Homeschooling Update: Plans after Finishing Core P 4/5

Sonlight Core A Readers 1When I first drafted this post I thought it’d be running before we finished our 36 week schedule for Sonlight’s Core P 4/5. Instead, we’ve just finished what was supposed to be the framework for G’s kindergarten year. As you might guess by our finishing it this early in the year, it went VERY well. So well that the last six weeks of it was completed in a much more rapid pace than I originally expected.

So what will we be doing next? We’re definitely not going to take a months-long break to stay lined up with the local school calendar, that’s for sure. *

The main disadvantage of doing it this way is it starts getting confusing to me as to what to say when someone asks what grade G is in. He’s finished what we planned for Kindergarten, and we’ll be moving on to what we planned for 1st grade. But it’s still the school year when he’d be in K. So I while I’ll still call him a Kindergartner, in this post I am writing about curriculum for 1st grade, more or less. Or maybe I’ll think of this as his K5 work. Or maybe it doesn’t matter at all, except for signing up for things like Awana or VBS. ๐Ÿ™‚

Core A books on bookshelf

Anyway, I’ve already mentioned that we plan on continuing with Sonlight, moving up to Core A. It’s been lined up on the bookshelf, waiting for us. That’s what G was seeing waiting for him and why he got so excited to finish P 4/5 – he wanted to dive into those new books! And the day after we finished it, I pulled them all out and spread them across the table. He had a fun time looking at them all, and flipping through a handful that he couldn’t resist (the most tempting one? That encyclopedia!)

Previewing all the books he'll be using for his next core, while baby sister oversees. #sonlightcurriculum #homeschooling

A post shared by Sheila Craig ๐Ÿ“š (@sheilarcraig) on

Language Arts

Along with Core A I’ll be using Language Arts 1. Originally I selected LA 2, and while the readers would be fine, the writing part is too much, so I moved down to LA 1. The reading portions will be easy, but that’s ok. If nothing else, that helps him be super confident with that, and I can get him additional readers from the library that might challenge him a bit more.

LA 1

We’ll continue on with All About Reading, and will move on to level 4 once he finished level 3. No real guesses yet as to when that will be, but his recent pace has been to complete 2 – 3 lessons a week.

All About Spelling Level 1 is all but finished, and Level 2 is waiting for us. I assume he’ll finish it this year, and that we’ll begin level 3 at that point. I’ll probably order 3 when he gets about 2/3 of the way through 2.

Because I’m a bit ridiculous and am also looking for more as a way to stretch Core A as well as fill up our hours (remember, it’s all little kids here; I don’t expect that to be a need once they get older), I’ve got Language Smarts B. It looks like a fun workbook, and that it’ll work with LA 1 well as reinforcement and a more explicit way of teaching some grammar and language details. We can do one page a day and easily finish it up along with this core. And if he hates it? I’ll put it aside, in case maybe one of his sisters likes it.

For Handwriting I’m planning on switching from Handwriting without Tears. G hates it (no tears, but it is the most despised subject for him). While I don’t think it’s *just* the writing program, he does hate HWT’s smaller lines, and always switches to the “other” side of the LA worksheets instead of the HWT-aligned side. I’ve got Getty-Dubay’s Book A for him, and he’s already looked through it. He really liked what he saw, and is anxious to start it. We’ll see how it goes.

Math

For math, I have Mathematical Reasoning B, and as I recently mentioned, last month I got the downloadable version of Math Mammoth. So I can use both of them as seems best, and move along at his pace. He’s also very excited about that, and was super anxious to finish up the other book and get started with the new ones. We’ve already begun that, and he’s liking them both.

I’m also considering making another effort with Miquon. I got a very nice email after my post bemoaning how confusing Miquon is, with some suggestions on how to use it. We’ll see. ๐Ÿ™‚

Science

Science AFor science, we’ll be using Sonlight’s Science A, as well as probably finishing up the Apologia Astronomy book. We’re about halfway through astronomy – we took a long break from it because I couldn’t deal with the experiments and a new baby – so I’m assuming we’ll finish it up this year. Depending on his interest, we might move into the Apologia Botany book, or possibly try Science in the Beginning, which looks interesting. Or we may not add anything extra beyond nonfiction books from the library. Or maybe we won’t even add that, and Science A will be it – it’ll all depend on how things are going, and what it seems like G wants to do.

Extras

We have lots of maze and dot to dot books – G ADORES them, and can’t get enough of them. I figure those are good fine motor skills practice. ๐Ÿ™‚

Physical education is still taken care of with Taekwondo. G is a new orange belt, and working towards his senior orange belt. He’s now in the regular classes, which are 45 minutes long. I’m not sure that we’ll get there for all 6 classes they offer in a week, but I’m aiming for at least 4 of them, and possibly 5. We’ll also do swimming again this summer – they’re all signed up again with the same teachers as last year.

G sparringI’m considering some options for a foreign language. I’d assumed I’d start with Song School Latin, but G has requested Spanish (his cousin is learning it). Any advice on a little-kid friendly and effective Spanish curriculum? I’m all ears. I’d thought about just getting Rosetta Stone, but reviews seem to be very mixed-to-negative about how effective it really is, and I don’t want to waste time and money on it if it won’t do any good. I also just missed a big sale on it, so I don’t want to buy it until I spot another sale. It seems like they do run sales fairly regularly, so next time around I want to be prepared if it’s one we should use.

I’m also still mulling over what exactly I want to do for art (appreciation and application) and music (appreciation / awareness, not so much application right now), so if you’ve got something you adore for either of those, let me know please!

Follow Along on Pinterest

I’ve set up a Pinterest board with all of these things, and am planning on adding the books I use to supplement. Sonlight does have a lot of books, but it’s still not enough for me. Especially since I want to stretch Core A!

I also set up a second board with other ideas and possibilities. These are things I’m considering, and if I end up using them I’ll move them to the other board. Don’t worry that I’m going to overload my son by trying all of the things on this board – I’m won’t; these are just for ideas. I’m likely going to try *one* thing for art, but I may have three or four pinned as I consider the options. The same for all the rest of the ideas pinned there.


* And a point of clarification: In Indiana, Kindergarten isn’t required, so I don’t have any state regulations to worry about satisfying. No minimum-number of days of instruction, no topics of instruction, etc. So if I’d wanted to I could have taken off between now and next year, at least as far as the state is concerned.

Comments

  1. Gosh golly you sound so organized!
    I used to use Rosetta stone (hubby had free access to them all!). I found them fun and helpful, but I had trouble

    • Whoops! ๐Ÿ™‚ I had trouble retaining the info and vocab in the ‘real world’ if I wasnt constantly using it.

      • Oh, man, would I have fun with access to all the Rosetta Stones. I like dabbling in various languages and so I’d probably play around with all of them. I wouldn’t become fluent at all, but I’d enjoy myself!

  2. We’re trying PowerGlide Spanish and the kids love it. I’m not sure how effective it is, but the kids are retaining the vocab and always ask for it.

    I’ve struggled with the “what grade are they in” thing too. What I’ve decided is that I’m not going to send them to college early no matter how far “ahead” they get, and when most people ask they just want a ballpark of what age the kid is. So I stick with grades by age. Hannah is 3rd grade by age, even though she’s a grade or two ahead in most things (except spelling!), etc. I rarely run across a questioner who actually cares what level the kids are in academically. Although we did skip Hannah up a grade in Sunday School before we thought that through, and now we’re probably going to have her stay in that class an extra year because we don’t want her hitting youth group a year early for a lot of reasons. I did consider it more carefully for our co-op, especially for Sarah, but ultimately concluded that we are really doing the co-op for electives, enrichment, and friendships, so it was better to put Sarah in the K class so she would have friends her age, rather than the 1st-3rd grade classes even though she could have handled them. I think it’s just one of those weird things about homeschooling!

    • I had so many debates with myself as to whether I should “officially” call G a Kindergartner or not (for things like Awana). His summer birthday means he’s either a young K or he’d have been an old K. He’s already so big for his age people think he must be older than he is, and I let that sway me.

      I think the only issue is for Awana/VBS, because I am leaning towards having him “repeat” a year so he doesn’t graduate at 17. Not sure when the best time to repeat would be, but we may be making an Awana switch before next year and that might work well.

    • I commented more on this below from my husbands experience, but we’re doing the same thing. Telling the grade he should be in and not worrying about what level he’s working at.

  3. I am currently obsessed with curriculum. Still haven’t made up my mind and my oldest is turning 4 in a few weeks. I also have parents who spoke Spanish to me growing up and want to make sure my kids are bilingual (even thought I struggle to teach them on my own as it doesn’t come naturally for me). I love the website Mommy maestra. She has some great reviews of curriculum. I am struggling to make up my mind between Calico and Risas y Sonrisas. http://www.mommymaestra.com/2013/03/a-comprehensive-list-of-spanish.html

    • Also, I have a question. Do you like Sonlight? Its on my list. As its pricey I want to make sure I don’t have to supplement too much. Though I don’t mind supplementing here and there. Just would love to get a general take on it. Thank you.

    • Thank you for that link – it’s given me a lot of other ideas to investigate. I’m still not sure which one I want to try. Reviews just seem so mixed on all of them. If I was fluent it’d be a lot easier I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I do really like Sonlight. It is expensive, but the majority of it is reusable for my other children, which helps with the price tag. I like building a great library of our own books, and don’t mind investing money towards literature.

      And, I am supplementing more than I’d have to, because I want to, and because I am trying to stretch it more. If you’re more creative than I am, you could easily stretch it with art projects or other inexpensive methods. I think the only thing I’d have to add to it is handwriting and math, and both of those can be quite inexpensive. Science is a separate purchase, but I don’t think science is essential at that age (and it could be done less expensively). It’s just a favorite for my son, and is mostly more books, so it’ll be reusable for my daughters.

      I am supplementing with books, but they’re almost all library books. The main additional cost I’m still looking at right now is for foreign language. Obviously, that doesn’t include the already purchased All About Reading and All About Spelling programs we’re using, but Sonlight’s LA program supposedly does teach that at an ok level for the age. My son just wanted more. They aren’t necessary (although they are fantastic).

      And re-reading your question, your son is only just turning 4, so I wouldn’t recommend you use Core A like I’m talking about in this post anyway – Core P 4/5 or even Core P 3/4 would be a better fit. And while I liked Core P 3/4, if you’re trying to save money I’d just get as many of those books as you can from the library. The guide they include with the package isn’t necessary at that age by any means. If some of the titles end up being favorites, I’d buy those. I do *highly* recommend the games they include in P 3/4 – my older two have both loved them, and used them lots.

      If you have any more specific questions about it, just let me know!

  4. Love your round up! We decided to just tell Stefan to tell the grade he “should” be in. Partly because, like Catherine above, we aren’t going to send him to college early. My hope is actually that his last couple of years of highschool will be investigating and pursuing his unique interest with a mentor and possibly community college classes/clep exams, etc… My husband did this. He actually finished highschool requirements at 15 but didn’t go to college until 18. At that point though he had tested and gotten a lot of college credit and had opportunity to pursue his personal interests. He was extremely focused when he got to college and he thinks that’s one of the reasons why….

    Another question though…with AAS (I’m ordering it with my next batch I order from AAL) do I just need the teacher book? Seems like I would have everything else already with the reading program.
    I love Sonlight. I’m not doing it, but I love all the books and love looking at their book lists.

    • Johanna, do you already use AAS? I actually ONLY use the teacher’s manuals. We started using all of the cards and magnets, which was helpful for Jack when he was really resisting writing, but now I don’t use them at all. I draw the boxes around things when I’m doing a teaching segment, and then I have the kids write the words, phrases, and sentences in their notebooks. That’s just what works for us.

      • Yes – Catherine’s right. You could easily do AAS with only the teacher’s manual. I’ve got the whole thing, because I didn’t realize that before buying it, but will probably only get the manuals from now on.

        The magnets are handy for G when he doesn’t want to write, but a lot of the time I end up letting him say it to me and I scribe for him, so they’re not even needed as a way to save him writing effort.

        The only thing the student packet really adds is the word cards (but the words themselves are in the teachers manual) and the progress chart and certificate of achievement. Which … so not necessary. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Okay! Thanks Ladies! save me a purchase. We haven’t used it at all, but wanted to purchase it here soon so I’ll simply get the teachers manual.

  5. Hi Sheila,
    May be this is a very naive question.. I am from India where homeschooling is not so popular yet.

    What is the age of your kid? Age as in completed years & months. I am so interested in starting a homeschool curriculum , but very unsure about the grade – age conversions..
    Mostly, I will have refer blogs like yours when I am stuck and hence I wanted to follow a similar curriculum.
    Thanks in advance.

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