Preschool education at home doesn’t have to be complicated. With the Sonlight complete package, you get exciting books, materials for hands-on exploration, and a teacher’s manual to guide you every step of the way.
Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. As always, I’m honestly sharing my opinions and experiences.
This year I’m homeschooling my last preschooler.
It’s a bitter-sweet experience.
With my first child, I “just” wanted to do it “right.” It meant we did so much that I felt dizzy at the end of the day.
With my middle children, there was so much going on in our life that my main concern was simply keeping my head above the water, giving everyone enough hugs and kisses, and checking at least some boxes by the end of the day.
And now my last baby is preschool age.
These days I no longer worry about doing it “right,” doing “enough,” and, best of all, I don’t equal doing more with a better education.
What I really want for my daughter and me this year is to enjoy our time together, and I’m definitely open to using some helpful tools to take the work out of it.
Preschool curriculum from Sonlight: Fiction, Fairytales, and Fun
Sonlight’s new preschool program is all about discovery and teaching academic skills in a way that nurtures a child’s love of learning. There’s plenty of time for snuggles and talks with your kid because this literature-based curriculum uses lots of fairy tales and colorful picture books.
What’s more, it incorporates the Montessori approach. This means that the emphasis is on hands-on learning, age-appropriate activities, cultivation of self-discipline, and fostering curiosity about the world around them. Besides learning letter sounds and conceptualizing numbers, the kids learn how to cut cheese with a safety knife, pour water in a cup, sweep the floor, peel an orange, wash dishes by hand, and other life skills that help them interact with the world.
Our experience homeschooling preschool with Sonlight
You will get the best idea about the Sonlight preschool curriculum if I simply walk you through our week. Come along: I’ll show you what we did during Week 5 of our preschool. There is a video for you below as well!
In the morning (my preschooler wakes up before her siblings) we sat on the floor together, and I demonstrated how to trace the letter “S” with her fingers on a sensory card (included in the kit) while saying the phonetic sound “sssss.”
We then tiptoed around the house, and I pointed out different letter s-words emphasizing the first letter. Socks in a laundry basket, sun streaming through the living room window, spices on the kitchen counter…
Then, my daughter sat at the table and used pencils with a grip (in the kit) to complete the letter S worksheet and color the sun.
The worksheets can be conveniently found in the Teachers’ Guide right next to each week’s schedule. But once we are done, I put them in the My Sounds Book so that she can see at a glance what we’ve done so far. And celebrate her accomplishment in phonetics as well as coloring!
Later in the week (when it wasn’t raining), we visited the sandbox in the backyard together and traced the letter s in the sand with a finger and a stick. Another day, we made some slime (I used this five-minute slime recipe) and shaped it like a snake.
In the afternoon, we cuddled on the couch and read three stories from Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day? We were supposed to read only one story per day this week, but we got carried away and read all of them at once! After we were done, I reminded her of what we read in a story about everyone being a worker and then helped her get started with cleaning up her toys, which she kept doing on her own after I slowly melted into the kitchen.
“Read to me, Mommy,” was the first thing that she asked me today, so we started the day with her sitting on my lap and reading Mother Goose together.
After breakfast, we tackled math. The number of the week was 5. She was supposed to practice putting five bingo markers on the dots (number cards are included in the kit), but she always wants to do all the numbers (1-10), and I let her, of course.
If they’re on a roll, let’em roll!
A couple of times this week, I asked her to bring me “five of something…” from around the house. “Bring me five red things [or books, trucks, or socks], and I will give you five kisses,” I would say (usually when I wanted a few minutes of quiet to talk to another kid).
During the afternoon, while she was helping me cook, I remembered that she was supposed to practice cutting this week. So I gave her a banana and a safety knife (from the kit), and she got busy. She ended up cutting three bananas into pieces, so I had to turn them into banana bread. Nobody complained.
The geometric shape for this week is oval. I showed my daughter how to trace the shape (in the kit) on the white paper attached to the clipboard (included in the kit), and she wanted to trace all of the shapes. Then, we searched the house for oval things (football, eggs, lemons).
I needed a few minutes to do something with my eight-year-old, so I gave her tissue paper pieces and asked her to glue them inside the giant oval that I quickly cut out of a piece of construction paper.
While we were playing outside, I remembered that the Mother Goose story, The Crooked Man, came with a suggestion to build something crooked. So, I gathered some sticks and asked my daughter to build a crooked little stick house. It wasn’t easy, but she had a lot of fun just playing with sticks.
This is our week!
If you feel like it’s too much, don’t worry: you don’t have to do everything every week. And if you feel like it’s not enough, the curriculum has plenty of suggestions to do more. Each story, book, and nursery rhyme comes with a recommendation for an activity, so you can play games, make sock puppets, and organize toys by size when you have the time.
The teacher’s guide also has instructions for teaching Spanish (even if you don’t know the language) and music to your child if you wish, but we skip that part because my daughter takes piano lessons with a music teacher and learns the Russian language. Still, I love the broadness of the skills this curriculum is building.
3 Advantages of Using the Sonlight Preschool Curriculum
Detailed Teacher’s Guide to Fiction, Fairytales, and Fun Program
The most important thing for you to know about the guide is that there are detailed instructions every step of the way.
As you can see in the pic above, each week starts with a Week-at-a-glance schedule, where you can clearly see everything that needs to be done in each category.
The following few pages give you detailed instructions on what to say and do for each letter, number, and shape. (Check the video below for a detailed look inside the guide). And the practical life/art section includes detailed instructions for each step.
All this thorough explanation means that even if you’re exhausted or out of ideas, you’ll be given inspiration and guidance to engage with your preschooler and make learning fun for them.
Classic Children’s Books
If your goal is to help your child fall in love with books (mine certainly is), the Sonlight curriculum is for you. Sonlight is all about quality books that your children will want you to read over and over again. Some of the titles included in the package:
- Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
- Welcome to Busy Town
- Mother Goose
- Make Way For Ducklings
- George and Martha
- Horton Hatches the Egg
Supply Kit for Hands-on Learning and Exploration
No more wasting time looking for supplies and materials. Some of the things included in the package are:
- Tactile letters with textured surface
- Safety scissors
- Bingo markers
- Adorable colored pencils with grip
- Plastic geometric shapes
What makes for a fun curriculum?
Over the past thirteen years, I have had the opportunity to test out many curricula. And I came to the conclusion that the most important factor is the mindset of the educator.
You can have the most sophisticated and advanced curriculum on the planet, but if you feel stressed, it’s not going to go well. Kids are like sponges; they always feel and absorb our moods.
With Sonlight, though you always feel supported and confident in your journey as an educator, and your kids will feel that confidence too. Sonlight offers free homeschool workshops and a library of videos to help you enjoy your homeschool journey.
What’s more, you can even contact an experienced homeschool adviser and get personalized advice for your specific problems. You can also join the large Sonlight community and feel part of a group that shares your struggles and celebrates your triumphs.
SONLIGHT PRESCHOOL PROGRAM GIVEAWAY
Sonlight is going to give three (3) lucky winners the entire Sonlight Preschool Program! Check out this giveaway, and be sure to enter to win!