Planning for this year, I have to address boredom with Chavah. I originally got fearful of the idea of teaching three Sonlight Cores at one time with a young baby in the house because the read-alouds require so much time from me. I want to spend the quality time with Chavah that I spent with Jaelah and Selah when we did Core A, so I originally planned to have her wait until the twins were old enough to start Core A and do it all together. But that just isn’t going to work. Chavah has grown in leaps and bounds this year and focusing only on reading and math isn’t going to cut it for her this year. I was talking with my mother-in-law about this issue and she told me that’s exactly what Pete struggled with before he was finally placed in a class that challenged him. Chavah is tired of the Core P books that the twins are doing and I believe reading some quality literature with her will help her develop her vocabulary and self-expression. I talked about it with Pete and prayed about my reticence to set myself up for FOUR Cores eventually. We came to the conclusion that we just have to trust the Lord and not make any decisions based out of fear. We have to give our children what they need right now and allow Him to direct our paths in the future. I suppose I could go out and purchase a full boxed first-grade curriculum for Chims, but we’ve already made the investment with Sonlight and have no desire to switch from that. So we will be doing Core A with her this year. I pulled out the books and just looking at them filled me with anticipation for all the conversations we’ll have through the year reading fantastic literature together. Chavah even tried to sneak one of the books from the pile to her bed during rest time. This approach will give me the freedom to only start Core A when the twins are truly ready for it, instead of forcing them to start at 5 years old just because I’ve been holding Chavah back and can’t wait any longer. Core A provides a basic overview of world cultures, but Chavah is so hands-on that I decided to use some Evan Moor history pockets with her this year to supplement the read-alouds. They are lots of fun and will provide a very good overview of topics and allow her to express her own creativity.

I am changing science this year for Chavah. We love, love, love Apologia’s Young Explorers series and have had no problems with it for Jaelah and Selah. The books take an entire year to delve into subjects and provide a depth of understanding that most spiral science books to not provide. I want to do all of them with the girls and they truly have a love for science because of this curriculum. However, Chavah is not ready to start the way the girls were when they were 5 and 6. She needs to move her body while learning in short bursts – so I need something that has more science projects and experiments and is somewhat short and sweet for the time being until she’s able to handle longer periods of reading and writing. I have a feeling notebooking (the kind Apologia uses) is going to be something she LOVES because it’s crafty but her handwriting needs quite a bit of development first. I could do weekly trips to the library and throw together some books on interesting science topics, but honestly I need something a little more directed and regimented right now for my sake. I know myself and if we’re just reading science books for fun, I’ll be too tempted to let it slip until we’re not doing anything serious by the end of the year. Of course that wouldn’t be the end of the world since she’s only 5, but I want to slowly get her ready for the amount of reading the Apologia books will require. I don’t really like the science curriculum workbooks I’ve seen around and nothing really piqued my interest until I came across God’s Design for Science series. To be totally honest, I still don’t LOVE it (they are relentlessly dogmatic about Young Earth philosophies, but that’s another blog). However, since my main priority is to remain with Creation-based science, this fits the bill and offers several other things I need. It will be just enough of a taste of science for Chavah, I can include the twins, it can be adapted to fit in the older girls when they are interested, it has lots of simple and inexpensive hands-on activities, AND it covers a broad base of topics which I can then use to determine which Apologia book she wants to start with when the timing is right. If I had my druthers, I would use Apologia all the way through for all of my kids, but having a child who doesn’t fit the mold of the older two is forcing – no, allowing me to learn flexibility and patience. Yay. I never thought I’d be using two science curricula in this house, but that’s where we’re at.

The twins are not going to be doing much besides letters and numbers this year (they’ll still sit in for science activities) but they continue to enjoy crafts and preschool play each day. If my goal is to foster a love of learning, I have succeeded with them thus far. I have a few phonics workbooks and handwriting workbooks for them if they express interest this year, but I don’t necessarily expect them to just yet. We’re going through All About Reading Level Pre-1 and it fits perfectly for their age and stage. I like the curriculum because it allows us to go through each letter three times – first for the capital letter, then the lowercase letter, then finally the letter sounds – so that could take a full year and half if I wanted it to. We’re using the Critical Thinking Company Age 3 and Age 4 math books because the twins aren’t quite ready for Math U See Primer yet. Still, it’s preparing them and Noah in particular loves the numbers concepts. When Pete comes home from work, “maths books” is often the activity the twins want to do with him (other than pulling all the cushions off the couch and wrestling, of course).

It continues to be highly beneficial to our school day to start with the twins so they can play while I focus on the harder subjects with the older girls. Now I’m at the stage where Chavah needs my attention for just about every subject, and the older girls are more independent than ever. Allowing our schedules to be flexible will give me the best payout this year. Now all I have to do is figure out how to pack and move in the middle of the academic year.