Two of the most common questions about Sonlight Curriculum are…
“How do you teach multiple students?” and,
“How much time does it take to teach multiple Sonlight grades?”
I don’t have all of the answers, but I’ll share what works for us AND give you a peak at our weekly schedule.
(P.S. I received Sonlight 100 in exchange for a series of blog posts that contain my honest opinion. This is one way that I can help provide for our family while sharing helpful information with you!)
First, a little background: We have 5 children and 3 of them are using various Sonlight curriculum.
Until last year, I kept all of my kids in the same Sonlight level, custom-fitting Language Arts and Math for each student. Halfway through last year, I noticed that our 7th grader needed more of a challenge, so she began Sonlight 100 American History while the rest of us finished Sonlight D.
This year, she’s still going strong with Sonlight 100, while our 5th grader is doing the complete curriculum for Sonlight E Intro to American History Year 2 of 2.
I use Sonlight E for our group History and Read-alouds (our 2nd and 8th grader join in). And, our 2nd grader is doing the 2nd grade Sonlight Language Arts curriculum.
Planning our weekly schedule took time and attention…
This summer, I invested a lot of prayer, time, and consideration crafting our weekly schedule. I worked diligently to figure out how our daily schedule would best promote a strong education, peace, independence, community, goodness, truth, and beauty.
What you see in our weekly schedule is a labor of love. Of course, following through with the schedule every day is a labor of love, too. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? God has called me to this beautiful and important work and I want to do it with my whole heart.
I am the schedule keeper…
I hesitate to share our daily schedule online because whenever I do, I get push-back. Critics say I’m too rigid, that I’m stealing my children’s freedom, relaxation, and wonder. On paper, our daily schedule doesn’t look like the “gentle rhythms” that other homeschoolers prefer.
I keep my eye on the clock.
I move us from one thing to the next when the time comes.
(But, I do it in a gentle, calm, and organized way. Does that count?)
I do this because it works best for our family.
I am happier with order and structure.
In my opinion, we have a peaceful-yet-productive atmosphere in our home. I think my kids are fun and that they have fun. Most of the time, they’re spunky, kind, curious, and relaxed kiddos.
We tend to have very happy days – even full of freedom and wonder. Our careful schedule is one of our vital tools.
Each day, we aim to complete each assignment in the Sonlight curriculum, but if we don’t finish something, we simply make a note of it and return to it the next day. If I get behind on the read-aloud schedule, we catch up by listening via audio book in the car.
I adjust the schedule as often as necessary…
As much as I am keeping the schedule, I am also always adjusting the schedule. I keep my eye open for how each child is faring. Does anyone seem too distracted? too isolated? too bored? too overwhelmed?
How can I adjust our plans to bring life into each child’s day?”
I make little adjustments on the fly and jot notes on my printed schedule. After each 6-week session, I analyze the entire weekly schedule. I keep the elements that are working and make changes where necessary. I print out a fresh schedule for the upcoming 6-week session of homeschooling.
Our schedule is based on our “best day ever”…
That’s really how I title our schedule: “Best Day Ever!!”
That title reminds me that this schedule will only happen when everything is humming along perfectly and all 6 of us are happy, healthy, and amiable. How often does our day actually go according to plan? I don’t know… rarely? But, I do know that this schedule is our ideal and our expectation. It’s kinda like a compass that keeps us coming back to regular and good work after the tantrum, the bee sting, the frustration, or the mishap.
Without further ado…
Here’s my schedule for teaching Sonlight to Multiple Grades at Once:
(And here’s a link to the PDF: Sonlight_Daily_Schedule_With_Multiple_Grades.)
BEST DAY EVER!!
Session 1 (August 20 – September 28)
7:00 a.m. Kids wake-up (dress, make beds, chores)
7:30 – 8:00 a.m. Delightful Breakfast & Clean up (Play New City Catechism)
8:00 – 8:15 a.m. Personal Devotions (for the big kids)
8:15 – 9:00 a.m. Mom: Circle Time w/ 2nd grader, Pre-K-er, and 2-year old (calendar, songs, nursery rhymes, Bible story, games)
8th grader: Math-U-See Algebra
5th grader: Practice Violin (8:15 – 8:45)
9:00-9:30 a.m. Mom & Pre-K-er (using The Good and the Beautiful Pre-K)
8th: Sonlight 100 History
5th: Saxon Math 6/5 (8:45 – 9:15), then Rosetta Stone French (9:15 – 9:30)
2nd: Play with 2-year old (We call this “BROTHA TIME!!”
9:30 – 10:30 a.m. Mom & 2nd Grader (Math, 2nd Grade Sonlight LA, All About Reading)
8th: Sonlight 100 Language Arts
5th: Sonlight E History (9:30 – 10:00), then practices Piano (10:00 – 10:30)
Pre K: Plays w/ special toy or does school drawers
2-year old: Crib Time (Blinds up! Music on! Fun toys and books in crib! When he’s ready to get out, he sits at the table with us and has a snack/ plays with a table toy like playdoh, a little tool box, or art supplies)
10:30 – 11 a.m. Mom w/ 5th Grader (Sonlight E Language Arts – especially Spelling, Dictation, and Writing)
8th: Typing (10:30 – 10:45), then Special Interest until 11:30 (sewing, choreography, science, art, photoshop)
2nd Grader: Sonlight LA (Explode the Code, spelling words, handwriting, copywork)
Pre-K and 2-year old watch a show (like Little Bear, Daniel Tiger, Leap Frog, etc.)
11 – 11:30 a.m. Mom: Five In A Row (FIAR) w/ 2nd Grader, Pre-K, 2-year old
8th: Special Interest
5th: Sonlight E Language Arts (including Wordly Wise)
11:30 – 12:00 p.m. Lunch, clean-up
12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Mom: w/ each child (otherwise, recess/ free time until 1:00)
Monday: Violin w/ 5th Grader
Tuesday: Piano w/ 5th Grader
Wednesday: Bible Study w/ 8th and 5th Graders (trying Navigators 2:7 Series)
Thursday: SCIENCE/ LIT. CO-OP
Friday: 8th, 5th, and 2nd: Take Dictation/ Spelling tests
1 – 2 p.m. Quiet Time
8th, 5th, and 2nd do Sonlight Reading assignments + Free Reading
Pre-K plays in room (sometimes naps)
2-year old naps
2 – 2:30 p.m. Afternoon Symposium: Part 1
M: Cards/ letters for people
T: Art Study
W: Nature Study
Th: Science/ Literature Co-op
F: Play a Game
2:30 – 3:00 p.m. Afternoon Symposium: Part 2
Sonlight E read-aloud while kids sketch or do water color
3 – 3:30 p.m. Tea Time w/ a delicious snack
M: Adventures in Odyssey
T: Share excerpts from Reading Journals
W: Adventures in Odyssey (Mom meets w/ mentor)
Th: Current Events
3:30 – 4 p.m. Chores
6 p.m. Dinner
Scheduled evening activities: ballet lessons, worship team practice, meetings, etc.
It’s easy to post an impressive schedule online at the beginning of the school year and never really implement it IRL. I feel confident in sharing this schedule with you because it’s very similar to the schedule that we enjoyed last year (and in years past). Lord willing, this is not just my “beginning of the school year pie-in-the-sky ideal that will fizzle away in a week or two”. This is really our daily life and it really works for us. Things are going well as we get the school year up-and-running.
(Now you know why I don’t talk on the phone during the day. Or knit scarves. Or run a business. Or follow through in creating even a smidgeon of the blog posts, YouTube videos, podcasts, or Instagram posts that flit through my mind. 🙂 I’m okay with that. These precious days – carefully filled with learning, connecting, discipling, and playing with my children – are what I want to do most of all.)
So, what are your questions? What other tidbits of “how homeschooling works for us” would you like to know??