Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Researching Life in the Military

There are a few websites that I have been using to help me prepare for this journey. If you know of some others or if any of you are army wifes with your own blogs who wish to share with me your experience, please leave a comment so I may visit your sites and learn from you all as well.

Married to the Army
Army Wife Talk Radio
Life Lessons Military Wife

Preparing to be a Military Wife

I have been trying to figure out just what it will be like to become a military wife. Those that know me best assure me I will be fine. That the boys and I will strive. I always make the best of everything and am looking forward to a few more years at home with my crew. I love the idea of possibly homeschooling them again for awhile before returning to civilian life and the rat race that it has become.

But others who have "been there done that" have cautioned me against it. Saying I don't know what I am getting into. The costs associated with it, the things that I will miss, the closeness of relationships now experienced. I have been researching and trying to prepare but to be honest, I just don't know where to begin.

I ran across this poem today and thought I would share it with all of you. It says a lot about my beliefs that I have always held. The wifes, husbands, children, families of the officers also selfishly give all for us and this country each and everyday. We should be thanking not only our soldiers for the sacrifices they make but also their families. For without any of them, where would we truly be?

Memorial Day weekend is coming fast. It's just a few days off. I encourage all of you not just to spend another fun week bar-b-queing with your families. That is a fun thing to do. But please, take the moment to share with your children what this holiday is truly about. Those that gave their all for us.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Other Websites

"Life: Take 1" original material came from the following websites:

Worldview Academy
Tuscan Sun Academy
Kitchen Moments

Due to a request from a popular company with the same name, our homeschool site was moved and renamed to Tuscan Sun Academy. I never really liked the name and it was never really used. We kept on with the same name. If we homeschool again in the future, we will be choosing a new name. I was also a featured columnist on homeschoolblogger for a time. This is a part of This Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I enjoyed my time writing for Kitchen Moments each week.

In addition, my other "old" websites include:

Sonlight Arizona
Sonlight Arizona on Yahoo Groups

There are a few that are no longer available. I am sorry for the inconvenience this has caused. Posts not located on other sites have been permanently lost. These sites include:

Usborne Books
Adventuring with 3boyz
Send Out Cards

Wall Word Worm

From Life Take 1

I created this worm for a fun way for my son to "see" what he knows for reading. There were days when he would have "confidence issues" -- believing that he couldn’t read, didn’t know what the word was, etc… So I came up with the idea of making a worm of all the words he knew. Every time he came across a new one – I added a circle to the wall. His enjoyment in reading grew as did the length of our worm and now whenever he is having a “confidence crisis” he simply goes to his wall of words and can see all that he has accomplished.

To make your own, you will need both sets of patterns below as well as a list of words. I made a list of about 900 words that we discovered in the first 2/3 of our K phonics program. After that – I gave up. There were simply too many words to add and I had run out of room. Please feel free to use my list, create your own, and make it as long as you like. Printing the pattern on cardstock works best.

My son enjoyed this idea so much, that I am thinking of making a spelling word worm next year. Every week when his new spelling list is out – we will add the new words to the wall. We also played games this year with our worm prior to hanging it up. Be creative!! There is a lot you can do with this little guy. I am hoping to get pictures of ours up soon – in our family photo area.

Here is a great twist on this idea from Sharon. She calls it a Reading Caterpiller. On each bump of the body she lists a book that she has read to her son (for those unable to read yet) or the story that he son read to her (for those who know how to read). The goal is to make it as long as possible by the end of the year. She starts over every year on her son's birthday. You could choose to start at the beginning of your school year. This sounds like a great game!! You could even have siblings race each other if competition is as much of a factor in your home as it is in ours!! I can't wait to start this with the boys!! Thanks for the idea Sharon!!

Word Worm Head

Word Worm Body

Word List

Blank Science Labsheets

From Life Take 1

For Sonlight Science K

HWT Files

From Life Take 1

Letters & Numbers For Me

K Handwriting Paper

1 Handwriting Paper

Saxon Math Schedules

From Life Take 1

Saxon Math K

Saxon Math 1

Saxon Math 2

Blank Worksheets

From Life Take 1

Curriculum Planner

1 subject-36 week schedule

Elective Planning Guide

Parent Planner

Wish List

Pk/K Evaluation

Unit Study Planner

HWT Help

From Life Take 1

(An example of how a comment/question has helped out so many with a new idea. Thanks Jennifer!)

Hi Misty,

Anyway the idea was for those who don't have the cards to do that part of the letters for HWT. I thought I would do Mat on day 1, then on the next day do a sensory lesson for each letter, eg putting rice or flour in the bottom of a square baking dish and then "writing" the letter in it, then on third day do it on the slate as you suggest.

Jennifer in Tasmania
(2d and counting)

2004-2005 School Year

From Life Take 1

Apr 2004 - July 2004 --Review Period

Nov 2004 -- First Day of School

Well that plan did not work so well after all. Once we finished up Core PK with Janet's extras and some
other things for the second time, Kris was ready to
move onto Core K and nothing was going to deter
him from doing so.

So...... we began our school year at the beginning of May. We are focusing mainly on the basics at this point ... phonics, handwriting, math, critical thinking and of course read alouds. When time allows we add in our science, history, and enrichment activities. We also try to get to the Bible and Character Studies on a daily basis. In November, I am hoping to have everything done on a daily basis but we will see how things go when the time comes. Zac is becoming more adament about being involved now ... and then of course there is Ben to consider.....

2003-2004 School Year

From Life Take 1

1 Sep 2003 -- First Day of School
24 Oct 2003 -- End of First Quarter
27-31 Oct 2003 -- Break
24-28 Nov 2003 -- Thanksgiving Break
22 Dec 2003 - 2 Jan 2004 -- Christmas Break
23 Jan 2004 -- End of Second Quarter
26-30 Jan 2004 -- Break
2 Apr 2004 -- End of Third Quarter
5-16 apr 2004 -- Spring Break
25 Jun 2004 -- End of Fourth Quarter
28 Jun 2004 - 3 Sep 2004 -- Summer Break

Well -- if you look ahead to the next year, you will discover that we finished up quite early this year and so I have had to make some adjustments to my way of viewing the school year. Our new school year will begin on May 1 each year and end about April 15. Why did I pick this day? To correlate with the Sonlight Catalog of course!!! A new one comes out each year on April 1, by starting school on the 1 of May then I have time to order and wait for our supplies to be shipped. I choose and ending date close to this that will allow me to do some "spring cleaning" in the office in order to prepare for the upcoming year.

Daily Schedule

From Life Take 1

(Please note: I have had several over the years. All the ones that I have had previously posted are here to given you an idea of what our life is like. However, life doesn't always go according to plan. You must be willing to adapt and improvise on an as-needed basis.)

The times for our daily schedule (Monday-Friday) vary but the order in which things are completed stays pretty much the same.

7:30 -- Mama up, check email

8 am -- Everyone up, get dressed

8:30 am -- morning chores then breakfast

9 am -- educational film or directed play

10:30 am -- Zac and Ben nap, Kris school time

12:00 pm -- Kris does his workbook assignments on his own, Mama feeds Ben and spends special one-on-one time with him.

12:30 pm -- Lunch, Zac up from nap

1 pm -- Ben back down for a nap, Kris and Zac library time (where we read books from the library

1:30 -- free play (QUIETLY) for Kris and Zac, Mama chores and/or computer time

2 pm -- Chores for everyone. Kris is in charge of picking up all the rooms even his brothers and putting everything away. Zac is to help or stay out of the way. Mama does her daily cleaning.

3 pm -- Playtime with all 3 boys

4 pm -- outside time if weather permits

5 pm -- start dinner, Daddy comes home from work

6 pm -- dinner, bible devotional study by Daddy

7 pm -- bubble bath time with Daddy, afterwards night time chores

8 pm -- Zac goes to bed, Kris has homework/special one-on-one time with Dad

8:30 pm -- Kris goes to bed

9:30 pm -- Ben goes to bed

10 pm -- Mama goes to bed

Usborne Book List

From Life Take 1

These are the books that I used. Sonlight periodically changes there programs around therefore some of the books listed below may no longer be in use. Please check a current catalog for the correct book lists.

Prices quoted for books is subject to change. The prices mentioned are the prices current of when this information was originally posted. Usborne books, in general, are inexpensive and a great value. For information about prices, availability -- please email me.

If you would like information on recieving a discount on Usborne Books by becoming a consultant or would like to sell Usborne Books, please email for the current specials. You only need to sign up once and your membership as a consultant is good for a life time regardless of how often you order books. That means you can get the 25% discount this year, in 10 years, and then again in 30 and never have to meet a yearly or monthly minimum. (okay exaggerated the years to prove a point -- after all who could wait 10 years to order more books!!)

Baby/Toddler Books

I have been using a lot of the Beginning readers for my little one and haven't purchased a lot of Usborne books for him yet. He loves the easy readers and as a bonus big brother can read them and gets in extra reading practice. He also enjoys the Tie-A-Bow book even though he is too young to understand yet. I only allow my children board books before the age of 2. In addition to these, we own....

Find the Duck (loves this one and wants to read it over and over again. QUACK! QUACK! as Zac calls it.)
Building Site

A friend of mine recommended the following Usborne books for baby and toddler. These look great and I will have to plan on adding some to my collection soon!

Look and Say Board Books - Beach, Farm, Town
First Picture Word Book
That's Not My. series - Car, Truck, Tractor, Train, etc.
Young Farmyard Tales Board Books - Curly the Pig, Wooly the Sheep, The
Red Tractor
Farmyard Tales Touchy Feely - Curly's Friends, Wooly's Walk, Rusty's Bone
Animal Noises (Not sure about these. I tend to shy away from the touchy books that can get all sticky and yucky and are hard to clean.)
Find the - Kitten, Teddy, Puppy
Animal Hide and Seek
Alphabet Book
Young Nature Board Book Series - Horses & Ponies, Baby Animals, Farm Animals
Big Machine Board Books - Trucks, Racing Cars, Planes, Tractors
Ultimate Touchy Fell Board Books - Diggers, Trucks (Not sure about these. I tend to shy away from the touchy books that can get all sticky and yucky and are hard to clean.)
Look Through Board Books - Bunny on the Beach, Mouse on the Moon, Panda in the Park
Very First Words
Very First Numbers
Things that Move
Sonlight Core Preschool Books
Things People Do
Then and Now
First Thousand Words -- This book is also available in other languages and in sticker book format. All are wonderful and indespensible in learning vocabulary for a new language.
Opposites -- workbook
Shapes -- workbook
What's Under The Sea? -- Now available in the Pocket Scientist Red Book that is internet linked. This book also contains 7 other books from this series and is a great bargain at $8.95 compared to the $4.95 I paid for just this one book from Sonlight. (prices are subject to change.)
Why Do Tiger's Have Stripes? --- See the information above about this book.
Preschool Books
Starting To Measure -- From the same workbook series as Opposites and Shapes. A great introduction to measuring.
Pocket Scientist Red Book and Pocket Scientist Blue Book -- The complete series of science books that are used in Sonlight Science programs PK-1st grade I believe. Only a few titles are ones that Sonlight actually uses but all are wonderful. These books are internet linked and full of wonderful information.
First Encyclopedia of Science (IL)
Ted and Friends
First Dictionary (IL)
Sonlight Science K Books
Finding Out About Everyday Things
First Book of Nature -- This book has been redone by Usborne and is now available in an internet linked format by the title of Pocket Nature. It includes all the same information just in a different order.
Science Activities II
Sonlight Core Kindergarten Books
Children's Encylopedia

Kindergarten Books

First Dictionary -- I prefer this to the one Sonlight uses for K LA but I have both and use both. This one is internet linked though. (I warned you earlier that I loved internet link books -- didn't I?)
Children's IL (that means Internet Linked) Encyclopedia -- I used this in addition to the one Sonlight includes in its Core K program. The difference is the links and there is more information in the internet linked one compared to the regular one.
Stories From Around the World
Children's World Cookbook (IL)
People's of the World (IL)
Tie-A-Bow Book -- great for teaching your child how to tie laces. Lots of different things to practice on and a few surprises too at the end!
Beginning Readers

Frog on a Log
Hen's Pens
Goose on the Loose
Ted's Shed
Toad makes a Road
Ted in a red Bed
Sam Sheep can't Sleep
Fat Cat on a Mat

The books above are phonics lift the flap board books. I prefer the board books because then Kris can read to Zac for practice and I don't have to worry about torn pages. As an added bonus -- my litte one gets more books added to his collection. Most of these are available in regular paperback format as well. These are all in color, regular book format and builds a child's confidence that he is truly reading real stories!!

Fox on a Box
Ted's Shed
Mouse Moves House
Shark in the Park
Big Pig on a Dig
These are more great easy readers from Usborne but are not available in board book format. Oh how I wish Usborne would make them as such!!!

Sonlight Core 1 Books

Coming Soon!

Sonlight Science 1 Books

Coming Soon!

Kindergarten Book List

From Life Take 1

This is a list of books compiled from several sources of extra read alouds for Kindergarten. Some I have read, some I am planning on reading, and some I am hoping we get to soon!! Some are sequels to SL Core K books.

Usborne Children's World Cookbook
Usborne People's of the World
Dragons of Blueland
Elmer and the Dragon
Boxcar Children #2-19
Wizard of Oz #2-18
Voyages of Dr. Doolittle
Hero Tales II, III, and IV
Grandma's Attic Sequels
More Poems To Read To The Very Young
Treasury of Fairy Tales
Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young
Beverly Cleary Books
Henry Huggins Series
Little House Books
Ralph Moody Books
Stuart Little
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Around the World in 80 Days
Tom Sawyer
Swiss Family Robinson
The Prince and the Pauper
Trumpet of the Swan
Farmer Boy
Narnia Series
Kon Tiki
Burt Dow
Black Beauty
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Books
The Snow Queen
Dot and Tot of Merryland
The Sea Fairies
Pippi Longstocking Series
Littles Series
Secrets of the Canyon
Secrets of the Forest
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
The Secret World of Og
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet
Half Magic
Great Brain Series
The Rocking Horse Secret
Choose Your Own Adventure Series
Miss Pickerell series
The Moorchild
Snow Treasure
The Enchanted Castle
101 Dalmations
A Life Just Like Mine
Children Just Like Me
Children Just Like Me Celebrations

Videos to see:

Kids 10 commandments (also called K10C)

Preschool Book List

From Life Take 1

Below is a list of books that I have collected from several sources. Most have been shared with my children or I am planning on sharing them soon. I have listed the books by when I used them -- but that does not mean that they cannot be used for other ages/grades as well.
Books by Joan Sweeny (Me and My place in Space, Me on the Map, Me and My Family Tree, etc...)
Books by William Bennet (The Children's Book of America, The Children's Book of Heros, etc...)
20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury
The Big Book of Beatrix Potter
The Story of Me
A Bear Called Paddington
Snake Stories From Africa
The Village Well
Rick-A-Chee Series
Ian & the Gigantic Leafy Obstacle
Curious George Treasury
Heroes For Young Readers Series
This is a list of all the children's books we purchased/read during this time. Many are twaddle -- therefore not listed above but my children still enjoyed them. Once again -- as with all my book lists -- these can be used with other ages/grades. One other note, I did not include in any of my lists books that were read off of other internet site book lists.
Disney Treasury
Thomas the Train Treasury
Magic Tree House Series
We also watched a lot of videos during this time, as my children are visual learners. Below is a list of some of the things we have seen.

Veggie Tales
Max Lucado (Hermie, Flo)
Sesame Street
Jay Jay the Jet Plane
Thomas the Train
Disney Films
Zoologists Series
DK Explorers

Looking for More Great Books to Read?

From Life Take 1

Books are one thing my children never seem to get enough of and I am always on the look out for more things to read. Below are links to some lists I have found very helpful.

Paula's Archives
1000 Good Books
100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know
Math Books and Resources
Book Adventure
The Schoon List of Excellent Picture Books

Can't get to a library but still need more to read? Check out the following sights. Ambelside is actually a curriculum (that I do not use) but in their book lists section, has links to books you can read free online. This has lead me to find many more free books to read online as well.

Ambelside Online Curriculum
Page By Page Books
Online Library of Literature

Want to know what we have read personally? Below you will find links to our book lists for various ages/years.

Birth - Age 2

Victoria in TX recently shared with us her list of favorite art books for Preschool through early elementary and gave a wonderful description of each of the books that I thought I would share all that great information with you. Below is a link to her list. She is currently working on a list for older children and a game. Can't wait to see what she has for this. Thanks for sharing Victoria!! If you have any questions please feel free to email Victoria.

Victoria's Art Book List

Looking for some great books about music? Check out the following List for the Preschool through early elementary years.

Exploring Music Through Literature

Sleeping Bear Press has some great alphabet books for each state, the world and more. Check them out to find one for your state.

As some of you know, I am an Usborne Book Consultant. I joined just for the discount on all their great books -- some of them are included with the Sonlight Curriculum. This is how I first discovered them. Now that I get the discount, my sweet hubby says why not try and sell them too that way you can make a little to buy some more books. So I figured why not!! Below is a link to my favorite Usborne Books and information about various books including some of the Sonlight titles. If you want to purchase anything, just let me know and I would be more than happy to help.

My Usborne Book List

I asked some friends of mine recently to share their favorite board and picture books for babies and toddlers. Below is there answers. You will also find a nice long list of ABC books they recommend as well. Enjoy!! : -)

Board & Picture Books

Scope and Sequences

From Life Take 1

Worldbook -- This is the one that I use the most off and has the national standards for each grade PK-12 available.

ABeka -- has scope and sequence for their programs for 2 years - 12th grade. Just another reference point for you to use.

Michelle Lewis Skills List -- This is another one that I use personally. Has a list of things your child should know when for ages 2-5. This tends to be on the advanced side of things so I would use the 2 yr old list for my 3 yr old, etc...

Core Knowledge -- scope and sequence at a glance. This is the program that was designed to over haul the public school system. This is optional and most districts have not implemented it but it still gives you a good baseline for what your child would be taught if they were attending a public school. Also check out their resources page.

Core Knowledge is the producer of a series called "What your ....... grader needs to know" They have a book for each year PK-6. Do not use the PK one. I had it and sold it. It is not applicable to homeschooling and is not in the same format and the other books. The other books are textbook format and make a great supplement to your curriculum. I use it as a checklist to make sure that we have covered it all for the school year. These tend to fall behind the Core levels by a year.

Pearson Learning Group -- this is the scope and sequence they use to develop their various products.

Flapjack - A Math Card Game

From Life Take 1

Here's a card game I (Lisa in AZ) made up to help my daughter with adding positive and negative numbers. I named it Flapjack and it uses a standard deck of cards. More than two people can play it, and you can use multiple decks of cards if you like.

The object of the game is to play cards so that the total value played equals 13, -13, or 0. The player who does this takes the trick. (all the cards currently in play) At the end of the game, the player with the most cards taken wins.

Deal each player 7 cards. Place the remaining cards face down between the players for a draw deck. The black cards are positive numbers (ace = 1, jack = 11, queen = 12, king = 13) The red cards are negative numbers (ace = -1, jack = -11, queen = -12, king = -13)

One player plays any card face up, announces the total value of the cards in play, and then draws a new card from the draw deck to replace it. Unless the first card played is a king (value = 13 or -13) then the next player will lay down a card, placed so that all cards in play can be seen, add its value to the current value of the cards in play and announce the new total. Players may not play a card that will cause the total value to exceed 13 or -13. As soon as any player plays a card that causes the total value of the cards in play to equal -13, 0, or 13, that player announces the total and the win by yelling 'Flapjack!', and takes all the cards in play as a trick. (place the won cards in a separate pile next to the winning player to be counted after the game is over)

The player who wins a trick starts a new round. If a player can play no card legally, he/she skips a turn. If no player can play legally, or when all cards have been played, the game ends, and the unused/ unwon cards are left in the middle. Each player counts the number of cards won in tricks, and the player with the most cards wins.

There's enough strategy to this game to make it interesting for adults as well as for children. I came up with this game because my daughter hadn't been exposed to negative numbers before, and because she needs a lot more practice with her basic addition and subtraction facts. It's probably suitable for children aged 8 and up.

If you want to play a simpler version of this game, you could remove the face cards and play to 10, 0, or -10. Another alternative version of the game would have all cards with a positive value, and play to either 0 or 13, but allow each player to specify whether the new card played is to be added or subtracted from the old total. (If you play this version, you'll have to have somebody keep close attention to the running total, because it'll be hard to go back and recalculate it.)

About Math

From Life Take 1

There are a variety of different ways to teach math. Is mental math better than drill? Do you need to include life application skills? When do you introduce higher level mathematical thinking skills? These are all questions that have plagued me as I have tried to get it right. Math is one of those skills that I have always struggled with and I do not want to have my children do the same thing. Maybe that is why I struggle with the decision so much. Maybe I should just relax but I can't. I always second guess myself on this one.

I started out with Singapore Earlybird Math Series. This was perfect for the preschool years but what to do afterwards really bothered me. I didn't feel Singapore had enough drill although I loved the mental aspects of it. Kris did well with it and enjoyed the color so I decided to start him on the Singapore Primary Series. Feeling that Singapore alone would never be enough, I decided to combine it with Saxon Math.

Saxon Math, we soon found out, would be a lot different than Saxon Phonics. First off, skip K unless you are using it with a 3 yr old. All it is is guided manipulative play. Save your money and start with 1 for your K year. Everything covered in K through play is covered in 1. There was a lot of teacher prep, which as you know is a big downside for me, but I spent two weeks preparing for the year. We started and Kris hated it. It moved too slow, had too much repetition, too much black and white and wasn't at all fun to teach or learn. We dropped it after forcing ourselves through 16 lessons. I felt horrible since I spent the money on 2 Saxon Math programs and never used either. (I should probably sell them on EBay.) I ended up pulling all the drill sheets from Saxon and using those with Kris. It would have been cheaper to purchase Calculadders .... which does the same thing.

We were struggling through Singapore as well. He was doing the work just fine but I didn't think we were learning anything. A friend of mine (thank you!) found a Scott Foresman Exploring Mathematics workbook at a yard sale, knew I had been interested in it and sent it to me for free. It was a second grade book but Kris really wanted to try it. He loved the way it looked. Another friend sent me the schedule for this program by Janet Fitts. So.... I figured why not. It will be over his head. I will let him try a few pages and then if he still likes it order the 1st grade book. He loved it. Not only that ... it was the right level. He had learned much more than I ever though. This series, however, is no longer being published and maybe difficult to find. Check EBay and Academic Book Source for this series if you are interested. You will need the schedule from Janet to emplement the program. Cost is $15 for a CD-ROM with schedules for K-8 along with the stories, answer key to chapter reviews, and enrichment ideas.

So.... this is how we came to a Singapore/Exploring Mathematics Combination. So far ... it is working well and what I plan on using with all 3 boys. We will also use the software programs for Singapore as well as Quartermile Math to help with my need for drill.

We considered Miquon as well but too many reviews of "if the teacher has a math phobia (that's me!) this program may be hard to teach" caused me to shy away from it. I may do this though when they are older for review. If you like the idea of Exploring Mathematics but don't want to hunt for out of print books ... I suggest looking at Horizons Math. From what I understand, it is the closest thing on the market to Exploring Mathematics.

About Language Arts

From Life Take 1

Before we get to what I use/have used in the past. I want to address another topic that has been asked a lot recently. What are the sub-topics of LA? LA encompasses so much that many new homeschoolers feel overwhelmed with this subject and always feel that they are leaving something out. Below is a list of sub-subjects so that you won't have to feel like you forgot something anymore. If there is no starting time indicated, that means to start whenever developmentally appropriate. Ending times will depend upon the programs you use. All are suggestions based upon the "normal" recommendation for usage.

Spelling (starting at 1st grade)
Phonics (up to 2nd grade)
Grammar (starting at 3rd grade)
Handwriting (up to 6th grade)
Vocabulary (starting in 2nd grade)
Readers (books your child reads aloud)

I think I have covered them all. LOL!!!

Anyways, on with our journey with Language Arts. Kris showed all the signs of being able and wanting to learn how to read at the age of 3. By around 3.5, I still refused to teach him ... thinking later would be better than early. So, he decided to teach himself. If he couldn't figure out a sound, he would make one up. I quickly decided to put an end to that. So we began our journey in learning how to read.

The first book I choose to guide Kris was, Reading Made Easy. It is very similar to 100 EZ Lessons but was prefered by Rainbow Resource Center and a few other places so I went with it. I thought it looked like a great program. Kris had other ideas. He wanted his own book. He didn't want to share with me. The book seemed overwhelmingly big to him and he was instantly frustrated that he would never be able to complete it. After trying for a few months, I gave up on this program.

Shortly after this, I ordered SL LA K. Thinking we love all the other SL programs, why didn't I just get this in the first place. SL expected too much too fast for us. His reading level needed to be equal with his writing capabilities. Maybe his writing capabilities being ahead of his reading skills would have been even better. Regardless, it didn't work. Too much dictation. The introduction to letter sounds was to slow. We tried many suggestions to make it work by dropping this, adding that, etc.. etc... it all had they same affect for us. It didn't work. Later on, I gave SL LA 1 a chance ... thinking it maybe better for us now that we have the basics under our belt. I am sad to say, that it still did not work with for us. So, unless SL redoes their LA programs I do not see us using them in the future. However, I do like their readers (which I use) and the games for K and 1 were great as well.

So, tired of spending and getting nothing from it. I decide to let Kris make the choice of what he wants to use. I had 3 different programs in mind (Sing, Spell, Read and Write (SSRW), Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL), and Saxon Phonics) but I didn't tell Kris what they were. I just sat down with him and the big RR (Rainbow Resource Center) catalog and read discriptions to him. Thinking I would purchase the one that he picked that matches mine. Unfortunately, he picked 2 of the 3 I did. Now, I needed to narrow it down more. Another hs mom had Saxon Phonics and offered to let us come over and see it. Kris feel in love with it instantly and wanted to take it home (Thank you Marci!). So this is the program I ordered next.

Saxon Phonics was the perfect fit for us. We did not do everything the IG tells us too but took what we needed and left the rest. By the end of Saxon Phonics K ... Kris could read just about any picture book he could get his hands on. By the end of Saxon Phonics 1 ... he was reading chapter books, magazines, and the newspaper with ease. We did not think he need Saxon Phonics 2. So we skipped it.

Finally, we found the program that works for us. There is a saying that says, the 3rd LA program you buy is the one that will work. Whether it is finally learning your child's learning style or your child has finally had enough time or exposure to mature enough to handle phonics ... either way this has been the case for me. I just hope that the other 2 will use something we already own when it is their time to learn to read. If not, the next one I plan on trying is The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. The reviews so far have been fabulous!!

In addition to our phonics curriculum, we use several other workbooks. These have greatly helped improve Kris' abilities and I highly recommend them as do several other hsing moms I know. I plan to use these through the end of the series. When we have completed them all ... we will stop. I plan to use these with all 3 boys regardless of what phonics program works with them.

MCP Phonics (turns into Word Study at Book D)
MCP Spelling Workout (older edition ... my boys prefer sports; the newer edition is a multicultural theme. Both are in color and other than the theme are identical.)
Explore the Code (include the premiers for this series (Get Ready for the Code, Get Set for the Code, Go for the Code))
Reason for Handwriting
Wordly Wise (Books A-C)/Wordly Wise 3000 (starting in Book 1)

Handwriting was another hard choice for us. We started out wiht Handwriting without Tears but in this house it caused a lot of tears. The manipulatives for this program were a hit but Kris was confused by the 2 lines, never understood where to start his letters above the line, and hated the way that the letters look. He also did not like the black and white workbooks. In contrast, A Reason for Handwriting is a more traditional approach. While I was not to thrilled with the idea of writing Bible verses every week for handwriting ... Kris was. He loved the fact that some pages were in color and some in black and white. He also enjoyed the animal project pages that are a part of book K ... a lot! I really think it was those pages, and the ability to color the scripture pages any way he wanted to that made him want to use it. We use Startwrite Software to supplement our handwriting program. It can be used with any method you choose to teaching handwriting. It is an excellent program and one of those that I think should be found in every homeschool. If you can't afford a workbook program or prefer to make your own ... this is the one for you. Also, if you have more than one child using more than one style ... this would be a great investment for you.

Spelling caught me by surprise. I was planning on using the spelling that was part of Saxon Phonics but it just didn't work too well for us. So I picked up Spectrum Spelling 1 when I was out and about. The only program the store carried for spelling. It is too... schoolish for me. Word lists seem to be picked at random. We completed the year while I looked for something better. Spelling seems to be a schoolish subject regardless of what you use. I choose Spelling Workout because of its theme and recommendation by The Well Trained Mind. My son seems to learn anything related to sports so I figured I would capatilize on that love. I also very seriously considered Spelling Power which is recommended by SL but after hearing about all the teacher prep work needed to be done prior to using the program ... I decided against it. Anything with a lot of prep work is a big no in this house. I have no time for lots of prep work. I have 3 little boys!!

First Language Lessons (FLL) was brought up so many times during the end of 2004, that I decided that I should look into. The reviews were incredible but I wanted to see for myself if this grammar book aimed at 1st and 2nd graders was as wonderful as all the raves I have heard. I can now tell you that indeed it is! There is a rumor (or at least I think it is ... as I cannot find any information on it no matter how hard I try) that their is a Second Language Lessons (SLL) in the works. Oh how I pray that it is true! These books are similar to Primary Language Lessons (PLL) and Intermediate Language Lessons (ILL). If there is no SLL then I will probably be using ILL after FLL.

Leap Frog just came out with some Phonics DVDs this year (2004) that I cannot recommend highly enough. These would be perfect for introduction prior to starting any phonics program and would be great for review throughout your child's learning to read phase.

From Playpen to Podium was one of the first homeschool books I ever bought. It teaches speech and communication skills from your child's first word through college. It has 12 things every family should have available in their home to promote communication. This is an excellent resource for parents who think speech and debate are as big a part of LA as reading and writing.

There are the basics that you will need in addition to the actual program. A child's dictionary and thesaurus are one of those such items. Also paper and pencil. I also suggest having some fun LA manipulatives around the house ... magnetic letters, letter tiles, a chalk board for use anytime. These all will help promote LA skills through play. I am sure this section will grow over time ... I know there are a few things that I will be adding to it as we progress on our journey. But for now ... this is our plan.

Core 1

From Life Take 1

2005-2006: Well... I thought I was going to be doing GTG this year but that did not work out so.... its onto Core 1!! I am so excited for this year to come and so is Kris. Last year we learned a lot from K and GTG .... things about Egypt, China, and other places that we get to learn even more about this year. Below is a list of resources we plan on using for the year. As usual.... I will try to keep you updated on how things are going, what is working and what isn't, etc... I am combining 3 complete history programs together in an effort to stretch this school year out for at least 18 months. My plan is to do the same for Core 2 which will get me that extra year I was wanting before getting to Core 3.

Core 1

Readers from Core 2

Uncle Josh's Outline Maps

Story of the World 1 & 2 with activity guides (note we will be using the first two weeks of volume 2 during week 36 of Core 1)

Mystery of History 1

Classic Myths To Read Aloud

What Your 1st Grader Needs to Know

Books for Boys

Reason For Handwriting Transition

Wordly Wise B

First Language Lessons (Started late last year. This is a 2 year program that we will hopefully be completing the same time as this core and not before then.)

Explode the Code 4,5,6


Spelling Workout B & C

Come Look With Me: Exploring Landscape Art and World of Play

Artistic Pursuits K-3 Book 1

Color the Classics: Christmas Music and Patriotic Songs

SL Science 1

Apologia Elementary Science: Astronomy

Bastein Piano and Piano Lessons

Homeschool Family Fitness

Computer Basics

Little Book of Manners for Boys

Life Skills for Kids

My Cookie Business

Scott Foresman Exploring Mathematics 2 & 3 (We started in 2 last year after trying out so many different programs. This was a perfect fit in combination with Singapore for our family. So we will be finishing up 2 and 3 this year if all goes according to plan.)

Singapore 1B, 2A, 2B

Signing Time DVDs

Belitz Kids Spanish

Cantoring the Country

From Life Take 1

This is the sequel to GTG, that will take you around the United States to learn about each state. I am very excited to see this project completed and can't wait to use it. Check GeoMatters for updates on its release date. UPDATE: scheduled release date is Spring 2005!! I am so excited .... this looks even better than I originally thought!

You can use some of the above items with this curriculum as well. Look for updates on what we will be doing with this curriculum in/about 2007.


From Life Take 1

This concept maybe new to many of you. Below are some sites that may help you better understand this idea. I am planning on using ours throughout our homeschool experience, adding to our geography notebook as we learn.

"Student Notebooking--Learning at Its Best"
"Notebooking, Sure to Addict You"
"Notebooking Shopping List"
"Homeschool Notebooks, Journals and Scrapbooks"
"Notebooking--Learning & Fun All Rolled Into One!"

Online Geography Resources for Galloping the Globe

From Life Take 1

Foreign Word translates words from English into other languages. Use to teach your child a few words in the native language of the current country you are studying.

Things To Do For Fun teaches basic expressions in different languages.

Crystal made some passports pages of her own and generously agreed to share them with all of us. There are several pages/styles available. Use which ever one best suites your needs. To print, set your printer to "fill the page" or someother similar option. To complete -- just add blank pages for your "stamps"
Simply Fold -- all info on one page.
Passport Cover -- 2 per page
Front Page -- goes with the next 3 items
Second Page
Third Page
Last Page
Make Your Own Passport Project.

History of the passport.

Information on Flat Stanley aka Flat Travelers. The Flat Stanley Project is a group of Moms who make their own flat travelers and exchange them with one another as they travel about the globe. Children can participate with the help of their parents.

Check tourism offices in the countries you are planning on "visiting" and request free brochures, maps, videos, posters, etc... Please note that not all offices offer free information by mail but all have excellent websites to view as well. Below is a list of sites I have requested information from. Look for more countries soon.
Travel information allows you to order 25 free brochures per family

Tourist Board lists websites for various countries. You may or may not be able to order free information from these sites. Check each one to see which you can and cannot.

Lisa's Freebies has links to request travel brochures and other infromation for 48 of the states.

Holiday Road has links to request free infromation on all 50 states and all the providences of Canada.
India Ireland Italy Jamaica Japan Panama

Travel Japan Jordan Kenya South Korea Israel

Lebanon Lithuania New Zealand Australia Singapore

Western Australia Southern Australia Malaysia Turkey

Thailand China Phillipines

Kratt's Creatures has a handful of animals and information for each continent.

Unforgettable Language has free demos available for various language courses.

The Dutch Twins is a story about Holland that you can read for free online.

Enchanted Learning has a lot of free printable worksheets, games, books, activities, and more for not only geography but other subjects as well. You will be amazed at what you can find here.

Geosense is an online game that tests your geography knowledge.

Find out the Exchange Rate for your country.

Holland information page states that Holland is actually part of the Netherlands. You can read about this and more here.

World Atlas is available online for free. Countries are divided by region and Continent.

World Tales here you can see folk tales, myths and legends from around the world, brought to life by twenty Australian animators that you can view online for free.

Link has a monthly newsletter spotlighting a different country and people who live there or are missionaries to that country. You can order there free newsletter here.

National Anthems has maps, words, and music for all 192 countries National Anthems. Would be great for use with GTG or when doing a study on the Olympics.

Birthdays Around The World has information on how birthdays are celebrated in various countries.

Words and Music for This Is My Father's World.

Online World has information about various places you will travel to while using GTG.

CIA World Fact Book -- updates daily; information on statistics for each country.

Zoom Activities -- check this out for craft ideas.

Montessori Materials has printable geography and cultural materials for free.

Scholastic has a variety of things available. Just click on PK-2 and then look under social studies for lesson plans on a variety of topics that all relate to GTG.

Native Costumes has costumes you can print out and make from various countries around the world. Click on buildings, kids, or animals for other printables from around the world or click on science for a map of the world time zones and globes.

Your Child learns has a world map that is printable on several sheets of paper then you can piece them together however you choose. You can make a 1 page map or a 64 page one that is 8' by 8' in size!! There is a lot you can do with this. Just be creative. Try having your children ride stick ponies and gallop to the country using clues you give. This would be a great review exercise. OR search online for clip art representing the various countries, shrink to fit onto your map, and glue on. Or use old travel magazines (ask your local travel company if you can have their old ones for free), cut out the pictures and glue where appropriate.

Kindergarten Resources

From Life Take 1

Click here for links relating to books used in the Sonlight Core K Package as well as links to other sites for even more hands-on ideas. Some I have tried and some I am hoping too.

Ergermier's Worksheets

From Life Take 1


Old Testament: Patriarchs

Old Testament: Lawgiver and Leader

Core K

From Life Take 1

2004-2005: My plans for our Kindergarten year is a lot!!! Boy am I ambious with a new little one due right smack dab in the middle of our school year. Below is a list of things I have ordered -- we will see how far I get, what get's moved to 1st Grade and what get's thrown out all together. I will let you know as we go along and I find time to update you all!! Here's my list, in addition to SL Core K:

Bob Jones K5 Bible Truths (We used this for 2 weeks and hated it. It is structured for a classroom and not a homeschool environment. On top of that, Kris complained because we weren't using a Bible for our daily Bible story. The only good thing I found from using this -- is that he truly did learn a lot more than I thought about the Bible using SL's Preschool Bible Program. From now on -- we will only be using SL for Bible studies.)

Kids 10 Commandment Videos (also called K10C; This is an excellent series that describes the 10 commandments using vocabulary and examples a child can relate too!)

Singapore Earlybird 2A & 2B with Saxon K (In hindsight I would have done Saxon K with Earlybird 1A & 1B last year and Saxon 1 this year with Earlybird 2A & 2B but that plan will wait until the next child. Saxon K is a preschool not a kindergarten program in my opinion. It could even be used prior to beginning the Singapore Earlybird Series. It is all manipulative based, no writing, no workbooks.)

Singapore Primary 1A/1B (we finished up the Earlybird series early and decided to keep going. About half way through 1A, I realized that Kris was able to do the work but was not learning or memorizing facts. He was still having to count on his fingers to know the answer to what 5+3 equals. So, we are yet again on a hunt for the perfect math program. We haven't found one but are now using a Scott Foresman Exploring Mathematics Series (which is out of print but still available through Academic Book Services or Ebay ... just make sure you get the right ones or you'll be disappointed!) and a Singapore Combo. This seems to work really well for us. He still needs help with memorization though.)

Saxon Math 1 (We ended up skipping Saxon K. It was simply to easy. Everything that was covered there is reviewed in depth in Saxon 1. My suggestion would be to save your money and skip K if Saxon is your math program of choice. We also ended up ditching Saxon math. It is just not a good fit for us and I could never make it work no matter how hard I tried. It is too boring, too repetive. We tried doing parts of it and tailoring it to fit our needs but still nothing works. We have to force ourselves to try and it simply isn't worth it.)

Rainbow Rock Cd-Rom (okay this is now back on my want list since we are doing Singapore again and Kris is begging for it. So we will see what it is like when it arrives. I pray that it is worth the money! Don't you all wish I would make up my mind?)

Quarter Mile Math Cd-Rom for K-3 (my son loves the horses and race cars in this program. It is really helping him build up the math facts that he so badly needed to learn. Another good thing to help with learning math facts is Calculadder. I have not personally used it but am considering it for the future as it somes highly recommended.)

Subtraction and Addition Songs (my sons loved this and the 1 yr old started counting to 3 after the first day of listening to the addition songs CD.)

SL Math Manipulatives Activities & Games (I have still yet to use this. Maybe if it was scheduled in someplace but alas it still collects dust on my shelf. Maybe some rainy day I will pull it out and discover what is inside.)

SL Science K (This was a great introduction to life sciences and how some things work. The things though are out of date. Consider getting the DK book The NEW way things work to supplement with. Makes a great addition and comes with an interactive CD-ROM. We rarely got to the science experiments except for once a month on family science day but the DVD was great as the kids could watch it over and over again and learned a lot of the terminology just from this.)

Startwrite Software (We use this to supplement our handwriting program. I also use for dictation or when my son wants to write a story or song. He tells me what he wants to write, I type it in this program and then have him trace it. This has worked great and has even improved his spelling since he is tracing words that he knows. Now he is trying to write these things on his own in his journal!)

MCP Phonics A

Bob Books/Readers (We have the whole set. These were great in the beginning but my son never got past the Level B Box 1 set. Not because he didn't need them any longer but because he got bored by the stories. He would much prefer easy reader books and muddle his way through those asking for help when he needed it.)

Reason For Handwriting K

Reason For Handwriting 1 (we finished up K early)

Usborne Internet Linked First Dictionary (We haven't really used the links yet but the dictionary itself is excellent!! It is easy enough for my son to use on his own to discover words to use with his spelling computer game.)

Saxon Phonics K

Saxon Phonics 1 (We finished K in less than 3 months and are moving onto Saxon Phonics 1. I cannot say enough good things about this program. It is easy to adapt to fit to the needs of your child, if it is too repetive (which it often is) you can easily skip that part but it is there if you need it and, as an added bonus, the way they present the phonics rules is superb! Thanks to these my sons spelling lessons are a breeze. As he tries to figure it out, I hear him repeating outloud to himself the various rules to fit his needs. We have had so much success using the first 2 Saxon phonics programs that I do not feel that we will need the third as he is already reading chapter books easily. So we will skip it and move onto other things.)

Wordly Wise A

SL LA 1 (parts of it. We are skipping the vocab, phonics, and spelling portions of this program. I ended up ditching this whole program with the exception of the optional workbooks and readers. Sonlight Language Arts is another program that no matter how hard I try to make it fit and work for our family -- it simply does not.)

SL LA 1 Readers

Language and Thinking for Young Children

Explode the Code 1,2,3

Usborne Peoples of the World (Actually ... we decided to combine GTG with Core K and it has been a great fit for us. Using the Create-A-Calendar that comes with the Core ... each month we have discovered a new country. We started a month before the calendar with the introduction and then each month the calendar chooses our country of the month. So we are once again using this book. We also did the Christmas study during the month of December. This will take us into Core 1 as it is a 16 month Calendar but that is okay. Also ... on the months when there is not much to find out at the library for the country we pick up another country that is in GTG but not on the calendar.)

Usborne Children's World Cookbook

It's Disgusting and We Ate it! (This book is hilarious and a fun way to learn about what other people eat around the world. Perfect for a K!!)

Come Look With Me Animals in Art & Come Look With Me Enjoying Art With Children

The Children's Book of Family and Home

Joseph The Canada Goose (Way to complicated for a 4-5 yr old. My hubby even thinks parts of this is too difficult for him -- we are shelving it for another year. Like Core 2?)

Start Smart Art Series (we replaced the above item with this -- much more age appropriate and fun!The crayons are very soft and after a few uses have started to curve to form against my sons hand. The also break easily. Well... to update you on this. We are now 6 months into the program. Save yourself some money and pick up a couple of color by number books at the grocery store. You will get the same results that we got here. The only thing Kris got out of this series was about shadows under objects and how to color in the lines.)

Color The Classics Godly Composers & Hymn Writers

Music Master CDs

The Story of Me

Visual Perception Skill Building 2

Can You Find Me? K

Dr. DooRiddles

Dale Seymour Critical Thinking for K-3 (we will only be doing the first part in each of the 3 sections -- you know the easy parts ... saving the rest of this book for later.)

Elmer & The Dragon, Dragons of Blueland (these were so fun to read and it seemed like one book instead of three. If you don't read these you are missing the ending to My Father's Dragon.)

Heroes For Young Readers Series (These are now available on audio CDs and with a curriculum guide. Both come highly recommended adn I am looking at purchasing these items in the future.)

Children Just Like Me Celebrations

A Life Like Mine

McGraw-Hill Animals Workbook (We used this as an introduction to animals and purchased several plastic animal kits so we could play with the animals we learned about.)

Singapore Start-Up Science books (much like the Earlybird Math series. Written at the same level in similar format. We went with these and dropped SL Science K for awhile because I was to pregnant to keep up with all the experiments.)

Everyday Graces (I love this book!! Every family should have one regardless if they homeschool or not. Teachs manners and life rules in the context of poetry and story exerpts. I highly recommend!)

And we will see what all else I add to this long list as well...... Remember this is what we are planning on accomplishing in a year. Not a day! Please note that some of the items we dropped because they simply did not work for our family -- the reasons why are listed above. If something doesn't get done this year --- we will simply add it onto the next. A lot of the extras are done on fun days when I simply don't want to do LA, Math, Science, etc... so I let Kris find something educational to do on his own. Or we do music or art or something else that is normally forgotten about.

Preschool Resources

From Life Take 1

Need help? Looking for some good advice? Want to know if this is the right preschool program for you? Then click on the above link and ask those who have already made the decision to use Sonlight. Here, people from around the globe gather to discuss all things related to preschool. Seek out their encouragement and advice. I did and it made all the difference in our homeschool journey.

Common Preschool Questions

There are some questions that just seem to be universal to preschool discussions. Such as what educational toys and games do you supplement with? What about manipulatives? How long is your school day? What if my child won't sit still why I am reading a story? The answers I have discovered to these and other questions, are available here.

Hands-On Preschool Ideas

Click here for a page of links with lots of ideas for hands-on activities to coorelate with Core PK. Some I have used, others I am hoping to use in the future. Also check out Amy's list of resources -- see above under Amy's Theme Schedule.

Amy's Theme Schedule

From Life Take 1

While, for my family, themes or unit studies simply do not work -- this is the best schedule I have seen using materials from SL Core's K and PK programs. The versatility of the program is great!! Just pick what you want to learn and when. You can use the weeks in any order that best suits your family. Once again, a copy of this schedule is only available through the SL Preschool Yahoo Group. Information on joining this group and obtaining a copy of this schedule is available above -- look under the heading of Janet's Schedule. Also, Amy has done a lot of research online and has a list of websites that you can use with the stories in Core PK and K. This is a great resource for either Core regardless if you are using her schedule or not. To obtain a list of links, please visit Amy's website. If you are looking for something to do with your preschooler for Christmas, Amy has an amazing Advent study that she is sharing with all of us called a Journey to Bethlenam. I highly recommend you go and check it out! One otehr note, at the end of Amy's theme schedule is an appendix. This has a list of questions for use with the Children's Book of Art. This is an excellent resource and highly recommend you take a look at it for use with this SL PK book.

Janet's PK Schedule

From Life Take 1

Janet Fitt's is the creator of a Preschool Schedule based upon Sonlight's Core Preschool Program. She began creating this many years ago prior to when Sonlight had its own schedule (which was first released in 2003) for use with her own children and has been gracious enough to share it with all of us. In addition to this, she continues to minister to many preschool families by continuing to improve this schedule yearly even though her children have since outgrown this level.

Beginning in 2003, she shared not only her schedule for the Sonlight books but all the extras that she has found to work with this program over the years. This makes for a nice well-rounded curriculum perfect for the older preschooler. We used this our second year through Core PK and loved every minute of it. Due to the nature of the things she adds this would also make an excellent K program.

The schedule starts off with the easier stories and slowly increases the child's attention span capabilities preparing them for Core K. If you are interested in recieveing a free copy of this schedule, you will need to join (for free) the SL Preschool Group through yahoo! This is also a great place to get all your questions answered about preschool and parenting the preschool child.


Special Needs Children

Each one of us thinks that our children are unique and special. And we are all right, they are. Each child comes with his or her own unique set of talents and gifts that enrich the lives of those lucky enough to know them. However, some of us are challenged more than others.

Some parents have children who have special needs. On one end of the spectrum, they can be developmentally delayed, emotionally delayed, or physically delayed. If the experience of having a child wasn't enough, these parents face additional challenges and must make modifications to any program they seek to use. On the opposite side of the scale, is another group of parents with gifted children. They too must face additional challenges and must modify any curriculum they use.

Both of these types of parents struggle with the decision of whether or not they are making the right decision for their child. They are often faced with ridicule by the very people who should be supporting them. If you know any family in one of these situations, please provide support, love, guidance, and prayers for them as they year on this difficult, often rocky but so rewarding journey.

For my family, my oldest child is extremely gifted. My middle child is moderately gifted, and the baby of the family I am still figuring out. My challenge is not seeking curriculum that is challenging enough but finding a curriculum that is challenging but not overly mature for my crew. My decisions are often questioned as many feel that I push my children to hard. In reality, the opposite is true. My to-do list is never quite enough. They are always left with the task of wanting and needing more. To delve deeper has been a mainstay of what we do around here. To see all sides of the story and to draw our own conclusions. For your family, it maybe different.

This is my warning for all of those trying to follow in my footsteps... if your child is "average" you will want to follow a year or two behind. If your child is "gifted" feel free to follow along on our journey. There is a lot of information on this site for a lot of diffrent types of people. I hope it will help you all on your own individual journeys. I wish you all the best of luck!

Preschool II

From Life Take 1

2003-2004: This year we will start preparing our child for what will be expected of them in the coming years. Workbooks are now a part of our daily lessons and school is no longer an option based upon our child's desires. However, our day is still limited to 30 minutes unless more is requested by the child.

We will be using the following items:

SL Core PK (this time with the workbooks except for DEL Book 4 which was too difficult and I am saving for Core K)

Janet Fitt's Comprehensive PK Schedule (uses Core SL with other materials she has added in to supplement -- most are listed below)

SL K LA (I found the lack of instruction on blending hard to overcome. While the activities were fun and my son was grasping the idea, he was not fully understanding it at all. The activity sheets were easy for him and the optional workbooks are NECESSARY -- I found this out after trying the program for 9 weeks getting no where. He learnt more in 1 week from the workbooks than the whole 9 weeks without them.)

HWT (Great for hands on manipulatives -- I highly recommend the new preschool program available through their website. My son however found the two line theory confusing and did not like the letter shapes.)

Reading Made Easy (We tried this but it intimidated my son because his reading was included in the teacher's manual (everything is in the one book). This is a great program and I personally loved it. It was prefered over 100 EX Lessons by Rainbow Resource Center and I have to agree with their recommendation. We will be trying something else now.)

Phonics Songs

Ready, Set, Go for the Code (the optional workbooks for SL K LA)

MCP Phonics K (My son's favorite workbook. Very colorful with lots and lots of great information for those learning letter sounds!)

Singapore Earlybird Math 1A & 1B

Manipulatives: Pattern Blocks, Attribute Blocks, Linking Cubes, Counting Bears, Cuisenaire Rods

World & US Maps

Hundreds Chart

Cuisenaire Alphabet Book

Visual Perceptual Skill Building 1

Building Thinking Skills - Primary

Lots of art supplies

A Bear Called Paddington

Children's Book of Faith, Children's Book of Family and Home, Children's Book of Heroes, Children's Book of America

The Science Encyclopedia

20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury (My son loved this -- some are absolutely hysterical!!)

Ian and The Green Leafy Obstacle

Usborne Pocket Scientist Books -- Red and Blue (Internet Linked)

Pattern Block Cards from SL and Pattern Block Animals

Usborne Starting To Measure Workbook

Big Book of Beatrix Potter

The Story of Me

Snake Stories From Africa

In hindsight, I plan to add the following items for my upcoming children when they reach this level:

Saxon Math K
Come Look With Me: American Indian Art; Come Look With Me: Art In Early America
Complete Book of Arts & Crafts

Can You Find Me? Preschool

Fitness at Home

Teacher Resources I used for the year are:

What Your Kindergartner needs to know

Ruth Beechick's 3 R's

From Playpen To Podium (used from birth on)

Homeschool Easy Records

Preschool I

From Life Take 1

2002-2003: This year no workbooks are used. This is to be a very relaxed year designed to introduce your child to good literature and to instill a love of learning. Hands-on projects can be added on as your child desires. This is also the time to instill discpline and character into your children.

We will be using the following items:

Sonlight Core Preschool

Manipulatives: Pattern Blocks, Attribute Blocks, Linking Cubes, Lacing Beads, Counting Bears

Don't Move the Muffin Tins by Bev Boss

Counting on Math

Coreknowledge Preschool Cd's

Lots of art supplies

In hindsight, I plan on using this with the next child(ren):

Veggie Tale Videos, Sesame Street Videos

Me & My Place In Space, Me on the Map, Me & My Family Tree

I Spy An Alphabet In Art


From Life Take 1

We began our homeschooling journey in 2002 with our 2 1/2 year old son Kris. He began begging for school He already knew his colors, shapes, Could count to 10 and say the alphabet but he desired to know so much more. So, reluctantly, I ordered Sonlight Core PK to instruct him. Thinking he is much to young for this -- he quickly proved me wrong!!!

I believe every child deserves a nice slow introduction to school and all the things a good quality education will require of a child. For this reason, I believe in two years of preschool. Each taught at the child's pace and only for instruction to begin when the child shows an interest and desire for knowledge.

Meeting Other Sonlight Families

From Life Take 1

Part of homeschooling is seek out the support of other families like yourself who homeschool. Often times, they will be able to steer you to better products or help you when you have a question on what to use next or an issue comes up while your teaching and you need an answer now. These relationships are not only important to you but to your children as well.

To meet other Sonlight Families, please consider the following suggestions. And remember, these groups are only as good as its members. They will require your attention and support in order for them to work successfully.

Sonlight Meetup

Well -- now you can!! Simply click on the link below to find people in your area to meet and plan lots of fun things to do together!! Sonlight Meetup

Yahoo Groups

Search for Sonlight or Sonlight plus your state. You will find a variety of support groups for a wide variety of people.

Sonlight Language Arts

From Life Take 1

There seem to always be a ton of questions regarding how to pair up a core with a language arts level -- especially considering that Sonlight recommends that the correspond with one another. Below is the breakdown chart -- this should help answer/clarify things for you.

Core LA Level Readers
K K comes with LA
K Advance 1 1
1 1 1
1 Advance 2 2
2 2 2
2 Advance 2 Advance 2 Advance
3 3 3
3 Advance 3 Extra*

Once you get to Core 3, advance simply means that there are more readers than with the regular program until advance no longer becomes an option in the higher Core levels. Advanced 2 LA is a special level that Sonlight made to help those using the advanced option to even out with Core 3. This level can be skipped -- it is just for those using the Advanced 2 level.

A lot of people use Core PK with LA K. This is a great fit and then sets you up to use the Advance LA track until you hit Core 3. At Core 3, you will need to decide if your child is a book eater or not. Book eaters -- use the advance Core with the extra reading books. Everyone else go with the regular program.

Can I use SL readers without their LA program?

Yes, the readers and advanced readers are scheduled in the Core Instructor Guides. If you wish to use an LA program other than SL's make sure you get readers that fit your child's current abilities and then follow the schedule for your core. In the younger years, you have 2 options for level of readers. In later cores, only one. It is that simple.

Sonlight Facts

From Life Take 1

Sonlight can be overwhelming and confusing to anyone new to the curriculum but don't worry -- help is available!! And, once you get used to Sonlight, you will find it a breeze to comprehend. My first suggestion is to order the catalog, read through it; this will help clarify things and has a lot of useful information.

Cores Not Grade Levels

Sonlight was designed so that families with multiple children can study together using one program. Therefore, a Core is not equal to a grade level but can be used with a grade range. Please visit "How To Choose", for more information. Another great article on this topic is "How Can I possibly use a K program with a 2nd grader?"

To Use Or Not To Use

I have never come across a homeschool supplier before who actually lists out the reason why not to use their program but Sonlight does. It is just another example of how much they value their customers and how each one is considered a member of the family. For information on why NOT to use Sonlight, please click here. For information on why families love using Sonlight, please click here.

More Great Information

I cannot possible explain all the great things that I have come to love about Sonlight. Is it the forums, where I have unlimited access 24 hours a day 7 days a week from not only Sonlight Staff but homeschooling families who have been there done that? Is it the instructor's guides that have everything so carefully planned out for me with notes and more about what I am teaching? Is it all the great things I recieve along with my order (some for free)? Is it the possibility of a scholarship from Sonlight for my child's college education? Is it the online product samples that I can view?

I would have to say its all of these things and so very much more. If you want to read even more great articles about Sonlight and the opportunities it presents for your family, please click here.

If This Site Helped You......

Please make sure that you let Sonlight know on your order form when you registered, that Misty R. in AZ, was the consultant you spoke with. You can get to the Sonlight website by clicking on any of the banners that you see on this site or right here.

Election 2008

To be honest, I have never been one to follow politics all that closely. Yes, I vote each time an election comes around but all the minute details, I just never bothered with. However, I am going to make an exception to my "never discuss politics" rule.

America, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. Its an old saying for certain but so very true. We are quickly approaching the upcoming election and yet here we are listening to the democratics and republicans haggling over the best way to run the country. The only thing that I am seeing is politician's providing answers based upon party lines. This is the "way things have always been done" so "this is the way it shall always be." But let me ask you something, America. Is it working?

There are so many different issues that are of a concern. The worth of a dollar is going down. Our economy is struggling and we are heading for another depression worse than the great depression. Middle class families are normally the ones who can "live the American Dream" yet these same people are struggling to feed their families and pay the bills. What does that mean for those in the lower class? How many will be homeless? How many are suffering without health care or health insurance? How many are unemployed? These are just a few of the many issues. Others include marriage rights, education, foreign policy - the wars in Iraq and Afganstan, and now the potential for another war over Georgia. Is this the beginning of World War 3? What legacy are we leaving for our children?

As the election season gears up to full speed and voters head off to vote... what will the outcome be? Will we continue on the same path of destruction or will we embrace massive change and a new thought process in order to resolve so many issues that are lying in the path to greatness?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Photos from Life Take 1

From Life Take 1

Here are some old photos that I found. I hope you enjoy them!