June 2, 2013

School Year 2012-2013 and Why I Loved It

Our Grade 1 year ended on May 31st! It was so much fun to see things come to an end and for both my daughter and I to feel a sense of accomplishment as we closed some fantastic books.

We have chosen to use Sonlight for our homeschool curriculum. Being a literature-based program, it is an opportunity to build a really beautiful library of fabulous books in our home that we will likely go back to even after we have finished. In fact, Sonlight says something like this on their website, and I can testify it has been true in our family so far! My daughter picked up novels after I read them aloud to her and tried eagerly to re-read them herself.

What were some of our favorite choices this year?

Sonlight focuses on World History in Grades 1 and 2, so we finished up Grade 1 at the Medieval times. We will pick up where we left off in Grade 2.

A Child's History of the World: This is the main text used to cover world history, and is supplemented with two other Usborne books throughout the year, which we will continue to use in Grade 2.

George Muller: The biography by Janet & Geoff Benge: It was absolutely delightful to read in detail about this missionary to the orphans in Britain.

Missionary Stories with the Millers: A compilation of missionary stories from all over the world.

From Akebu to Zapotec, A book of Bibleless Peoples: This colorful book highlights people groups all over the world from A to Z that are still waiting for a translation of the Bible in their own language.

Sonlight incorporates TONS of novels to read aloud together throughout the year. So among many others, these were a few of our favorites:

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Classic 1900 Edition
  • Charlotte's Web
  • Mr. Popper's Penguins
  • Mountain Born
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
  • Owls in the Family
  • Follow My Leader

I absolutely loved Grade 1. It wasn't without its challenges of balancing the other 3 children ages 4, 3, and 2. But overall it was a great year, and we are looking forward to Grade 2 as we unpack the books and excitedly anticipate delving into them!

Are you wondering if Sonlight might be for you? You can read 27 Reasons NOT to Buy Sonlight on their website. I find these reasons fairly helpful when trying to gauge if the program would be one to choose or not.

As we take this break and I pray and brainstorm ways to incorporate my Kindergartener son and Pre-K daughter into our school days, I am excited, nervous, and reminding myself of grace. When I speak with other homeschooling moms, my own mom included, I find out that we really are our biggest critic. The pressure we may feel, comes from ourselves and second guessing our choices. When I have a "bad" day, I can easily think, "Did we make the right choice, keeping our kids at home?" or "Can I do this?" or even "WHY am I doing this?"

This year consisted of joys and challenges. The joys included having a flexible schedule, taking a break when we felt we needed it, and skipping ahead when we felt we could. My greatest joy is seeing my daughter love learning, and learning with her along the way. Of course, I learned all of this stuff way back in my school years, but did I appreciate some events in history the way I do now? Did I even understand it the way I do now? I can say, "No! I did not!" And as a homeschooling mom, I'm so glad I get the chance to "re-learn" everything along with my kids. A definite joy.

The challenges? Insecurity, feeling disorganized, feeling inadequate, the temptation of being angry toward my child/student rather than lovingly motivating :) , trying to balance the needs of the younger ones who pose a major distraction to formal learning, often.

What do I do with these challenges? I'm reminded of that verse:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Jesus equipped my family to finish well this year by being the source of our strength, and the reason for our choice. By prayer and commitment to find power in His Word, my husband became a huge cheerleader of mine. He also helped bring order when things were getting out of hand. And Jesus' heart was whispering things like: "Train up a child in the way he should go", and "All who are thirsty and weary, come to me and I will give them rest", and "In everything give thanks," and "My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

We serve a powerful God!

Blessings as you forge ahead to finish this school year well, whether or not you are schooling at home, you play an important role spurring your child on to excellence in education, and to help them learn to love learning.

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