In my last post about homeschooling, I shared what we had been doing, and promised a future post about what we were going to do for what I’m calling G’s Kindergarten year (he turns 5 in July). H turns 3 this month, so she’s mostly just tagging along with whatever big brother is doing. 🙂
As I write this, we’re wrapping up our seventh week of the Kindergarten curriculum. Which really only means anything as far as the Sonlight instructor’s guide for the P4/5 program goes – everything else I’m just winging it as far as how much to do in a week.
We got an early start on the year, because of the baby arriving in August. If I tried to follow the local school calendar I’d be starting right as I’m having the baby, and that seemed like a bad idea. So we started earlier, and will take a break for as long as I need. The advantage of it “only” being Kindergarten!
So, anyway, the basis of the plan this year is Sonlight’s P4/5 core. That’s history, reading, and even science.
Science – he loves it!
Science is technically covered in the core, and the first book from it they’ve both loved – The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature we read way faster than the schedule called for, but they both were so excited by it, so we sped through it, and now we’re reading it again. I say “technically covered” because that was all I was planning on doing with him, but as I’ve mentioned before, he loves learning about the solar system and planets, so I got him the Apologia Exploring Creation through Astronomy book (in addition to several library books), and we are slowly working through that text.
Math – so far it’s all lots of fun to him. Will that continue??
For math G’s already finished Singapore Early Bird A, and is cruising through Mathematical Reasoning 2. I have Singapore Early Bird B and Miquon Orange and Red waiting for him, but at his current pace I may need to get something else before with finish the P 4/5 guide.
I also added in some more Geography – another topic he’s fascinated by. I got him the Basic Geography workbook Timberdoodle includes in their Kindergarten core, and he’s enjoying it. I keep forgetting to get a globe, but I think he’ll love that if I ever do. He loves looking at maps, and I’d also like to get a huge one we can hang on the wall for him to examine as much as he’d like.
He raced through the Lift-the-Flap Picture Atlas, which is what prompted me to go looking for some more geography items. He still likes going back to that atlas and finding places on the map.
Reading and Language Arts – I may be doing too much?
We were doing the All About Reading Pre-reading level, but set it aside without finishing it. We went through the upper and lower case letters, but skipped the letter sounds section. G already knows them all, and was getting so bored with it. He loves the games, and playing with Ziggy, but it seemed somewhat pointless – he’s ready for Level 1, and it’s on the way. It should arrive next week and we’ll get started on it. We were still using The Reading Lesson, but AAR is more fun for him, and that’s very motivating. I’ll probably let The Reading Lesson disappear off the shelf once AAR Level 1 arrives.
Another very recent addition is First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 1. Maybe this is totally unnecessary? I kind of have an obsession with Peace Hill Press materials and it’s by them. It was also inexpensive enough I didn’t mind getting it to just look at and consider. It’s supposedly a first grade level book, so I’m not sure if I’m being overly ambitious with it or not. I am going on the assumption that trying it can’t hurt, and I can always put it aside if it’s not working. Looking ahead, I think the biggest potential issue with it will be the handwriting, so it may require modification if not completely delaying it. And that’s because …
Handwriting is definitely his least favorite subject. He’s never liked coloring either – wonder if that’s related? His fine motor skills are good when it comes to things like using tweezers to pick up small items and doing mazes or dot-to-dot puzzles; he just hates to write. We’re working through Handwriting without Tears, following the schedule Sonlight included with Language Arts K. It’s one letter a week, and that’s manageable for him.
The hardest part isn’t very. At least right now.
The biggest challenge right now is juggling two children with it (I’ll pause while all the moms with 3 or more children laugh and laugh at me.) H is too young to do much for school, but she WANTS to, because she sees G working on it. Readalouds are fine – she sits with us and listens in. I can generally keep her happy with her own version of math and handwriting, but there are times when she really wants to do it just like he is. And she can’t quite manage that.
She has an area of the bookcase that’s just for her materials – lots of coloring books and sticker books and preschool-level workbooks. She loves them all. Making patterns with some of G’s math manipulative is another big favorite for her – that’s what’s in the box on the right on the top shelf, although the pattern book is mixed in with her workbooks.
Really, though, it’s not bad – it’s just the rest of it is going so smoothly that by default it’s been the biggest challenge. I’m a tiny bit scared that after writing all this down, I’ll have jinxed us. I’m feeling somewhat hopeful that homeschooling with a newborn won’t be too bad, at least once I’m out of the postpartum fog that I’ve had both times previously. Once the baby is older and no longer is content just being held/nursed all the time, I can see that getting a lot more difficult. No point in worrying about it right now though, so I’ll just enjoy the stage that we’re in for the rest of the time that it lasts.
Coming up in my next update
The next update I plan on sharing about some of the specific books from the Sonlight program that we’ll be in the midst of reading or will have finished. There have been some definite winners, and one that is not a hit. At all. So much so that I’ve stopped reading it entirely, and just skip it on the schedule. Mostly though, I am loving their program, both the books and the structure their Instructor Guide provides.
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