Bigger Vs. Preparing for 4th grade

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Bigger Vs. Preparing for 4th grade

Post by LivinNandByHim » Sun May 04, 2014 3:16 am

After looking at placement chart, I'm still uncertain of which guide to use. We will be finishing Beyond at the end of July. She Will be halfway thru RS 3. Will have completed Cheerful Cursive. Can read independently at 2nd to 3rd grade level. Oral narrations are detailed. Writing and spelling are areas of weakness. We will be doing a Co op once a week where she will take a grammar / writing class (among other classes. This is an important day for us mainly because of social interaction and interaction with other adults. And hopefully will take some teaching weight off me as I Work 3 Nights Per week.) I know Bigger is meaty and has a great character study. But I'm really leaning toward challenging her a bit more with Preparing maybe half speed at first --- higher dictation, working toward independence, and simplicity for me of following a guide as is within the 4 days we will have left. I will have a son coming from CTC, starting RTR and hoping we can continue making progress with his independent work. Which means less strain on mom. My concern is that there will be key skills in Bigger that we may be missing and how best to consolidate the material into 4 days. Comments and insight from the marvelous ladies here appreciated.

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Re: Bigger Vs. Preparing for 4th grade

Post by Gwenny » Sun May 04, 2014 6:14 am

I have a couple of thoughts and a couple of questions. :)
From what you have said, it seems that Preparing would be difficult. Bigger is a big step up from Beyond in writing and then Preparing is a further big jump from there. It would be better to go full speed with Bigger and her grow and work toward some independence in Bigger as the year goes on. I'm not sure she could get any independence in Preparing with her writing and reading skills at the level they are. I think the load of your teaching would continue to be greater to put someone in a guide that they aren't prepared to do. My daughter just turned 12 and is finishing Preparing the end of the month. It has been marvelous for her and for me because she could do most of it independently, it was a challenge in some areas just because she was learning new skills, but she loved it and could do it. I needed her to be more independent because of other children needing me more and CtC would've been too hard, even though it would technically have been for her age/grade. Now she is totally prepared for CtC.

Preparing takes the child 4-4.5 hours to do and I believe that Bigger is 2.5-3 hours if I remember correctly. I wouldn't worry about cramming Bigger into 4 days, just do the next day the next day that you do school. Each unit does not have to be completed in one week. Once you get into the guide and things are moving along, if she is ready for more on a day, you can ask then for ideas to work it into 5 days.

Now my questions: how old is she? has she already done the dictation that is in Bigger? has you started DITHR?
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Re: Bigger Vs. Preparing for 4th grade

Post by MelInKansas » Sun May 04, 2014 6:25 am

I totally agree. Just because she is strong in Beyond does not mean she can skip Bigger and go to Preparing easily. I think you will find the jump in skills to be way too much and too stressful with all the other things you have going on. We do a co op once a week and for my kids in 5 day/week guides we just do 4 days of it each week. To fit more in would be way too much. Now, this does make it very difficult to finish a guide in a school year, so you will either have to go through the summer to finish the guide in a calendar year, or just realize it will take you 1 year and 1 quarter to finish it. Or school on Saturday. Day 5 is always an easier day so I would consider that a good option also.

If the history and science are not challenging enough you could add extensions that she could do on her own. You will want the incremental growth in writing that will come in Bigger Hearts. They start notebooking, and all of the writing is copying so they are exposed to proper spelling and grammar without having to write on their own. Preparing they do written narrations and poetry composition, along with notebooking. You could have her do some of the notebooking in cursive since she has already completed that. Plus with the work of the co op class, I think Bigger would work better for the amount of work she has to do on the other days.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

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Re: Bigger Vs. Preparing for 4th grade

Post by Tidbits of Learning » Sun May 04, 2014 9:56 am

Have you looked at the placement chart recently? If you can check off as much on Preparing as Bigger, then I don't think it would be too hard to switch especially since you are taking a writing/grammar class outside of HOD. The thing is though if you are trying to get to independence quicker, then skipping a guide may not achieve your goal. You may be required more of your student if you skip a guide. I would really look at the sample first week for both Bigger and Preparing and go through the placement guide and see if your student could fit in Preparing as well as Bigger and then decide.
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Re: Bigger Vs. Preparing for 4th grade

Post by Nealewill » Sun May 04, 2014 10:37 am

I agree with Tidbits about checking the placement chart. I would verify that your child fits solidly in Preparing before skipping Bigger. Bigger is very similar to Preparing but it is a little bit less writing. I think since you mentioned that your dd wasn't a strong writer, she would probably be very frustrated with Preparing. I am finishing Preparing now with my oldest and I think the workload has almost doubled in volume at the end as it was in the beginning of the year. And that is okay. Next year she will be moving on to CTC and she needs this increase in workload. As you probably have already noticed, each level with HOD increases in volume. So even if your dd finishes next year and she wasn't really ready for the volume, the following year could be just daunting when she moves to CTC and then R2R. Also with the books in Preparing, some are written to a 4th grade reading level but some may be written to a 6th grade reading level. It just depends on the book.

If she places in Bigger, you could definitely modify it a little bit to make it more independent. As she moves along, you could easily assign things to be done independently. By the end of Bigger, I plan to have my son (next year) reading all of the science on his own. I plan that he could probably read some of the history if he wanted to alone as well. Also, by the end he should be able to complete all of the notebooking activities in Bigger alone along with looking vocab up alone and looking up bible verses and copying those alone. There is a lot going on in Bigger that can challenge your dd. But you could probably give her the work to complete and you only spend about 2 hours max a day working with her on her work. With preparing, you will be spending 1.5 hours with her a day.

It is great once they get to Preparing because they can take on some of the independence. But if she (or any child) is not properly placed, you will probably spend more time trying to make Preparing work for you even at half speed than you would completing Bigger at full speed.

As for the 5 days a week - you could definitely do stuff on Saturday if you wished. Or (and please not haters as this is JMHO) aim to complete 80% of the guide by the end of the year. This way she would have developed the skills that you need her to develop before moving into Preparing. If she is ready for Preparing by the following year, then you start Preparing and don't finish he last 5 units or so. But if she still needs some remedial help, then finish Bigger before moving into Preparing. That is just another thought.

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Re: Bigger Vs. Preparing for 4th grade

Post by MomtoJGJE » Sun May 04, 2014 11:55 am

In my experience each guide IS easy for them in the last part. Like the last 1/4-1/3. It does not mean (again, just my experience) that the child is ready to SKIP the next guide, but that they are READY for the next guide.

With that said, Bigger is pretty independent for my kids.... at least by the last half of the guide. Generally I have them pick either science or history (both if they choose) for them to read. I teach the math and then they go work the problems. They do cursive/copy work by themselves. Notebooking and experiments we go over what they are supposed to do and they do it. They read the poem and Bible section and we do the discussion together. Oh and they do vocabulary independently.

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