Wednesday, January 13, 2010

If I can use Sonlight...

Well truthfully, if I can do it, ANYONE can.

Years ago, I started w/ K. for my oldest child. I loved it, but at that time didn't stick w/ it long enough to learn it. I switched to FIVE in a Row for an easier educational experience. At that time, I had 4 kids in 5 years. A slew of health problems hit me and I still deal w/ some of them...

Well one day on the FIAR website, I happened upon a comment about high school. FIAR doesn't offer high school. I got it in high gear looking around at high school for my oldest who was jr. high age at that time. I wanted something that I could "go all the way with" and not piece together curriculum on my own every year, for every child.

So I pretty much high tailed it back to SL. My plan was to do 1+2 and 3+4 for jr high and then my oldest would be ready for the upper levels. After buying 1+2, I decided that it wasn't that great of a plan, at least for my oldest and I ordered him some used Alt. 6 stuff off of ebay. The 1+2 stuff was too easy and the Alt 6 was too hard. Not to mention that I had a low comprehension extra student who joined us. My younger 3 totally loved the 1+2.

At first I quickly noticed that it would have you pretty much read through a book chapter by chapter, so I quit looking at the schedule and would just read on my own.

Then I tried just reading the books w/ out the schedule on my own. I just couldn't organize it! Couldn't adapt it for all the students I had!

Fast forward to my oldest's ninth grade year, I went back to Five in a Row for my sanity's sake and for the sake of the extra student. I just didn't know how to blend him into our SL experience even though my kids were loving it. I bought Starting Points from Cornerstone Curriculum for my oldest and decided SL was too hard for him.That was settled, breathe a sigh of relief!

Before the new school year started, the extra student went back to public school. I was glad, but now I had to re evaluate my choices. If it was just going to be my younger 3, I didn't need all the FIAR stuff I'd just bought. I'd rather do SL if it was just our family.

So I decided to try 1+2 again. Hey I have only been trying this curriculum for 2 YEARS! lol But it wasn't going to cost me anything, so why not? Should be easier now that I didn't have to deal w/ a student w/ low comprehension.My dyslexic son LOVED SL, he just had to listen to me read all the subjects. But the low comprehension wasn't something I had experience w/. It frustrated me that I didn't know how to help!

My children were now 11, 10 and 8, still in the range of the core, maybe they were a little old for it, but it was what I had and I didn't want to waste it. And I would just use it as a book list if I had to. The books were so compelling! Boring and dry at times, but so worth it!!!

One day I read a review of SL that said it was just a booklist, that the schedule was unneccesary, it just had you read a chapter of the book each day. Well, that was my impression too. So I thought I was fine. I'll just read these books one at a time, chapter by chapter...

Then another day, I read that SL is not a booklist and people are mistaken when they say SL is just a booklist, that the schedule is the heart of the program! What was I missing!!!????

Now that my oldest was using his own program, I could focus on the youngest kids. Instead of trying to figure out how to adapt the schedule, I just started following the SL schedule. I did drop some of the books SL suggested, but kept following the schedule otherwise.

I was starting to understand the beauty of the SL schedule.

The Christian history text would mention something, then it would be mentioned again in the secular history text. Forget the kids, I felt like I was understanding history from a biblical perspective for the first time ever!! I had never understood where Biblical events fell in w/ the history I was taught in public school. Eventually I heard another point of view(Christian), but I doubted that as well. It was hard hearing a different view after so many years of hearing just a secular account. And sometimes it seemed overly Christianized...

But this to me is such a balanced way of learning! My kids can learn mainstream history the way most of America learns it, but also see how Christianity falls into it. They are getting the full package, not only half the story or a cleaned up version of the story...

Actually let's not pretend the school history textbook is as good as the stack of books SL has us read for history, but you get the picture anyway!

Now that I am getting the feel for the schedule sometimes we double up the reading and finish the 4 day schedule in less time. It really helps for those times when life is overtaking us! I am probably able to do this because 1.they are in the upper age range for the core. I don't imagine that I will be able to do this when we move on to next year's core and they are closer to the recommended age. And 2. Now that we have been w/ SL for a while, we are both used to reading alot.

As for my oldest son, after he finishes the year w/ Starting Points, he will be going back to SL for the rest of high school. I am slowly building him up to do more and more rigorous assignments.

We didn't stay w/ SL for Language Arts, we went to Writing strands. It is a much better fit. My oldest daughter did love SL LA and often does it on her own. We still do the readers.And although SL Science goes above and beyond, we(probably ME!) just can't do it and it is pricey. Worth it, but just not in our budget. We do the opt. Bible, it is wonderful. Just today the kids remarked that they loved learning about the Bible at church and then learning more at home. They feel like they are going to Christian school my daughter said!!

It does feel fantastic to have found our perfect match and to not devour every catalog, every website, pick every homeschooler's brain...but it still isn't easy... just because of the various challenges that we all face. :)


Luke said...

Always glad to hear more of your story... especially when it ends with, "Sonlight is working" [smile].

Keep up the good work!


Sandra said...

Curious as to how you liked Starting Points..... Sonlight is awesome...I may have one in SL for High School and one in MFW for High School . Two different kiddos, two different styles!

Jennifer Sr. said...

Starting Points was not a good fit for my son. it asked you to dig deep for answers to hard questions. Some of them were challenging for my husband and for me and I felt it was going to make my son resent the Bible. I am sure that for another student, they would get alot out of it. :)