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HOD users--questions!


Jeeves
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So, in my seemingly never-ending search for open and go curriculum, I have finally stumbled upon HOD.  It seems to be just what I'm looking for (someone else's lesson plans!).  Most of my current curriculum is open and go already (Singapore and TT, AAS, etc.), but the things that aren't easily open and go, just doesn't get done very well (e.g. history, science, Bible).  This looks like it will solve those problems (at least that's my hope!).

 

I have some questions regarding placement and LA.  First, the LA portions: 

 

We really like AAS and it looks like HOD uses studied dictation for spelling.  Is it overkill to use AAS? 

 

My rising 8th grader is currently doing WWS (we're taking two years to do it) and, while it is a struggle for him, it has been good for him and I would like to keep using it. Has anyone else done this or used another writing program with it?  Is it a good idea?

 

And I'm going to be doing Teaching the Classics with my two older children with another family this coming year.  Is there a problem not doing DITHOR?

 

Also, am I sabotaging my efforts to have everything in one place with someone else's lesson plans by doing the LA separately?

 

My other question is with placement.  I was thinking I would put my rising 2nd and rising 3rd grader in Bigger, my rising 6th grader in Resurrection to Reformation, and my 8th grader in Revival to Revolution.  Do you think I can run 3 guides at once?  

 

In know this is a lot of questions, but any advice you all have, I'd appreciate!  Thanks for any input!

Jacey 

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So, in my seemingly never-ending search for open and go curriculum, I have finally stumbled upon HOD. It seems to be just what I'm looking for (someone else's lesson plans!). Most of my current curriculum is open and go already (Singapore and TT, AAS, etc.), but the things that aren't easily open and go, just doesn't get done very well (e.g. history, science, Bible). This looks like it will solve those problems (at least that's my hope!).

 

I have some questions regarding placement and LA. First, the LA portions:

 

We really like AAS and it looks like HOD uses studied dictation for spelling. Is it overkill to use AAS?

You can do both. I found that after doing both for a while that I actually preferred the prepared dictation. :) and I feel like it has helped my kids with their spelling and some obvious grammar...punctuation, capital letters, etc.

 

My rising 8th grader is currently doing WWS (we're taking two years to do it) and, while it is a struggle for him, it has been good for him and I would like to keep using it. Has anyone else done this or used another writing program with it? Is it a good idea?

 

We use IEW instead of anything suggested in HOD. You can still use WWS instead of the HOD suggestions. Some ppl will tell you that u might miss something I the writing department, but I don't feel like we are missing anything. I'm ok with what we are using and it works!

 

And I'm going to be doing Teaching the Classics with my two older children with another family this coming year. Is there a problem not doing DITHOR?

 

No problem at all. DITHOR is similar to TTC. DITHOR is probably more gentle and has the child "savor" the book for 15 days. Read it slowly. We don't do all the assignments in DITHOR, but we do make sure to discuss all of the elects of a story. Similar to TTC. I'd say they could psossibly go hand I. Hand, but it might discourage your kids if you try to so both. TTC will definitely help YOU understand and be able to teach DITHOR.

 

Also, am I sabotaging my efforts to have everything in one place with someone else's lesson plans by doing the LA separately? Nope not at all. We don't do the LA suggestions or the math suggestions. So basically those boxes in the lessons plans remind us to do our math (MUS) and our LA (analytical grammar, IEW, dictation).

 

My other question is with placement. I was thinking I would put my rising 2nd and rising 3rd grader in Bigger, my rising 6th grader in Resurrection to Reformation, and my 8th grader in Revival to Revolution. Do you think I can run 3 guides at once?

 

Yes! It's not hard. The upper 2 guides u mentioned are largely independent. Once they get In The groove, it goes very smoothly. I'd suggest not to start all 3 guides at the same time. I kind of stagger my kids so I can really hell them know what is expected of them especially in the indecent boxes. U can read some week in review posts on my blog. Link in siggy. I am currently running 4 guides...bigger, CTC, RTR, and REV2REV. The CTC girl just started. REV2REV girl is almost finished. And RTR girl is on about unit 6 I think.

 

In know this is a lot of questions, but any advice you all have, I'd appreciate! Thanks for any input!

Jacey

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I'll second what Sew Happily said above.  We done many substitutions and additions in the years we've used HOD and have never had any problems.   

 

This year we're using R&S spelling in addition to the studied dictation in HOD. I'm sure that you could easily either use AAS or the dictation or both with no problem.  We've also substituted different writing programs over the years with no problems.  In fact, I think when writing is scheduled is always says "or use your own writing program".

 

I've never used DITHOR very consistently.  This year we are just reading books.  Next year I'm planning to use Lightning Literature for my seventh grader who will be doing Rev to Rev.  I'm not sure what I'll do with my younger kids.  We may just continue to read through Sonlight lists or use a bit of TTC.   The only caution I would use is to notice that in the older grades, DITHOR is only scheduled about three days a week.  I do try to keep that part in mind so I don't overload my kids by scheduling too much additional work so I usually try to stick to the three day a week schedule.

 

It's not hard to run multiple guides because of the independence that is worked into the HOD system.  I'm running four guides easily this year though I do usually end up modifying things a bit to make it easier.  Storytime in our house is usually done independently after about 4th grade (after the Preparing guide) just because I don't have time to work with my early readers otherwise.  We also tend to use the Bigger science independently most of the time.   My point is that you can adjust and tweak those assignments in HOD to make them work for your kids.

 

Best wishes as you make your decisions for next year.  I purchased Rev to Rev at our convention this week (that was a lot of books to carry to the car!) and am looking forward to starting to look through a new guide for next year.

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I can't really help with your questions since I only use one of their younger guides but wanted to mention checking out the HOD boards as well. It's very helpful.

 

 

I love the HOD forums but I will caution a bit about using them when you are contemplating substitutions. Most of the time, any suggestion that you may not use HOD exactly as written gets squelched pretty quickly over there in my experience.  There is a lot of good advice over there, but they don't always take kindly to suggestions of substitutions or modifications to the guides :)

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Thank you for the information!  I'll plan on the substitutions, then for the older children.  Do any of you use DITHOR for your younger children?  Would I need it/want it for my children in Bigger?

 

 

  I purchased Rev to Rev at our convention this week (that was a lot of books to carry to the car!) and am looking forward to starting to look through a new guide for next year.

 

So this brings up another question:  do you buy all the books needed and just have them on the shelf (my preferred option)?  Or do you get some of them from the library (my budget's preferred option)?  If you had to pick and choose which to purchase and which to borrow, how do you decide?  Looking at the lists, I have many on my shelf already, but not all of them, so I'd probably just search out used book sites and sales anyway.

 

 

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Yes! It's not hard. The upper 2 guides u mentioned are largely independent. Once they get In The groove, it goes very smoothly. I'd suggest not to start all 3 guides at the same time. I kind of stagger my kids so I can really hell them know what is expected of them especially in the indecent boxes. U can read some week in review posts on my blog. Link in siggy. I am currently running 4 guides...bigger, CTC, RTR, and REV2REV. The CTC girl just started. REV2REV girl is almost finished. And RTR girl is on about unit 6 I think.

 

 

I like the idea of staggering!  Of course, that means someone is going to get the short straw and have to start early next fall...that will not be pleasant.  sigh.

 

I liked your review of the science on your blog--makes me excited to have him do it!  We're not an overly science-y family, but they like it.  I just don't like to teach it.  This might be just thing!

 

I have noticed on the message board at HOD that some people take 2 years to do Bigger. What has been your experience? 

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I love the HOD forums but I will caution a bit about using them when you are contemplating substitutions. Most of the time, any suggestion that you may not use HOD exactly as written gets squelched pretty quickly over there in my experience. There is a lot of good advice over there, but they don't always take kindly to suggestions of substitutions or modifications to the guides :)

Yes, I do agree but I was thinking more along the lines of placement help. :-) I should have been more specific.

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Thank you for the information!  I'll plan on the substitutions, then for the older children.  Do any of you use DITHOR for your younger children?  Would I need it/want it for my children in Bigger?

 

 

 

So this brings up another question:  do you buy all the books needed and just have them on the shelf (my preferred option)?  Or do you get some of them from the library (my budget's preferred option)?  If you had to pick and choose which to purchase and which to borrow, how do you decide?  Looking at the lists, I have many on my shelf already, but not all of them, so I'd probably just search out used book sites and sales anyway.

 

I buy all the books mainly because I have lots of kids that will be going through the guides.  If I was going to borrow books, the easiest to borrow would be the story time box titles because they are generally read all at once.  Some of the history spines are not read all in one chunk of time (divided throughout the year).  You may be able to borrow some of the science books.

 

I always list out all of the books and resources in each guide in a spreadsheet form and then search individually for prices, comparing Amazon new, Amazon used (at least "good" condition), HOD, and Rainbowresource.  Last year I pieced together the Res to Ref package because I owned many of the books already.  This year, because I owned only two of the Rev to Rev books it was more cost effective to just purchase the package from HOD - even buying used was only going to save me about $50-75. 

 

One thing to keep in mind when you are pricing things out, if you buy packages from HOD they do allow some substitutions (maybe 2 or 3) per guide for books you already own.  I was able to do this with the two books I already owned in Rev to Rev and replaced them with a consumable I needed for next year for Res to Ref.

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Thanks!  That's helpful!

 

I really WANT all my children to go through it (which would make more sense to get the books), but it's a question of whether it will work for us!  I tend to not be able to tell until we try it and have had some dismal failures.  Tell me it will work! :)  (I'm in the camp right now that whatever gets done WORKS! ;) )

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I noticed you were happy to find HOD because someone else wrote the lesson plans. I felt that way too at first. Just be certain that you LIKE what's in those boxes though. Really look at the samples. I quickly found out that HOD wasn't going to work because I didn't feel the activities were what I needed/wanted them to be. I only used LHFHG but quickly knew that it was a bust.

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One more question--is it too difficult to combine my 2nd and 3rd grader in Bigger?  I was going to do Beyond with my 2nd grader, but then someone on the HOD message board suggested that that would put them in Bigger and Preparing the following year, which might be difficult because of the teacher intensive nature of these two guides.  Anyone have an opinion on that?

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One more question--is it too difficult to combine my 2nd and 3rd grader in Bigger?  I was going to do Beyond with my 2nd grader, but then someone on the HOD message board suggested that that would put them in Bigger and Preparing the following year, which might be difficult because of the teacher intensive nature of these two guides.  Anyone have an opinion on that?

 

I hope you don't mind that I keep jumping in on this thread :)

 

I've done Preparing with two kids now and I will not let my kids hit it before fourth grade.  I know that every kid is different, but unless you have an advanced, I'd even say very advanced, younger child, I wouldn't do it.  The problem becomes that you lose the independence that is built into the more advanced guides if you push a younger child up into the guide.

 

 

As far as it being difficult to run Beyond with Bigger, that one's pretty easy, but I tend to skip a lot of the more hands-on activities in Beyond because my kids don't necessarily like them and sometimes they seem a bit below grade level for my kids.  For me, it's much easier to run two guides that really meet the individual kids needs rather than trying to modify one to fit two kids.

 

I've run Bigger and Preparing at the same time (or overlapping) twice now and it's not impossible though you may have to modify it a bit to make it work in your house - and don't be afraid of doing that.  I really think that one of the biggest dangers of HOD is that people see that nice neat schedule and want to do it exactly as written.  I'm a box checker by nature but have finally given myself permission to use HOD as I need to in order for it to work for my family. 

 

Since in the Beyond and Bigger guides the story time box isn't tied to the history, we usually only do one of the story time books rather than two.  Also, I might consider combining the two kids using those guides to the same Bible (using either one of the guides) rather than running both Bible boxes.  We use a completely separate Bible program so those boxes get ignored in our day which also changes the flow a bit in our family.

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We really like AAS and it looks like HOD uses studied dictation for spelling.  Is it overkill to use AAS? 

 

My rising 8th grader is currently doing WWS (we're taking two years to do it) and, while it is a struggle for him, it has been good for him and I would like to keep using it. Has anyone else done this or used another writing program with it?  Is it a good idea?

 

And I'm going to be doing Teaching the Classics with my two older children with another family this coming year.  Is there a problem not doing DITHOR?

 

Also, am I sabotaging my efforts to have everything in one place with someone else's lesson plans by doing the LA separately?

 

My other question is with placement.  I was thinking I would put my rising 2nd and rising 3rd grader in Bigger, my rising 6th grader in Resurrection to Reformation, and my 8th grader in Revival to Revolution.  Do you think I can run 3 guides at once?  

 

In know this is a lot of questions, but any advice you all have, I'd appreciate!  Thanks for any input!

Jacey 

 

Since the dictation comes built into the program, I would just give it a shot adding it in. If it seems like too much, drop it. You won't lose anything doing that. 

 

If you have a writing program you like, stick with it. HOD kinda jumps around in this regard, using all sorts of different programs every year. I would go with what is already working for you. 

 

Hardly anyone does DITHOR, lol. 

 

No, you are not sabotaging your efforts. HOD has a lot to offer with everything else. We have used HOD for 5 years and always do our own L/A and Math. 

 

I wouldn't run three guides unless you plan to have the older ones work independently. I do this but they worked their way into it. Next year I am making a "teacher checklist" that gives me a quick rundown what the older kids are doing everyday so I can check up on them without digging through the TM. It lists their independent work that I can check if I want and also stuff we should do together. It looks like this: 

 

 

post-1028-0-94779900-1398728901_thumb.jpg

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I would stretch Bigger out to take two years with your 2nd and 3rd grader so that you hit Preparing in 4th like Jan in OH mentioned. My dd10 is doing Preparing this year for 4th grade and it is a perfect fit. 

 

I started my dd with Bigger in 2nd grade and while she could handle the work load I wish I'd taken two years to do it if for no other reason than it is a very teacher intensive guide and by spreading it out for two years it would have taken a lot of the pressure off of me. 

 

To address some of your other questions:

 

1) We use our own math and LA. It's not been a problem. 

 

2) I buy books used from Amazon and use the library for books that will only be used for a week or two in the program. Doing it this way I was able to buy Preparing for half price of what it costs from HOD. I also make a spread sheet similar to what Jan talked about to make sure that my deal is a really good one. Also be sure and factor shipping into the cost since that can really add up.

 

3) I don't use DITHOR. I don't like it. We do read the books though.

 

HTH

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I hope you don't mind that I keep jumping in on this thread :)

 

I've done Preparing with two kids now and I will not let my kids hit it before fourth grade.  I know that every kid is different, but unless you have an advanced, I'd even say very advanced, younger child, I wouldn't do it.  The problem becomes that you lose the independence that is built into the more advanced guides if you push a younger child up into the guide.

 

 

As far as it being difficult to run Beyond with Bigger, that one's pretty easy, but I tend to skip a lot of the more hands-on activities in Beyond because my kids don't necessarily like them and sometimes they seem a bit below grade level for my kids.  For me, it's much easier to run two guides that really meet the individual kids needs rather than trying to modify one to fit two kids.

 

I've run Bigger and Preparing at the same time (or overlapping) twice now and it's not impossible though you may have to modify it a bit to make it work in your house - and don't be afraid of doing that.  I really think that one of the biggest dangers of HOD is that people see that nice neat schedule and want to do it exactly as written.  I'm a box checker by nature but have finally given myself permission to use HOD as I need to in order for it to work for my family. 

 

Since in the Beyond and Bigger guides the story time box isn't tied to the history, we usually only do one of the story time books rather than two.  Also, I might consider combining the two kids using those guides to the same Bible (using either one of the guides) rather than running both Bible boxes.  We use a completely separate Bible program so those boxes get ignored in our day which also changes the flow a bit in our family.

 

I love it that you keep jumping in here!  Your experience and advice are great! 

 

So I have a question for you and Chelli:  I'm actually going to have a 2nd and 3rd grader next year (7 and 8-going-on-9).  It sounds like from both of you, that I should go back to considering doing Beyond with the 2nd grader and keep the 3rd grader in Bigger by himself, so that he can get through it in a year and be ready for Preparing in 4th?

 

Or am I just overthinking this?

 

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Since the dictation comes built into the program, I would just give it a shot adding it in. If it seems like too much, drop it. You won't lose anything doing that. 

 

If you have a writing program you like, stick with it. HOD kinda jumps around in this regard, using all sorts of different programs every year. I would go with what is already working for you. 

 

Hardly anyone does DITHOR, lol. 

 

No, you are not sabotaging your efforts. HOD has a lot to offer with everything else. We have used HOD for 5 years and always do our own L/A and Math. 

 

I wouldn't run three guides unless you plan to have the older ones work independently. I do this but they worked their way into it. Next year I am making a "teacher checklist" that gives me a quick rundown what the older kids are doing everyday so I can check up on them without digging through the TM. It lists their independent work that I can check if I want and also stuff we should do together. It looks like this: 

 

Thanks for the idea on how to run them concurrently.  I think my two olders will be able to do it independently.  They're fairly independent this year, I'll just have to get them used to the new system.  And thanks for the encouragement not to use their LA!

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I love it that you keep jumping in here!  Your experience and advice are great! 

 

So I have a question for you and Chelli:  I'm actually going to have a 2nd and 3rd grader next year (7 and 8-going-on-9).  It sounds like from both of you, that I should go back to considering doing Beyond with the 2nd grader and keep the 3rd grader in Bigger by himself, so that he can get through it in a year and be ready for Preparing in 4th?

 

Or am I just overthinking this?

 

 

Actually I would keep your 2nd and 3rd grader together and just take two years to do Bigger, then they would be in Preparing as 4th and 5th graders. HOD does not recommend running back to back guides (having one in Beyond and one in Bigger at the same time).

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Actually I would keep your 2nd and 3rd grader together and just take two years to do Bigger, then they would be in Preparing as 4th and 5th graders. HOD does not recommend running back to back guides (having one in Beyond and one in Bigger at the same time).

 

I always forget that recommendation!  I've had to ignore that recommendation because one of the main reasons I went with HOD was because of a certain personality I have among my kids.  My now 10yods is a very enthusiastic learner who tends to dominate every conversation.  In combination with that, my now 12yods is on the quiet, shy side so doing the same school work with the two of them in the same material was impossibly complicated.  They are much happier in separate programs, even for the subjects like history and science.  Because of that situation, I ended up with back-to-back guides and it has worked out well for us but  Chelli is absolutely right that HOD definitely doesn't recommend running back-to-back guides unless there is something unusual going on.

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I always forget that recommendation!  I've had to ignore that recommendation because one of the main reasons I went with HOD was because of a certain personality I have among my kids.  My now 10yods is a very enthusiastic learner who tends to dominate every conversation.  In combination with that, my now 12yods is on the quiet, shy side so doing the same school work with the two of them in the same material was impossibly complicated.  They are much happier in separate programs, even for the subjects like history and science.  Because of that situation, I ended up with back-to-back guides and it has worked out well for us but  Chelli is absolutely right that HOD definitely doesn't recommend running back-to-back guides unless there is something unusual going on.

 

That is a good observation.  My two youngers actually work well together, so putting them together is probably ok. 

 

ETA: Also, I just noticed your signature!  It's good to know that it works well with boys! :)  I was wondering about that!  My oldest probably won't like the activities, but the rest of them will.  I'll probably be the "bad mom" and make him do them anyway because it'll become a slippery slope with him ("oh, you said I didn't have to do the activity last week, I thought you meant that I didn't have to do science this week").

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Actually I would keep your 2nd and 3rd grader together and just take two years to do Bigger, then they would be in Preparing as 4th and 5th graders. HOD does not recommend running back to back guides (having one in Beyond and one in Bigger at the same time).

 

You don't think Preparing is too young for a 5th grader?  And would you just keep them together the rest for the rest of the guides, or would you give the younger one a gap year in there at some point? Sorry to bug you about details!  I know you don't know my children--I'm just trying to think long term!

 

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You don't think Preparing is too young for a 5th grader?  And would you just keep them together the rest for the rest of the guides, or would you give the younger one a gap year in there at some point? Sorry to bug you about details!  I know you don't know my children--I'm just trying to think long term!

 

 

Regarding the bolded, absolutely not. It extends up to ages 11 and 12 by assigning extra reading on the topics. The extra reading is scheduled out in the back of the guide. 

 

I would keep them together for the rest of the guides as long as it worked for them and you.

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Regarding the bolded, absolutely not. It extends up to ages 11 and 12 by assigning extra reading on the topics. The extra reading is scheduled out in the back of the guide. 

 

I would keep them together for the rest of the guides as long as it worked for them and you.

 

Thanks so much!  This helps a ton!

 

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The other ladies are doing an excellent job answering you questions but I just wanted to chime in here. ;) We are about to finish our 4th year with HOD and I have used all of the guides from Little Hands-CTC, some of them more than once. I do not combine any of my kids, but none of them are close enough in age or ability for that. Make sure when you consider placement to take a good look at the placement chart that HOD has on their website for each child and then decide if any of them are close enough in skills to combine. Many people combine with great success. :) As far as substituting things you can easily sub in for Spelling, writing, and math. You could do both AAS and Dictation but it would lengthen your day. If you prefer AAS I would just do that, or give the dictation a try since it is included and it takes less time than AAS. Would you be using R&S English? Just remember that if you sub things that your day may be longer/shorter than the times HOD lists on their site. Also HOD has LA components woven throughout subjects so be careful of overloading your kids when you sub in LA programs. For example CTC rotates between English and Writing they are not done on the same days. As far as DITHR it is completely optional some use it and some don't. I use it for my oldest but I do not have him do everything that it says. Personally I wouldn't bother with it until at least Preparing. Bigger has literature study written into the storytime box anyways. I do recommend the DITHR book pack books to at least have your child read and discuss with you or just pick books of your choosing and make sure they are reading. I really like how HOD has kids reading books from different genres. I feel like it stretches kids to read things they might not normally choose. If you have any other questions I am happy to answer. HTH :)

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