August 25, 2006, Newsletter Issue #141: The Day After The First Day

Tip of the Week

Most parents feel most comfortable using a prepackaged home school curriculum for the first year or so. Then, they switch to a more customized approach. A prepackaged curriculum comes with virtually everything that you need to begin work immediately - a textbook for each subject, workbooks, supplemental books, and any materials referred to in the year’s lesson plans. Each package includes a detailed teacher’s manual that tells you exactly what to do and how and when to do it. Some even tell you what to say! The texts, however, are often written for classes of 20-30 students, so beware. As you get more comfortable, you may want to begin searching for materials that are better suited to your children.

During your week(s) of transition, get a spiral notebook to be used exclusively for your home schooling. On scratch paper, begin arranging your week. Figure out what you want to teach and when you want to teach it. Look at the lesson plans in the prepackaged curriculum; you need not follow it to the letter if you would like to do something different. Once you have roughed out a week’s schedule, copy it in pencil into your notebook. This will help you keep attendance and daily progress records. If your child is in high school, this type of record will serve as the basis for your homemade transcripts when the time comes.

A typical day is generally based on the schedule that you and your child find most comfortable. For example, my youngest son is an early riser and chomping at the bit to go at about 6:00 A.M. However, my older son likes to get up and take time to wake up before he gets going. This really can be a strain when we try to begin with taxing work first thing. Instead, to give my younger son something to do and to give my older one time to wake up, we begin simply by copying the memory Bible verse for the week and doing a simple devotion (from Patch the Pirate). This way, both are engaged, which gives me time to get showered and dressed and do a little housekeeping before they begin work that needs my direct supervision.

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Thanks so much for reading the the Homeschool Tips Newsletter.

The new 2006-2007 Sonlight catalog is hot off the presses! In addition to new educational resources, we've also made some significant improvements to our curriculum, such as expanded flexibility in Reader choices for Levels K through 2.

The catalog also provides several articles with helpful homeschool tips. For example, check out the "Top Ten Goals" article (pp. 146-147) which can help you think through your personal philosophy when it comes to homeschooling. And "Why we use certain books that some homeschoolers won't touch" (pp. 144-145), that gets into some pretty important issues about the content of books. And you won’t want to miss “27 Reasons NOT to Buy Sonlight”—a perennial favorite (beginning on page 148).

To take a look at our catalog online go to:

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Sarita Holzmann
Sonlight Curriculum, Ltd.

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