Note: Our family is no longer using Sonlight, but I am keeping these posts available for those who are interested. For more information on why we have changed course, READ HERE.
Part 2 – How We Chose a Core
I thought I should explain how we chose a Core to start our Sonlight journey because it offers some insight into our homeschool philosophy as well as how I teach (or plan to teach) multi-levels of children.
I have always been drawn to the Classical cycle of homeschooling. There is something right and good about following history chronologically, even when it causes me angst. This year we were supposed to be starting world history over from the beginning. I got just a few short weeks in to it and realized I could not follow the path that ominously stretched before me with the curriculum I had chosen. All I could see was a big black forest. Overwhelmed would be an understatement!
This is when I began researching and researching in my obsessive manner. I knew I could not let go of the chronological format, but I had to let go of something.
Once the decision was made to go with Sonlight, I had to choose where to start with a 3rd grader and a 6th grader (our preschooler and kindergartner are homeschooled a little less conventionally). I wanted so badly to start with the beginning of time where we had already tried to make a start, but in Sonlight those years are Core 1 & 2 or 1+2 (which was too young) and Core 6 & 7 or Alt 7 (which would be too difficult for my 3rd grader). This is where I had to give myself permission to be flexible and take a different approach.
I chose to look at my children as a whole. Someday each one of them will be added to the equation. I needed to think about what the future would look like and find the simplest solution to the problem…
Child #1 (age 11.5) & Child #2 (age 8.5) will continue to be homeschooled together.
Child #3 (age 5) & Child #4 (age 3.5) will also be homeschooled together.
Child #6 (age 1) is the odd man out right now and will be on his own unless another baby makes it’s appearance in the next year or so.
That means, at some point in time I could be looking at 3 different levels of teaching. I already feel overwhelmed! How could I manage something of that magnitude? I knew I needed to find a way to streamline. The best way to do that was to set a course that smoothly transitions each learning level into the same time period as the learning level above it so mama is never teaching more than one time period in history.
To do this with Sonlight meant starting my oldest level of homeschoolers in Core 3+4this year, moving them to Core 5 next year, and then when the next level of homeschool students are ready to join a formal schooling atmosphere (as formal as it gets in this household), everyone is on the same page…Core 6 for the olders, Core 1 for the youngers. Both groups studying world history from the beginning in their own level. Bliss for my little chronological heart. *happy sigh*
So, that is how we arrived upon Core 3+4. Next post in this series will deal with how we make Sonlight work for different ages and abilities and how I’ve learned to master the curriculum and not the other way around