Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beyond Little Hearts For His Glory - Aaron

Aaron is almost half way through the 2nd grade. We are doing Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory .  (written for ages 6-8 years old, so Aaron falls into early to mid range of the guide) The History spine is American History. He does 2-3 days worth of Science each week, and Art and Geography once per week.  He does History,Math, English, Spelling, Copywork, Poetry, Reading and Bible daily.
Aaron is finishing up Singapore Math 2A and is about to start Singapore Math 2B. He has been learning multiplication and division and he has picked it up with such great ease that it amazes me. He will tell you that he does not like math, and I am certain that is true ... however, he's quite good at it.
(I am convinced that what he doesn't like about it is that he actually has to think a little bit to get the right answer and Aaron is so used to everything coming easily to him that any work that he has to put into it frustrates him ... yep, he's a little lazy)
  Another reason that I love Heart of Dakota is that the guides are written for an age range not for a grade level, which means that it can be tailored specifically to meet the child where he is - and for Aaron, I've had to beef it up. I added Grade 2 English Rod and Staff, and Drawn into the Heart of Reading(Level 2/3 for the independent reader). The Beyond Little Hearts guide does provide light grammar lessons 1 day per week. I did all of those plans with Aaron last year when I was taking him through the previous guide

Aaron has absolutely soared with his reading this year. His reading level is off the charts for an early 7 year old. I've had to choose level 4/5 books for him to read while doing the level 2/3 written work from the Reading curriculum. Level 2/3 books are far too easy for him. I am constantly buying books for him to read. . . I have a hard time keeping up with the demand. I even had to make a rule that he can only read 1 chapter a day for his Drawn into the Heart of Reading (DITHOR) book. (because if he reads the whole book in one sitting ... like he did one day a couple months back ... he's not able to do a lot of the written work that goes a long with it that require him to make predictions, etc.You can't really predict if you have already read the entire book.) When he read an entire DITHOR book in one sitting, I made the 1 chapter a day rule and began selecting more difficult books. DITHOR is another excellent program that you can tailor exactly for the child. I teach the DITHOR lessons to both Martin and Aaron at the same time ... and give them assignments for their specific levels.
Aaron absolutely loves English. We do most of it orally, with a little bit of written work. He has a spelling list that he works on each day and he does a spelling test at the end of the week. He will begin studied dictation next year.
Copywork is handwriting. Aaron copies scripture for copywork. He will copy his school memory verse on Monday, and the other days of the week, he copies memory verses from Awana. (The Beyond guide book suggests copying excerpts from the Poem that he studies each week ... I decided that I would prefer that he copy scripture verses that he is memorizing instead.)
His handwriting has improved this year by leaps and bounds, and can even say that his copy work is excellent this year!
The read alouds that we have been reading this year do not correspond with History, however, they cover the many genre's of literature. The read aloud is the same genre he happens to be working on in DITHOR. 
I love how exciting learning is in our home. I am thankful that we have found such a rich and rewarding curriculum!
I am already in hunt and gather mode for our next school year! 


  1. Sounds like he is doing great! And I love that their copywork is Scripture! So much better to be memorizing that than random poems!

  2. I'm using LHFHG for kindergarten and I'm in Wake Forest NC - I happened to see on one of your other entries you shop at the Grain Mill. It's nice to 'meet' somebody else local using HOD! I would love to hear your thoughts on using Beyond for 1st grade, since that's where we'll be at in the fall.

    1. Jennifer, wow, what a small world! My goal is to have the children use Beyond in 2nd grade, so that they will use a guide per year from that point on.
      I am certain that my 2nd grader would have been able to handle Beyond as a 1st grader. It's Bigger that I feel pretty sure he wouldn't have been ready for as a 2nd grader. It's not the content that would have been a problem - it's the note booking and extra writing involved in Bigger my son would have struggled with. I absolutely love the idea that some ladies have suggested on the HOD board about only doing 4 days per week - but still stopping after doing 34 weeks worth. Then start where you left off in Beyond, finish Beyond, then start Bigger still only doing 4 days a week. This will get them into Bigger later ... and even more importantly get them to Preparing later. I'm not kidding you - Preparing is a really intense guide. It is absolutely amazing and wonderful - but it is a lot of work. I just don't see how my 3rd grader would have been ready for all of the written work involved. (maybe it's because I have boys.)
      With all that said, though, I am actually planning to have my youngest daughter hit the guides on the younger end of the age range - so I may be doing a little modifying to make it work. I don't like the idea of modifying - because the guides are so incredibly rich as written. We should get together sometime!

    2. Jennifer, Just thought I'd chime in! I'm using beyond with my 1st grader and it has been wonderful! We live in Durham, so we're nearly neighbors! My daughter has excelled with Beyond and I've had to add in some extras to challenge in areas like spelling and reading. She's not ready for formal literature teaching, but way beyond the emerging readers level wise. I have also modified our week to 4 days, but I get the entire 5 days completed. I have a 4 year old learning to read and doing preschool math and handwriting and a 2 year old, well just being 2! We start our school day around 8, take a short break at 9:30 for a snack and are usually done between 10 and 10:30. The only part of school that isn't easy for her is math. It isn't that she can't do it, but it's not as easy as other subjects, so I've just spent more time practicing with her on that.

      I'm already to go with Bigger in the Fall for 2nd grade and if we need to slow down we will, but after spending some time reviewing the guide I don't really think I'll need to. Feel free to ask me any other questions!

    3. Sorry! I should have left my e-mail so you could ask questions :) lissie . jo @ nc . rr . com (leave out spaces)

    4. Thanks for replying - I love to hear how HOD is working for others! I've always heard that it is more typical for girls to handle writing better than boys. My son who is doing 2nd grade this year in Beyond would have been able to handle all the work in Beyond as a 1st grader too. I have thought several times this year that he could even handle Preparing with his older brother ... and definitely could handle Bigger ... it's just the notebooking and writing that keeps me from wanting to go there.
      I love how flexible HOD is and how it can meet the children right where they are. I love how easy it is to beef it up if necessary or bring it down a couple of notches.
      Next year, when I put Aaron in Bigger, I plan on having him read all the extension readers. He is such an advanced reader that I know he will be ready for those books in addition to the normal history reading scheduled in the guide!

  3. Sigh...I've heard about the Bigger and Preparing concerns as well, mostly through the HOD yahoo group I subscribe to. My plan though is to go ahead with Beyond for 1st, and then evaluate whether to do Bigger at a slower pace, or plan to have a fill-in year in between. I'm pretty interested in Confessions of a Homeschooler's Expedition Earth, which is a year's worth of world geography, and I think it would make a great year long unit study (we'd continue with our math and LA, which should be R+S at that point, and pick back up when we got back to HOD according to wherever we fell. But yes, it would be fun to get to get together :) I'm going to give you my email (take out spaces) JenniferSpencer2002 @ gmail.com if you ever do! It's so fun to hear how HOD works for different people. I want to continue making it work for us, that's why I'm looking for tips on 1st grade.