Friday, January 11, 2008

Contemplating Curriculum

Some friends of ours at church who home school their four kids gave us a Sonlight catalog about two months ago. After looking through it we realized that it is very similar to what we are already teaching the girls. Really, the main difference (besides price) would be that it's all pulled together and planned out for me.

Currently I gather all the books and materials myself. Then on Sunday evenings I spread everything out and plan out a week's worth of school work at a time. It takes me a couple of hours to go through it all, write it out, and hand make any materials for projects and crafts and photo copy things like maps. Then after our school work is done for the day I go through my book and make note of what we actually did. On weeks when I don't have that much time to devote to planning and record keeping we do less fun stuff and I go back and make notes about what we did at the end of the week.

So, we are thinking that when Daniel gets his bonus in February/March we'll order the third grade Sonlight curriculum and try it out. We'll use it for both girls and just add the advanced reading books for Danya. Third grade is the year that Sonlight starts having all the reading tie in with their history reading. I do love the fact that their program is based on a lot of reading with the kids. That's our favorite thing to do!


April said...

I was so eyeballing the Sonlight Curriculum this past year. What I ended up doing was for our reading books I used books listed from learning Language Arts through Literature, Five in a Row, the Abeka Readers, and Sonlights book list. I loved this because we have been picking and choosing the ones we like each week. I considered ordering their Science Plans but I ordered something else plus the books they had listed, now I kind of wish I would have to try it out. It really looks like such a great program. I can't wait to hear how you guys like it if you decide on it next year!

Delaina said...

I've never really looked at Sonlight other than the price. A dear friend of mine is using it with her children and she seems to really love it. She said that she really likes that Sonlight is all planned out for her.

Just out of curiosity, have you looked at Konos? I started Konos because of a local coop that was doing it. I just wondered if you had looked into it before or if you had heard of it.


Jess said...

We checked out the KONOS curriculum a year ago and decided that it wasn't our style. It's much more hands on activities with character traits emphasized for each one. I like occasional activities, but they have to be simple and quick to prepare. Every time I've tried to tackle a slightly larger project we end up not finishing it. For instance we recently followed the instructions for making a Roman soldiers meal with with just a hamburger patty and some veggies wrapped in foil and baked in the oven. But we failed to complete our attempt at making a large flag standard with faces engraved in foil and ribbons dangling from the cross piece. It was just too much work.

I like Sonlight so far, from looking at it, because they focus on reading great books. You spend most of your time reading to and with your kids. The activities are very simple and many can be skipped entirely. This sounds more my speed. I LOVE reading aloud with my kids.


cami said...

We're using Sonlight- I *love* it. Its our first year, and I am already planning out how we can continue using it and still do the 4 year history rotation I am loathe to get off of. The plan was to use this year for US history, then go back to he well-trained mind style schooling, but SL has been so wonderful we're staying.

I bought the IG used, the books super-cheap used or borrowed them. I did buy a new LA IG. We don't use their science, I add in grammar (we use Growing with Grammar) and vocabulary. I think for next year I will just buy the Core all together in the box- saves me time ordering books and scouting them out used even if it more expensive. If you don't want to shell out all the money, do whatwe did and buy a used IG and hunt down the books. It takes time, but is much cheaper.

(You'll probably wonder who the heck I am- I'm a Pea who also home schools!)

Delaina said...

Sounds like I would really enjoy Sonlight because of the reading aloud. I, too, love that. I usually make our library book list every two weeks according to what we're studying and it takes me a while to find the right books. I've found that I can usually find what I'm looking for if I'm willing to wait for them to come in via intralibrary loan. I love the idea of having all you need in one place. That's how Sonlight is set up, right? Your lessons and books come in together and you pretty much have all you need?

I agree that pulling off the detailed projects is not only a lot work but very time consuming. So far, we're trying to make Konos work for us but it's very different from what we were used to and I have to admit that I am struggling with it.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Sonlight and Konos. I appreciate your time. :)