Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When I bought our Sonlight curriculum, I got way more than I bargained for!

It's been a year and a half already, since that July night by the family-camp-out-fireside.
Heart pounding, giddy with delight - I scored an almost-complete Grade 1 Sonlight curriculum on ebay for $225 (if you check out their prices, you'll see that's a darn good deal!!!). With the help of my super-techy brother and his little internet-gadget phone (all of which is way beyond my realm of experience, since we ONLY have a pay-as-you-go, no-texting-allowed type of phone!!!), I snacked on marshmallows and mom's goodies while waiting to see if I was - da winner!! And I WAS!

Sheesh! I'm not much of a shopper, but the thrill of that anticipation could become trouble :).

When I cashed in on this set, I had no idea what was in store for us; how I was about to get way more than I bargained for! At the time, I only knew I was following the prompts of Jesus, and waiting for Jon to catch up with me in terms of direction :).

I could've never guessed how many gifts that year would hold, how challenging it would be; how much we would all learn and grow and stretch.

I learned even more about moving through decisions with your life-mate. It's tough, sometimes, navigating through choices, especially when you each process things so differently. It's a challenge to "know when to hold em, know when to fold em" ;). It requires intentionality to wait, to rest, to research, to share, to dream without the security of knowing those dreams will be filled. Tough yes, almost drove me cuckoo bananas yes, good yes. :)

I learned that it is sometimes hard to explain grade 1 math, even though I've been there and done that --- but it was a long time ago! And of the select things I can do relatively well, explaining myself is not always one of them!

"Mikayla's spelling test to see if her ears are working...
no Kezia's allowed" !!!

I also met many people with whom I would never have worked or worshipped alongside had we not walked this path. This has forever impacted my spiritual journey, and thank you will never be sufficient.

I learned that I love to continue to learning -- well, that I already knew -- but I love to learn alongside my kids! The new-found confidence and stage of life we were at encouraged me to include my kids even more in what I was already doing. Rather than feeling forced, it began to feel a little more natural and a lot more enjoyable. And now, I often have little helpers (when I slow long enough to let them!) and it's easier and less overwhelming and a bit more manageable. :).

Celebrating milestones and "nabrgse" (neighbors)!!

I also confirmed that I'm NOT so much a fan of "water experiments."
They are way to messy and make me grumpy!
I shudder at the thought. Give me play dough ANY day :).

We argued and squabbled. We made up and tried to start over ;).
We redeemed some days; others felt like a bit of a write-off.
We read a LOT, laughed a fair bit and learned life along the way.
Time was a lot more intentional in some ways, a lot more flexible in others.

A winter fun trip to Grandma's for a day of great food, cousins and snowmobiling!

And strange, even after 1/2 a year into this new-found rhythm of public-schooling, I still miss it.
M does too, and every once in a while she'll even admit it :).
She's having a grand time in grade 2, but every few weeks she tells me that she's only going to public school every other year so that she can home school in between. Riiiiiiiiggght!

We have 2 more years of full-time funding for K left, and then we'll re-evaluate.
Perhaps it will still be a burning desire.
Perhaps time and routine will have set in and our path won't change much.
Who knows.

Special craft dates once a week - complete with hot chocolate and marshmallows
on this particularly chilly winter day :)

In between, I try to make the most of the time we have together.

I recalled these verses from Ephesians 5 one afternoon this fall, while I was wrestling with all this and how to fit in family life and devotional times and a balance between rest and activity:

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 
16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Our butterfly friend who decided to break forth from her cocoon
in February! This was her home until she perished several days later.
She was absolutely lovely!

Every so often there is a flashbulb of inspiration that somehow manages to clear even the fog of fatigue ;) that shows me how to walk this out in this season of our family life. The LORD graciously breaks things up into little pieces for me, knowing full well that I am weak and frail and if I get overwhelmed I shut everything out, including good ideas ;).

So yes, when we step out and follow the invitations of the LORD, there's no tellin' where it'll lead. Sometimes that load will seem light, other times you've never done anything harder in your life.
Either way, it's worth it!

Oh, by the way, if you are considering learning at home, give the Sonlight curriculum a second thought. Yes, it's quite expensive, but there are ways around that to some degree.

I really liked their outline; thought the "social studies" component was a bit heavy on the reading and not enough on activity for younger ones, so we rounded it out a bit with a few notebooking type activities. If you google notebooking, there's REAMS of stuff on the net.

Science was fascinating, but instead of dabbling in different themes at once, I reorganized it into modules. That worked MUCH better for us, and gave us the chance to include lapbooks, national geographic for kids resources, brain pop, etc. We worked through three major topics - world of animals,  human body (I found a lapbook online that helped piece it together) and space (I purchased a notebook for $4 that provided word puzzles, activities, a song about the planets etc. M loved it!). We read through See How It's Made, some water and magnet activities, etc. See, tons of variety!!

They include a spelling and early reading program, which was fine. I have nothing to compare it to, so I'm not sure how it stacks up against more popular methods (Hooked On Phonics, All About Reading for example).

We purchased our math books separately.

Oh, and one morning my mom asked M what she was learning about.
Of all things, of course she just happened to recall that women in the "olden days" didn't wear shirts!!!
The pictures in our books about early nomadic peoples indicated that they often didn't wear tops, not men or women :).
I guess at least something stuck!!!

1 comment:

Roo said...

:) love you. we always learn something different then we think we're learning we go into it, heh?


Related Posts with Thumbnails