Last week I wrote about preparing for school. Continuing in the theme of how we school so many characters and how we get everyone through their own Sonlight Core I said I would write how we schedule our school day.
Then I figured if you didn’t know what we were doing for school you won’t understand our schedule. So this post is all about what we do for school…
But something came up. We have been boxed – and any Sonlighter knows what that means: We cannot move or breathe for looking at books!
OK – Back to blogging.
What do we do for school, what’s our goal and aim for each year – we actually have one! I have thought about it and I find by having my own internal goal for each child that I don’t get too distracted by the whole: We homeschool and our children must conquer every possible educational opportunity. If it isn’t part of their goal for the year I don’t pursue it and I don’t hunker after it.
So these are our very general ideas and goals for each year of Sonlight:
P3/4: We have the books on the shelf and we just read through the shelves from end to end… I don’t schedule and I don’t legalize and we add a lot of books to the pile as we go! My goal os to get as many classic picture books and stories into their systems. And certainly no workbooks worth mentioning. No matter how brilliant your child is and how desperate you are for them to “do school”. Spread them wider not higher, spend more time exploring nature and messing with crafty stuff and following their passions than getting them to get through workbooks and writing their name. They will do all the bookwork in time, anyway. I once read a pearl of wisdom, and it really applies to Sonlight where you don’t want to leave anything out: If you are desperate for your children to learn and pursue a whole lot of topics, then sign up for a course of study yourself and leave them to their own devices while you are busy. Honestly when I have found myself wanting to push a kid to learn more about something it has really helped me to back off and go and explore the topic myself. When I want them to make beautifully presented notebooks on a topic – do it myself! Takes the pressure off them completely.
These two years cause the most questions… folk say to me I love the P3/P4 books but my child is so advanced I think I will skip them and just go to the P4/5 books. And since this is my blog I will just say: Don’t be mad – skip nothing!!! Your kids synapses will connect better and they will learn more sitting in your lap reading countless stories than they will ever get being “taught stuff”. With a schedule. Filling in workbooks and doing math manipulatives.
P4/5: We also just read through the books from one end of the shelf to the other and I don’t bother with scheduling in little activities – living is full of little activities! They do a page a day of the Developing the Early Learner Series and about half a page of handwriting (HWT), and their bookwork takes at the most ten minutes. The goal is simply to carry on from the previous year with a tiny bit of school so that they get the idea of working foe school and working for pleasure – could be the same or different things depending on the kid!
Core K: I concentrate on reading and learning to read, we use Learn to Read in 100 Lessons – that’s not 100 days! 100 lessons. They do the early bird singapore math and get into the routine of reading history and science just a page a day instead if the entire book! Here I start to follow the schedule and they start journaling for real and finding interesting snippets and things to pop into their journals. They dictate to me and do a lot of drawing.
Core 1: I really concentrate on Language Arts with my kids, they generally learn to read in K, and Grade 1 they perfect the art. They need to become proficient this year and comfortable reading chapter books themselves. The jump from being a non-reader to an easy reader is so complete that when they make that jump the Language Arts 1 is not enough. So initially I sit along side them and we do the beginner reader language arts and the easy reader language arts. They soon get into the swing that school can be quite a challenge and then they rise to the occasion.
Core 2: In Grade 2, the world is their oyster, after a summer of reading they gallop through chapter books. They do Language Arts 2 Intermediate and 2 Advanced in Grade 2. I can’t stand the idea that they miss out on a single Sonlight book. They tend at this stage to go back to Core K and reread all their previous read alouds. Also in Core 2, they start to read their own history and science – its only a double page. Usually after lunch I lie down with the little guys and read their books and the core 2 person reads alongside me and asks for help when they need it.
Core 3: By Core 3 I expect them to do their history, science and readers without my attention and mostly they can’t wait for me to read their read-alouds and read them as well. That being said I have read all the books before them and when I plan for the week ahead I get up to date with what I need to stay just ahead of them. The goal for Core 3 is all about interpreting what they read – making charts to understand all those animal kingdoms. Plotting timelines and Maps as American History unfolds. Both my boys found the jump to grade 3 quite heavy because now they have history books that require filling in and I fill in the Lyrical Life Science with them, but I tell them they have only one language arts program (they didn’t realize they were doing two before) so life is easy and they generally buy it – marketing I tell you!!! We also start Spelling for real and we use Spelling Power and love it – my kids love the apparent randomness of the activities. Hood #1 started by slotting in near the end of the book and could spell everything in the book within six months of getting it – yes we call him “Spellcheck,” but Hood #2 is a regular guy and will be very busy with this for a couple of years!
Core 4: I really concentrate on research – looking things up in Atlases, Encyclopedia’s, Dictionaries. Finding books in the library on a given topic, whatever. It is all about getting that research brain into action… Lots of mini-projects and reports. Also I start to push their math brain so slightly with the Key to Math Series, just a page or two a day. I love that this series it teaches quite advanced ideas, but the day to day steps are so incrementally small that they don’t realize they are marching forth gaining mathematical finesse!
Core 5: The focus is on presentation. No more scrawling – anywhere. Beautiful mapping of the lands we visit. When you write a story illustrate it with care. Make sure everything is legible. Include contents pages and references in reports. It really ups the concentration around their projects and the jump from projects that were accepatable at the beginning of the year compared to the end of the year is enormous! Also, Hood #1, was desperate to start Latin and I made him wait till Grade 5. No one else is showing this bent! But I think it is the time to introduce a Foreign Language – beyond just in smatterings of conversation.
Core 6: I have next week to decide this one. I need to go and do a whirlwind tour.
So this is what my kids are doing for school this year, more or less off the top of my head:
- Hood #7: Underfoot and sweet as can be.
- Hood #6: Walking around and fiddling with other peoples things, while they are doing school. Listening in with everyone’s readers.
- Hood #5: Core P4/5, couple of activity books so he feels like he is schooling!
- Hood #4: Core K, EarlyBird Singapore, 100 lessons, H.W.T., Explode the code A, B, C., Science K.
- Hood #3: Core 2, Language Arts 2 (intermediate and advanced), Singapore 2, Miquon, H.W.T. Wordly Wise, MCP Word Study, Science 2.
- Hood #2: Core 4, Singapore 4, Key to Math Series, H.W.T., Wordly Wise, Key to Good Language, Winston Grammar, Science 4.
- Hood #1: Core 6, Singapore 6, Key to Math Series, Winston grammar, Vocabulary from Classical Roots, Latin Road to English Grammar, Science 6.
I may have omitted something crucial from the list – but do understand I am distracted by a large pile of books at the end of the table.
Actually, I may just take a month off because I have four boxes of books waiting to be read! Just kidding I love blogging far too much to stop! But I have a number of short people saying: “Can I read this book? Is this book for me? Can I just read this one? Are we starting school today?” – Aaaah joyful interruptions!!! and now they have to wait while I get their files together – hehe – nothing like building up some anticipation.
Anyway my next homeschool post will definitely be our day to day school schedule and that’s because I wrote 90% of it already, before I realized you would need to know what we are doing to get with the schedule.