Independent History readers. He could still do the Draw and Write portion of the Independent History Box assignments, if you would like. It might be good for them to be separate in this area anyway.

As you ponder whether to try them together or not, maybe this past post that describes the amount of writing in each of these guides may be helpful...
Amount of writing in Bigger vs. PHFHG:
http://www.heartofdakota.com/board3/vie ... f=6&t=3602

If you decide combining would just be too much for dd and you choose to start with them in separate guides, you could have your dd begin half-speed in Bigger Hearts, as she is just turning 8 yo and is more in the middle of the target age range. Your focus could then be on getting your son to know how to do each part of his PHFHG guide well, with a focus on teaching independence more. Instead of reading his extension package, he could read his Reading About History books or his Basic Package RA books independently.

In answer to your question about what your dd would do if she finished PHFHG and turned 9 yo prior to the start of next school year, she would just move on to CTC. This is assuming she was able to do all that the PHFHG guide asked her to do in regard to reading, writing, independent work, etc. If that was not the case, she could at that point drop back to BHFHG and your son could just move on to CTC. She might then repeat PHFHG eventually, but if she'd not been able to do it all the first time around, the repeat might be good anyway. Grammar books are not repeated, but rather each would just move up to the next level; same with dictation and math. There are multiple levels of each in every HOD guide to accommodate different students' levels.

So, you probably have two good options here! One, try combining in PHFHG, or two, start your dd half-speed in BHFHG and your ds full-speed in PHFHG. Or, maybe someone else or you may have another idea! Be sure to come back to share your thoughts, comments, or further questions! This is just a dialogue of trying to figure out what will be best for you and your kiddos!!!

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

WrenRank
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:35 pm

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by WrenRank » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:06 pm

Hi Julie!

I’m so pleased with and thankful for your lengthy and thought out reply. I think that you might be right about my daughter needing to be in Bigger Hearts. She is a bright girl and picks up on things quickly, but I don’t want her to feel too weighed down by something like might be a little over her head. She’s on her 3rd cursive book from HWOT, does that count as formal cursive education? (About a year and half of it) She loves cursive, so I think she’d do ok and have fun with that portion. Can I ask what you mean by half speed? Just doing a few of the boxes a day instead of all of them?

I like the idea of having my son get used to doing more things independently. I think that he will like it, too.

I like this exchanging of ideas! It is so helpful.

Thanks again,
Wren

WrenRank
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:35 pm

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by WrenRank » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:12 pm

I read that post comparing the amount of writing in the 2 programs. I think that you correct that my daughter would do better in Bigger, and my son in Preparing. He truly needs some
preparation! 😃

my3sons
Posts: 10583
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by my3sons » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:54 pm

I do think half-speed BHFHG for your dd and full-speed PHFHG for your son sounds like a good placement! I enjoyed doing BHFHG half-speed with my youngest son years' back. I did a post on the board about it that I will link below. I enjoyed that pacing so much! Other moms responded with their half-speed schedules for other guides within this thread as well. If you want to do full-speed LA and math with your dd (which I did not do with my son), the link to Carrie's PHFHG half-speed plan within this thread might be good to use as a reference for planning your half-speed BHFHG with daily LA and math.

How does half-speed look in your home?
http://www.heartofdakota.com/board3/vie ... 232#p41232

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

my3sons
Posts: 10583
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by my3sons » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:55 pm

WrenRank wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:12 pm
I read that post comparing the amount of writing in the 2 programs. I think that you correct that my daughter would do better in Bigger, and my son in Preparing. He truly needs some
preparation! 😃
Oh good! I'm so glad you found that post to be helpful!
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

WrenRank
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:35 pm

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by WrenRank » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:32 pm

Thank you for the response, and also for the link with ideas for half speed. That makes sense! I’m getting a much clearer picture of how this curriculum goes from reading others’ experiences. Very grateful to have found ya’ll! (Or ‘Yinz’ as they say in western PA!)

With gratitude,
Wren

my3sons
Posts: 10583
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2007 7:08 pm
Location: South Dakota

Re: How do you juggle multiple levels? And more Q's from a newbie.

Post by my3sons » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:57 pm

You are welcome, and I am glad the half-speed post can be of assistance! There is much leeway in how you approach half-speed, so have fun planning yours - God bless 'Yinz'! :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

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