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Friday, September 19, 2008

Why I believe Every Homeschooler Should Buy Sonlight

We finished core 6! It was really a great core and we learned so much! I was tempted to rush through the end so I could hurry and get to core 7, but I felt like I would be leaving out to much important information. We did end up skipping a few of the readers and read alouds, which I hated to do, but we took our time on Story of the World.

Next week we get to start Core 7. I've been dying to start these books! I'm especially excited about the Bible portion. I didn't really like the Bible in Core 6 and we dropped it about halfway through. It wasn't that it wasn't good stuff, just that my kids have been raised in church and they already knew so much of it that they found it kinda boring. The Bible portion in Core 7 looks really good though. I think it will focus more on discipleship, which I think they need.

Last year and this year (so far) have been the best homeschool years we've ever had! I'm a little surprised because both years I've had little ones underfoot. Last year we had a two year old, plus I was pregnant AND we took in a foreign exchange student. With such a full house and so much going on it would seem that schooling would be a little.... difficult? This year we have a three year underfoot plus a 9 month old baby. Both little ones are very demanding. I mean I always read about families with these perfect little kids that play or color contentedly while the mom homeschools her other 8 kids in perfect peace. Yeah, not so much at my house. Usually the littlest one is crying to be held or trying to color on the older kids papers, yelling at the top of her lungs "No! I don't want my own paper! I want to color Ashley's!!!!" or (as Lacey is doing this year) repeating EVERY word I say because "I'm teaching too, Mommy!"
But even with all the distractions these have been the best years! I think part of it is that I'm more organized and experienced but I have to say I think most of the credit for the great year has to go to Sonlight. WARNING! THE REST OF THIS IS GOING TO SOUND LIKE A PAID ADVERTISEMENT FOR SONLIGHT! ONLY PROCEED IF YOU ARE PREPARED FOR A LONG SONLIGHT GUSH! First of all, I just love this curriculum! I love the fact that my days are all planned out. I used to want to design my own lesson plans ( I can't remember WHY I wanted to do this. Surely I had a reason?) but then real life would get in the way and I'd end up behind. Not so with Sonlight! I just open my Instructor Guide and start teaching. Everything is laid out for me. And the books are so interesting! I love the discussions we are having. I love that the kids aren't just filling in blanks in a workbook but reading about interesting people and places. I like that they aren't just learning what happened, but why it happened and how it affects us today. In the past it seemed I struggled so much just doing the basics, math, language, spelling, that we didn't even get to the other stuff like history or science. Or I'd get frustrated and ignore the basics for more fun science and history projects. But with sonlight it just seems like everything comes together so perfectly! I think a big difference is that I'm so excited about what we are learning that I stay motivated to teach. Even on bad days when the kids are rowdy I look forward to sitting down with the kids and reading and talking together. Sometimes our discussions turn very serious and we talk about abortion, the need to put Jesus first in their lives or the current presidential campaign and other times we can't hardly keep reading because we are laughing so hard about something we read. I think it's drawn our family closer together and given me such insight into the personalities of the children God has blessed me with. I love that Sonlight is unapologetically Christian. I love that the goals they have so closely matches the goals I have for my kids. And they don't just set goals for you they back their goals up with real life ways to reach those goals. For instance I want my children to develop a heart for missions. Well Sonlight introduced me to a India mission project that will help teach illiterate women to read. I really, really love their support forums! I have learned so much from them, even though I mostly lurk.
I love their super fast shipping and their friendly customer service. I wish I had started using Sonlight years ago. Back then I just couldn't see spending that much money on it. Now it seems like such a small price to pay for all the benefits we get from it. Out of everything we are doing or have done in the past Sonlight is the only curriculum I have ever used that I totally love. I'm really so thankful that God lead me to Sonlight and that is honestly the end of my gush- for today. Anyway we have revival tonight and I gotta get the kids ready. I want to post about Hurricane Ike and how we fared the storm but I need to load some pictures- maybe tomorrow?

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sonlight Science May Actually Make Science Fun!

Well we are into our 4th week of school and it's going really well. I'm a little surprised by how well it's going. I keep expecting it to get harder but so far it's not.
So this week I'm going to tell about what we are doing in science. We are using Sonlight Science 3 which is above Kyle's level but I'm helping him with the hard things. I'm also having him dictate his answers to me so as not to overwhelm him with extra writing. It's below Donna's level but I'm beefing it up for her. I'm having her memorize vocabulary words, do extra writing and I plan to give her tests on what we are studying. Anyway this week we started growing radishes. They are all getting a kick out of that. We set up a lab table in the living room( room with the best light) and our radishes are already sprouting!

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