The Sacred Sprouts Schoolhouse

Archive for April, 2009

Learning About Learning

Yesterday we received our order of preschool material.  I was so excited to open the box!  I gave everything a quick look-through, and then set it aside while I got back to the housework that was needed to be done.  Later on, I sat down with a mug of chai to really go through what I had ordered and was pleased with the material overall.  As I’m flipping through the books, trying to come up with any kind of plan of attack, Zander came up to me and joined me at the table.

We looked at some of the books together, to see what kind of activities were in them, when he picked up the “Do it Carefully” book and asked if he could do a few pages.  I certainly wasn’t going to tell him no! He proceeded to do about six pages before asking if he could do something in another book.  I picked up the “Counting With Numbers” book and asked him if he wanted to do some numbers.  He said sure, so we opened up to the first page.  He looked it over and grew quiet.  I encouraged him to do the first page (writing some ones) when he looked at me and said “This is boring!”  So I asked what he wanted to do, and then he ran to the bookshelf and picked up the number workbook we had already been working on… it was an inexpensive Trend workbook that we’ve been picking away at.  He opened up, and then did about eight pages in the book before deciding he’d had enough school time.

I think we’re going to get a lot of use out of the curriculum we received yesterday, but I’m already thinking about future purchases.  One thing that I learned yesterday is that Zander prefers color to black and white.  I’m thinking that as we go through these workbooks that are in black and white, that I’ll be handing him some colored pencils to use instead of just a regular pencil.  Maybe that will help him out a bit with getting bored with the black and white pages.

Abigail came home from school just as we were wrapping up our work and was very jealous that Zander had gotten some schoolbooks.  She looked at them kind of wistfully, so I think she’s counting down the days now until school is done.  I think we’re at about six weeks left, and we’re all looking forward to what comes after that.  I’ve already decided that I won’t be ordering our Sonlight until school is out, so that Abigail can be here for her very first “Box Day”.  We’re really looking forward to that one!

**Update:  This afternoon we sat down with the first book,”Adventures with Books”,  and right away there was a coloring page.  I told Zander he didn’t need to do coloring if he didn’t want to, and that made him happy.  Then as we went along, we came up to a color page.  It had a crayon at the top labeled blue, and a few pictures.  The instructions said to color the crayon the right color, and cross off everything that wasn’t blue.  I very gently encouraged Zander to just color the crayon- I got out the big box of crayons with sparkly ones, so he grabbed the blue sparkly and got to work.  He made his X’s with the crayon also, and decided that using the crayon wasn’t so terrible.

So we went on to the next page, which said to trace and color all the circles.  I suggested he just color one small circle at the top of the page in, and that he just trace the rest, using an assortment of colors.  He loved it.  He colored one small circle, and i was able to praise his coloring ability, and hopefully boost his confidence.  We did four pages total, and would have continued on except he wanted to do some reading today as well.  I think as long as I stay on my toes and keep our work from becoming monotonous, we’ll do okay.

posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comments Off on Learning About Learning

More Plans Made

Well, Zander’s preschool will continue through to the end of the year, with modifications.  He’ll be going for just two days a week until the end of May, but he has off this week for Easter break.  I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I should do any bits of work with him on the other days of the week when he is not in school.  And I think I’ve decided that yes, I need to do something.

As mentioned before, I’ve gone back and forth on which curriculum to get for him, and have settled on Sonlight’s Core K. I anticipate that the Core could take us as much as two years to do, depending on how he takes to it.  But one thing I’m just not sure of, and that is how eager he is to actually learn with Mommy.  Homeschooling is going to be a huge adjustment for us all, and I think it will only benefit both kids if I can get some kind of… something… going on being their teacher.  So while I flitted briefly with the idea of ordering a curriculum from Sonlight, I’ve decided to order some Rod & Staff  Kindergarten curriculum.

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Specifically, I ordered this package from Christian Light Publications.  It will be something that we can specifically sit down together with just a few days a week.  In addition, I also ordered CLP’s first grade reading curriculum.  Zander is reading phenomenally well- he amazes me every time he reads a book to me and doesn’t struggle for a minute with long 9-10 letter words.  He’s just a solid reader all around.  The thing is, while he is reading spectacularly well, he’s never had the education of long vowels, short vowels, these letters make this sound, etc.  He’s simply learned to read from being read to.  So my thought is that by going through this curriculum will serve two purposes.  One, we’ll get used to the teacher/student relationship, and I’ll get my feet wet with one child instead of two, and secondly, this curriculum will fill in any gaps in his reading knowledge before we dive right in to the Sonlight in the fall.

So we move on.  This week he’ll have no schooling unless our package from CLP comes in.  Then next week, we’ll fill in around preschool with our own learning.  Hopefully it will go well.

posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comments (3)

Health Is In The House

It was an exciting moment today when I held  package in my hands that I knew held a small bit of curriculum.  Yikes!  Inside this box is our Health curriculum- no, not terribly exciting, but curriculum nonetheless.  Which means that homeschooling is getting even closer to becoming a reality.

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Abigail was really excited to see her schoolbooks.  As she flipped through the workbook, she told me she wished she could get started on it right away. (That’s my girl!)

Zander was excited at first, but when we opened his workbook, the very first two pages were coloring activities.  Over the last month or so, he has expressed a huge dislike for coloring activities.  I don’t know if it’s just frustration that what’s in his head doesn’t come out on paper, or if he genuinely doesn’t like coloring.  So he took a quick glance, set the book down and went about his business playing.  We’ll figure out the coloring thing eventually. For now, I’m not pushing it at all, when school actually comes, if he still doesn’t like coloring, maybe we’ll make craft projects out of the coloring pages and use paints or glue some sand to paper or use torn paper pieces and glue.  It will all work out.

As you can see from the photo, I ordered our health class from Alpha Omega.  I was surprised to find very little among different curriculums specifically for health class.  It’s a requirement in our state, so even though I am sure there are bits of health interspersed with the Sonlight core and science programs, we needed something that would specifically meet our health requirement.  I don’t know how much of these books we’ll actually follow.  I was at least happy to see that 4th grade health does not include the “growing up for girls” stuff that my daughter certainly doesn’t need to know about yet.  I am very excited to get to the nutrition units for both kids, and am hoping to use it as a springboard to go deeper into making good food choices for them.

So finally, schoolbooks on the shelf.

posted by Erika in Uncategorized and have Comments Off on Health Is In The House

Why I Already Love Sonlight!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been playing the impatience game with the mailbox.  I KNOW the new Sonlight catalogs have been sent out, and while it will still be awhile before we can place our orders, I sooo want the new catalog so I can firm up our plans on paper (or computer screen, as the case may be.)  I guess I’ve been fully caught up on the excitement of homeschooling, and I just can’t wait for all the pieces to fall into place.

Well, yesterday, I found in my inbox a long, apologetic e-mail that a batch of Sonlight catalogs never made it out, and mine was among them.  So they’re mailing them first class today, and I should receive it in the next few days.  I love that!  What company keeps that close of track of their catalog customers and treats them so wonderfully?  I’ve never even ordered anything yet, and I already feel like royalty.

Just another way that I know that we’re embarking on the right path.  Every step of the way I feel as though I’ve been reassured, and everything is just coming so easily.  I know that God has his hand in our decision to homeschool, and I love seeing his touch.

posted by Erika in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

More Curriculum Thoughts

Well, just after posting the other day, I went back on to Sonlight’s website to spend some time going piece by piece through the P 4/5 and K curriculum.  I’ve been waiting rather impatiently for my new catalog to arrive anyway, so it was nice to just go through some of the stuff online.  What I found, happily, was a peek at the instructional guides for each level of curriculum.  I took one look at the P 4/5 instructor’s guide, and I knew it wasn’t going to be enough for Zander.  Then I went over to the K curriculum, I looked at the sample weeks of curriculum and I thought it was just what I was looking for.  I think it will be the right amount of schoolwork for him.

Since my original plan is to stretch out the Core K to take two years, one of the things I am going to do is stretch out the math and science by alternating with them.  One week we’ll do math, another week we’ll do science.  Or maybe we’ll do an every-other day thing.  I guess I’m not sure yet.  But I am thrilled that I seem to have come to a complete decision regarding Zander’s curriculum.  Now I just need the resources to purchase, and that will be coming along shortly.

I did order our health curriculum this weekend.  We’ll be using Horizons Health in the correct ages for each kid.  Health is a requirement in Wisconsin, and since it’s not part of the Sonlight core, I just went ahead and ordered it.  Plus, Alpha Omega is running a 20% off sale during the month of April.  I’m looking forward to getting at least one portion of our schoolwork!

posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comments (2)

Random Thoughts

Well, I guess I didn’t need the Z week after all.  After a week off,  Zander returned to preschool this week, did his Q week, and next week is Z week.  After that, we’re unsure.  There is an appeals process going on with the program and the state, and the first hearing will be to determine whether or not the school can continue while the rest of the appeals is ongoing.  I guess to me, it really doesn’t affect us one way or the other.  If school is in session, Zander will be there.  If not, we’ll just stay home.  Depending on finances, I am debating ordering some curriculum early from Sonlight to work with him on if school is closed early.

Curriculum choosing has been very tough, and I am so grateful for all the time I’ve had to thoroughly research and go through it.  I am confident that Sonlight is where I want to go, but it’s been incredibly hard to wrap my brain around how they classify their curriculum.   With Abigail, it was a little easier.  Yes, she’ll be in fourth grade, but for Sonlight, that makes her the perfect age for Core 3.  There’s that big part of me that was thinking that because she is so advanced I could just skip to Core 4.  Well, Cores 3 and 4 really go together as two parts of American History.  So we’re just going to go with Core 3.  Here is my plan for next year for Abigail, I think I’m happy with it.

  • Reading, LA, History, Geography: Sonlight Core 3
  • Math: Either Singapore 4 or Horizons 4
  • Science: Sonlight Science 4 plus Apologia Astronomy
  • Health: Horizons Health
  • Electives: Dance class, guitar, art to be determined
  • Bible: Sonlight 3

Doing her schooling this way should put her straight in line to complete the Sonlight Cores by the time she is 18.  Of course, if she goes at a quicker pace, we’ll add in more and let her go as quickly as she wants to.  If she wants to slow it down, we’ll do that, and then worry about condensing the HS cores down the road.   The only thing I am iffy on right now is the Bible 3.  I am debating just having her do Bible with Zander, I’ll order both, but then see if I think Zander’s Bible is meaty enough for her.  I found it really helped me planning out what Abigail was to take this year by looking at a future plan, provided we take to this curriculum.  Zander on the other hand…

I’ve been going back and forth a lot for him. First of all, he is only five, and while he does seem to enjoy the schooling process, what I am coming to realize is that there is no need to rush him.  While there is the supermom in me that thinks I could buy all sorts of first grade curriculm for him and he would do well, at the same time, what would the purpose be?  I don’t want to push him now and then down the road have him tire of learning.  Many, many homeschoolers don’t really buckle down with the studies until age 7, and even then, life happens.

That’s one of the huge appeals of homeschooling.  Yes, we still need to be learning, but if we’re struggling with sickness for a week or two, we can just take a break from our studies.  I’m thinking about my nieces who will also be homeschooling.  One is the same age as Zander, one is a very precocious and precious 18 month old.  On the days where the younger really needs attention, it’s no problem to just shelf the studies for the day and come back to it another time.  With Momma PG with a third, it’s such a blessing for them to be able to look at their schooling and just set it aside for a few weeks to adjust to the new baby.  In traditional schooling, there is no adjusting, you still have to take your child to school every day.  All that being said, I’m still struggling a tiny bit with going back and forth on Zander’s curriculum.

My number one concern is the down the road aspect.  I have read many times on the SL forums how Core 3 has a lot of mature concepts, so I want Zander to be at least 9 before he hits Core 3.  And that’s what puts me in the pickle.  On every level, he is ready for Core K, which is actually first grade material. They have 3 levels of readers for that core.  The K readers are primers- he is well beyond those ones.  The readers 1 are books that we already have and he loves, like Dr. Suess’s ABC’s, really there are about 3 books total in the readers 1 that we don’t already have.  The readers 2 are slightly more advanced, and he’s not ready for those ones.  So currently, my train of thought is to order Core K with readers 2, plus the instructional guide for readers 1, since we have all the readers already.  Then, we would take Core K and stretch it to take two years.  We would start with readers 1 and then do readers 2 when he is ready.  This would put Core 1 at age 7, Core 2 at age 8, and then Core 3 right on target for age 9. Whew.

But then… there is the part of me that thinks that Core K might be rushing it just a touch, and the last thing I want is for Zander to be overwhelmed with his school days.  There is the part of me that thinks we could order the P4/5 and do that first- that’s technically the kindergarten curriculum, and it’s more of an introduction to learning and the learning process.  There’s no hardcore math or science, just basic exploration.  I’ve read over and over at SL about how much children seem to love P4/5 and it really gets them excited about schooling.

So my current thoughts for Zander are to go with my gut and do the Core K.  If he takes off with it, and we finish it in a year, so be it.  We’ll just keep moving forward or slow down as necessary.  However, if his preschool is cut short within the next few weeks, I’m seriously considering ordering the P4/5, starting that right away, and then we’d just pick up with Core K when we finished P4/5, which I estimate would take us about 6 months to complete.  That would work really well I think too.  Then again, we could just start with the P4/5 and make it take half the school year anyway and then start with Core K around Zander’s birthday.  That’s an option I hadn’t considered before…

So obviously, choosing curriculum isn’t as easy as pie.  Now I’m debating P4/5 again.  Since this is our first year homeschooling, that might be a good way to go.  With Abigail needing the full on 4th grade curriculum, it would be nice to be able to take it easy with Zander while we go through our adjustment period.  I’m also looking around the house, debating where we are actually going to do our schoolwork- where will we hang our maps and where will we set up a white board for working some math problems together.  I don’t have enough room!   Our little visitor and company friendly home is going to get a makeover and become a full-on schoolhouse I suspect. :)

Overall though, we’re excited about homeschooling.  I can already tell that this blog is going to be a huge asset to me- it’s nice to get my thoughts down where I can re-read them.  Right now I’m keeping it private, I may share it with a few people, but mostly, it’s going to be private until we start our official schooling.  The last thing I want is to cause problems with Abigail while she is wrapping up 3rd grade, so we’re trying to keep much of our plans under the radar so the school doesn’t treat her differently.

posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comments (2)