Learning Moments: Sonlight

This past year I've been doing Five in a Row with Malachi and Eliana. Before Five in a Row was great - I felt like it met both needs of Malachi (5) and Eliana (3). But since starting Vol. 1-2, I've been feeling like it has been more focused on Malachi and that somehow, in all our fun, Eliana wasn't getting as much out of it. 

So, I ordered Sonlight Core P4/5 for Eliana. 

She just turned 5 so she is right in the middle of the target age for this core. Even so, it is easy for her and we are moving through it quickly. We completed 5 weeks this first week. 

Books we are reading from:

The Instructor's Guide (IG). . .

The IG in Core P4/5 is divided up into 7 sections (detailed below). . . 

  • Bible 
    • weekly memory verse
    • character trait (first 10 weeks)
    • one chapter a day from the Family Time Bible.

We have been doing Bible in the morning. I like the FTB - easy to read, the illustrations are nice, and each chapter asks 1 or 2 comprehension questions.

Here is Eliana reciting her memory verses from Week 1 along with her character trait, attentiveness, in this 13 second video.

  • Storybook
    • nursery rhymes
    • bedtime stories, 
    • tales and stories 
    • optional activities
Malachi's Favorite
We have been reading Storybook selections at bedtime. We do some of the activities, but not all. We made Pumpkin pancakes when we read "Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater," made Puppy Chow when we read "Uncle Wiggily and the Bad Dog," and a few others.

  • Readiness Skills 

In the activity below, I placed 4 items in a basket, had her close her eyes and color the picture of the missing object. This was easy for her, but fun. 

This next activity was a little more challenging. I gave her a set of instructions (color the stripe red, color the box blue) had her wait 60 seconds and then follow the instructions. Instead of just waiting 60 seconds, I had her do another simple command - run around the house or go touch the fridge and run back.  

She has done 4 of these so far and each time, she gets better and better at listening and remembering directions. 

She also does several coloring, outlining, and fine motor skill activities. 

An auditory rhyming activity. . .

I love that it includes the words and the sounds in bold print so that she can see the rhyme. 

Eliana finished up Developing the Early Learner Book 1 this week (Week 7) and as soon as we closed the book, she sighed and said, "I miss it." ♥  I pulled Book 2 off the shelf and told her she has 3 more.  She said, "Let's start it!" I said we would start it next week. :) (She had just finished doing 12 pages in one sitting).

  • Science
    • farm life, seasons, weather, the ocean, simple machines, plants, animals and more.

Eliana's Favorite

This week, we read The Berenstain Bears Almanac ~ A Year in Bear Country Life. 

Highlights include: 
  • Seasons and weather
  • Twelve months in a year 
In week 1, we read about winter: winter months, some of the things winter brings, winter weather, winter clothes, first day of winter. And we talked about what winter is like where we live: how we dress, what we do. We got a nice heavy snowfall this week with beautiful weather, too, and the kids played out in the snow. 

We did an activity from the manual - describing an ice cube. 

We followed all the seasons and the months through "a year in Bear Country life."

  • Language Arts 
    • letter a week starting in Week 10
For now, we have been working on finishing up Language Lessons for Little Ones. . . 

Playing Alphabet Tic-Tac-Toe. . . 

And playing Alphabet Sounds Bingo to work on phonograms.

I think this was her first time playing Bingo. 

  • World Cultures 
    • what people do and how they live around the world

We have been reading from Usborne's Book of Things People Do. Before reading, we play "I Spy." (They love this!). Above, Dylan is playing "I Spy" with Mali and Elli. 

  • Other 
    • songs
    • developmental activities (large motor, small motor coordination, practical life skills, math skills)

We sang Jesus Loves Me, This Little Light of Mine, Father Abraham, Yankee Doodle, and The Farmer in the Dell. 

For Developmental Activities we did a sequence activity, practiced skipping to a child's chant, and practiced somersaults. We were supposed to jump like a frog, so I had the children play Leap Frog (because it also happened to be Leap Day!). 

Mali sits in for quite a bit - his choice. One day, he wanted to go play and I was fine with that. But, later he was upset that he didn't get to read with us. Now when I invite him to read, he joins us. :)

For math, Eliana is using Singapore Earlybird Book B - Text and Activity book.

For handwriting, we are using Getty & Dubay informally (salt tray, quilted letters, sandpaper letters, and worksheets that I make). We'll start Book A with Core A (see my plans for next year below). 

Malachi's School

Five in a Row

We rowed Grandfather's Journey this same week. I feel good about all that we did and that adding in a Sonlight Core was not difficult. 

All About Reading/Spelling

Malachi worked on Lessons 33, 34, 35 and 36 in AAR, and Steps 19 and 20 in AAS this week. He is doing SO good! I am happy with his progress.  (He only has 9 lessons left in AAR at the time of writing this). 

Matching rhyming words ~ words ending in "ck."

He is spelling the word diagonally, silly boy. :) 

We are moving through the lessons more steadily now. We slowed down after Lesson 25 and spread the lessons out over a couple days and took some breaks. Now, our lessons are progressing very nicely.  His fluency is noticeably better and he is catching on to what I am teaching him. 

Malachi has also been working in Explode the Code 3 and reading from Sonlight's Language Arts for grade 1 (LA1) readers - I Can Read It.  The readers line up with the Explode the Code books, so tie in nicely. I'm going over my LA1 to see where he needs to be to do LA 2 this fall. I don't know if All About Reading Level 2 will be out in time, so I plan to do Sonlight Grade 2 LA and continue on with Explode the Code until it comes out.

He has also been working in his 6-Traits Daily Writing. He is learning about "telling words:" how what, and where. He had to write one sentence about what he did and where and one general statement about himself. 

Writing Traits has been good - but I am really looking forward to Sonlight's LA ~ specifically the Creative Expression. I may dig out some lessons from LA1 to use with him once he finishes Writing Traits (he is on the last section on Voice).  

What I am thinking about for next year. . . 

I'm planning to finish Core P4/5 up by the end of June - that's about 2 weeks of curriculum per week. Starting at Week 10, I hope to do more letter activities. I may even go over some of All About Reading Pre-1 and pull Ziggy off the shelf. My main goal with her is to reinforce the sounds so she doesn't forget. I am planning to start AAR 1 in the fall along with Intro to the the World: Cultures Core A (grades K, 1, 2; ages 5, 6, 7) with Eliana and Malachi both (ages 5 and 7). They are both in the age/grade range for this core - one at each end. I will also be rowing 12 books from Five in a Row Volume 3 over the year, which will give me 3 weeks to row a book. I may just take one week and then take a 2 week break, or spread the row out - whatever works best at that time.  

I considered Intro to World History Core B, (Grades 1, 2, 3; Ages 6, 7, 8) but I have done that core with a 5 and 7 year old (Dylan and Nathan), and I think Mali and Elli will get more out of it if I wait a year (ages 6 and 8), plus I am not ready to do formal history with them and an easier core will give me the room I need to squeeze in FIAR. (Hoping to row Vol. 4 while we do Core B - again, only 12 books - 3 weeks for each book).

I feel at peace with my decision and am really very excited. :)