Tuesday, September 8, 2009

back to the box

Yes, we have returned to Sonlight.

We did Core K Alex's first grade year and Core 1 Alex's second grade year. My theory was to split the difference between my two kids and do the core that fell between them. It didn't go as well as planned.

I'm not sure how else to do this, so here goes...

Why we stopped using Sonlight...

1. To be honest, the amount I had to read aloud was too much for me. I seriously began to dread it. I didn't always want to do it and the kids didn't always want to sit for it. Not a good combo.

2. The schedule. I loved the idea of having a schedule but it frustrated me as well. I always felt behind. I insisted on ordering the 5 day curriculum each time which just made matters worse, because it didn't leave much wiggle room. With the kids and I not always wanting to do the reading aloud, it was so easy to get off track... once I got off track it would spiral out of control.

3. Cores K and 1 felt too random to me. I know it shouldn't matter, but the kids had no answer to the "so what are you studying in school?" question. Science was a random topic each day... how an oven works, what makes bread rise, how a camera works... etc. I didn't feel like we had time to explore any of these topics because the next day we were scheduled to read about something else entirely. I found myself creating/participating in unit studies so the kids could be "studying" something.

So... I made the decision to drop Sonlight last year and go out on my own using Story of the World as our spine. We honestly had a really fun year with it. However, it was a lot of work.

Why we went back to Sonlight...

1. We were ready for Core 3. Core 3 is the first core that really seems to tie everything together. History, Readers and Read Alouds all cover the same time period. The science has focus. The randomness I had disliked in the earlier cores was gone.

2. Alex is now a strong reader. And because of this, I feel like I can turn him loose on his own with a lot of the reading. Which solved issue #1 above.

3. I decided that given the issues we were having with Clara (we had full scale learning assessments done over the summer and got the results last week - but that's another post for later) combining the two kids was not the best route right now. Clara needs space to be her own person in school and not in Alex's shadow. Once Clara is a stronger reader, I do believe I could have them both working on the same Core, however, I don't think I will ever really "combine" them again. In order to simplify things, Clara is covering the same time period as Alex using other materials. I may post more on that later too.

4. The schedule. Ah... see, what was once an issue for me is more welcome this time around. First of all, I ordered the 4 day curriculum not the 5 day. I had to get over "missing out" on some of the great books. If we get ahead of schedule, I can always add them in at some point (especially since the instructor's guide includes both the 4 day and 5 day schedules). With my new system, having an instructor's guide with reading assignments broken down into daily bites has been wonderful.

5. The books. I have always loved the Sonlight books. I love getting the great big box full of all of the books I need for the year. I did love going to the library and discovering new books last year... however, it wore me out! Since many of them were random finds, I felt like I needed to at least skim them first which meant I had to find time for that, then break the book down into a reading schedule, assign it to Alex and hope that he got it read before it was due again. We had so many books in our house that just came home and lived in the library bag for three weeks because I just never got to them. Last year one of their classes was right by the library so it was convenient to go weekly... this fall none of our classes are near the library which means getting there would be an extra trip (which means it wouldn't always happen).

Anyway... those are some of the basic reasons we left Sonlight and are now back again. I'm sure I have more reasons and maybe I'll add to this post at some point.

Hmmm... which subject should I post about next?

1 comment:

Jocelyne said...

I can't wait to hear how Sonlight goes for you this year. I have been looking at the catalogue and *might* go there in a couple years. Either that or Winter Promise. Right now we are just enjoying FIAR.

Oh, and I so hear you about the library. I loathe the library. I hate pre-reading books, but if I don't, well I am sure you know! And it is such a random thing. I would much rather just buy the books and go to my home library.