They shall mount up with wings as eagles…

Posts tagged ‘Sonlight’

New Year, New Ideas

Everything has seemed to slow to a crawl around here.  Now that the holidays are over, we can get back into our old routine.  Everyone was so busy in December that we didn’t do very many playdates and no field trips whatsoever.  The next couple weeks I have a couple playdates set up for the kids and even and field trip to City Hall.  That should be a lot of fun.

Coming up soon we should be receiving our tax return.  I always use a sizable amount towards our homeschooling supplies.  Since I have finally figured out how to educate our children without spending a large amount on a packaged curriculum, we are going to use the difference to enrich our education through memberships, more field trips and activities.

My plan is to set aside $2000 or $40 per week for the next 50 weeks towards homeschooling expenses.  I am hoping to use that money for all memberships, “back to school” shopping, and anything related to homeschooling expenses.  This is approximately how much I spent last year on boxed curriculum.  I feel confident that we can move away from the boxed curriculum, which is not much more than a reading list, and piecemeal our own, complete curriculum following World Book Typical Course of Study  and the book list from Sonlight’s website.  Leaving lots of time to follow more of the kid’s interests in whatever we are studying.

I am currently in the process of getting all the kids switched over from the Jump Math that they had been doing over to the MEP math, which is free (except for my print ink and paper).  I still really love Jump Math, but it is becoming harder and harder to get the workbooks when I need them.  Plus, Jump Math only goes up to grade 8, so I knew eventually we’d have to look for something more.  MEP goes through statistics, and we also can use Khan Academy for any subjects that are beyond my understanding.

We have been using an Apologia science course and plan on continuing the titles as long as the kids are still interesting in those particular books.  So far, they love them, especially the activities (which is really why I chose that publisher in the first place).  They have recently added the Jr Notebooks to the Astronomy course, so I think we will be doing that one next.  The one good thing about homeschooling, is we have no timelines on starting and stopping books.  We can just keep going until one is done, then just start-up the next one the following day.

For the rest of the subject, we are going to follow along the World Book Typical Course of Study to be sure we are not missing any important topics.  Zion has also been using Reading Eggs on the computer to learn to read.  Right now, we have a free trial for Zion, Promise and Gabriel, but we will be getting a paid subscription for at least Zion once his trial runs out.  I don’t think the cost is worth it for the older kids who already are confident readers.  We’ll see since it is a small expense.

That is my plan anyway.  Our education plans are always morphing and growing according to the needs of the kids, so just because we are starting this way, doesn’t mean this is exactly how our day to day will end up.  We add things we like and throw out the things that are not working.

My Father’s World – Creation Part 2


Tuesday was a busy day.  We got up early, well early for us, so we could make it to the Omaha Children’s Museum by 9AM.  They have member’s hours from 9AM – 10AM and it is a lot less busy to go then.  Not to mention much easier to find a parking space.  We met up with a couple other homeschoolers and met a new family as well.  Its bad, but I love that public school is back in session.  The museum was much slower than it had been all summer, and the parks are emptier too.  Just homeschoolers usually.

Tuesday also meant that Zion was studying day 2 of Creation in which God created the sky and water.  Of course the highlight of the day was snack; marshmallows (for sky/clouds) and water (well, for water LOL).

In knitting related news, I’ve been knitting on a super secret test knitting project.  The ending garment will be for Jacy.  Its purple.  But that is all I can share for now.


Wednesday morning we went to the park for a homeschoolers meetup and to let the kids burn off some steam.  I should h

ave brought my camera to take pictures, but its hard to juggle Lincoln and a camera, even if he is riding in his carrier.

We did school in the afternoon, after our nap/reading time because I was pooped after being out all morning.  Then we had snack, of course, but I mucked up the original idea.  We were supposed to have dirt cup snacks (pudding and crushed Oreos mixed) to represent God making the land and the plants, but I forgot pudding needs milk.  And per usual, we ran out of milk the day before and it wouldn’t be milk day until Thursday.  So we just had Oreos since we had them.  I didn’t hear any complaints from the peanut gallery.  Usually, we don’t have such unhealthy snacks, but I figured this was a special occasion with Zion starting school and all.


Milk day!  We just started going out to a farm to get raw milk and I love it.  I had been wanting to get it for the longest time, but just hadn’t been able to make the commitment.  Between getting our CSA this year and switching to raw milk, we’ve really started eating a whole lot better.

Zion was really interested in his letters today.  He has been exposed to Aa – Hh now.  He was having fun matching his little letter cards with his master alphabet list and his flashcards.  He doesn’t like to say their names (or sounds) but will happily match them up and he seems to grasp lower case and upper case, although he calls them little and big.  For snack, we had cheese, crackers and banana slices to represent the sun, moon and stars being created. The cheese for the moon, the crackers for stars and the banana for the sun.

Oh and I nearly forgot.  Gabriel and Promise had a play-date with a couple of friends from our homeschooling group.  I am so glad Gabriel has found himself a little friend all his own.  He’s shy and has been kinda feeling left out lately since Jacy and Promise both have close friends.

Fridays are our day off, or catch up day.  We are all caught up, so they are done with their school week.  Yay.  Maybe we will do some science before the big kids head off for camping, just for fun of course.

Okay, now for some pictures of school work being done, snacks being eaten and Lincoln enjoying a banana.

Promise’s Reading List

  • The Care and Keeping of You
  • Amelia Bedelia Collection

Jacy’s Reading List

  • Encyclopedia Brown #1

Gabriel’s Reading List

  • Pokemon Jr Novel
  • Legend Of Zelda comic written by Jacy

Our 2011/2012 Curriculum

I get this question a lot and thought it would be helpful (to me) to write it down so others can come read it.

Jacy is going into the 6th grade this fall.  He is using Switched on Schoolhouse for History/Geography, Language Arts and Spanish.  He is using Apologia Anatomy and Physiology for Science.  For Math he is using Jump Math.  To supplement his spelling he is using Sequential Spelling.

Gabriel and Promise (4th and 2nd)  are using the same things, with some workbook adjustments for skill levels.  They are using Switched on Schoolhouse for Language Arts and Spanish.  We are using Sonlight for Bible, Memory Work, History/Geography, Read Alouds and Readers.  (Jacy joins us often for our Sonlight lessons).  They are also using the same as Jacy for Science, Spelling and Math

We just started Zion this year with Sonlight’s p4/5 curriculum and MyFather’s World K.  I also got him a Horizion prek workbook, since the SL for p4/5 doesnt have many writing activities.

So that’s what we are using, and here’s my reviews of the thing we are using now and somethings we’ve used in the past.

Switched On Schoolhouse –

We tried it this year for Spanish, History & Geography and Language Arts.  Jacy really, really likes it.  He likes being able to do his own thing and go at his own speed.  It didnt work at well for Gabriel and Promise because there is a lot of textbook-like reading for them to do on their own.  I did keep them doing the Language Arts portion because it was catching a few things they hadn’t learned in depth yet.  Next year we are going to try Sonlight’s LA program for at least G and P.  If Jacy wants to stick with SOS, that will be his choice.

We also tried Spanish through SOS, but I dont think they are retaining enough knowledge.  I really want to try Rosetta Stone sooner than later.  Jacy is still doing the Spanish, but G and P have dropped it because it wasnt a good use of their time.  Unfortunately.

Apologia Science –

I really, really love our science.  The Anatomy and Physiology have regular notebooks and jr notebooks to go along with the text book.  This was really helpful because I can have the J, G and P all doing the same thing, with different notebooking journals.  The regular journal is at least at a 3rd grade level in my opinion.  We are hoping the author comes out with more jr notebooks for her other science books.  They are all creationist based, so follow along with our faith.  Hugely important to us.  We got our supplies through so it made that part easy peasy.

Jump Math –

This one is a bit harder to get a hold of.  We get ours through a coop, but i think amazon carries some of the workbooks.  It is a Canadian company, but i really appreciate how it teaches concepts from different points of views.  After Zion finishes the Horizon workbook, we are going to try that math with him since its easier for me to get, plus has fun manipulatives.

Sequential Spelling –

It is basically a bunch of spelling list, but teach using spelling families that build upon each other through out the week and the lessons.  It has really helped Gabriel gain some confidence in his spelling, the others dont need much help, but are most definitely benefiting from the practice.  And yes, we are all doing Book 1 together.  It was made to be done in a way that there are not grades, but spelling levels.  As long as the child can read at about a 2nd grade level, they are reading for Book 1.

Sonlight –

This is my favorite thing we do.  It is a literature based curriculum that rotates around History.  We pretty much follow the included schedule word for word, except we don’t get much use (so far) of the notes that are included.  It has discussion questions, etc.  We just make up our own.  We are doing the readers currently, and plan to try their full language arts program next year.  The books included with the program are well worth the expense in my opinion, but are mostly easily found at the library.  Some of them are SL publications so those would have to be purchased through them or skipped.     The read aloud often include poetry or arts books. 

Zion is using their p4/5 program since the K program is a bit over his head.  We also added in My Father’s World K Curriculum.  This should give us 2 years of PreK/K work.  We are using MFW for the solid phonics foundation and SL for the beautiful books.

My Father’s World –

We just started using this so I don’t have a complete review.  So far so good.  I spent a good part of last week mixing the weeks from MFW with the weeks of SL to make a 2 year K program for Zion (and tag along Israel).  Just from going over it, locating supplies and extra books, I really like the way it is set up.  Zion seemed to enjoy the quick lesson that we did this morning, but time will really tell how well he likes it.  One think I do like about it is that the cost is far lower than Sonlight’s and yet it seems to be just as good of a curriculum.  They are both very similar in that they use a lot of books.  The one disadvantage MFW has over SL, is that it isn’t entirely all inclusive.  MFW does expect the parent to use outside sources for some of the subject, like science.  Every week it asks the parent to reference an encyclopedia, other books, the internet or magazine articles.   Thankfully, we have plenty of that lying around the house being unused.

Southwestern Ask Me! Books –

I saw these books on TPW blog and knew I needed to have them.  Long story short, we bought them through a kid selling them door to door two years ago.  I’ve added them into Zion’s curriculum at regular intervals.

I hope this helps someone

Zion’s First Day of Kindergarten – Creation

I can’t believe I am officially homeschooling four kids now.  That’s a lot.  Our first day went really well.  Zion’s actual lesson time lasted around 45 minutes.  After we start to go along, the lessons will get a bit longer.  I was really surprised about how cooperative he was through our whole lesson.  I was sure he was going to give me a bit of trouble since he usually doesn’t even like to sit and listen to picture books, but I think he enjoyed the one-on-one time with me.

Zion learned about the first day of Creation today.  For snack, we had oreo cookies twisted apart to represent light and dark.  I think that was Zion’s favorite part.  He also listened to a story, learned about seasons, and worked on the letters a-a-A and b-b-B.

The big kids are still doing their lighter, summer version of homeschool.  This week they are working on Bible, Writing, Independent Reading, Spelling, Math and Science (twice a week).  Next week we will start adding back in our Sonlight lessons and the week after that, we will add Switched On Schoolhouse.  After that, we will be up to full time homeschooling.

Lincoln spent school time taking a nice nap, while Israel played with daddy on the computer.  Overall, it was a great start to Zion’s school

Zion working on his "Creation" worksheet










Zion's "Current Week" Lesson materials












One of the HS shelves. The top is all Zion's things, the bottom right is Zion's and the bottom left is the big kids'











Jacy, Gabriel and Promise doing spelling