It’s my first year homeschooling and I know it’s only Kindergarten so I shouldn’t be stressing, but I could really use some guidance and encouragement.
I bought the Sonlight K curriculum hoping that it would be an easy open box solution for navigating our first year. Whoh. It has SO much stuff in it. Things were going well until Thanksgiving. My son loves to learn and blows through everything. We were doing really good working on it daily.
Then my 18 mo old daughter got really sick and has pretty much been in and out of the hospital all winter for complications from Pneumonia and other viruses. My son has also been sick a lot too.
At first, I would just take it easy, take the week off. Then get back into it. In January, I just gave up. One was sick, then the other. I was pretty much exhausted and just trying to make it through each day.
We really haven’t done much school since January. We’ve kept up with Bible reading and chapter books since my son loves to read. That along with History/First People/Reading about missionaries. Anything with reading we’ve continued to do.
Where I feel lost is I know there is no way we’ll complete all the Sonlight curriculum “as it is laid out”. I’ve put away my Teacher’s Manual in hopes that I can relax about “where we’re supposed to be” and what we “should have gotten done by now”. Ha. All those expectations are hard to release.
As I work on letting expectations go, what in the world do I focus on for the rest of the year? I plan to keep him going through Summer because he just loves the work. (with breaks obviously)
Other things we do here and there are:
- cooking classes
- typing program
- practicing handwriting
- workbooks like extreme dot to dot/hidden pictures
Ha. It’s funny as I type this out I already feel better as I read about what we ARE doing…instead of focusing on what we’re not doing.
I’d still appreciate any feedback. A good friend told me it takes an average of 3 years to get into a groove homeschooling. That is a long time but it makes sense.
Thanks. I look forward to getting more connected with this community!
@missdynamo I would urge you to take a look at how much you are truly doing:) it’s a lot! Remember, at the kinder grade level, kids are still very young. They still need lots of play time, and I would remind you to keep your expectations realistic:) Your love for your child shines through in your post. Take a deep breath, and step back. Decide what is most important to you for your child to learn right now. By over doing it in Kinder, you may risk burn out for your child too:/ I admire your ambition for wanting to do it all, but just make sure you enjoy this stage in your kiddos lives❤️
I also agree with @Luvmyboys - I really pushed my older son - and I feel that he is very stressed out when it comes to learning now and hardly enjoys it at all (can I blame K12 online school a little for this?) - and I feel horrible. So now I am even !GASP! having him repeat things this year that he was supposed to learn in the K12 school but couldn’t because we had to rush through it.
It is OK to take your time. It would even !GASP! be OK to repeat some things next year. Public schools make you think everyone needs to be doing the exact same thing at the exact same time - and it just isn’t the case. Some kids are faster in some areas and not in others. If your son loves to read - then great! If he needs start with other areas again - then so what? Just look at what you are doing and accomplishing - and do not stress about all the stuff you haven’t done or can’t do at this time.
It is easier said then done - but really do try to relax and enjoy the journey. Homeschooling is supposed to be fun - (I need this advice myself lol )
@missdynamo It sounds like you have had an overwhelming year with so much to shoulder from the sickness and your first year homeschooling. I echo exactly what @Luvmyboys said in looking at how much you are doing. I applaud you for being able to put away the teacher’s manual! I am a structured personality type, and when we tend to fall behind our “plan” due to sickness or for another reason (things just happen, don’t they?) it can sometimes be hard for me to give myself the grace to leave the plan behind and later pick up right where we are and continue with what I can do and not attempt to conquer everything that I should do.
I also would agree with the sentiment that it’s important to remember that it is Kindergarten, and while that is an important year, it is also a fun year of exploration and learning through so many different ways. Sometimes when I tend to go the other direction and get too structured with my son who is in Kindergarten this year, I have to remind myself that Kindergarteners in classrooms are spending lots of time cutting, gluing, coloring, listening to stories, singing circle time songs, playing, engaging in dramas, etc.
If you have to cut back to basics, I would focus mainly on reading, writing, and math, since those are areas where you may want to keep as on-level as possible. And everything else you mentioned that you are doing are fantastic learning opportunities, and many of those are already reinforcing the reading, writing, and math areas! None of us has it all together Most of us have tossed a week (or two, or five, and yes, sometimes ten) off of the calendar when family needs called for it. I hope your daughter and your son are returning to good health soon!!
Considering it is your first year it sounds like you are doing well. I stressed my first year too and yes it took me 3 years to feel confident. Enjoy your Kindergarten year. I stressed my children out trying to make sure they got everything perfect and being afraid of being judged against public school standards. People who knew I home schooled were asking my 3 and 4 year olds to spell words and do mental math! It was crazy and so I pushed! It took us a couple years to change how we did things and even now we are still changing but I’m so glad that those first couple of years didn’t completely kill my children’s love of learning. We will be trying Sonlight for the first time this year and they are excited. But it seems to me that you have done well with relaxing for your first year, not looking at the teachers manual and doing hands on things with your son! Keep going the direction you are going and I think all will be well. Also I always remind people that even Public Schools don’t finish the whole curriculum for the year.
Keeping up with reading and a sick kid? I admire you, sounds like a perfect Kindergarten year.
If you are ready to start more schooly things again: work on reading, penmanship, and math. Even in math, there are many topics that will be covered again in more depth in future years and could be put on hold for now (clocks, graphs, money, shapes).
You are doing fine with two small children and a hard winter of sickness.
One of the things I love about homeschooling is that we can allow time to regroup and return to health and then add school back in as the child can truly handle learning.
My 8 year old son is chronically ill with end stage renal failure. At this time last year I was living in ICU with a very sick little guy. We paused school for a week and then started little bit at a time - before we were discharged after six weeks, he was up and going at full speed with learning again.
As an aside, my husband was home teaching kindergarten - with pauses for farm work and feeding cattle.
Everyone came through just fine and this year we are right where I had planned we should be. And best of all, we’ve had a healthy winter AT HOME.
Remember what Sonlight gives you is an Instructor’s Guide. Guide being the key word. You do not have to do everything in it. You do not have to do it exactly as they say. You already have the books so just get through one at a time as you can. There are so many really good books in that Core and you should just take your time reading them.
And as others have said, it is Kindergarten. Don’t worry about being behind…we are home-schoolers and we determine where are children are with school work-no one else does.
I did Sonlight’s Core K over two years on purpose. I wanted extra time to be able to do other things (and look at all the other great things you are doing!). Seriously, don’t sweat this–as you said, reading that list of what you HAVE done is encouraging. Nothing says you have to finish the core ever. Nothing says you have to follow the IG (in fact, the longer I used Sonlight, the more I preferred to NOT use the IG. Instead, I used the 1-page list that is in the guide, that shows the week each book is introduced. I loved that–so much that when I finally went “eclectic” I use that same format for my lesson plans!). It’s so easy to adjust–you read as much or as little as you want per day, you can cross off a book if you don’t like it or don’t think you’ll get to it, you can add in other books without a schedule page blaring at you that you’re “off schedule,” or go on field trips or nature walks or play dates etc… I used the schedule only when I wanted to see how Sonlight scheduled readings for a certain book.
There are LOTS of ways to enjoy Sonlight. Don’t ever feel you must cram it into a year. If it takes 1.5 or two years, so what. Enjoy the books. Enjoy snuggling with your son. Enjoy learning. That’s what’s important.
My dh is disabled, and sometimes–we just needed family time. Or we had lots of doctor visits. That’s life. Sometimes God’s curriculum is not the same as ours.
My oldest graduates next month, and no one cares that he did SL K over 2 years Well, I do…because I savored that time with my kids, and I’d do it again. (In fact, I’d be more relaxed about a number of things that I worried about when my kids were young…). Treasure these times and don’t let an IG steal your joy!
Oh bless all of you!!! Thank you for all the kind words. I’m going to read this thread over and over. Ha.
It is so true. We ARE doing a lot already. I think I’m going to write a big list of what we have done and print it out to look at often so I don’t forget.