Monday, November 25, 2013

Homeschooling Update

Whew! We are almost half way through our 2013-2014 school year. Max is "doing" 1st Grade and Soph, K. I decided to go with Sonlight this year in hopes of keeping planning and gathering supplies on my own to a minimum since it was my first year homeschooling 2 kiddos, plus I have a busy 3 year old and baby.

I think it was the right decision for our family this year.  However, with that being said, I don't think I will be going with Sonlight again next year. Sonlight definitely had lots of pros...

  • Awesome literature. We have read (and will read) some awesome books this year. A lot of them are books that I probably wouldn't have chosen on my own.
  • My kids also are loving the social studies/history portion. The Usborne Encyclopedia and Living Long Ago are awesome and I find someone on the couch almost daily just looking though one of those books "just for fun".
  • Lesson plans are already done! (A huge perk!)
But, we probably won't use it again next year. I think for me the list of cons really outweighs the pros...
  • I was really disapointed in the Language Arts component. I felt like it just kind of floats through different ideas and isn't really cohesive. It also doesn't give a lot of review. 
  • I felt like I needed to supplement so we are using First Language Lessons which I love. But, I feel like with Sonlight's price I shouldn't have to order more things to supplement.
  • And yeah, the price tag. Sonlight is expensive.
  • The science experiments require a lot of materials to be gathered. Which is fine but they advertise one of the perks of their program as not having to gather a lot of materials. Not the case.
  • I feel like this shouldn't be counted as a con because it isn't really a claim Sonlight makes... but I felt like all topics should flow together more... If we are reading about the pilgrims coming to America for studies I think it would be neat if our read alouds, laungauge arts lessons, etc. all tied in. I felt like we were having to switch gears all day long.
  • It is hard to shake things up or take a break without throwing off the lesson plan schedule. 
But, I don't regret buying it this year at all. I don't know that I would have learned so much about my personal homeschooling philosophies without it! I have learned that for me, unit studies (based on my kids interests, current events, the time of year, etc) and amazing literature is where it is at. And those things are my heart for homeschooling my children. Sonlight really doesn't fit that vision and that is fine. It is still a great program. It just isn't for me!

So, as we continue on this year we will still be using most of our Sonlight materials. But, I will be adding in several unit studies along the way and really focusing on the literature. It will be more work on my end but I really believe it is what works best for me and for my kids... and that is the beauty of homeschooling!

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