We got a late start homeschooling Sadie, but I had a good excuse. We were still painting and moving into our house. We started on September 17. I got our curriculum in the mail the week before.
We went with Sonlight because I wanted a literature-based curriculum and this one comes with instructor’s guides that tell you what to do (if you want to follow it) and it integrates bible verses and stories but still introduces world views. It’s one of the most comprehensive curriculums too. I lean more toward a hands-off approach to school where you teach them how to read and some basic math, and let them go at it. This one is more hands-on but it’s mostly reading stories, and I’ve found them to be enjoyable too.
Their favourite books are Uncle Wiggly’s Story Book, The Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science and Nature, Eric Carle’s Animals Animals, and the Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book. These are the ones I find in their beds most often (plenty of others make it in there too), and the ones they get extra excited about hearing.
This Core is the pre-kindergarten one (as opposed to the preschool core), but I ordered the kindergarten level Math and Handwriting to go with it. I didn’t get the readers that come with this core because we’re working through the book Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons. We’re on lesson 83 I think. She can read a full page story and write all her letters thanks to that book. I’ll evaluate her reading level next year and see what reader level we’ll be ordering then.
I chose the pre-kindergarten core because I want to teach Sadie and Chad with the same core starting next year. That gives Chad a chance to mature enough that he can handle the kindergarten level at age 4.5, theoretically. I’ll probably start the 100 reading lessons book with him at that time too.
All the books take up half of a shelf. They came with a sheet of flourescent orange stickers to put on the spines of the books. Every core program has its own colour to make it easy to keep track of which books belong in which core, something I could see being an issue with multiple cores in the house. I thought that was a nice touch.
The kindergarten math (Singapore) also came with these fun shapes, and cards showing different patterns or animals they can copy. These were played with daily until we got the trains unpacked. They’re still played with a lot. It keeps them busy for hours. Sadie, of course, makes people, and Chad very carefully fills in shapes on the cards. It takes him a long time and he gets frustrated whenever he bumps them, but he sticks with it until it’s done. Amazing for building attention span and patience!
We’re done Term 1 now. We’ve been doing school for about 5 weeks. We started mid-september and took a couple of weeks off when Darryl had time off work. In the first 2 weeks, we were up to week 5 or 6 of the schedule, so we slowed down a bit. Now we do school about 3 days a week and in week 7, we’re working on week 13 and 14. The instructor’s Guide is great. It gives you a schedule of what to read and when, but we like reading stories so we usually read more than the guide says to do. We’ll read all the science for that week at once, or all the read-clouds for that week (or two) at once. Then we do Math and Handwriting once a week for as long as she wants to keep going.
At this rate, we could be done the core by early spring. Math and Handwriting might take a bit longer.
I have ordered the next Math and Handwriting books for Sadie, so she can keep going into grade 1 level stuff. We don’t see the value in taking 2 months off in summer, so we’ll probably keep going to some degree through the summer. Gives us something to do and she won’t forget everything she just learned (just some of it). We will probably take a week off every 4-5 weeks all year round.
We haven’t been at this homeschooling thing very long, but so far it’s going well and it’s fun!
Do you homeschool? Have you used Sonlight? What do you like about your curriculum?