Its official...we're a homeschooling family. I won't lie, I'm super excited and super scared at the same time. Who am I, this publicly trained educator, this professor of future teachers, who plans on keeping her kid out of the public schools? What am I doing? However, I also have a sense of peace as I feel this is what we are being led to do at this time. I'm choosing to move forward, knowing its our path for now, and believing that Sonlight will help us along our way.
The teacher in me, is excited. I only recently learned (from Erin at Usual Mayhem) that "Box Day" is celebrated among the Sonlight community. And I was glad to learn of this important day. While many of of my friends are posting photos of their kids and their first day at public school kindergarten, I am seriously wondering, am I really doing what is best for my kid? I even remember my first day of kindergarten (ok, I remember because I have photos). So I love the idea of the Box Day photos!
We had the tracking number and knew that day had arrived....our books were coming today. I was teaching science lab in the morning, and put a sign up for the Fed Ex. guy, so he would leave the package. But when I came home, there had been no delivery. We were disappointed, but found activities to keep us occupied. Finally, by 2:00, I checked our tracking number and discovered that our package had been delivered earlier that morning. We live on a campus, and so I realized that the package was somewhere else on campus, and I must track it down. I loaded the kids up into the car, and we headed to the main office. There I found, two beautiful white boxes withe the "Sonlight" logo. Ahh..there they were...waiting for us. I carried the large box, and my son Caleb carried the lighter one.
We took a few photos in front of the front door of our home, then took them inside to open them. The name on the package was to my son, not to me, and so he was super excited. I even allowed him to use scissors to cut the packing tape an open the package. Of course even the packing material was exciting, Caleb ended up using the brown paper as a way to make himself into a "knight." We never used the castle cut-outs available in the big box, but we continued the theme with the knight!
On top was the bingo chips, bingo cards, and the overhead markers for the map. Caleb was super excited about the markers. I warned him, these were "adult" markers, and they were not washable, but because he was now in kindergarten he would be able to use them! You can imagine his excitement.
So I started going through the books, checking off the books from the packing list making sure we had all the books we had ordered. I know Sonlight is very clear on what is part of "Core A," but checking them off one-by-one, made me a bit nervous about the upcoming year. Really??? We will be reading ALL these books? There was a lot of chapter books...with very few pictures..do they really know what they are asking my kid to do? Sit and listen to these long books? He's in kindergarten...really?
But it is only 3 days after we opened the "box" and we already have the first chapter book on our schedule completely read! "The Boxcar Children." I loved these books as a kid and remember how cool it would have been to make home in a train-car.
I, of course was super excited to see the science curriculum. My husband thought that just being in our home would be science curriculum enough, but I went ahead and purchased Sonlight's curriculum for kindergarten. While science is all around us, and we experience it as a family together all the time, I worry about my ability to bring science down to his level. So having an instructor's guide for science is actually a stress reducer for me! The books we will be using as part of our science curriculum this year are wonderful. However, as I look through the science instructor guide (IG), I am a bit concerned with the student worksheets that go along with the wonderful books. The LA, history, and geography instrutor's guide all seem on target with where my son is academically, but the science worksheets ask him to write full answers to questions (while the LA/phonics are just working on individual letters). But I now remember that Core A, is for 5-6-7 year olds. So that means that much of the worksheet material won't be applicable to my son.
Plus, after reading, "The Three R's, " By Ruth Beechick, that I ordered as part of my Core A, I am more confident that the chapter book read-alouds, and the breadth of science and history that is part of this curriculum is exactly what my son needs at this age. I'm so pleased to learn that it is more important that kids absorb a breadth of content, and not necessarily be able to read and write about it. This is particularly good news, as I know that my son is a strong auditory learner. I can read to him while he's playing and he's completely with me. He remembers what I read, asks proper follow up questions, and remembers what he hears. So this is GREAT news for all the reading we will be doing this year. In addition to all the Sonlight Curriculum we got this week, I'd also like to read the Hobbit to Caleb! Wish me luck!
The photo above, is my youngest son, reading his favorite book of animals! I guess, He's trying to get into the school thing too!
In preparation for our school year, we made bookmarks for all of our books. The photo above, is of him working on "decorating" the bookmarks and we have since laminate them!
Now, I'm working to determine how to start slowly, then get up to full steam by mid-Sept. Overwhelmed, but excited...here we go! :)
I think I'm having Box Envy! I miss Big Box Day. I LOVE the Box Day photos! Wonderful!ReplyDelete
What I did with the science worksheets was to have her dictate and I wrote. I found that M loved to go back and re-read it the next year as her skills improved.
Well, it was you that let me know that Box Day is a "BIG DAY!" I would have taken photos and all, but I didn't realize that its kinda the parallel to the "first day of school" photos for other kids! Sonlight even has their own page links to everyone's Box Day post! Right now there's 81 links! Pretty Cool. Thanks so much for helping me build excitement for our school year!Delete
Yeah for Box Day!!! Did you make your box into the castle? I always write in the answers for the kids science in K. Not sure why they expect 5 year olds to do that type of writing.ReplyDelete
Also remember to NOT write on the science sheets if you plan on using them again. Sonlight does not keep old versions of the science questions. So you can't order questions for 2012 when you need them in the future.
I'm excited to read your posts as the year goes by!
Thanks for letting me know you fill in answers. Since I don't have to turn anything in to anyone, I'll probably just put checkmarks on the ones he answered correctly. Or is there value in him seeing me write in the answers?
No, we didn't make the box castle, the interest wasn't there, but he did dress up like a knight, with the packing material. :)
How exciting! We always start homeschooling a little later into September. I say always, but this is only our second year! Ha ha!ReplyDelete
You'll do fine--just remember one thing: some days, everyone needs a break! ;)
Jessica, thanks for the support! I'm so excited to start the year! :)Delete
I see your blog is about little towns in Indiana, but I don't see Culver. Have you ever been? Its a quaint town on a lake, and has some really great little restaurants, and a bunch of bed and breakfasts!
Great post. Welcome to Sonlight. We love it! And yes, you really will read all of those books together and you'll count it a privilege when you're all done that you've spent that much time together with your boy. It's wonderful! We can't wait to start school each year, with Sonlight's excellent readers!ReplyDelete
Shannon in Indiana <><
Thanks so much. I'm so pleased with Sonlight already! I was concerned with all the chapter books that are included with Core A, as that is something I might not have picked myself for us to read, but am AMAZED at how much he loves being read to, even without pictures! We've already finished "The Boxcar Children" ...finished it in 3 days instead of the weeks they have scheduled for us! Hum...so glad!
Hi Darci! I wanted to address the question you posted on my blog about our homeschool schedule. We school year-round, 3-4 days per week and take breaks whenever we feel we need them. This allows us to take vacations during the off-season and helps my daughter not forget things she's learned over a huge summer break (and then spend weeks reviewing and catching up again). My state - Indiana - requires that we school 180 days per school year. So I sit down with a calendar and figure out about how many days we school each month to hit the 180 mark (nothing wrong with going over that number, by the way). Some months are busy for us - like December, with holiday travels - so I figure that we will not fit in as many days that month. Other months - like January and February - aren't as busy, we're indoors more, and we school more often. Field trips and co-op days also count as school days. The only down side to our schedule is that it doesn't follow Sonlight's daily plans all that well. We may only get through a partial Sonlight week and then take a few days off. But so far we haven't forgotten anything that was happening in our favorite books for it to be a big deal. We just spend a few minutes reviewing what took place during our last reading. We generally follow Sonlight's lesson plans though. And we start school in about May/June and end in about April/May. There's nothing sacred about the public school system of a "school year." It doesn't have to last 9 months and it doesn't have to be August/September through May/June. That's just the system they've developed for themselves. But you can customize your homeschool to whatever works best for your family! (Caveat: if you're planning to have your daughter return to public school at some point, she will then have to fit into that mold). Well... welcome to homeschooling. I hope your experience is wonderful as you teach your own children at home.Delete
Oh....you don't know how much that helps! :) Figuring out how many days each month to school to get the 180 days is a great starting place. Although defining what a "day" is is kinda a joke. We learn just as much when we don't have a book open, ya know? But I'm a big girl, I think I can figure this out! It also really helped for you to explain this all in context of the "Sonlight" week. I can see that we won't be following that 5 days a week sort of thing.
We are starting slow, taking 2 days to do 1 day's readings. We've spend time learning our calendar activities (Spanish number cards a post to share soon!), singing a lot of songs, and then reading outside.
Thanks again for your help! God bless you! :)
I just started following your blog and just started using Core A too. I pieced it together used so I didn't get a "box day". Ours slowly trickled in via UPS or the mailman. I was intimidated by all the books, although we LOVE to read. We finished The Boxcar Children early too. We love science and were already doing Apologia with my oldest. I bought Core A for my son because I think he would benefit from having his "own" stuff and I was right. He would rather look at his books than listen in with his sister. He sat down and read the Frog book by himself (sort of).ReplyDelete