April 14, 2010

Planning for the Summer and Beyond

So I still have a lot to process from the convention last week, and I'm running out of time today already. But there is one major change I'm making to our school plans that I will write about now.

PLAN A was to hurry up and finish Sonlight's Core 2 so we could hurry up and start on Sonlight's Core 3! Why the rush? We are planning to attend the homeschool days at Colonial Williamsburg this fall, and I thought it would be a good thing to get some of the American History core under our belts so the kids would be even more excited about the experience. We typically school year round anyway, with last summer being the exception since we had a newborn and a cross-country move throwing school plans awry.

When I visited the Sonlight booth in the Exhibit Hall last week, I had one question for Jill, and it's a question my friend Megan has asked as well as she has looked into this curriculum. By Core 3, the language arts readers are lining up with the history portion of the core. Charis is ready for LA 3 to go along with Core 3, but the boys are 1-2 levels behind. My question was...does this really matter? What should I do?

Jill suggested doing something different--instead of rushing into Core 3 and working at our one-core-per-year pace, stretch out Cores 3 and 4 (both American History) to last for three years. This will give the boys time to catch up, as we can continue their current LA pace. Also, she pointed out the opportunity to have Kenna join in Core K at the same time we start Core 5 with the older kids--both cores are "World Culture" oriented. Also, Core 1 goes very well with Core 6.

Light bulb moment for me! The thought of schooling Kenna has obviously crossed my mind, LOL, but I hadn't even begun to think that far down the road in terms of lining up our cores. I had read in the past about other families doing that, but since it didn't apply to our family at the time, it just sort of flew out of my brain.

I love this idea for several reasons. First of all, I hated feeling rushed with the core we're on now. I want to enjoy it! And I was finding myself in a box-checking mentality, and our school time was feeling very dead. Suddenly I feel free!! Funny, isn't it, how we as homeschooling moms--who plan our OWN schedules--often feel tied to something that may or may not be working?!

Also, I realized that there truly is no need for us to "cover" any particular American history information in order to enjoy being at Williamsburg. The kids have done some reading on their own, and we can definitely get books from the library and talk about things ahead of time...but why start a new core simply to learn certain facts ahead of time?

Another reason I'm happy with making this change is that there is simply too much great stuff out there! While I am a perfectly happy Sonlight customer and plan to remain so as we see all our kids through to graduation and beyond, I just love some of the other resources out there. Taking the summer "off" will allow me to incorporate some other activities into our schedule...like the National Bible Bee, for example! I'm looking forward to organizing a light school schedule that will keep us busily learning and doing worthwhile things through the summer while still giving us a bit of a break that will allow me to re-organize some things in the house and plan for some travel.


Tina Miles said...

Another thought I had was the history may come more "alive" for the kids AFTER they've done the trip. As you study it in the next year you can refer back to what you've seen and they'll have a frame of reference for it.

the Pools said...

take lots of pictures, have the kids do a scrapbook of your trip and then you will have some real-life memories to draw from when you get to that part of the core...I typically take 1 1/2 years to do one core because our schedule is so crazy and I am always adding in other stuff as I see those "teachable moments" arise....blessings to you and yours!

Beverly said...

Yes, Annette, scrapbooking is definitely in order! Great idea to have them make their own!!

Anonymous said...

The Convention was awesome, wasn't it? We need to de-brief together sometime. Tell me more about the Bible Bee. Are you going to host? Have you done it before?

Megan said...

Glad you figured out something for Cores 3 & 4! Sounds like a good plan.

Do you foresee combining Lucan and Kenna someday, or will you do them separately?

Also, when your kids get towards high school age and have to start counting "credits" in the various subjects in order to meet graduation requirements, will you still have the three older kids combined in one core, or do you think you'll end up separating them? Or maybe you'll be able to have them finish high school by age 16 and just start them on college courses then. LOL

Beverly said...

Good heavens, Megan! I'm taking one year at a time! When Charis was getting ready to begin kindergarten, I remember sitting down with the Sonlight catalog and "mapping out" how we would do our cores to keep all 3 kids together (mostly) up through junior high.

BWAHAHAHAHA!!! So God has a sense of humor. When I made our "plan," I had no idea God would send us two more kids...at least. :-) And I had no idea I would take a year "off" Sonlight because of being pregnant and having my husband spend 6 months on the other side of the country. So...I think in terms of "maybe" and "possibly" and just wait to cross various bridges when I need to. :-)

Megan said...

Hehe, well, I figured I'd ask. :-)