Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sonlight's core P 4/5: thoughts on the first 12 weeks

Rose and I are working on week 13 of Sonlight's Core P 4/5 so I thought this would be a good time to do a little recap of how the first 12 weeks went. 

We are really, really enjoying this program. I am very glad that I chose to use it for kindergarten instead of starting with Core A. After all, there is no rush, and most of the books have been very big hits with her. I would have been sad to miss them, and even though she has a long attention span, they seem just right for her.

We started the year by adding Language Arts K to this Core, but I recently decided to hold off on that portion for a few months, as she isn't quite ready for the reading and copywork yet. So the only things we are adding to this Core right now are handwriting (Getty-Dubay A) and math (Singapore Essentials). We also do occasional Five in a Row units.

So, without further ado, here's an overview of what Rose and I have been doing the past 12 weeks!


I am using Sonlight in a mostly secular fashion, which basically means we do the majority of any given Core, choosing carefully when religious content is involved. This is because I prefer to teach in a secular fashion, although I am certainly not opposed to some biblical content. We are skipping the Bible entirely with this Core, though. It is very easy to skip over the Bible readings in the Instructor Guide, they are in their own little section right up top. Sonlight assigns a daily Bible story and a weekly memory verse for this Core.  It is important to me that the kids are familiar with the Bible, so I will likely add in a book of Bible stories for Core A.


Rose adores the literature anthologies we have been reading. The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book, Stories From Around the World and Uncle Wiggily's Story Book have been huge hits. Children's Book of Virtues is more mixed. Some of the stories and ideas are a bit complex and she has given me a funny look after I read them.  Others she loves, especially the story of St. George and the Dragon, which I have read several times.

She also loves A Treasury of Mother Goose and we usually read two weeks worth of poems at a time. This is a nice, illustrated hardcover version. I wish I had had it with my older kids! Eric Carle's Animals Animals draws a more mixed reaction from her. We are usually assigned to read just one little poem a couple of times a week, but I usually read several at a time. Some poems illicit a laugh, others go right over her head. I will say though, that I am enjoying it:).

A Child's Book of Art is one book I waffled about buying since it seemed kind of pricey. However, I was able to get it used, and I am glad we have it.  We just look at the assigned paintings in the books and talk a little about them. It is a very quick little "extra" but we both enjoy it.

The IG often includes activity ideas that relate to the readings. We have done almost all of them, except for a couple that seemed too young and didn't interest her. Most of the activities have been fun and she has been eager to try them.  For example, recently we read the story "The Little Dipper Girl" and she practiced walking with a dipper-full of water. After reading the poem "Simple Simon" there was a suggestion to make a piggy bank. Another time, we were given a recipe to make Puppy Chow (a snack for kids, not dogs!) after reading an Uncle Wiggily story.

She has only been assigned one of the stories from our American Tall Tales CD so far, but she has already listened to the whole thing many times over, usually at bedtime.

-Readiness Skills-

Sonlight assigns pages from  Developing the Early Learner in this next section, usually a couple of pages per day. Rose flew through the first two DEL books, she loved them so much.  So we got way ahead on the assigments, and now we are taking a break until DEL 3 shows up on our weekly schedule. There are a lot of fun activities in these books, and we have not found them to be overly "workbooky". 

-Language Arts-

 We just started seeing this section in the IG a couple of weeks ago.  Each week focuses on one letter sound, using Dr. Seuss's ABC. We usually read the whole book, not just the page for the assigned letter. I also read the relevant pages from My First Picture Dictionary (a Language Arts K book). We have also been reading First Thousand Words, which has illustrated double-page spreads such as "The Zoo"or "Special Days". This one is not a storybook, more of an "I Spy" book. Both books are easy, gentle ways to introduce letter sounds. The IG contains ideas and activities for both books.


Our science reading so far has been from The Berenstain Bear's Big Book of Science and Nature, a book so well-loved that it is literally falling apart. We read the entire book the first week because she didn't want to stop, but we are re-reading it off and on.

-World Cultures-

We usually read from Things People Do each week. We have read way ahead in this book, because she always wants just one more page. This is a very heavily illustrated, fun book that teaches kids about different occupations. We have read about doctors, fishermen and pilots, to name a few. This is a great book to play "I Spy" with as well. 


Each week has it's own assigned song and I try to have Rose listen to it a few times over the week. Usually I find the song on You Tube and let her watch and listen, which she really enjoys.

-Optional Developmental Activities-

This heading includes activities like having the child repeat a sequence of actions (clap/stomp/jump), learn to jump rope, practice playing catch, etc.. It can be a little disruptive to the bigger kids' work, but she has fun!

Well I think that wraps it up! This Core is working great for us so far. When I first looked over my P 4/5 Instructor's Guide I thought that it looked a bit simplistic. I wasn't sure that it would feel like "enough" for kindergarten. After completing a third of it though, I have realized that the simplicity is exactly what makes this Core so great.  Simple is good, simple is magical. We are having fun, reading lots of great books, and making lots of wonderful memories.

I'll be back with another update once we finish week 24!


  1. Hi, Kim. How old was Rose when you did this K year? My youngest turns 6 in November, so technically, she would still be considered kindergarten, right? Either way, I want something gentle for her, but also something that gets her ready to start reading. What do you think? (Oh, and I'd be looking at BKSK's PK or K program.)

  2. Hi! Rose was five the September we started (she has a June birthday). I would definitely consider your daughter kindergarten age and I think either level PK or K could work. Rose had a really long attention span at that age for sitting and listening to stories and discussing things with me - and PK was still a good fit. We sometimes combined a couple days of reading into one if it felt too light. She had a bit of a struggle learning to read, and I was glad I had chosen the PK for that reason too. I have always liked having my kids be on the slightly older end of the BKSK/SL age ranges because it makes it easier on me, especially later on! That would be my primary reason for delaying BKSK K until first grade - Rose is now using BKSK 2 in third grade and I still feel like it is perfect even though she is now a strong reader and has an even longer attention span. Hope that helps! I'm happy to answer more questions - sorry it took a bit to get back to you!


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