The day our homeschool materials arrive from Sonlight is lovingly called Box Day, not only by our family, but by many of the other excited families who frequent the Sonlight forums. Today, our Core B materials arrived. We are currently celebrating the week of Unleavened Bread, and I have to admit that taking a break from anything scheduled has been sublime. We have had some sickness floating around here, which is never fun during a school break but could not have worked out better timewise. I was still excited to see a big box of books left on the front porch for us, though!
Core B is a mix of grade levels 1, 2, and 3, but we are using it as our 2nd grade core. The girls will be in Grade 3 readers, which do not correspond directly with the Core at this stage. That is fine with me since much of our reading is still largely vocabulary-controlled. The girls left off 2nd grade reading with The Sword in the Tree which was a gentle intro to chapter books. It has been a feat to get them interested in fewer pictures and pages filled with words. However, the subject matter was so interesting to them that they continued with the challenge, ending up reading several chapters in a sitting without even realizing it! I admit I had my qualms about Sonlight adding in Language Arts to the Core Instructor’s Guides this year. It raised the price of the curriculum as a whole, which I did not appreciate. On the whole, I have not been pleased with their Language Arts in the past, and I have been happy to pick and piece together my own programs for grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and writing. Granted, they state they have done quite a bit of revamping, and this probably is their only way to force their consumers to take another look at what was before now an optional component. We did not have a choice in purchasing the LA portion but we took the plunge anyway. Since the whole curriculum has been so fantastic, I’m willing to give another look at their revised language arts. They are pretty firmly committed to the spiral method, however, so I doubt that they have changed completely to the mastery method (my method of choice for subjects like spelling, grammar, and math, by the way). I can’t have everything, though, can I? I’m just grateful for the chance to school my children at home and have the freedom to tweak it according to what we need.
While the girls are taking a break from school, I have a tremendous amount of work ahead of me in the coming weeks. I have to get all of our books and curriculum organized for the coming year. This means putting away all the stuff we’ve used for 1st grade but will not use again for Chavah for at least another year. The new Core B books and study guides will have to be entered into our Homeschool Tracker software. This is an extremely time-consuming and tedious process, though it will pay off exponentially during the year; and I have to say that I derive a kind of sick pleasure in seeing all the ISBNs lined up in a perfect little row based on titles, grade level, and publisher…much more interesting than a cabinet of books covered with colored stickers (which I will also use because I am just that bonkers!) While it is not required, I would like to watch the IEW DVD seminar before attempting to start the girls’ formal writing curriculum for the year, but at least I can do this portion with Pete in the evenings. Aren’t we nerdy in what we constitute as “together” time? This year we will also use Trail Guide to World Geography at the beginning level. We have not as of yet done formal geography or writing, so both Trail Guide and IEW are completely uncharted territory for us. To say that I’m a little anxious as I steer our classroom vessel straight for those waters is an understatement. I have to do quite a bit of prep work beforehand in order to feel comfortable in presenting the material to the girls.
This year is going to be the most challenging year we’ve had so far academically. I guess it’s going to be that way every year from here on out. But I am thrilled with the challenge. My ability to control it all and get everything perfect is *just* out of reach, which means I am going to have to get myself seriously connected to the Lord. Holy Spirit will give me the wisdom and the strength to go as far as we need to travel this year. I can’t do it on my own: I must depend upon Him. Prayerfully, these short-term organizational goals can be completed without a hitch so that we can start our year soon. I suppose I should attach a date to this completion and subsequent start of the new school year, but I just can’t bring myself to do that yet – the gorgeous spring breeze is simply too beckoning at the moment! I think I’m going to go fill the water table for my kiddos as they get beautifully browned playing outside in the spring sun. The serious goals can wait until next week.