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School ramblings

mimi

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Just thought I would share our random school ramblings.

 

We currently use a mom intense (in regards to non-reading children) literature based program (Sonlight) for our oldest two daughters. With the addition of the twins to the routine our life was about to get very complicated (3 cores) and very expensive ($2,500). I did quite a bit of research (understatement of the decade) and came up with another option. This second option (My Father's World) allowed all of our girls to be in the same "class" for everything but language arts and math. This would be a considerable cut back on my input time and was quite a bit cheaper ($1,000).

 

I requested catalogs from both companies and then worked out a timeline for both companies for all 6 kids through June 2022 when our oldest daughter would be graduating from High School. I wanted to get a feel for how the program would work at our busiest season (all 6 kids in school) and make sure our oldest daughter would be able to complete both programs before graduating.

 

Option 1 (sonlight) would be pretty extreme with 4 core programs going at once.

For those who don't know about core programs that would be:

4 history classes

4 science classes

4 Bible classes

6 Language arts classes

6 Math classes

PER DAY!

 

Option 2 (My father's World) would be much more laid back. The kids would be in the same "class" and would use the same books for language arts (making it cheaper and less clutter).

 

1 history class

1 science class

1 Bible class

6 Language arts classes

6 math classes

 

I asked my fellow large family homeschooling mom's and couldn't find anyone who had anything negative to say about option 2. So I looked on option 1's forums to see what they had to say about option 2's program. The only negative thing I found was that option 2 uses a "book basket" approach where you use library books for the literature program while option 1 sends all the books with the package (why it is much more expensive). Okay....not a deal breaker for me.

 

So option 2 is cheaper, easier on me, and has a very well recommended program. Bonus points that the money paid to the company is used to translate Bibles into different languages. Why is this even a difficult choice? I don't know but it was. I somehow felt like I was "cheating" or "taking the easy way out" by going with option 2. I did a lot of research and praying about it.

 

So the other day I again was praying for the Lord to make this clear for me. I walked out to the mailbox a few minutes later and found a second catalog for option 2. Okay. Got it. Option 2 it is :)

 

So I have been searching out used items for our family to use when our current things are finished. I chose to start the twins in the kindergarten curriculum ASAP since they are almost finished with their preK things. They are doing 3-10 lessons a day in preK. I keep trying to slow them down but they are having none of it. I fully expect them to finish the kindergarten work and start 1st grade by this fall. When it clicks it just clicks. Anyways I found a deluxe kindergarten set used for the exact amount that was refunded to us from the local college (their pool is under repair and all swim lesson money was refunded).

 

So again I feel like God was giving his blessing. I mean here is exactly what I need, exactly when I need it, and oh look here is the exact amount of unexpected money suddenly sitting in my account.

 

I am now working on putting together the older girls set for this June. The program works in a 5 yr cycle so we begin with this set and then will repeat it after the next 4 sets. As the kids get older the set becomes more and more difficult. Anyways I found the teachers manual (retails for $99 plus $20 for each set of student sheets) for $25. It is the older edition with the student sheets in the back. This older edition also allows for copying the student sheets as many times as I like. Where as if I bought the student sheets separate with the new edition I would not be allowed to copy them.

 

I found the $20 language arts book (used for 2nd-6th grade) used for $10 shipped.

 

I also found the $60 spelling book (used for 2nd-8th grade) for $7.99 I was able to use swagbucks gift cards so it was $0 to me.

 

I plan to use our swagbucks gift cards over the next few months to finish putting the set together. I figure it will keep me busy during the first few months of the deployment.

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I went to a private accelerated school for elementary, and something they did with us there that I really liked was the history classes.  We had history classes from around the world, starting in ancient times - Egypt, China, Greece, Africa, Rome, American Indians, Aztec/Maya/Inca, etc. 

 

Later when I went to public school I found that all the other kids just learned American History over and over again, how boring!

 

We also had a class called Globe Study starting in first grade, we learned all sorts of basics like the shape of the world, oceans, where all the big mountain ranges were.  I loved that class so very much, and all that was needed was a globe to look over.

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The set we are starting in June is Exploring countries and cultures, then creation to greeks, rome to the reformation, exploration to 1850, 1850 to modern times, then repeats back through the cycle.

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Awesome!  I'm one of those people who loves the *idea* of Sonlight/Bookshark, but the implementation scares the beejeezus out of me.  One lady posted a "why we love Sonlight but are moving away from it this year" video on Youtube - for two children she was spending several hours a day reading aloud.  It just wasn't feasible. But too many are guilted in by the Reasons Not To Use Sonlight list.  Bah. Our one year I bit the bullet I went with a less literature intense program (World of Adventure).  10 books that were built around in 10 units. Boom.  Easy and doable. You could pick and choose whatever else you wanted to supplement with (much like MFW book basket idea).  Their actual history and science lessons that were built in were meh, but I loved their social studies, language arts, and literature activities.

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We really like doing ONE core of sonlight. More than one however..yeah insane.

 

I do think it was guilt for sure. It is built up as such an amazing program and if you do not use it you feel guilty. I had to have a talk with myself....I mean it is JUST history for goodness sakes! They even publish their books on their site so not like we can't pick up some of the books to add to our book baskets.

 

I am excited to start our new program. It will be nice to move from ancient history this semester to geography and cultures next semester. We are planning on making our own passports and then there are the flags to make, etc. It will be a lot of fun. The kindergarten set looks like a lot of fun as well. The twins will love it.

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You should check out the Dollar Tree.  I don't know if they still have them but they had these great sticker packs with flags from around the world on one sheet and landmarks, cultural costumes, and animals on the other.  I ended up making a deck of cards and foam countries to match up with each other.  I think I spent $2.50 on the entire thing total and we just add to it each month when we get to a new country.

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MFW is set up more like a classroom for large families, GLG, There's one set of lessons, with each grade going deeper or easier as it needs to be.  Just like a classroom full of students with various abilities, IEPs, etc.  But instead of having 30, Mimi has 6.  They can work together at their own ability and collaborate during the main lessons, and get one on one during individualized lessons (like math and language arts). 

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