The Caskey Family

Homeschool Musings
June 17, 2009, 12:27 am
Filed under: homeschool, Saving Money

I’ve had some questions from friends about what we are going to do next year.  Come to think of it, one of those friends was my husband!  I am having so much fun window shopping my homeschool options since this year will be Elijah’s REAL first year of preschool and his last year of preparation for Kindergarten (yipee!)

So far over the last year or two, we’ve done a little of Sound of the Week (got through all the sounds) and done the Hooked on Phonics Reading Readiness package.  Elijah knows his sounds and lots of the basics, but isn’t quite ready to start any heavy duty reading program.  I am wanting to wait for the right time.  He LOVES being read to, and can’t wait to read, but doesn’t yet sit still long enough for a real reading lesson – he gets goofy and silly and doesn’t seem serious enough to really dig into any significant material. . .so I’m going to wait so that we ENJOY the process and he keeps his love of reading – that is something I CAN’T really teach to him in a lesson. . .the actual reading skills will come in time (he’s only JUST turned four a few days ago. . . I have to keep reminding myself of this!)

I think we’ve narrowed it down and finally decided on a literature-based sort of curriculum called “Five in a Row”  I was debating between the HIGHLY popular and wildly-praised (my friend Jessica P. LOVES it and her daughters eat it up) Sonlight curriculum, the also highly recommended Hands-On-Homeschooling and other options that will be more suited for Elijah’s Kindergarten year.

So. . . my decision for Five in a Row, came for several reasons, after reading and plugging in my last few options and reading several reviews on each.

Here are the reasons I think Five in a Row will be our curriculum of choice this year:

1.  It focuses on the main things: reading (for recreation and learning), worldview/social studies, character/spiritual application, good art

2. It covers most subjects – I will only have to supplement a little math with cuisenaire rods (they cover some math, but not everything) and a little phonics/reading instruction as we go (using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.)

3. It is simple, reading every day and one different subject each day of the week – perfect for a 2 and 4 year old

4. The children love the content.  I already did a mini test run by checking out about 10 books each of Sonlight and Five in a Row for recreational reading a few months ago and the children LOVED the Five in a Row books!  They liked Sonlight’s also, but they didn’t seem to hold their attention as consistently and seem quite as rich as the FIAR books.  We’ll just say that JEREMY AND I started getting bored when they would bring us a FIAR book for the 20th time and beg to have that one read again!

5. It gives me a chance to try the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling and to test the waters of “unit studies” while my children are young. . . and since we are talking about unit studies, I HAD to put a link to this lady’s blog I stumbled on today which showed some unit studies that I can’t wait to do with Merry and Elijah:

6. This curriculum seems to be a popular one among people who go on to Classical Homeschooling, something we are pretty sure we would like to take a stab at as our children enter elementary education.  My thought is that if they are where we want to be in a few years, how did they get there?  Many of them started out with Five in a Row and liked it. . . so here we go. . .

More to be posted later (especially if my window shopping shows me something I’ve missed in my research so far)

On a totally different note, since we found out we were pregnant with each of our children, we have had a homeschool savings account for them. . .just a small amount each paycheck, but it makes it financially feasible for us to purchase the things we would like to have to homeschool now that they are old enough, and it doesn’t break our regular budget.  Up until now I have spent small amounts of it on education museum memberships, educational toys, some books, but other than that, we have saved that small amount over 100 times (over a hundred paychecks since we found out we were pregnant with Elijah) and has exponentially grown as we had Merry and Micah.  We figure that if saving for college is important for so many people, why not save for their education that leads up to that for our children?

Enough of my ramblings. . . for tonight at least!

6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Just a quick comment – I love FIAR! And my kids love all the books, too. I am actually combining reading lists and trying to read a lot of the FIAR books and Sonlight books throughout this summer when we focus a little more on reading. I will say that we don’t do FIAR exclusively, but I do pick and choose activities to do from there and have had great success with Sydney and Isaiah. There is also a Christian Character Study book once you get into the real FIAR (not Before Five in a Row), and that is fun, too. Can we just say…I love researching homeschooling stuff!!

Comment by Joy

We love FIAR!! I plan to use a combo of Before FIAR and FIAR (vol 1) this year with Joseph (turned 4 in May) and Hannah (turns 3 in Aug). You are so right that if we “push” too much, too early, we “suck the love of learning” right out of our kids and they end up hating school. I’m mostly a CM/unit study method of teaching and use My Father’s World (this will be our 3rd year). I will use it exclusively for Joseph and Hannah starting in Kindergarten. I’ve heard good things about Sonlight, but MFW is more “hands on” and Sonlight is very “intense” in the reading area (from what others have said).

Comment by Trena

i love that you have been saving for homeschooling! that is such an awesome idea! because even if you do not home school there are many things like memberships and museum stuff you can do with the kids and that is a great way to have the extra money saved ahead of time!

Comment by jsmith18

Thanks for sharing your experience and mini test results. May these resources serve you well as you continue on in your homeschooling journey.


Comment by Luke Holzmann

Luke (from Sonlight) I’m honored you bothered to post on my blog! Just so you know, I am keeping Sonlight on my radar for upcoming years. . .I think my oldest isn’t quite up to the attention span I would like him to be at for Sonlight. . . I’ll update as time goes by, and thanks again for posting!

Joy, I will be using some of the Sonlight books also. . . good to hear that you are using both!

Comment by icaskey

Good choice, Adina. I’ve never used it. We did Sonlight Pre-K. But I think FIAR would have been better. My sister in law’s family owns a private library and they have tubs of FIAR books that people check out by the month. It is so neat. They also have a whole library of good, old books! I wish we could use it. Anyway, FIAR is rich and definitely a good fit with Charlotte Mason and Classical. I prefer CM myself, which has elements of Classical but I think it is more like Hebrew education/discipleship than Classical. Just my 2 cents. We are really loving My Father’s World which is a combo of CM and classical. The children eat it up.

Comment by Cassie

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