Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Starting with Sonlight

This is the third day of our first week using Sonlight curriculum. So far I'm not sure what to think. It's a lot more reading each day than we're used to. I like the stories, but it's hard getting it all done.

We knew going into this that the first few lessons in the 4th grade math book would be mostly review, but I didn't expect quite the result I'm seeing. Danya is bored stiff and Gloria is struggling over certain concepts that I thought she'd already mastered. The teacher's guide seems to be useless for the math. It's probably designed for classroom teachers since it has a huge chunk in the beginning devoted to things like diagrams of its "scope and sequence" for the year. Homeschoolers, unless required by the laws in their state, don't really need that sort of thing.

We're reading multiple books about different Indian tribes right now. Om-kas-toe is about twins in the Blackfeet tribe. Walk the World's Rim is about Native Americans on the border of Texas and Mexico. Then there is the history workbook that just today covered Iroquois, Pueblo, Eskimo, Aztec, and Maya peoples. We've already studied some of these last year, but I personally think that this is just too many similar stories and people to follow along with at once. I would have preferred if they read these books one at a time.

There are a lot (I mean a LOT) of worksheets every day. It's more writing than the girls are used to. I'm trying to limit it and allow them to answer many of the questions out loud. The same with the math workbook. Since they are sharing it and it's printed in color I'm having them each write their work and answers on a separate piece of paper. Much of it they're just doing in their heads and answering out loud.

I'm also having to edit certain things as I read aloud. For instance, the history book says that people from Asia crossed the land bridge to the Americas 40,000 years ago. Since according to the Bible's clear timeline the Earth isn't that old, I just say "a long time ago" when I get to things like that. It's annoying though, because I thought that Sonlight was billed as a Christian curriculum.

One thing they like is the markable map. I'm looking forward to trying out the first science experiment later this week, too. Something I really don't understand is why they didn't give me a lesson plan for the art and music materials they include in the Core 3+4 curriculum. I thought the idea was that I wouldn't have to do the planning. Oh well, it's still new. We'll get it all figured out eventually.


cami said...

Hmm. I haven't used SL's art or music, so I'm no help there. What math are you using? If it is Saxon 5/4, then yes, the TM is not terribly helpful, like it was in K-3, IMO. They sell CD's at Rainbow Resource that have actual DVD lessons for each lesson in Saxon. They are called DIVE CD's, and they are a big help!

No help with Walk The World's Rim, either- we loved it. My little one-Rowan- loved it so much we've read it again. She has some strange taste in books! IMO, discussing the book is VITAL with this one. You must go into the background, why Esteban is a slave, who each person is, etc. We really talked a lot about how Esteban muct feel, etc. The books are not all as challenging as WTWR. I haven't read Om-Kas-Toe, Gryphon read it alone. She liked it, but didn't love it.

The LA was appropriate for my oldest (4th grade) but I wouldn't use it much younger, too much writing. We did do the research report with Rowan- she found books and websites and dictated it. She's done the odd oral report with her sister, but really the LA isn't for littles.

As far as SL being a Christian curriculum, many many Christians do not believe in a literal 6 day Creation, 5,000 years ago. It isn't really all that important that all Christians agree on the how and when- only the "who".

I'm sorry you aren't enjoying SL- we really loved this year with it! They have a fabulous return policy, up to 18 weeks I think, so if it isn't working for you, you can return it. It sure is expensive, and I would hate to be out all that money for something I didn't like!

Jess said...

I'm not having any difficulty teaching the math. I'm just trying to figure out what the purpose of the teacher's guide is. I want to use ALL of the curriculum.

We are liking the books very much. Today we read more of Walk the World's Rim and the girls didn't want to stop! My only concern is that they may have difficulty following so many different story lines. We are currently supposed to be reading simultaneously from:

1. Walk the World's Rim
2. Om-Kas-Toe
3. Pedro's Journal
4. Diary of an Early American Boy
5. and the history textbook

I'm an avid reader who may follow three different books at once, but this seems excessive for third/fourth grade in my opinion.

I agree with you that the "Who" part of Christianity is essential to understand. Either Jesus meant it when he made references to Genesis, considering it a solid truth and basis for understanding things like marriage, or He really only intended people to pick and choose which parts of God's Word to believe.

If death and destruction existed for millions of years while life struggled to form itself on Earth before humans ever existed, then why would we need a Savior? If Adam and Eve's sin did not bring death into the world, then we never really needed Jesus to do what He did. Christianity cannot stand if it's foundation is removed.

I recommend the website. If you try to "put on the whole armor of God" but fail to protect your feet, your foundation, you will find that while you are vigorously trying to defend your faith your legs have already been shot out from under you.