First Year of Homeschooling

Sonlight Pre-K Books |

When I read the last words of our last book a few weeks ago, none of us were happy. One of my kids actually almost cried. We have LOVED doing homeschool this year that to end it was simply sad! Now I’m pausing to reflect on how it has gone…

When I look back on the entire year as a whole, I honestly feel amazed we reached our goal of finishing by Christmas. We did a big move from Washington to Arizona and I have been chronically sick much of the year (another post, another time). But by God’s grace, we found times on my good days to keep up with school work — and enjoyed it!

One of the biggest things I’m so, so, so thankful for is the curriculum. I heavily researched this for countless hours ahead of time and kept coming back to Sonlight. We eventually landed on it fully and made the plunge.

Beginning in January, we gently eased our way into a home-based education. I’m quite convinced that kids need to play, need to imagine and need to be bored for longer than most Americans tend to believe. However, my son was already reading at a level much higher than his average age and he was ready for a little structure, for a few reasons. Sonlight provided this perfectly, because it didn’t take much time out of the day yet started introducing him to different topics, different ways of thinking and absolutely beautiful literature.

I am a structure/schedule person, as is my husband, so the raising of our children always has this theme. However, the beauty of homeschool is that it doesn’t have to be as structured as a building school. In Washington, if we ever had an ounce of good weather, you betcha the kids would be outside (and hopefully I, too) soaking it up. School time can be later or even another day, if needed. We soon greatly appreciated this component as life is unpredictable.

My two children and I have already begun an incredibly unique bond. I am excited to see how our family grows in this area.

In the fall, my oldest began kindergarten. Now, most of our curriculum didn’t change, but that’s a bit hard to explain if you don’t know Sonlight’s setup. We did, though, add in math and handwriting. In January, we will begin the next “core” which we are looking forward to since we’ll have all new books to read!

Not in the least do we need a school room, but our new home in Arizona has an extra bedroom (for now), so we are very blessed to be able to spread out and have a permanent home for all our supplies. It is also my office. When the kids eventually stop sharing a room, we’ll move their desks into their individual rooms and work out at the dining room table. For at least a couple more years, though, it’s a sweet setup!

Drinkwater homeschool room

My youngest, who turned 4 the week of Thanksgiving, has a wildly different personality than her older brother. I’ve been learning recently (through trial and error, prayer and thoughtful planning) how to communicate and teach her differently. She by no means needs to do “school” right now, but she wants to be included. Most of the time, she’s coloring at her desk next to his, but we have occasionally done some workbook sheets with tracing practice, mazes and things like that. My son is more my mini-me, so it hasn’t taken much thought in how to talk to him or explain things. With my daughter, however, it takes more conscious effort, which honestly is a fun challenge!

One of the few reasons I’m still on Facebook is the Sonlight Connections group. I have learned INCREDIBLE amounts of information from parents and advisors in that group. It’s simply priceless. Very thankful to have discovered that this year. I feel so much more confident going forward and am comforted by the community.

And now to our favorite books! We piled up most of the books we read this year (in the Sonlight Pre-K Core) and each chose our favorites.

Max’s favs:

  • Uncle Wiggily’s Storybook
  • Stories From Around the World
  • The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book

I think his were mostly because they were the longest, which means more words to inhale when he re-reads them 100 times. 🙂

Rose’s favs:

  • 101 Favorite Stories From the Bible
  • Uncle Wiggily’s Storybook
  • The Gods Must Be Angry

Her favorites changed daily, but there ya go!

I think my top favorite to read aloud was The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook, but I sincerely appreciated all of the books to some degree. I know the curriculum planners put a ton of time and effort into picking out the books and it shows. My only complaint is that they occasionally go with books less well-edited and it bugs me to no end that school books have typos and misspellings, but we work around that for the sake of the rich content. There are some phenomenal stories written by missionaries, there are clever and entertaining science books and more!

You can see my Goodreads shelf (and my ratings) for all the books here.

I also recently learned that I can share a link with you (here) if you’re interested in Sonlight and you’ll get a discount on your first order (and apparently I receive “points,” although I don’t know how much or anything about them, ha).

It has been a great year in the learning department around here. I’m excited to get the next books down from where they’ve been, wrap my mind around the new year and dive in next week!

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