Monday, June 9, 2008


There are very few things in life that I accept as-is. My husband says that this is one of his favorite quirks in my character; the desire to customize, tweak and otherwise establish ownership is as much a part of who I am as is my somewhat unsettling ability to turn my accent on and off. The fact is, I've never been too keen on anything that claims to be one-size-fits all. Just about anything, I figure, can be made better by taking into account the particulars of my own family. Just ask anyone who has ever tried to copy a recipe from me. By the time I finish my list of disclaimers ("It says 2 cups, but I use 2 and a quarter.") the whole recipe has, in essence, gone out the window.

This overarching theme fits in with my style of homeschooling just fine. While Sonlight has been our mainstay since our disastrous stint with Calvert, over the years I have taken from or added to the IG with resources gleaned from both our wonderful library system and the internet. I have combined Sonlight with WinterPromise on more than one occasion. And I've always made room for rabbit trails when the interest arose.

Even with this as my background, deciding what to do this fall was so difficult that I finally resorted to a family poll. Should we do SL Core 5 as a family ... or should the boys get their own, separate curriculum: WinterPromise's Children Around the World? The end result was all in favor of a family-wide study of the Eastern Hemisphere. Which has, of course, put me on a "Quick! Find the resources!" kick.

The fact is, Logan is way too young for this Core. The easiest thing to do would be to simply whip out SL Core K and make a decent stab at it while putting most of my effort into the bigger kids and the older Core. But--and this is a big but--Logan loves being on the same topic as his siblings. The interaction between the three of them when they are all on the same page is phenomenal. Their imaginative life, their play, their banter ... it is all so rich, and so laced with the topic that they are currently studying. Frankly, it makes me wonder how families with kids in three different public school classrooms manage to find much common ground to cling to when playtime comes around. But I digress ...

I was blessed, blessed, blessed to find a SL forum friend who gifted me with her already test-driven schedule for combining youngers in on Core 5. I'm slowly walking through that, but without the full IG in front of me, I can't make much sense of the whole thing. So I'm concentrating on locating other resources until we can place our order. Thanks to the fact that our area boasts a large population of Asian-Americans, cultural field trips are only a short ride away. My bf's mother lived in Australia for a time. I'm hoping she can impart some Aussie flavor to our study of that area. And, of course, there's the missions connection. DH travels throughout SE Asia. We know several field missionaries in that region personally.

This is how the modifying begins for me. I'm still in the gathering stage. Who knows how many potentials I'll find out there. This is the fun part. The easy part. After this, it's the winnowing down and the prioritizing. That's when it gets hard for me--seeing all of those good ideas set aside in favor of better ideas.


SmallWorld said...

I did SL5 with a 5th grader and 1st grader, and I supplemented with lots of picture books from the library--which they both loved. It was my favorite year ever!

anya* said...

Just reading your post caused pangs in my heart..Having brought our newbies home in the middle of the school year, with public school already under their belt and NO schooling of children, home or public under mine- they were thrust back into elementary school. This has been one of the hardest and strangest parts of adding to our family out of birth order. I don't feel like I had time to make a choice on education, and I am very frustrated about it...And were I to make the great switch, how would it even work considering I have three under four and no experience since I haven't been walking with the big kids to know anything about learning styles, interests, my ability to teach them....

So, although I cannot relate to you regarding curriculum- i think it sounds lovely and amazing and your children are very lucky.

Kelly said...

Have you given any thought to Tapestry of Grace?

It's designed to school multiple children at different ages and stages all on the same topic. Also, it uses a lot of really good books like Sonlight does but still has some hands on activities included as well.

I love it and thought it sounded like something that might interest you.

~ Angi :) said...

Omigosh! I LOVE your descript of your self in the opening credits of this post! LOL

I'm a tweaker too . . . probably for different reasons, but the outcome is the same: ownership! :)

I am quite certain this year is going to be fun, fun, fun! for you guys! :)

Georgia said...

Just found your blog through a random search on how to use Core 5 with younger children. After reading your other blogs, I felt I could have written many of them. So, tell me your plan. How will you implement Core 5 with all of your children? Mine will be 11, just 10, just 8, 5, and 2 in the fall. I have already purchased A Child's Geography to include and have some other ideas, but I would love to hear someone else's who is in the smae spot. I have no idea how to leave a comment here or how to get a response, so I could be sending this for nothing. Oh, well!

vanclanmom said...

I, too, have been wrestling with what to do with my upcoming year teaching 10 yo son and 8 yo daughter (she's quite advanced) and 6 yo daughter. Was originally planning on doing 2 cores and moving 8yo up or back. Have recently thought about keeping them all together. Could you (or anyone, for that matter) please post your info on combining Core 5 with a younger student?