We are starting our new school year this week, so our house is bustling with last minute preparations and tweaks to our curriculum plans. Yes, I know it is December, but taking the fall months off because it is our favorite time of year is one of the many perks of homeschooling. The most beneficial bonus of teaching our children at home though, is being free to change our minds when a curriculum is not working as well as we had hoped.
Last year went fine and the work was completed, but there was no great love of learning oozing from my teens. As a matter of fact, there were many instances where I would have rather taught pigs how to fly, than deal with my children’s moaning over ‘boring school’. No one wants a work environment that is full of complaints and unhappiness, but try having to live in that type of environment 24-7, because work and home are the same place.
While my children enjoyed their free time and the opportunity to catch up on any unfinished schoolwork that needed to be done to close out the school year, I researched……….a lot. I even applied to be a member of the Homeschool Review Crew over at http://www.schoolhousereview.com, hoping that perhaps trying various types of curriculums might prove helpful in finding our ‘fix’ (I didn’t get selected to be a Crew Member). Yet, something was constantly pulling me back to our first-ever curriculum choice that we used 5 years ago…….Sonlight.
You see, Casey is really smart and picks up on things pretty quickly……..the only problem being that her ADHD prevents her from being able to focus long enough to get her work done. D.J. hates school. It’s really that simple. He does great work when he puts his mind to it, but overall his eyes glaze over, his attitude goes from zero to if-you-keep-making-me-do-something-I-hate-then-I-will-keep-resisting-you, and my meekness disappears as I gear up to become ‘Marine-Mama’ so that I can get them to finish their assignments. These types of behaviors are not really conducive to that healthy and happy homeschooling picture that I have in my mind.
So, rewinding my memories to the time when things were actually calm and peaceful, when the three of us were actually excited about homeschooling, brought me right back to the program that we had used to achieve such wonderfulness………again, Sonlight. It was a lot of reading, and a lot of ‘reflecting’ which can lead to blank stares or giggles in my house, as we never take ourselves too seriously around here. BUT, all of that reading was done together, around the cozy fireplace in the winter, or at the beach in the summer. The scheduling, supply lists, the materials, etc., it is all done for me.
My frugal heart was one of the main reasons that I ceased ordering and using Sonlight. I could usually find the books that they sell for half or even a quarter of the price online or at thrift stores. The problem was, I could never find everything, and without the ‘IG’, or ‘Instructor’s Guide’, it was hard to piece it all together. Sure, I could have just purchased the IG, and I have done just that in the past, but for this year, I wanted easy. Saving money is great, but it takes a lot of work too. I am learning that I might have to spend a little more money for a quality product, but I am saving precious time with my family.
With a husband, two teens, three foster children, three dogs, and a household to run, easy is my new formula for peace………when I can make something easy, I jump on it, because let me tell you that NOTHING about our lifestyle or mission work is easy. All of our foster children have had some serious issues to overcome (which is typical of these abused or neglected babies), my biological children have had to deal many issues in just having these children in our home, and Dave and I have struggles handling everyone’s well being and happiness……..not to mention our own sanity! I think you get the picture of why planning a full year of personalized curriculum from the ground up is just not possible right now 🙂
We bit the bullet and bought the whole core. The WHOLE core! I felt like a kid in a candy store. Sonlight has thought of every little thing, right down to a box of science supplies. I even changed Casey’s math curriculum, because she just wasn’t getting the one that DJ had used. When the two huge and heavy boxes arrived, I could have wept. I hadn’t realized how much work I had been putting in these past few years, how absolutely exhausted I had become from devising lesson plans and obtaining the gazillion supplies that are necessary to teach two kids in high school……until that load was lifted by what was contained within the cardboard cartons before me. Three long days is how long it took for me to sort through everything, make our daily schedule, and organize our materials. Three days. Not thirty days, or sixty days, or every single week like I would have had to do before……Praise God!
It is actually God that I wish to thank first, for giving us the resources to be able to purchase such a curriculum for my children. What a blessing that He bestowed on not only me as a teacher, but also to my children’s education. Even though Sonlight offers interest free payment plans, my Dad offered to buy it outright and let us make interest free payments to him instead…….my parents take the cake in the best parents category! I am also so very thankful to the angels at Sonlight. They must know how I feel, otherwise the very program that I am so thankful for would not exist. Perhaps they do not have the same circumstances as we do, but all homeschoolers have struggles that make continuing to homeschool with joy very hard. So thank you Sonlight, you put the light back in our learning!
I am not affiliated with Sonlight. You can check out this awesome program for yourself here: http://www.sonlight.com