5 Placement Questions to Consider
Your children are each unique individuals that grow and learn at their own paces. So, it is no surprise that most students do not perfectly conform to any program's levels! (This is why Timberdoodle Kits offer so much customization!)
Sometimes it is really obvious that you need to customize. For instance, if your 4-year-old is reading, you will not want to do pre-reading work this year! Other times, the differences are more subtle, and you may want help thinking through your options.
Keep reading to see the top 5 questions to consider as you decide which level to begin with this year!
How Do You Choose Whether to Go Up or Down a Level?
Here are some things to consider:
- Do you have an accurate picture of your child's knowledge? If not, consider placement tests.
- Does your child appreciate a challenge? Or feel overwhelmed by a leap of knowledge?
- Is this a small gap in learning or a giant leap of concepts?
- Does this subject require precept-by-precept instruction (math), or is this a more fluid subject (history) where you can fill in gaps later?
- Do you have the ability to set your own pace for this child, or will he need to keep up with a sibling?
When to Start with the Easy Level
If he needs to learn the subject precept-by-precept, we always lean towards choosing the level that includes some material he already knows. E.g., if your child knows some pre-algebra but isn't ready for algebra, we'd suggest racing through an entire pre-algebra course before beginning algebra. He'll find the first chapters easy, but for most children, this builds confidence and isn't a significant burden.
Also, consider going with the partially learned level when your child is disheartened by working through lessons he finds challenging. Set him up for success by speeding through the material he already knows in the first half of a workbook rather than jumping into material he still needs to learn and becoming overwhelmed at the beginning of the year.
When to Go Right to the Challenge
Some children are quickly bored. Whether that is because of ADHD or simply a quick and agile mind, these children won't do well with workbooks that offer no new material. Most workbooks briefly review the material your student needs to know before moving into the new lessons. A child who intuitively grasps that review will succeed at moving right into the more rigorous level.
Subjects like history and science are repetitive. If you have an older sibling in Story of the World 2, having your first grader begin there is perfectly acceptable. He will cover the ancient history he "missed" in the years to come, and in the meantime, learning with his sibling will allow you to combine lessons, field trips, and special projects.
More Creative Solutions
If your student is only missing a small piece of knowledge, you could fill that gap first, then proceed with the upper level. For instance, if you have a child ready for Math-U-See Delta but cannot multiply speedily, you could repeat Gamma. Or, you could opt to do a multiplication drill for the first month of school using his favorite app, game, or drill sheets. Then begin Delta at a slightly faster pace and finish the year exactly where you wanted to be.
If you can slow down a course, that will allow you to jump in at the upper level. When you find the previously missed areas, pause the course and deep-dive into that skipped topic. Then proceed with your regular lessons.
We're Here to Help!
Are you still torn between two levels for your student? Send us a message or call, and we'll be happy to discuss the options with you!