Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sonlight--How's That Working For You? (Part 1)

This is our first year using Sonlight as our "main" curriculum. I pored over the catalog for several years, but always set it aside with a "yeah, THAT'S going to happen" sigh and went on about my business. It just seemed so neat and easy. It seemed like using it would give us a level of safety--at least I would KNOW certain things were being covered. Other people have thought it out before me. I don't have to come up with everything...

What happened to get us finally trying Sonlight was we got ahead of our history curriculum. I had been using The Mystery of History (very happily!) and finished level 3 last year.

Making Viking ships for Mystery of History...lots of fun stuff !

Only....level 4 wasn't finished being written yet. Written. Or edited. Or published. Which means it ain't gonna be ready any time soon. So, what to do? Well, the author suggested taking a year to study American history, which isn't covered in her world history curriculum. So that sounded like a good idea. And I knew Sonlight had an American History year (or 2) in their mix. So I really started looking at it. Could I piece it together? Could I use their booklist? Could I make my own like Carrie? Or steal all her ideas?

There was also another issue--Sweetheart was going to be starting 6th grade. I had realized a problem with our homeschool over the last year. The problem was in my curriculum choices: the sun rose and set with ME. Bible? Required me to read to them while they worked in their booklets. History? Required me to read aloud to them and they would made the timeline figure to go with the lesson. Science? Required me to read aloud to them and then direct the proper activity and journal page. Spelling? Required my teaching--on 2 different levels. Math? Required me to watch the DVD (on 2 different levels) with them and make sure they understood the lesson and sit with them while they worked through the problems.

But handwriting they could do on their own, so there was always that.

I enjoyed all these curriculum choices AND I really did enjoy all the time gathered around the table with my girls. I have great memories of those days. But there were problems after a while.

Working at the table together--many years ago!

1. Sweetheart was going to be turning 12, and starting middle school, and she did nothing independently during her day. When do I start handing the reins over? And how can I with these curriculum choices?

2. Little Bit needed more of my teaching and attention. She was still learning to read and was getting "behind" on things. Sweetheart had most of my attention in her 2nd grade year. How was Little Bit going to have my attention for what she needed when I was so......needed all the time? By everyone.

I finally talked with S about it and he listened to all my myriad of reasons and then said, "How much?" I gulped and told him. Without hesitation he said, "Get it."

WHAT? Just like that. He said it sounded good and was not too much money to spend on our daughter's education. I agree, by the way. And we would certainly be paying far more for private school. But...but..but...I'm just so frugal. I can't help it. It pains me to buy any curriculum brand new. Homeschooling can truly be done on a shoestring budget and I was one of those who liked to do that. I was PROUD of that, even. Just how much can I save? It was like a challenge and a hunt every year.

So I bit the bullet and bought Sweetheart the 2-years-condensed-into-one American History core from Sonlight. Just to try, mind you. And then we could go back to what we had been doing if Level 4 of MOH was ready by then, right? It was just to fill in the gap for this year. And OK if we liked it, I was totally going to stay with it. 

Little Bit also got Core A from Sonlight just so she would have something planned and with some type of theme instead of completely random like Sweetheart's 2nd grade year. (Our first year homeschooling)  Ha! But as you can see, she only got a few sad little boxes from Amazon to open because I totally borrowed, begged, and gathered her core. I mean, no one is going to use it after her so....well, that was before I was pregnant, OK?

Next it's working for us so far!

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to hearing how it's been going [smile]. And, yes, the opportunity to re-read these wonderful books together is a huge benefit of homeschooling!



I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)