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Sonlight Kindergarten


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#1 kimmyandgracie

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 02:42 AM

Has anyone used SL's kindergarten program? If so, what did you like/dislike about it? How much time does it take to do? Would you recommend it?

#2 thundersweet

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 05:26 AM

We loved it here. I plan to do it again with my almost 4 yo. I may wait until he is 5 and use it for K though as some of the stories may still be a bit long. Right now, we are going through core A for a second time. My 6yo, the one I did core K with, insists on being there while we read the books from core A. I'm sure when we get to core K (or whatever they are calling it this year) again it will be no different.

It did not take long at all. I highly recommend it!

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#3 Mom0012

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 08:39 AM

I used SL K last year with my then 5 and 7 year olds. We loved it. I do the SL reading at breakfast and the kids look forward to it every day. It took about 30 minutes a day. I didn't use the language arts though.

There really isn't anything I didn't like about it. I love reading to my kids and they love being read to. The SL selections nearly always draw me in as much as the kids. My children pick up a ton of information in an easy, enjoyable way. It is also really nice for me to have a schedule to follow.

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#4 chiguirre

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:14 AM

We're using it now (about half way through the read-alouds, less in the encyclopedia). I like it but it's VERY disjointed, it's sort of a random collection of books that are very good but they don't hang together in a cohesive whole. IMHO, you don't need an IG for this core unless you absolutely need some (fairly random) comprehension questions and the maps. The schedule doesn't have much rhyme or reason to it and you could as easily pick up the catalog and read through the books in any order you'd like. In fact I ditched the IG after 3 weeks and just made myself a list of books in excel. I cross them off as we finish a book. We've also used cores PK 3/4 and PK 4/5 and really enjoyed the books, but didn't use the IG either for the very same reason. I do think the upper cores are better designed and the IG does become useful, but that's not the case with the early cores.

As to determining what level would best suit your dc now, check out a few of the books from each core from the library and test them out. Core K can be a bit overwhelming for a 5 yo. My dd didn't get anywhere near as much from our reading as ds, so you probably want to use a core that's younger than your child's grade. Don't worry about being behind, SL's read-alouds are very mature for the ages they suggest. You're almost always better off with the higher end of the age range than the younger. For example, in Core K there are books about homelessness, nazi persecution, and guerilla warfare. They're good books, but IMHO, they're more appropriate for a 7yo than a 5 yo.

The science books are very detailed and I really like them, but you can't expect your children to retain everything. They are very good for me to get up to speed on science topics that were lost in the recesses of my brain. I'm glad to be able to point out more about the things we see on our nature walks. I haven't started the experiments yet, but they look like a blast. They don't coordinate at all with the science readings (there's that randomness again) so you can do them whenever you want. I plan to do them over the summer once we've finished up our Five in a Row studies for the year.

In conclusion, SL K is a great collection of materials, but it's not organized in a very coherent way. If that won't bother you too much, this is a great program for older Kers through 2nd grade.

ETA: We read about 20 minutes every day (including weekends), but I skip Egermeier's Bible Stories and Hero Tales, so it might be longer for you.

#5 TracyR

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:24 AM

I agree with the poster above. We loved the Sonlight K . But it isn't very organized . You can easily do it without the IG . I just ended up picking books and just reading to my girls . My daughters had gotten much more out of Core K for 2nd grade then they did at Kindergarden age . There were some books that had to sit on the shelves because the content was too mature for a 5yr old . But we did pull the books out later. I don't regret using Sonlight at all . We really enjoyed it . We loved the science . Very hands on and the science DVD is a treasure , we still have this DVD and my girls love to watch it .
Either way , however you chose to use Sonlight , definitley recommend it .

#6 kls126s

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:42 AM

We used it and really liked it. I liked it for all the reasons I like Sonlight - their book choices really open up the world to children. A couple really tanked around here, like Light At Tern Rock, and a couple I sort of edited as we read, but overall we enjoyed them all. I do agree that it seemed a bit scattered at times, but I just attributed that to the fact that it is K after all.

My only hesitation was that the LA seemed a bit weak. My dd6 was pretty ahead verbally and we did other things to work on that. Your opinion of that may vary, depending on your dc's strengths.

#7 thundersweet

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 11:53 AM

I think I misread your post! If you are referring to core K, we are doing that now and love it. We are using it with my 6yo first grader. In my opinion, I would not use this for K. I would use the P 4/5 (was core B when we used it) curriculum. If you go to the SL forums you will see most recommend core K for 6 and up.

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#8 Alison in KY

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 02:47 PM

I love the idea behind sonlight, so I'm just putting this out there in case your like me. Anyway, for me alot of the read alouds are way to mature subject material for what I want my kids to hear. I haven't tried a whol package since we did the pre-k pak a few years ago, but even then I thought the RA's were too intense. Hmm, an example I can think of is Gladys Aylward, it's either a RA K or 1 I think. Anyway, although it's probably a great story overall, one of the first chapters has Gladys being a missionary to prostitutes. To me, I don't even want to discuss things like that until my kids are older (like teens and they understand the birds and the bees). Then, one of my next chapters (still giving it a try and stumbling/skipping over the prostitute talk), there is a soldier who is getting rough with her and the book states something like "it was apparent he had other things on his mind". I mean you could tell by the dialog that the guy was intent on having sex/raping her...So it's just not something I want to have to skirt words around. The only other ones that come to mind is a little girl who is beaten and locked in a shed because she questions her parents about God, and another missionary story where the couple thinks there heads will be cut off by this tribe.

Anyway, I don't want a debate, I just wanted to say that if you are like me and consider that stuff to mature, then you might want to try something else. I don't think the readers are as bad.

Alison in KY

#9 klmama

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 03:36 PM

Loved most of the books, hated the IG. I don't like being told what to do. ;) We ended up just reading most of the books, although it does seem there were a couple I deemed too mature for my dc. Good stories, for the most part, though. However, if this is the year that has the I Can Read It books, they made reading very boring for us. I sold them and we used the MCP Phonics Practice Readers instead.

#10 unity

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 09:02 PM

I did it several years ago with my boys. A few of the read alouds were big hits (My Father's Dragon, Boxcar Children, Wizard of Oz, both Dolphin books, Grain of Rice...maybe a few others) but a lot of them were a real struggle to get through. I really didn't like any of the choices in the "History" section, and I felt the Christian ones in particular were of lower quality than the rest of the selections. Some of the books were just plain disturbing...the dog who gets killed while saving someone, the child who is taunted mercilessly at school, the children who are in mortal danger from the Nazis throughout 20 and 10. Some of the books were (yawn!) really dull--Hero Tales, Apple and the Arrow, Light at Tern Rock, and Children's Encyclopedia spring to mind. I liked Living Long Ago but my boys HATED it, especially the section/chapter on what people wore.

I did not do it again with my daughter when she reached 5. I planned to put it off until she was 7, hoping it would go better for her at that age. She is very sensitive and would have flipped out at many of the "scary" and uncomfortable situations in the books.

However, now that it's actually upon me, I've decided not to use SL K again, but instead I think I'm going the way of TOG, so that I can combine them. Even if I weren't settling on TOG, though, I must admit that the thought of doing SL K again is just not that exciting to me. I'd be very likely to try something else first rather than do it again as written.

For the record, I am not just in the "anti-SL" camp. I used and really enjoyed SL PreK 4/5 (twice) and also Cores 3 and 4. It's just Core K that doesn't inspire me. Notice I didn't do 1 or 2. After our uninspired year with SL K, I thought I was leaving SL for good. Just came back after an unsuccessful time trying to find something else. If I'd had these forums, though, I might have had an easier time finding alternatives!

Anyway, I do think I'll be using SL K Science with my daughter this coming fall. It's pretty lightweight, and she's not really into science, so I'm hoping it will be fun and easy enough to keep her interest. Plus it has the big advantage that I have it! ;-)

I hope this helps!

#11 Pata

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 07:12 AM

We used it for our K year and enjoyed it. Like other posters said, it is a disjointed approach to history, but it did get our feet wet! We enjoyed all the read-alouds except Apple and the Arrow. I found the IG helpful, but I guess you probably could do without if you were comfortable going alone. This year it has taken us 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day for everything, including LA and math. Hope that helps!

ETA: I have the 5-day history books and IG for sale on the For Sale board if your interested!

#12 Bambam

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 07:21 AM

We also found it not cohesive. We enjoyed many of the read-alouds. The LA was just too basic for my child (already reading well) so we skipped that and just resold later. The science part was very superficial - a good exposure to vocabulary, but I 'm not sure how well that sticks without other information to really hang it on. We had trouble following the schedule because as my dd had interest in one topic (i.e. - a specific animal), we wanted to stop and learn more about that - which is hard if you are trying to 'earn' that checkmark each day!

We did not do the Hero Tales but enjoyed the Egermeier's Bible Story book which was pretty accurate to the Bible.

We probably spent 30 minutes per day (not including any science experiments). We did not have the Discover and Do DVD.

#13 Jennay

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 08:50 AM

We are currently using Core K. My sons are 5.5 and 4.5. I am stretching it out a little to give my younger son a little more time to mature before we start Core 1. We are about halfway through and enjoy it very much. However, as others have said, it is not cohesive at all. What I have done is worked the read alouds and some science topics into FIAR units. There are some very helpful charts at www.homeschoolshare.com I've also added book in - like other nonfiction books on dolphins when we read Dolphin Treasure and Dolphin Adventure.
The only book I personally don't like is The Children's Encyclopedia. However, one son likes it and the other tolerates it so we press on anyway. I also plan on doing the science experiments over the summer after we finish up the other science topics. Right now we are raising butterflies to go along with the butterfly section in The First Book of Nature.

I have a 6 month old dd and I do plan to do Sonlight Core K with her as well- although I may start when she is closer to 6.

Hope this helps.

#14 LibrarianMom

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 05:45 PM

We are working through Sonlight K right now. We use it as "afterschooling" with my dd who is in K this year. We have really enjoyed all the read-alouds so far and have also been reading all of the sequels. All of the sequels are making it take quite a bit longer. It doesn't seem disjointed to me because, in my understanding of Solight's plan, at this point the read-aloud stories aren't supposed to correlate with the history/geography. LA K is pretty basic focusing on letter sounds and basic CVC words so lots of people use it with with the Preschool core which I think is now called Core 4/5.


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