Thursday, November 13, 2014

Organizing Your Sonlight School Day

Our Sonlight Homeschool curriculum comes with a complete schedule/calendar of assignments in Bible, history, literature/readers, read-alouds, and science, so that every single day of our school year is already planned out, which is great if you never get sick and never have appointments. Sonlight doesn't use specific dates, but instead numbers the school weeks and days (week 2, etc.) on their calendars.

It doesn't take long before you're all over the place on their calendars--i.e. week 13 of history, week 15 of literature, week 11 of science, week 16 of Bible--which makes it hard for kids to find where they are each day. Not to mention, kids can be hard on those heavy, bulky Sonlight binders. If you let them loose with the binders, you really need page protectors on each page, which is time consuming and expensive.

It becomes essential for Mom to come up with a system to streamline the Sonlight school day.

Here is what works for us:

1. Make copies of your Sonlight schedule so you can write on it (essential if you plan to resell your curriculum at some point). I copy 6 weeks at a time and staple the pages together. As an assignment gets completed, I check mark that box.

2. Get a manila file folder or a school folder and label it accordingly--such as Sonlight Core G. Open it up and on the left side staple or place the Book List page so you know what books you'll start in which weeks. Place your stapled schedule pages into this manila folder, along with any review questions that come with your curriculum, which in our case is just science questions.

We keep the science questions in the science manila folder, along with the science schedule pages. I copy and staple all the science questions for each week. When they're completed, I take them out of the manila folder and file them for our end-of-year portfolio review. I then copy the science questions for the next week, staple them, and place them in the manila folder.

The manila folders get placed in this wire shelf, along with the books needed. I'm looking for a better shelf, as this isn't sturdy or big enough. We are out of book shelf space, and don't really have space for another book shelf, so it can't be much bigger than this.

3. I have two boys in Core G right now, and two girls in Core B. Rather than the kids going through the manila folders themselves, risking that they'd get lost around the house, I go through them and write out their assignments for two days ahead. If I go any further ahead than that, we get messed up due to appointments and unforeseen interruptions. Two days ahead works well.

I write the assignments on a weekly calendar sheet for the boys, which gets tacked to a wall. They also have a quick check-off sheet that includes chores and each subject, but not specific assignments. It only takes about 10 or 15 minutes to write the two days' assignments on the weekly calendar, if I keep up with checking off the completed assignments on the Sonlight schedule. We've had nasty colds this week and only done spotty school, so I started this calendar schedule for tomorrow, 11/14, continuing it on Monday, 11/17.

We've also tried writing the assignments on a daily chart that had a space for each boy to check off (including chores). I placed that chart on a clipboard that was supposed to be kept on the dining-room table, but it just didn't work. Someone was always misplacing the clipboard ( we have ADHD here), so I realized all assignment sheets or check-off sheets had to be kept on walls.

The simple check-off sheet (not pictured) just has a blank check-off line next to each chore and subject so I know where each child is in his or her day (for the girls it just includes chores, as I still run their school days).

How do you organize Sonlight for your family?

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