So, these are my kids:
Princess J is 8 (in the pink ball), and R.T. is 5 (in the blue ball).
When someone asks what grade they’re in, we all routinely give them the simple answer based on their age. She’ll be going into 3rd grade in the Fall, and he into Kindergarten.
But reality looks quite a bit more complicated in our house.
Begin with the understanding that, while we do a more “school” than “unschool” approach, we are firmly in the camp of Better Late than Early. If you don’t know what I mean by that, check out this video. It’s 25 minutes long, and has a bit of intro that is rather dry (but full of great information). The meat of it, though, is a great interview between Dr. James Dobson and Dr. Raymond Moore (from years ago).
As parents we stressed about it at first. We wanted to keep the curriculum flowing from grade to grade as the calendar years went by. But – as in the video – at the root of our schooling philosophy we believe that kids will get where they need to be by the time they really need to be there.
My husband always tells the kids one of our main family philosophies is, “get it done, no matter what.” In our schooling that translates to “take the time that’s needed to truly master the material” (NOT “comply with someone else’s arbitrary timetable”).
So, when the Fall came when she “should start Kindergarten,” and J was clearly not ready to begin tackling reading… We simply didn’t.
The following Fall we began anew. She was “in 1st Grade”, but she was doing Kindergarten curricula for Language Arts and Math.
History, Geography, Bible and the rest we’re handling differently. We’ve chosen a Sonlight “Core” that is suitable for both their age levels, and both kids are being taught the same material. Expectations, of course, vary.
At this point in time, we’re doing Science this way as well. That may need to change down the road. We’re flexible.
So then there’s the little guy. He sits in on the read-alouds for the Core subjects, but is welcome to color or build with Legos during that time. Science is play time for everyone, and I simply handle any writing that’s required (for both of them, still, at this point).
The plan for next year, then was “The Core,” with 2nd Grade Language and Math for Miss J, and Kindergarten Language and Math for R.T.
Miss J is still plodding through the reading, and between that and a lot of health issues (hers and mine), last year went very, very badly. We didn’t finish until November, then took December off and started this year in January. I figured if we could stay on track, even if we didn’t push, we could finish earlier than last year, and gradually work around to being back on a more “normal” school year schedule (with our built-in flexibility).
But R.T. is anxious! He wants to “do school” and have his own work.
A compromise was devised wherein we’d do a bit more of the common subjects, and finish up by August to take 2 weeks off and start the new school year on time (in my book) right after Labor Day. J would keep moving at her own pace on her other subjects.
He was pretty quick to realize that the worksheets I was printing out for him, and even the alphabet flashcards, weren’t “real school”. Smart kids can be a challenge, I tell you. So I pulled out the tiny beginning phonics readers from J’s Kindergarten program, and off we went. He sounds things. He blends things. And he begged for the “Explode the Code” workbooks that were part of his upcoming school year (he remembered them because J did them, and is still doing the sequels).
What’s a mama to do?
Obviously, I went to the Sonlight website and ordered his Explode the Code books, as well as the first workbook of his Math.
So, at this moment, we are here:
- Miss J will be starting “3rd Grade.” She is still working through a 1st Grade curriculum in Language Arts, and in Math. If we stay on target, she will finish those in November and pick up the 2nd Grade versions after New Years’.
- R.T. will be starting Kindergarten. He is already racing into a Kindergarten curriculum of Math and Language Arts, and may well be a fluent reader before his sister. If he slows down his pace, though, that’s okay, too.
She’s very bright. Even with language, if you stay verbal she can make rhymes and puns and language jokes right along with the rest of us. She doesn’t need “special ed” or a label (although I have wondered if some testing might enable me to find ways to help her better) – she just needs time to work through it at her own pace.
So I homeschool. Reason number 437, probably.
To strangers who ask, she’s simply “going into 3rd grade.” And when they compliment me about how polite and helpful she is, and about how smart and articulate she is, I just smile.
This is not in any way a “sponsored post”, but we sure do adore Sonlight (I can’t decide whether I’m more impressed with the incredible products, or their top-notch customer service and guarantees…). If you’d like to give them a try, you can get $5 off your first order by clicking through my affiliate link: sonlight.com/rewards/TH20214672.