We Are Done with 1st Grade!

I say “we” because it was a group effort! 😉

I homeschooled our oldest son using Sonlight curriculum and thought I would share my honest review now that we have successfully completed it.

What I Loved:

Open-and-go

Christian curriculum

Great book selection

4-day or 5-day option

For my first full year of homeschool, I liked Sonlight because it was easy to use and it was a Christian curriculum. It was an open-and-go kind of curriculum that basically held my hand the entire way. There were a lot of books and I liked teaching out of “regular” books. I think Sonlight is great for new-to-homeschool parents as it really gave me a confidence boost that I could do it.

What I Didn’t Love:

Teacher-centered

Reading aloud constantly

History

Science was lack-luster

Although I was a reading teacher and really LOVE reading aloud, with Sonlight I was reading aloud constantly. My son would sit and listen well but it just felt like I was the Peanut’s teacher.

When I say a lot of reading, I mean a LOT – starting with a Christian book, Bible story, then the large history book plus chapter books and poetry book – that was all just for the ‘Intro to World History’ curriculum. Thankfully the Language Arts curriculum didn’t include a lot of reading aloud (it was all in the history and chapter books listed there). Language Arts was more of just writing and spelling. For science, it was a lot of really great Usborne books, which I liked, but again just didn’t ever feel like we really dug-in deep with the topics. Which leads to my next point…

Sonlight’s curriculum does not have a lot of built-in extensions and as a working homeschooling mom, I just don’t have the time to scour Pintrest looking for extensions for certain topics.

All of that said, I think Sonlight was a great curriculum for our first year and helped me to get a good handle on how to manage homeschooling for our home. The book selection was great, I loved the ‘Leading Little Ones to God’ book and the opportunities to read straight from the Bible.

Again, this is just my honest opinion and what I noticed with my child and what we needed.

Now for 2nd grade!

(and preschool!)

We are switching curriculums completely to the Good and the Beautiful and I am thrilled! I already sorted the science units and I think my son is going to LOVE it! I let him select the units that he was interested in and have already started planning some field trips that go along with what we are learning. Here is what we are going to do for second grade:

I already planned out the day and put it in the front of my planning binder so I know what we are doing and when.

Then on each page inside, I wrote out what unit/lesson we are doing that week.

Here are the units and items I will be using for preschool for my 4-year old and for 2nd grade for my oldest:

Bible:

We are going to work through these books for Bible this year. It is all the same reading on the same days, just on different levels for each age. I am also thinking of using our Write the Word Journals to start our day as well.

History:

For history, we are going to use the Good and the Beautiful History Year 2. We will be alternating days of history and science, so we will complete two lessons a week for history; two lessons a week for science.

Science:

Alternating days with history – for science we are going to do these units (which I have already hole-punched and put in binders), as well as Mammals and Botany (not pictured). If all goes as planned, we should be done with all of these lessons and units (starting July 5, 2021) on April 28, 2022 (which also includes review weeks, holidays, etc.)

English, Reading, Language Arts:

I haven’t purchased it yet, but we are going to do a little mix of the Good and the Beautiful Language Arts Year 2 and some other reading and writing stuff from another curriculum. I also scheduled independent reading time in the day because if I don’t, it won’t happen! 😉

Math:

For math, I will be using the Good and the Beautiful Math 2. What I LOVE about this is that there are fun games intertwined in the learning, which my son will love! Even though we didn’t have any issues with Math-U-See, he verbally has expressed to me that he “hates math because it is so boring.” So I think switching to TGTB math curriculum will really make a difference for him.

Preschool:

For my little one, I am going to use the Good and the Beautiful Level K Primer. I will also read aloud books, work on counting and doing a lot of other little games with him to make learning fun for him.

We are also moving all of the school stuff to the playroom and making that room the designated school room. TGTB curriculum provides a lot of little posters for word walls and I need a designated space to hang those up, vs our nook where we are currently doing school. I need a space where I can feel more at ease to hang things on the wall and be more of a “school room.” Stay tuned for those pictures!

Well, that’s it!

We finished our first year of homeschool and I am thrilled!

We made it!

He made it!

I made it! 😉

We all made it and I am thankful to have the opportunity to continue homeschooling him. The memories made and the time spent together is something I will never regret – even though some days are hard and challenging, I really love it! We are taking it year by year and reassessing after each year. So for now, we will continue homeschooling 🙂

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Homeschool Update: 8-Week Check-in

We’ve been homeschooling for eight weeks now and thought I would post an update on how things are going.

A little preschool work for our youngest and our oldest working on math from Math-U-See

I am absolutely LOVING homeschooling and very pleased with our decision to homeschool this year. I think I might have picked a curriculum level too low for our son so I might adjust that next year, but we’ll see as we continue these next few weeks.

Blindfolded taste-testing game!

To be honest, this past week was full of events that we somewhat neglected our homeschool work and played “catch-up” on Friday. However, usually we only do school Monday-Thrusday. I aim to start our day around 9:30am and we get through all the subjects by lunchtime, with two breaks in between (after history and language arts).

I literally go straight through the curriculum exactly how it is listed…Bible first, followed by history then read-alouds. We are finishing up the previous book from last week, Homer Price, and will start Catching Their Talk in a Box next week, so we are behind with the read-aloud chapter book but will catch-up eventually. I will say, Homer Price is NOT my favorite book and I wish I would’ve pre-read it…I would have skipped it all together. To me it’s just a fluff chapter book with no life lessons to be learned or any depth. So not my favorite.

At the back of the curriculum, there are two sections with additional materials for the year, with one of the sections containing questions for each read aloud as well as questions for the I Can Read It! books (mentioned below). I pull those pages that I need from the back section and stick them in with that weeks work, just so I don’t have to flip back and forth as much.

After a quick break, we move into Language Arts, with spelling, phonics, handwriting, reading, and creative writing/copy-work. I bought a spiral notebook for word work and that is where my son writes all of his spelling words and his spelling test on Day 4 (for us it is usually Thursday). I would absolutely get the option Explode the Code workbooks! Don’t skip that as that is where a lot of the application, phonics, and spelling practice comes in.

We watched caterpillars turn into butterflies and it just so happened that our poetry book had poems that went right along with what we were doing, on the day the butterflies emerged!

Again, we do a quick break to get some wiggles out and so I can gather the next subjects materials, which is science and math. I play ‘Eye of the Tiger’ on our Echo Dot to get my kiddo back to the table to start our next subject and it really helps him to know its time to start back again and I don’t have to yell at him to come back. It is a nice transition and allows him time to wrap up what he is doing…he has until the end of the song to be back at the table and it works like a charm for us!

This week, with everything I had going on, we didn’t get to do the science experiment (on Day 4) but we will do it Monday to make up for the missed day. I also bought another spiral notebook for science experiments and we use that to write down observations and data.

I LOVE the science books and activities and so does my son! The Usborne books are so wonderful and the questions that my son completes are so good! Right now we are looking at Africa and he had to color in the continent on the map and make color in a separate map of Africa and table the different parts (like desert) and identify which animals live in that region. So far he has completed South America, North America, and now we are on Africa.

After science we complete the ‘Math-U-See’ math work and then we are done! I really don’t have a ton of feelings about ‘Math-U-See.’ It is fine for us and my son hasn’t been that challenged yet by it, but I don’t NOT like it, I just don’t really care either way. I have heard really great things about The Good and the Beautiful math curriculum so that might be something I look into for next year but I’ll try a free sample first before deciding.

My youngest LOVES working with his big brother and he really loves tracing these letter cards. I found them here and shrinked the printing size down to get four on one page, laminated them, cut them out, and voila! My kiddo uses a dry erase marker to trace and loves it!

Well that is a little reacap of homeschooling! What questions do you have regarding homeschooling, the curriculum, how we go through our day, etc? Post them below or on my Instagram. I will have a question sticker on my Instagram stories TODAY so you can leave your questions there, too!