I'm so torn…

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  • ktgrok

    I had myself convinced I was going to use Bookshark K/Sonlight Core A next year, plus my own religion (we’re Catholic). But then I fell down a CM rabbit hole and I’m finding myself wanting to use so many of the beautiful things. So much of it does speak to me, especially the age appropriateness of it. I do worry that Sonlight book choices will be too upsetting, but I could be wrong. I want joy for our schooling, in these early years anyway. (I’m looking at 1st grade). I’m in love with Outdoor Secrets, and the Burgess Bird Book, and the Picture Study Portfolios. We believe in “real” crafts here already, ala handicrafts. And I’m definitely going to use a schedule similar to Mater Amabilis for our religion…alternating Bible readings and saint stories.

    For history, if we don’t do Sonlight, I’m thinking of using American Pioneers and Patriots. I think my daughter would LOVE it, and it has some crafts/activities built in which she loves. And it seems so wonderful for this age range, really drawing as small child into the history setting without overwhelming them. Has anyone used it?

    My goals are to instill a love of learning, a love of language, a love of beauty and wisdom. And a love of God, of course! My oldest son is 16, and an agnostic. He’s also diagnosed with Aspergers and has been a difficult child to teach at home. I’m a convert, and by the time I became an active church go-er he was already set in his ways. Luckily, my younger two are happy to attend Mass with me and enjoy Sunday School, etc. But beyond religion, he also doesn’t “love to learn” like I do, and I don’t know how much is personality and how much was being in pubic school for 5 years and how much is how I taught him. Right now he’s using textbook based methods at his request, and taking one college course a semester. Next year, Jr. year, he will take 3 courses a semester at the college and one online Latin class, which will be good for our relationship and family life, and leave me free to teach the youngers.

    The only other factors I can think of is that we are old earth Christians, and that I do work part time as a writer. I write romance novels (not the dirty kind!) and do have some deadlines for this next school year. I’m also hoping to convince my husband to have one more baby 🙂

    Anyway, anyone want to chime in? Does a CM year centered around the things I mentioned sound like a good 1st grade year? I love SCM materials, but don’t want to do the history cycle the way she has it laid out. I’d prefer maybe a 3 yr cycle, or concurrent American and World, not sure yet. I think I feel pretty confident putting it together myself. I just wonder if I’ll regret not going with Sonlight and getting that big box of books in the mail.


    I am reading American pioneers and Patriots with my 7 year old and almost 5 year old and they love it


    It has been a long time since we did SL, so take what I say with a grain of salt. When my girls were little we did SL for K & 1st grade. The wonderful and many books called to me :).

    Looking back I wish I would have taken a more CM approach. The first reason is the shear amount of reading plus the jumping from book to book. I think it would have been better for us to take time in one book, really enjoy it, then move to the next. SL had us jumping from book to book and speeding through them. No matter how good the books are this can kill the love of learning (for us it was not forever, but is was for those couple of years). Finally, many of the book choices were awesome, but yes, some of them were not right for the age group. For us, it was not that the books were upsetting, but rather that they were over their heads.

    I say if you love some of the SL book choices, choose the ones you really want to do, and use them in a CM way. At that young of an age it is not as much about the content as it is about establishing the love of learning/reading. Take your time and delight in what you read to together.

    I think your other CM ideas sound great too. Pray about it. The Lord will lead you to the best choice for your kiddos.


    I think your plans sound wonderful for first grade! You and your daughter are going to have so much fun!


    I did Sonlight our first full year of homeschooling and I liken it to homeschool on steroids. I always joke that we not only survived our Sonlight year, but now we know we can do anything!

    It was awesome getting that box, but also intimidating. The books were all great, but some we could have done without and gone slower on others, but there is no room for slowing down using their schedule!

    After I saw how they scheduled and read the CM approach, well I felt confident that I could do my own thing and I do. I am type A and I went through all the great CM sites and booklists plus Sonlights and then read reviews on Amazon. I picked the best of the best for each time period. I then decided to teach chronologically and I started with American History and I added in Texas history resources for the same time period and also Catholic church history as well. So now we discuss what was happening as a nation, as a state, and in our faith all for the same time period. I started this when my kids were in 3rd & 4th. Before that they had a tiptoe through history with Sonlight and we went from creation to American History.

    Anyway, if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t do Sonlight’s schedule again. I loved the books and the kids who were 2nd & 3rd remember all the books, so I can’t say it was a loss, but it was a struggle on me and we missed a lot of family time.

    I would do what is calling to you and also while they are young, focus more on character development. Such as Laying down the Rails…..

    just my 2 cents.


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