Thursday, June 17, 2010

Is this too good to be true? I sure hope not...

I am very happy to report that homeschooling is going remarkably well. We have had some ups and downs, but overall, things are going well.

So far, we have almost completed the second week according to the Sonlight curriculum. I was delighted to discover that many of the Sonlight books I needed I could get from Amazon or my local library. The books I couldn't get from Amazon or the library I purchased directly from Sonlight.

Unfortunately, after reviewing the Sonlight materials, I found that two of the books I had omitted because of the overt religious content I was going to need after all. But, at about the same time, I also decided that I would start my three-year-old on Sonlight's P3/4 curriculum. He loves to be read to and I figured he would be able to sit still long enough to reap some benefit from starting him now. So, I placed another order with Sonlight for the other books I needed plus the ones for the three-year-old. They should arrive in the next couple of days. I can't wait.

I am just blown away by Sonlight's curriculum and Singapore Math. I really wish I would have known about both when I homeschooled last summer.

We have deviated from Sonlight's plan a little though. Since both kids had had Charlotte's Web read to them, we decided to read E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan instead. It was a book I had purchased last year that none of us had ever read so we went with that instead. We also decided to delve into Greek mythology. My eight-year-old had been introduced to Greek mythology via a computer game that she had been playing online and she really loved the idea of learning more about it. So, I purchased D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths and started reading from that each night. The book has wonderful illustrations and is written in such a way as to hold both the eight and seven year olds' interest for an extended period of time. Most nights I find they are begging me to read "just a little bit more."

The history and geography woven into the Sonlight curriculum are ingenious. In fact, one of the books I had originally omitted, From Akebu to Zapotec, I decided I would add back in because the geography seemed invaluable. We are skipping A Beginner's Bible though. I don't mind introducing the kids to different religions, but I don't want to preach one as the absolute truth.

Singapore Math has been amazing, too. Both kids are catching on quickly and we are flying through the material. I had expected us to cover most information rather rapidly because much of it is review, but we have slowed down and taken our time when we have needed to. I am amazed at how well my eight-year-old is doing with computing numbers in her head. The Mental Math that Singapore teaches is incredible.

This time around I have also noticed that I have taken a much more laid back approach. If we don't get through everything we are supposed to on a given day, we don't sweat it. And, if the kids are excited about doing a particular subject first, we do it their way.

After the first day last week, I told my husband if things continue to go this well, we will probably continue in the fall. Of course, we have our days when the kids are whiny and grumpy about having to do school during the summer, but most of the time, they have been agreeable. My eight-year-old has also flatly refused to do any more French at this point. I haven't undertaken that battle just yet because she is doing so well in so many other areas.

I find myself looking ahead at the lessons coming up and thinking I don't think I will want to stop this in fall. I don't want them to miss out on the history, geography, math, and literature they would cover with Sonlight and Singapore Math. I hope things continue just like this! Certainly, if they do, it will make my decision in the fall that much easier.

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