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 Check-In: Week 25

We made it to the second semester!!

We are just 10 weeks away from finishing the school year and here are my reflections thus far:

Sonlight is a great curriculum to start the homeschool journey and I like that it is clearly labeled and defined as well as a Christian curriculum.

Even though I have loved Sonlight (and used the kindergarten curriculum to prepare my son for public kinder and then 1st grade curriculum this year as we started our homeschool journey), I will not be using it next year.

I feel like we just need something more. More in-depth, more digging-deep, just more. So for my sons 2nd grade year, which we will start probably in July of 2021, I have picked The Good and the Beautiful curriculum. It seems like it is more of a college-like schedule, where we will have ‘A’ days and ‘B’ days, with math and Bible everyday. I am still not sure what I will teach on what days, but I have picked this for my sons second grade year:

Language Arts: Level 2 with Handwriting Workbook: Level 2

History Course Set: Year 2 with the History Read-Aloud Book Pack: Year 2

Science Units: Paleontology (future release) and Marine Biology

Math Course Set: Level 2

Bible: We will read daily and my son will complete his second Write the Word kids journal

I am also debating purchasing a little keyboard/piano so both my boys can have music time. In addition, we will continue with our KiwiCo monthly boxes for a little extra enrichment.

Let me just say, Sonlight was great to get my feet wet with homeschooling full-time. It guided me and set the tone for how to work our days; however, at this point (now more than half-way through), I feel like it is lacking that spark. I just sit and read and I feel like my son isn’t being challenged enough to really THINK and DO. I am excited for this new curriculum and what we will all will learn on this homeschooling journey.

Are you homeschooling for the 2021-2022 school year? Share below!


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!


Target Homeschool Haul!

I haven’t been inside of Target since March (so I think I got carried away!) Haha! I needed to make a return so decided to go and get a few snack items for our boat outing on Saturday…then walked away with a ton of homeschool items as well!

As soon as I walked in, the Dollar Spot was right in front of me so naturally I had to make a run through…y’all! All the teacher stuff is out!! There were so many storage containers, book boxes, posters…all the things! I tried to keep it reigned in but did walk away with quite the loot:

Here’s the run down of what you see and how much it costs (a lot of items were on sale so I went ahead and stocked up on a few things while there):

  • Shower bath tote (grey, also was available in white) – perfect for organizing pencils, markers, art supplies – $5
  • Target markers – $0.65
  • Elmers liquid glue – $0.50
  • Glue sticks – $2.49
  • Watercolor paints – $0.99
  • Washable kids paints – $2.99
  • Pencils – $1.19
  • Pencil sharpener – $0.50
  • Tape – $3.39

This super cute math concepts preschool workbook that I got for our youngest is only a dollar! They also had a few other options for different grades!

I had to get a this cute treasure box for weekly incentives! I filled it with a few of the dollar spot reward items, plus some candy I had at home:

  • Prize box – (I can’t find the price of this but I’m thinking it was only $3)
  • Pencils – $1.00
  • Spinning top markers – $3.00
  • Bag of erasers – $1.00

This former reading teacher just HAD to get this $3 dry-erase poster set! It has all the charts and graphs: plan your story, five w-s chart, sequence chain, characters, timeline, predictions, conclusions, opinions, topic triangle, informative writing chart, outline, cause and effect, graph, and two blank lined-pages. I just love it! And for $3!! Can’t beat it!

  • Construction paper – $4.99
  • Lined spiral notebook – $0.25
  • 8-count blank storybooks – $3.00
  • Dry-Erase board (one side is lined and the other is blank) – $1.00
  • Dry-Erase pockets – $1.00

Everything is now organized and ready for our school days!

Currently we are working in the nook area where I have the chalkboard set up. Eventually I will have a separate space set up for school, where I can hang more things and leave items out for both the boys. But for now, I just grab what I need, set it on the counter, and we work at the kitchen table.

Today starts week 2!

I will head back to Target in a few weeks and see if there are any other awesome items for homeschooling/teaching/back-to-school! I’ll keep you posted!

See you back here on Wednesday! Have a wonderful Monday friends!


Welcome to Our Homeschool Adventure!

So many things happening over here in our household as well as in the world. After LOTS of prayer and conversation, we have decided that I will homeschool our oldest son this upcoming school year.

We had an absolutely INCREDIBLE first year at our local school! The principal, our son’s teacher and the whole staff are so precious and sweet…which made our decision that much harder because we loved it so much!

Thankfully our district, as well as so many others, are giving parents an amazing opportunity to pick their schooling option. Our district offered parents two choices: eLearning or face-to-face instruction, as well as the opportunity to change throughout the year, which just shows how amazing teachers and principals are and all of the resources they are using to help parents make a choice that is best for their families.

For our sweet son who is already an internalizer, worrier, and over-thinker, we feel it would be best for him that we homeschool this year. As another momma stated so eloquently, “sometimes the Lord leads you in ways you may not always understand or feel equipped for but we are called to obey, and take it one day at a time.” And that is just what we’re doing. One day at a time.

I am in LOVE with our homeschool curriculum, too! We picked Sonlight’s curriculum because it is a literature-rich, Christ-centered curriculum that is easily adaptable for multiple grades. As a former reading teacher, the books make me so happy! I love that we are reading directly from the Bible, using other books to help understandings, and the curriculum is so easy to understand and laid out beautifully. I can literally just open the curriculum and go!

I am really excited for this year and feel confident that we are making the right choice for our family at this time. And thankfully we are surrounded by many precious friends that are also homeschooling so we will have lots of time to learn and play together!

We also decided to start school earlier than I originally thought…mainly because we were all bored! Haha! It is hot here in Texas so the boys don’t want to play outside for too long, our oldest was literally walking in circles and plopping on the couch wanting to watch TV all day…so I decided it was time to start! We “soft-launched”, if you will, into first grade on Monday, July 6, 2020. I forgot to purchase one book so we haven’t touched the science curriculum yet, but so far so good! I love the routine and the one-on-one time with my oldest.

I will post often about our homeschooling journey, what has worked for us, what hasn’t, what items we have purchased, activities we have utilized, and all the things homeschool-related!

So far, I haven’t purchased a lot of extra items yet, just a few items speciffialy for our youngest so he can be entertained while I work with our 1st grader. FIRST GRADE! Oh my goodness. It still doesn’t seem real that he is in 1st grade!

Here is what I have purchased thus far:

We are using Sonlight’s ‘B’ curriculum this year since I already had completed some kindergarten homeschool work with our son the year before he attending public school kindergarten. I feel that this level is very appropriate for our first grader, even though it is mentioned as a second grade level.

Use code ‘LG20457376‘ to receive $5 off your purchase!

Everything else I have purchased on Amazon (click the image to go directly to the item on Amazon).

First Grade

These are the items I have purchased for our first grader:

Our son will use this to write occasionally so we can reduce the use of paper for small writings and for writing out spelling words.

This writing paper will be great for his “published” writing pieces and final drafts.

I got these posters for teaching with VIPKid but they are so cute and provide a great visual for both my preschooler and first grader.

Luckily we were gifted this but it is absolutely perfect for our homeschool journey! My son LOVES looking at maps and the world and this globe is perfect for him…and it doubles as a night light!

This chalkboard is on SALE! So bummed! I spent almost double the price it is listed now! I’m sure the price was marked up because I bought it when we started eLearning…ugh! Well, either way, this is an adorable chalkboard and holds up really well and is the prefect size! I wouldn’t get any smaller!

I like white chalkboard markers and these are pretty good. I feel like these don’t run out as fast as others I have bought in the past. They wipe off clean and easily, too.

Of course we stocked up on the pencils, crayons, makers, tape, glue, etc. All the stuff that he can use for arts and crafts as well as daily play (do your kids waste tape like crazy?! Nope?? Just mine?!) 😉

Preschool

These items I have purchased for our preschooler to help keep him busy while I work with the older one:

This will help our younger son stay busy and focused while also learning and feeling like a “big kid.” And it is on sale right now!

I liked this book because it included both letters and numbers so it is a one-stop shop! 😉

This is such a great busy activity for our preschooler! He loves sorting the bears, costing them, stacking the cups, and just playing with the bears!

These are perfect for my preschooler to peel and stick on paper! I use large construction paper and write his name very large and sometimes with the colors of the stickers. He then uses the stickers to put on the line of his name and spells out his name. I also just leave blank pieces of construction paper (in the colors of the stickers) out for him to sort the stickers. He just peels and sticks and sorts the color stickers!

I love these dot markers! Kiddos have so many options for these, but I love to use them with these books:

This book is super cute! So is this one:

But there are literally so many dot books available! So find one that you think your kiddos will like!


That’s all for now! As I am working with my boys I will make note of what works and what doesnt.

Are you going to homeschool your kiddo this year? Share below your thoughts, questions, concerns! Remember that we’re all in this together and we are here to support and encourage!

See you all back here on Friday! Have a blessed Wednesday!