Sunday, June 5, 2016

2015-2016 Curriculum Review (Sonlight)

Just Google these titles. I didn't want to link everything. :) Here's how we liked what we did this year for Kinder/1st grade.

Right Start Math B- 
We loved this math! There were a few times when Kruiser would complain about having to do it, but once we got started he almost always had fun. It is very hands on, & the worksheets are minimal which was perfect for us this year. Math is my weakest subject, so I wanted something scripted for myself. I followed this thing word for word! (And that is not my personality. I am usually tweaking curricula like crazy.) I questioned the techniques many times in the beginning, but when I started "getting it" and started seeing the fruit in Kruiser, I realized it was all worth it. We went more slowly than it recommended, taking 1-3 days to finish each lesson, but it was a grade level ahead, so it was ok with me!

Sonlight Core A-
I am literally in love with Sonlight! We are not using it next year, because I want the boys to be on the same level, and Skipper (age 4) is not at all ready for that yet. I am going to go through withdrawals. I may even use the PreK level for Skipper some. It looks excellent as well. The books are amazing, for the most part. They have changed the content for this year, so I am only going to review those books that we read that are also STILL included in the Core A list.

Story Bible & History books- Excellent! We read Wild Places, Living Long Ago, & the Usborne Encyclopedia.
Dr. Doolittle- We loved it. Very funny. (Don't watch the old movie. It's boring for this age group. :) )
Please & Thank You Book- Excellent. Lots of good tips for kids. Kruiser loves "rules", so he liked it.
My Father's Dragon- This one may have been a LITTLE over his head, but we enjoyed it for the most part. We made an island out of modeling compound, and then added little plastic animals we had as read about each one. That was fun!
Dolphin Adventure & Treasure- These books are super simple, but he really enjoyed them. We watched Dolphin Tale afterward. It's great.
The Light at Tern Rock- Not our favorite. A little over his head. It has a good moral but is a little boring.
A Grain of Rice- Again, this has a great moral, but I'm not sure he fully understood it.
A Hundred Dresses- The book starts slowly, but the moral is VERY clear. We still talk about what we learned from it!
Twenty & Ten- Some things went over his head, but he understood the main plot. It's a great story.
Boxcar Children- We read this 1st, and I think he talked about it alll year. I think it was his favorite. It was actually one of my least favorite to read, even though I read all of them as a child, but even my 3yo enjoyed it. We watched the movie after (which is pretty much exactly like the book) on Netflix.
Mary on Horseback- No, just no. I'm really surprised this made the cut on the new list! It's not age appropriate in my opinion, both in comprehension and subject matter.
Johnny Appleseed- Pretty good. Maybe so so.
Here's a Penny- We loved this one! One of the favorites. Cute story. We are reading the sequel next year.
No Children, No Pets- Some went over his head but overall a good story.
Winnie the Pooh (we read House at Pooh Corner instead, but they are super similar)- We both loved it! He even got a lot of the humor I thought he would miss. We watched the 70's Disney movie afterward.

Beezus & Romana was one of his favorites, and they took it off. :( There's a movie for that one too. Not like the book but clean.

We did this sheet to summarize each book. I changed "themes" to "moral". He just dictated to me the answers.

Abeka Phonics & Handwriting-
I love Abeka for language arts (well, not literature, but grammar, phonics, etc.) Kruiser was not a fan, but he isn't a fan of many worksheets. I am very eclectic in my approach to teaching, and what determines curriculum style for me, even more than the child's learning style, is the subject. This is my and Kruiser's best subject, so we didn't need anything fancy, hands on, or scripted. It comes naturally to us. Despite his protests, he learned a ton & moved quickly, finishing the 1st grade phonics, many of their readers, & the kinder handwriting. We have switched to Simply Charlotte Mason for handwriting (their copywork books), when we finished the K book, and he likes those better. But I think the little house drawing was so important in helping him learn to write this year! But we will stick with SCM for handwriting now and will only be using Abeka for phonics next year. (And for grammar in the future. I just can't let it go. It's excellent!)

Apologia Swimming Creatures-
We loved it! I skipped over some of the more complicated concepts while reading it to him, but it was good. We did this at co-op where I taught 6th graders the same thing. They enjoyed it as well!

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