This post is intended for my homeschool friends. If you don't homeschool, feel free to read my ramblings, too, although your head might be spinning by the end of the post (or, perhaps, before you reach the end!).
I have been composing emails in my head for the past few days to several of my homeschool friends, but I thought I would just publish a blogpost instead and hope for some feedback.
Here's the scoop:
I'm kind overwhelmed at the moment.
I know. I know. Coming from me, Ms. Stress-Management Personified, that must come as a HUGE SHOCK.
If you don't know, we are doing almost all Sonlight Curriculum this year. On many levels, I love Sonlight. I truly love the fact that it is literature-based and that we have read some absolutely amazing books together this year. Amélie loves both the books she reads to me and the books that I read to her. Her reading ability has skyrocketed, her love of learning has increased exponentially, and she likes school.
So what is my problem?
Well, part of my problem is that Sonlight is incredibly time-consuming. It's not that I am not willing to commit to spending time on homeschooling Amélie. It's a full-time job, and I'm glad (usually) to do it. Part of my problem is that, with the exception of two mornings a week when Jack is in preschool, I have a three-year-old to contend with. He is too young to enjoy most of the books we are reading, and I know he must get jealous of all of the one-on-one time I spend with Amélie that I then don't have time to spend with him (GUILT! GUILT! GUILT!).
Another problem I have with Sonlight is that we spend so much time reading that we don't get to do activities with the reading. While studying ancient Egyptian history, I would like to hike on over to the Nelson and check out their fantastic Ancient Egyptian gallery. While reading The House on Walenska Street, I would like to take a break from where we are in history and geography entirely and spend some time studying what life for Jewish families in Russia was like 100-years ago. Next week is Kansas Day, and if I do something for Kansas Day (which I intend to do), then I mess up where we are in the schedule.
I think I have a problem with the rigidity of the schedule, and while I know it is a suggested schedule, I am such a "rule-follower" that I feel like I have to do it all and do it well. Meanwhile, we miss out on doing some fun and educational stuff that I feel is important to Amélie's education and to my sanity.
We are also reviewing homeschooling products this year, and trying to squeeze the trying-out part into our schedule has been incredibly stressful.
So what do I do?
At this point I am not ready (I don't think) to scrap Sonlight, partly because I invested a lot of time and money into this program and partly because I do believe it is an excellent program.
So what do I do?
(Did I say that already?)
Here is the type of homeschooling program I am interested in (to either find or figure out myself):
I still think I am interested in a literature-based program, because I definitely see how much more Amélie soaks up when what we are learning is lit-based. Maybe I want a more unit-based lit program? For example, as I noted above, while reading The House on Walenska Street I would like to learn about life in Russia 100 years ago. When it's the Chinese New Year I want to celebrate with history and crafts and food. I would like to feed Amélie's passion to feed the world and save the planet. I know, for a fact, that I can do this while homeschooling.
I just get so overwhelmed so fast, and while I do have some time I can spend planning (and, I will confess, it's the planning and researching part that I sometimes love the most), I hardly feel like I have the time or the ability to create my own curriculum (please correct me if I'm wrong).
Lastly, I have some questions about some specific homeschool programs/products/philosophies, so I'm going to list them here, and if you have any thoughts please let me know. Here they are:
Excellence in Writing
Monarch or SOS
Tapestry of Grace
I am at a complete loss as to the other things I was wondering about--proof of my overwhelmed brain. :)
I would love to know what you have tried...what worked for you...what didn't...etc.
Oh, and while you're at it, if you feel like sharing your schedule and your thoughts on homeschooling more year-round that would also be fantastic.
Thanks ever, ever, ever so much!