We’ve had one week with Sonlight. Here are my reflections on our week and working with Sonlight.
Sonlight requires a lot of reading aloud to Daniel and I am a bit concerned that I will fall asleep doing this (this is something that happens to me regularly when I read aloud!) but this only happened once this week. I have tweaked our routines so that I read to him fairly early in the day, not around mid-day. Our study plan is that we have family devotions, family meeting, Bible study (Nomi and Daniel) and then General Knowledge which is Sonlight for Daniel and independent studies for the others, and then Daniel will move into his independent work, as will the other kids, while I catch up in the office or house.
The World Book Encyclopedia DVD Rom is probably the best thing so far in terms of Daniel’s independent learning. Daniel can’t say the word “encyclopedia” so he calls it “my programme”. Before we started formally this week, he spent 2 days playing around with this CD Rom – working out how it worked, and searching for various topics he was interested in (just for fun). He was retaining so much of what he was reading as he was telling us all sorts of facts and details. I was amazed and would highly recommend this product to anyone. I think we have been hoodwinked into thinking the internet is the place to go for information, and it is great, but it has many pitfalls for our children. The encyclopedia DVD rom though has all the information and none of the pitfalls.
We are only doing a portion of the study guide. When planning, I start with how much time I have to give to this, and how long Daniel can focus. I decided to work with Sonlight for about 1 ½ hours three times a week. Of course sometimes it will go longer and no doubt sometimes we will spend less time.
My primary goals for him at this stage are oral narrations and his writing skills. We will follow this sequence through our 1 ½ hours:
- I read
- He narrates
- We discuss
- I set an assignment for him to do later
(we then repeat this process for each of the books we read)
5. then He works on his assignments independently
Outside of this time we also study Bible, though I decided I was happy with the direction we were already taking, so didn’t go for Sonlight for Bible study. Once a week we study science with Jess, Nomi and Daniel. He also has 1-2 hours of independent discipline studies (those subjects that need daily practice such as math, phonics, writing, music) four times a week.
Since each of the children are now studying independently from each other in most areas of their studies we are making an intentional push to talk about what they are learning at the dinner table. This hasn’t been so important to date, since they were all involved with each other. I am particularly aware for Daniel’s sake, that his older brother and sister take an interest in his life which includes his studies. I am very aware that as the family grows up we have to make shifts like this to maintain the family unity and identity that we have built so far.
Our shift to Sonlight has coincided, or maybe been instrumental for, a shift in Daniel. He is excited to learn, he is keen to learn by himself and he is making steps towards doing this. This is very exciting.
Read what attracted me to Sonlight in last week’s post: Finding the Right Tool for the Job