After quite a few of my own years growing up homeschooled, my mom started using more living books to teach us instead relying solely on textbooks. It was my favorite change for our homeschool! At first, this meant she spent quite a bit of time during her Summer scheduling out all our awesome books to be used for curriculum. That may have been when our homeschool got a lot more fun and interesting, but she missed out on quite a lot of the Summer fun we got to enjoy while she was working on our homeschool curriculum schedule.
I was glad for her sacrifice but was glad when she switched us to Sonlight curriculum when I was in high school. Then she didn’t have to plan out every detail of our school year either. And now, neither do I!
(Disclosure: After using Sonlight since I first began Homeschooling, Sonlight approached me to write for the Sonlight Curriculum blog during the 2017/2018 school year. As a Sonlight Ambassador, I’ve received curriculum in exchange for my guest posts. This year we are using HBL packages B & E and loving it as always. )
I do not plan our homeschool schedule…
It’s true, I do not plan my homeschool schedule! Spring time rolls around and all I do is decide which Sonlight curriculum package we are going to use the following school year. A few clicks on the computer later the curriculum is on it’s way to us, we anxiously await box day, when it arrives we open our box of books and are already set to start in the fall.
I do choose our math, science & handwriting curriculum outside of our Sonlight curriculum which is the beauty of it. I can use Sonlight for the bulk of our subjects and still add other curriculum to go with it, there are so many favorites! But those subjects are open and go each day, we simply do the next math lesson, handwriting page or read a few pages of science. Those subjects don’t require a whole lot of planning in advance.
History, geography, literature & reading can be much more difficult to plan out if you are using living books instead of textbooks. Using living books for our kids education can make planning curriculum consume all our spare time if we let it. What books follow the world history track we are on this year? What read alouds will work best while we study the Civil War for American history? How many chapters should we be reading each day? How much should my kids be reading?
Instead I Rely On My Sonlight Instructor’s Guide
Now we can experience the joy of using living books for our homeschool and Sonlight plans the entire year out for me, each week has subjects listed with daily assignments. When we start school in the morning I simply open our Instructor’s Guide and see what is on the schedule that day, then we do it!
When we complete everything for the day, we feel good about a job well done with no doubts over whether we completed enough. This helps me to feel more relaxed and not feeling guilt over needing to do more which is a real battle for most homeschool moms.
Another advantage is that with the exception of the lower levels, Sonlight plans read alouds that follow the history timeline we are studying. I do not have to research what books to use for what time period we will study because they do that all for me.
Because I Don’t Plan Our Homeschool Schedule I Spend Time On…
We live in Michigan, so after months and months of what feels like eternal winter, by May I am ready to enjoy every minute of the warm weather and sunshine with my kids. I love teaching my kids but having a break to just be mom is an important part of investing into my relationship with them for the following school year. Taking time in the summer to spend time with friends, go to the beach, hang by the pool, stay up late for campfires, eat popsicles & go on long nature hikes help me to be a more fun mom.
Or dare I mention, time to read my own books? All school year I read to my kids, Summer is a chance for me to get caught up on my own reading. If there is one thing being a Sonlight homeschool mom has inspired me to do, it is read even more books when I have the time to!
I know many homeschool moms spend a lot of time in the summer prepping, it feels like something we have to do, but maybe sometimes we go a bit overboard? I try to get my curriculum picked and ordered in May so I can focus most of my attention on fun & relaxation.
Supporting My Husband
Since I started homeschooling my husband has accomplished some huge career goals including working towards ownership of his own company. When he first started, this involved him working two jobs at once, tackling 80-90 hour weeks until the company was at a point where he could quit the job he had before. I firmly believe this could have put my homeschool goals into a tailspin it it weren’t for the Sonlight instructors guide.
The Sonlight instructors guide, during a point in my motherhood where I was working solo at home with my kids day and night, was my saving grace.
At that point money was extremely tight but we also saw the financial benefits of a literature based curriculum as well as the benefit to me having the schedule planned for me. This has allowed me to fully support my husband as he continues to pursue his career goals, while I am able to accomplish my homeschooling goals for our kids.
Rest For Mom
Homeschooling can be overwhelming between driving kids to activities, staying on top of a home routine, caring for toddlers as well as making time to have fun as a family. If we aren’t careful, taking care of rest for ourselves can fall dead last on the list of priorities.
I take advantage of any resources I can add to my homeschool schedule that will provide me with additional time so I can care for myself with rest. This might give me enough time each week to paint my toe nails, bake a new recipe, spend a night out to dinner with friends or work on some writing. When my kids see me taking care of myself, I thikr
Instead of trying to fit homeschool scheduling into my already busy week, I just check the schedule we already have prepared for us by Sonlight & I add Dreaming Daughters independent assignments into Homeschool Planet. Then I can spend my Sunday nights with my family instead of pouring over my homeschool plans. On Monday morning, we open and go.
Since I have been homeschooling I am so grateful for the Sonlight Instructors Guide for taking such a huge part of my job off my plate! If you want to download a sample to check out for yourself you can get it right here!