I’ve been meaning to share my curriculum choices (and the reasons for choosing them) for this year for a while, but alas, I have been too busy starting school. Or finishing school. Or doing summer school. Not sure what we’ve been doing, but it’s been school this summer for us.
I chose months ago to work with Skylar (5th Grade) on Sonlight’s Core F, Eastern Continents and Cultures, and to add age-appropriate readers and work for Devin (1st Grade). We do the read-alouds together, I add in fun picture books from the library for Devin, and we do some non-fiction reading as a family as well. Skylar does age-appropriate readers on her own, and notebooking pages that come from Sonlight to add some writing and research in the mix.
6 weeks in and (I think) we are all enjoying it. It is challenging to get it all in, especially in our shortened days, and we are only doing a bit of the curriculum so far. I plan to take the next few weeks in slow-mo to get her caught up on her Bible Psalms study and finish up the reading. We have done a few fun projects and have a few more to do before I would call it finished, but for the most part, we are all up-to-speed on Ancient China, with a little bit of modern China life thrown in for good measure.
I chose Sonlight this year because I have this curriculum challenge: We have bounced around so much between curriculums that I couldn’t find one that would hit us where we were in history at the proper grade levels for my kids. My biggest innocent/newbie mistake in homeschool so far is that I haven’t really had a long-range plan. I’ve been trying to find a program within the curriculum spectrum that works for us, but still feel a little bit lost on that regard. I see Core F is a good break. It stops the sequential history cycle by focusing more on cultures than history. After a couple years of in-depth history, my kids were eager to take a break and to try something new. It’s written for a 5th-8th grade student, so we are definitely on the young end, but I’m lightening the reading load and pre-reading all the book choices to be sure I find them appropriate for Skylar to read alone, or for Devin to listen to with us.
I’m loving Sonlight’s Core F book selections for the most part. Some are a bit on the dry side and I’ve tried to cut a few of those out for her. Some books are a bit on the violent side, but I’m tempering those with discussion on how blessed we are to not be living in a war zone. Some are just WAY too long to even consider me reading them aloud. (Young Fu, ALOUD? Really Sonlight? It’s an excellent book and great for historic China lifestyle but long even to read myself for this speed reading mama.) I have been able to find a few of the read-alouds on e-audio or books on CD so that I can save my sanity.
I have also added regularly scheduled readings from Usborne Book of Peoples of the World, Children Just Like Me, and Children Like Me: Our Favorite Stories, Usborne Stories from Around the World, Around the World Art & Activities & WeeSing Around the World. A few hands-on note booking activities from A Trip Around the World 1 & 2, and Around the World Coloring pages for each country.
I’m adding in some FIAR book selections for Devin to read with me, some used book finds to be done FIAR-ish, and a hefty use of library resources, at least one movie per country unit & our year is quite full!
I’ve planned to do about 4-6 weeks per country or region, to shorten the year a little, and to prevent boredom. I find with my kids (and myself) that we really can’t go over the 6 week mark on any given topic before we really start to become stir crazy and bored, so I’ve edited Sonlight’s calendar to fit our families needs. I’m trying to get into the mindset that I rule the curriculum and it doesn’t rule me! I think I do okay with that for the most part. But once I plan it out, it drives me nuts to miss and skip things and I want to get it all in! Letting things planned go is still difficult for me so we’ll see how we do this year, long term.
I’m pleased with how it’s going so far, the kids seem to be enjoying the change from ancient history, and we’re all excited for our trip around the world!