May 14, 2006 ~~ Things sure have things changed since my boys were young and homeschooled. The choices were few when it came to curriculum. BJU was one of the most obtainable.
But now....now... there are so many educationally rich materials available it can be quite overwhelming! I must say, I am in heaven with the buffet of available resrouces. I just want to order everything and try it!
When someone is interested in homeschooling one of the first things they ask is "What curriculum do you use?" In the past we used mostly BJU (Bob Jones University Press) and Saxon math. But as I realized each child has a different learning style we had to change because what worked for one, did not work well for the other. Besides BJUP, we've used Abeka, Konos, Key to series, Saxon (which my sons absolutely loathed so we switched to BJU Math), Video Text Algebra (we were one of the first to use this!), LLATL, Unit Studies, college courses, Easy way to Grammar, Veritas Press, Teach your child to read in 100 days, various Bible studies .... the list just goes on and on.
I had been implementing preschool activities with my daughter since she was two but soon Sage was hungry to learn more. So, I scoured the catalogs and Internet for a fun educational program and ended up buying Sing, Spell, Read and Write. As we got into it I found that it just wasn't enough for my progressive, eager to learn little student. (Please note I am in no way saying it is a bad choice! I actually liked much of it.) I decided to add Sonlight's K4 program which she devoured since she is a child who absolutely loves to read (& be read to) but the K4 wasn't advanced enough for her so I included Abeka K4 to get her started with phonics. But, the Abeka K4 was so classroom structured it just didn't work well for us.
I also used various workbooks and really started implementing the Charlotte Mason approach with her as I began to realize the type of learner she is. I've read much of her stuff in the past and really feel this is the most well rounded, fun way of learning for a child. Real books!! There is an online group called Ambleside Online which is a free curriculum based on the Charlotte Mason method of teaching. I gleaned much information from this site and list!
Thursday we got our official kindergarten curriculum in from Sonlight. After looking through everything available I again felt this was the best choice-- I just went with advanced readers this time! Sonlight is rich in literature and history. My 71 year old mother happened to be here when we were opening the boxes --- oh what fun that is!!--- when she commented "Well goodness, these are books I would be interested in reading." Sage, my parents and I excitedly pulled out book after real book. Even Piper grabbed on to a nature book and scurried up into my father's lap.
I chose Songlight's K5 program but used the Level 1 advanced readers. Sonlight is rich in real books, adventure in learning through reading and can be personalized to suit your child (example: choosing level 1 readers instead of K readers) You can also chose your own math and handwriting programs etc... and all this is laid out for you! I really felt I needed this as it takes so much time to plan everything out. With Sonlight you choose a four or five day course of study and they have it all written out for you. You just open a page for Week 1 and start. Art and PE are also included. It also came with a calender and historical time-line. Even the science course has the supplies we need in a nice box as well as the math manipulative's which came in a plastic storage case. sigh... I'm a happy girl and Sage is excited! There are just too many advantages to this program to list here but you can visit them at www.sonlight.com and either scour the site or order a catalog. Now, they are pricey, but you get what you pay for.
Other resource books and reading books we use are McGuffey readers, notebooking, Handbook of Nature Study, Christian Liberty Nature Readers, What your _____ needs to know - series, Excel Math, Horizon Math & Singapore Math (Sage is good at math), Explore the Code & Mind Benders.
Sage also takes dance as well as violin lessons
There is so much available out there now. It can be a bit overwhelming but once you discover your child's learning style everything will fall into place. A child should enjoy learning and want to get up in the morning and "do school work" as Sage says.
If a child begins to dread learning everyday something needs to change.