Sonlight Kindergarten

by Joanne
(Far North Queensland)

When my children were aged 8 and under, we excitedly embarked on our journey with Sonlight K core and science. We did not use the language arts as my children were all at different levels with their reading and writing at the time.

The science was an outstanding success with the 8 yo, mostly a success with the 6 yo and not really so with any of the younger ones. I found that even though the designated grade was kinder - my bright 8 yo was very interested in the content of the books and able to complete the activity sheets with ease. We did some of the experiments, but I was very glad to have the Discover and Do DVD so they could watch every experiment whether I was organised enough to do it with them or not.

To this day (nearly 6 years later) these DVDs are still an important part of learning at our place - I can highly recommend them, especially if you are a Mum with little ones around and don't find it easy to safely conduct many experiments. (Or you plain don't like the mess!)My then 6yo, found some of the content above his understanding or interest, and he needed a great deal of help to complete the activity sheets; I would still say it was worthwhile covering this course with him though.

Unfortunately for us the core did not work quite so well for us at the time. I found the instructor's guide quite difficult to work with as you had to be constantly flipping around looking for notes, maps, timeline activites, schedules etc. I did have my folder set up as suggested, but for the most part (with youngsters crawling all over me and into everything) I found it unworkable. I ended up just taking one book at a time - collecting all the notes and mpas for that book and working with that until we finished the book, then moving onto another. So the schedule was ditched fairly early in the year.

Many of the books did not hold my children's interest, in a lot of cases, it ended up being only the 8yo who was listening to the story, and even he did not really want to finish every book.

Activities were very limited, and map work was only really pointing out the place, or maybe writing the name of a place on there. Sufficient for this age no doubt, but not really map work so to speak. There were no time-line figures for many of the people covered, so we ended up making some of our own entries - not necessarily a bad thing either I suppose.

We ended up leaving the core about a third of the way through, though we have gone back to it in bits and pices over the years, nearly all the books from it are still on our shelves and have been read by various children at various ages - not generally in their kinder year.

I do like the concept of Sonlight, but don't think their core K program is really accomplishing much learning for that age. I am looking at revisiting Sonlight for children that are now in late primary, early secondary years. Maybe once they are more independant in their learning, the Sonlight structure will work better for us?

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