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HOD Bigger or Preparing?

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Hello :)

DD will be 8 yrs old. She is a very advanced reader & we have been using Beyond this year for Bible, History, Poetry & Storytime.  

We found lots of Beyond quite basic and simple for her - I made her write up an answer each day for Bible questions and added in loads of books. She reads at a level and pace of like a Famous Five Book a day! 


Bigger looks like there are loads of good reading books and I have looked at SL Core D and will take books from there and add in too, just to keep up with her reading. 


I would like more writing activities to go with the storytime and history. So I am wondering whether Bigger may be too simple for her. Each day I get her to do 1-2 pages of creative writing (using Creative Expression from SL's LArts). So she can easily write, and we would use either Bigger or Preparing in 2014, so she has 6 months to go, she will be 8 next year.


To beef it up I was considering buying SL's Core D and sort of using both - I like the background teacher info in SL, and the LArts will be beneficial too. 


I do not use DITHR, I feel alot of the activities are ok but not meat enough when it comes to teaching real writing skills and comprehension skills. I will use Bob Jones Press for Reading as a subject (using CLE at the moment).


My only concern with Preparing is there just doesn't seem to be as readily available extra books to read, not the extension package which would be too advanced but just MORE books LOL. SL doesn't have a curriculum that covers world history and loads of other books at this same level (much younger and much older levels available there). 


What are other people's suggestions?

Thanks heaps


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I think I'm kinda confused is she finished with Beyond or still using it? Where does she place according to the HOD placement chart? I think you could go either way but Bigger really is quite a bit more involved than Beyond. With Bigger you start history and science notebooking, daily science readings, more in depth poetry study, etc. There really isn't any creative writing with Bigger, so you would have to add that if you wanted it. Has she done R&S English 2? You could easily sub out R&S 2 for 3 if she needed that but there is only one level of dictation in the back of Bigger. I think Bigger is a great guide for an 8 year old and would make for a nice full day for her especially if you are adding in books from Sonlight. :)

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We did Beyond and Bigger. I felt the same way as you when we finished Beyond. It was really easy for my son. That being said, I do personally feel like Beyond is a great 1st grade program and Bigger is a great 3rd grade program. I did Bigger with my son for 2nd grade. He tends to work slightly advanced and looking back, I wish we had done Bigger this coming year for 3rd, especially now that I have Preparing. Yeah, we muddled through Bigger last year, but I have decided not to attempt Preparing this year for 3rd, and I know CtC would be even tougher next year. The guides seem to progress quite a bit each year. I did feel like there was too big of a gap between Beyond and Bigger, though, and now we're in a bit of a gap year.


ETA: Oh, all that to say, my suggestion is Bigger. :)

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Bigger. It isn't suggested to put a 7 yr old in Preparing, or shall I say, a very new 8 yr old, even though they are advanced. My son is the same age and while his abilities are great, there's no way he would handle the in depth parts of Preparing. It's not just in the work, it goes beyond being able to write. HOD encourages in depth thinking skills, and I've found even in Beyond, there are things that he may not have understood as well had we done it sooner. I even thought about continuing in Beyond this fall even though he's way above it, however, I decided against it, because he truly is ready for Bigger. There is quite a bit of work in Bigger, and it doesn't need any "beefing up" unless you add creative writing, which is something we will be doing!


We will be using Bigger as a "2nd Grade" program, but will either stretch it out, or take a year off of HOD and then come back to Preparing for 4th.

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I am going to reply a bit differently and ask do you plan to continue HOD on up or do you just want this time period right now and Sonlight doesn't offer for her age/range?  If you are not planning to continue on through HOD and she already has all the skills for Preparing, then I would go with Preparing.  Bigger does not have a lot of free writing or writing from your own thoughts.  The notebooking pages are very scripted in Bigger.  So if you are just using bits and pieces of it and felt Beyond was really basic, then I don't think Bigger will give you a lot more plus it is another year of American History and I see you are adding in Australian history this year.  I would probably suggest doing Preparing unless you plan to stick out HOD all the way through.

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Thanks for the great replies!

WE are living in Australia & have to do a little Aussie history each year - I normally take a couple of weeks to do this.


Currently we are doing Beyond (for added interest in American History), and reading loads of extra historical fiction. 

DD and I both loved the Little House books, and they are what sparked our interest in USA history. 


We start our new school year in 2014 January. DD will be 8 yrs old then. 3rd Grade. 

For us we use the guides purely for BIble and the history only. I like that SL gives the teacher, me, alot more background information - I so need this! But their guides are all over the place and far too much stop starting to follow completely. I just pull the good stuff, like the books and questions and i LOVE their Creative Expression. I think that SL Core D, Creative Exp will have some activities based on US History (fingers crossed). 


Tibits of Learning - could you explain what you mean about the notebooking pages being very scripted? Is it possible somewhere to see what this looks like, in comparison to what the Preparing ones look like?


The main reason we have stuck with USA History at her age level is that I can find countless amounts of recommended (in both SL and HOD) historical fiction books that DD can read in relation to the topics. In a perfect world I would love writing activities to match. I am not super good at coming up with ideas myself for her to write about that would match the right age level and skills appropriateness. 


My biggest concern with Preparing is that there just doesn't seem to be as many historical fiction books available at her level for world history. (SL does world history later on and I can't see MFW's book basket for ideas). Maybe someone knows if I am wrong and just not looking in the right places?


I have also a concern with Bigger that another reviewer said, that it was not really sequentially written and the added books were thrown in? Can someone confirm this?


Thanks so much


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The notebook pages are scripted in Bigger as in they are not your child's thoughts.  It pretty much tells your child to draw this or that and copy a Bible verse or sentence on the notebooking in Bigger.  I think it begins teaching guided written narration in Preparing with a starter sentence.  But for Bigger, it tells you exactly what to write.  Bigger does work on oral narrations more but the written notebooking is scripted.  You can go to HOD's forum and go through the weekly reviews and look at kids doing Bigger....all their work will be exactly the same on the notebooking as they are told what to write and draw.  I do agree that the extensions are just more books not necessarily delving deeper into the topics.  If you are looking for more in-depth questions and discussions as your child progresses upward....I am not sure HOD really lends itself well to that in the long run as history progressively becomes independent.  I would think about that when looking at what you wish to do for the future.  


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