Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Goodbye, dream

Random photo taken off of my smartphone: Sonlight box. We just cleaned our attic and this came out. Nevermind the many times it almost came out of the attic and into the garbage. Here is the story of the Sonlight box.

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Goodbye, Sonlight box that I've held onto all these years.

The Sonlight box is a box of dreams, filled with wonderful books and promises of happy, literate children.  When emptied, it doubles as a castle meant to house princes, princesses, knights, and dragons.  Of course I kept my Sonlight box!  Even when empty, it was filled with potential!

I picked Sonlight as *the* curriculum for my future homeschooled children when my oldest was 3.  I already knew what I was going to use from K-12.  Once my daughter reached the age of 4, I began getting some of the Sonlight selected books out of the library, just to get us both used to the idea.  I liked the books, my daughter could care less.  We struggled through a few selections, and I guessed (accurately!) that she was too young for the books.  Age 4.9 came around and it was time to get serious.  I looked longingly at the Sonlight packages, and then backed out, terrified that I would steer us wrong.  I made the "safe" choice, and stuck with something a little more school-y: BJU's Kindergarten package.

Kindergarten was a good year for me to learn something, and I realized that BJU core subjects could be combined with Sonlight books.  Happily, I placed a Sonlight order the next year for Core 1.  I relished my books, and dove in with my 5-turning-6 year old.  Except, the same question kept coming up.  "Who's that?" my daughter would ask.  "It's the main character.  You know, the one that we've been reading about, every single night before bed?"  Another problem arose: keeping on schedule.  My newbie mom ways weren't used to getting off track and starting Day 1 on Wednesday.  It was just wrong.

Even so, we plugged on through.  These were great books, and reading them fed my soul.  By April, though, we seemed quite behind the schedule, and I was looking ahead, asking, "oh, when will we be done?"  (Sidenote: this is another thing newbie homeschool moms just don't know about yet: April.  Or, should I say February, March, and April?  Or, who am I kidding?  November - June).  I somehow got us through Core 1, but felt the comprehension of the 6yo was lacking.  I had an upcoming Kindergartener the next year, and so I thought we'd take a step back and combine: Core K.

Core K arrived, but I just said "meh" at the box's arrival.  No one should ever say "meh" at a Sonlight box, right?  (Perhaps this is another newbie homeschool mom thing?  Once you settle on something, you always say "meh" at it's arrival.  Excitement is soooo 1st year.)  Anyhow, we plodded on.  I wondered why.  Meh.

I dropped Sonlight after that, but wouldn't you know, I eagerly await the catalog every year.  It IS a fantastic curriculum, and maybe if I had been able to put aside all of my newbie homeschool mom misconceptions, we'd still be using it today.  Although, I still get the "won't work for us" vibe every time I start to make a Sonlight plan.  It was a beautiful dream.  I still recommend Sonlight to other moms.  I enjoy hearing the success stories of other homeschool moms, and I envy them at times.  I think the best cure for Sonlight envy; however, is to find something that works really well for you.

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