If you follow Crystal & Co., over on Facebook you know I have been on the fence for a while about homeschooling. My husband has been pretty adamant about our three youngest children being homeschooled. Remember, we are a blended family. Our two older boys (currently 5th and 7th grade) have always been in public school. While being very involved parents in their education there are many aspects of public school that we are not pleased with. Nonetheless, for our two oldest boys there are other parents’ opinions that need to be taken into consideration in order for homeschool to be an option for them and we respect that.
Friday was Box Day at our house. I am finding this to be the common term used on homeschool forums and threads. Box Day is fun and full of anticipation.
If you had asked me ten years ago if homeschooling would ever been in my future the answer would have hands down been absolutely not.
By the time the twins were two years old my husband started vocalizing more and more his desire for our kids to be homeschooled. I thought he was crazy. The thought of being 100% responsible for the education of our children terrified me. Teach them to read? Teach them Algebra? Afterall, I do not have a teaching degree.
As the years have passed his desire for homeschool has steadily increased and while I agreed with all of his reasons that homeschooling would be a better choice for our kids, I was completely terrified to make the commitment. This is a huge under taking. I asked for one more year of the twins attending Mother’s Day Out for me to research our options. Even though they were 5 years old, I knew an extra year would give them more time to mature a bit and give me some time to really sort this out. And the MDO program they attended was structured and very educational, they were not playing all day- they were learning.
After many discussions with my husband, prayer, talking to my friends who homeschool, reaching out to new friends who homeschool, looking into enrichment programs and co-op programs, attending fairs and such, the answers finally came together.
We attended a Homeschool Book Fair here in the DFW area and made our way through close to 100 booths. I could touch and read through all of my options. See it in person. I put my hands on a curriculum that I instantly felt comfortable with. It just felt right. I was confident. I can do this. I spent a good 15 minutes in the booth interviewing a family who actively uses the program.
I left with their catalog and spent all of last weekend online reading everything I could about the company, their curriculum, my options, etc. I was ready. This will work for our family!
The curriculum we chose is Sonlight. One of my very close friends, who I’ve known since we were 11 years old, used Sonlight at one point in her homeschool routine. I remember seeing it close to five years ago at her house, but at that time it overwhelmed me.
One of my sweet blogging friends, Kelli from 3 Boys and a Dog, mentioned recently that she used Sonlight for her older boy when she homeschooled him. She felt it was very straight forward and they had a successful school year using it.
Why Sonlight is a Good Fit For my Family:
The Sonlight curriculum comes with a well-organized, 36 week lesson plan. There will be no extra planning for me at all (unless I want to). The plan prompts me with research information, questions to ask, suggestions for explaining each lesson, etc.
You can download samples to see for yourself if this is a program you want to learn more about.
Bible studies are included in the curriculum. It is a core subject which was very important to me and something they do not get in public school.
The curriculum is literature-based. I want my children to have a love for reading and understand the importance of reading in everyday life. That does not mean I will be forcing my boys to read- I am not going to pressure them to be a championship reader; however, I will give them the resources needed as they find their love for reading on their own timetable. I am excited for the one on one read aloud time we will have with this program.
All of these books came with our curriculum.
The program came with everything I need. Consumables, all the read a loud books, everything for experiments, manipulatives. etc. We can begin homeschooling this very moment and have everything we need.
For example, this is what the student workbook for Math looks like (Horizons):
Here is the teacher version that outlines the objectives, activities to do, teaching tips and the answers to the questions on the worksheets.
Here is the box of maniplutives we will use during the school year while teaching Kindergarten Math:
The handwriting is Handwriting Without Tears. While my twins have a great handwriting foundation already, thanks to Mother’s Day Out, I am still excited to use this program.
And even handwriting is hands on. You use wooden pieces (that are provided) to create the letters with your hands. This is perfect for boys who love to build!
And there are worksheets, but not overload. This worksheet is covered over the week as you explore the letter.
And the same goes for Science, which is a subject my boys LOVE! During the Mother’s Day Out school year we actually did an extra Science class on Monday’s so the boys could enjoy experiments which make them very happy.
With Sonlight, there are Science worksheets (one for the week).
We will use the included encyclopedia to explore the subject further.
Then there are experiments which my boys cannot wait to do! And everything we need is included.
The subjects covered with the core are: Bible, History/Geography, Language Arts, Reading, Math and Science. That is a full day! You can add electives like music and art but we are going to keep it very basic as we start off and get our feet wet.
We are getting our space ready and getting geared up to go. The curriculum has been spread out all over my kitchen table since Friday as I familiarize myself with all of the contents. I am trying to walk my way through what a typical day will look like so I can realistically identify a schedule and baseline understanding.
I am so exited to share this journey with you guys and would also love to know if you homeschool. Has it been the best choice for you and why? Are you searching for curriculum and completely stressed out? If so, I can relate.