Wednesday, February 13, 2008


So I have been thinking a lot about what to do for school for Aaron next year. I am really looking forward to the homeschool convention in May because after schooling for a year, I am going to know a lot more what to look at and what to just pass right by! I also have a better idea of what will work for him and what will not.

I have really enjoyed the Sonlight Curriculum. It works well with our strengths, it is the right amount of work each day, and I love that I can customize it by adding the math, Bible, science, and language arts that I want and don't necessarily have to do what they recommend. Aaron did their Core B program this year. We took a 4 day program and made it a 3 day program for the first 14 weeks or so, so we are currently only on week 16 of a 36 week program. That means that if we go with a traditional school year, we'll start the next school year with at least 6 weeks of this curriculum left, and I am guessing we'll have a bit more than that left. I added Kindergarten language arts to his program this year - along with the OPG - so he is almost a full year ahead of "traditional level" in LA. He did Singapore Math EB 1A & 1B, Handwriting Without Tears Pre-K & K levels and an introduction to German. So anyway, I could go ahead and order Core C for him, which is intended for kids ages 5-7. It is an introduction to world cultures as a preparation for their Core 1 which is World History focused. The core looks great, but I really want to combine Aaron and Ethan at some point so that they are learning the same thing in history, Bible, science, art/German/electives and listening to the same read-aloud books that go along with those subjects. They will only be at their own pace in LA and math. I think it will be much easier to combine them with a "Kindergarten" level program than to wait until the content is more advanced. So I am leaning toward waiting to order Core C until fall of 2009 and doing it with both of them for Aaron's first grade and Ethan's Pre-K. If Ethan continues to learn at the pace he is now without me doing anything formal with him, he'll be ready for it by then.

That leaves next year...I am planning to order Core A this summer to use with the kids next year. It will be primarily to get Ethan used to the idea of "doing school." It is primarily a "read aloud" curriculum, with no written work. It is full of great literature and I think they'll both like it. I will add Handwriting Without Tears level Pre-K for Ethan as for the first half of it, it is pre-writing skills. I already have the wooden pieces, slate, CD, and teacher's guide and will only have to order another student book. I think that these things together will get Ethan to where he is ready to start OPG in 2009 and ready to sit through the lessons he and Aaron will do together.

For Aaron, there are a lot of things I like. I will continue OPG and when he gets to lesson 140 or so, I plan to add FLL level 1. I like Singapore math, and the workbooks are super cheap at this level so I will continue with him on levels EB 2A-2B, but I want something more hands on for him too... Do you like Right Start? For everything else, I was looking in the Well-Trained Mind book and deciding which of the books she recommend that I like. I really like the look of all the books that she recommends for math skills. I think that is a fun way to learn math skills. I am interested in starting some more hands on science too. She recommends Magnets to Mudpies but it gets more negative reviews than I would like. More Magnets to Mudpies is rated much I think I should go to the store and look through these. Everybody Has a Body is not rated so high either...

Anyway, I think I have more to say still, but this has gotten really long and I need to make my lunch and leave for a meeting in 9 minutes!


Joanna said...

hmmm...that's a lot to digest.

Johanna said...

Yeah, don't feel the need to comment on it all. I just need to talk it out and if you have feedback, great!

Joanna said...

ok, so i looked at everything. why did you do core b with aaron this year instead of core a? either way i think that core a will be fun for aaron next year before he has to start digging into the really deep stuff...ok, deep for 1st grade.

yeah, i don't really care for any of the science books. that a tough one and i really don't have any good recommendations, except for my mom's curriculum. she went through the scientific method in a fun but understandable way. the girls really like science. i don't know what i would do if she wasn't making the curriculum for us. of course what we're doing this year was for 1st grade and then a 4-year-old. a lot of the time sarah did not get what we were talking about but ella got everything. sarah still likes to do science with us and she likes to do the experiments and everything but some of it just flew over her head. i'll have to revisit what we did for kindergarten for ella. i did buy the first animal encyclopedia, the first human body encyclopedia and green thumbs, but we really haven't used them at all. green thumbs gets a really bad review, too, but only by one reviewer.

i have a lot of concerns with teaching two kids at once. did i mention that? so i totally understand why you'd want to wait to do core c with both aaron and ethan. i'm not sure how to accomplish that with the story of the world. i may need to join the board and get some ideas from the ladies there. i'm not sure if i said anything helpful...

Johanna said...

Yeah, I would have done core a except it didn't come out until about 7 weeks after the "school year" started and we already had bought and started core b. Plus, I think I was so anxious to start "real" school out of excitement that I would have thought that it wasn't enough. But if it had already been out, I would have bought it, and Aaron and Ethan could have done it together and I think we could have done core B together next year to. Ethan is definately ready for Core B next year in a way that Aaron wasn't when he was three.

I was wondering what you did for Ella for kindergarten and if you would do the same thing for Sarah. But I remember that you didn't do all of your curriculum with Ella becuase you were so sick from pregnancy.

It is great that your mom does your science curriculum, too. THat seems to be what most people gripe about - the lack of great science curriculums for young children.

There's got to be a way to combine Sarah and Ella and then Rachel and Lily so that you are only teaching some stuff once. I would join the group. I have gleaned so much from being on the sonlight group. Some of it I just delete right away, but much of it has been really helpful!