Sonlight: A More Specific Schedule

I posted about multi-level homeschooling with Sonlight and Celee at  Miscellaneous Musings of a 5X Mom wondered, “Since this is my first year using Sonlight and I have little ones, too, I’d love a more specific break-down of your schedule.  Do you do your read aloud time all at once or do you break it into two or three different times of the day?  Do you schedule it for while babies and toddlers are napping?  At what point do you do map and timeline activities?  Do you use just the one timeline for all your kids and study it together as a group?

Here is our overall schedule:  (To see my original post with notes about this schedule go here.)

5:30 Mom’s quiet time
6:00 Big kids read Bible’s, little kids learn catechism with Dad and Mom showers and tidies bedroom
6:30 Big kids do before breakfast chores, little kids get dressed with mom and help start laundry
7:00 Breakfast, all kids work on memorization box and Bible or book study
8:00 Big kids do chores, little kids help mom with chores
8:30 Big kids start independent work (handwriting, music, math, Greek, etc.) little kids time with mom and/or reading and handwriting with mom
Next: All kids sit quietly for Bible
Next: Big kids history, science, literature, some language arts and assignments for the day with mom, little kids need to play quietly
Around 12:00 Lunch for all kids, mom exercises
All kids play outside, mom cleans up
1:30 Big kids read for pleasure, finish independent work,  little kids nap, mom blogs, knits, draws, naps, etc.
3:00 Big kids have “productive time”, little kids finish napping and have free time, mom acts like a regular mom (fixes dinner, helps with projects, reads aloud, folds laundry, kisses boo boos)
5:30 Dinner
Next: Table Chores
Next: Family Worship
Between 7:00 and 8:00 All kids bedtime

This doesn’t really have specifics about how Sonlight fits into our day, so I’ll attempt to fill that in for you now.

The two time periods labeled “Next” is where we put in all of our Sonlight work.  First we read the assigned Bible reading, discuss it and pray.  (We do all of our memorization work during the 7:00 time period.  Then we work through the supplemental Bible reading and/or assignment together.

Next we have the little ones move to some of their school time activities and the big kids move right into our history reading and discussion.  As we work through each assigned book, we do our timeline and map work as it comes up.  We use one timeline and markable map for everyone and I ask the youngest students to find and mark things.  I posted about managing and entertaining little ones during this time, here are some of my ideas.

After we finish the history portion of Sonlight everyone gets out a quiet, hands-on activity, knitting, sewing, wood carving, drawing paraphernalia, etc. (the little ones usually play together on the carpet or draw) and we have our read aloud time.  Often the children fix and eat lunch while I finish reading aloud.  My preference is to have all of my part of Sonlight finished by the end of  lunch.

After a play time the little ones go down for a nap and the big kids do their independent Sonlight reading assignment and any independent work that didn’t get done before we started Sonlight.  Most of the time the children read silently to themselves, but for some of the assigned readers, I let them read aloud to each other.

We use one timeline for all of the children and study it together as a group.  I really like the idea that Mystery of History has of making a timeline on the back of a fold-able cutting board normally used for sewing.  I plan on starting one of those next year when we make our way through world history again.

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16 Responses to Sonlight: A More Specific Schedule
  1. celee
    November 17, 2009 | 2:33 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I’ve been killing myself trying to fit in everything we do each day. Whenever my mom or husband says it’s just too much I think, but Kimberly does it. It helps to know you read through lunch prep and lunchtime. That would give us an extra 30 minutes or so, but I’m not sure I could do that with my 1 yr old. I’ve been dividing our read aloud times in two, but this is hard. It feels like we’re NEVER done. We finish school anywhere from 2:30-4 depending on if we’ve taken time out for piano or some other activity.

    Do you do science every day? What about writing, vocabulary, spelling, etc.? I’ve been trying to fit vocabulary and science and now am starting to assign some small writing assignments. Would you say all of your kids’ independent work fits into 2.5 hrs broken into 2 time slots? I’m still struggling fitting it all in and now I’m adding portfolios. Do you use portfolios?


    Raising Olives Reply:

    Don’t think that I do it all. I don’t. What I post is my goal-perfect day schedule. What happens every day doesn’t always look like that.

    Also, because of all of The Old Schoolhouse review material (and other factors) we are stretching out Sonlight 5 over the course of two years. This leaves a lot more give in our schedule.

    We “school” year round, so we do a lot of fitting 2 days into 3. In theory, we do science everyday, we will accomplish 180 days of science over the course of a year, but reality is that they often do more than one science assignment in a day to “catch up”. We also often continue science into the summer, when we stop some of our other subjects.

    I don’t teach vocabulary or spelling as separate subjects. We do write everyday. We use IEW.

    I’m going to be reviewing a completely new language arts program beginning next month and it will be very interesting to see how that will work. I will have two groups of students working through it and it will take me a half hour of concentrated time per group.


  2. Jenny in Ca
    November 17, 2009 | 6:29 pm

    this is a really helpful post! This is my first real year with Sonlight, and I’m still trying to nail down a regular schedule, right now I’m just deciding each week/day what to get done when..I know I could be more productive with a tight schedule. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Shawntele
    November 18, 2009 | 1:45 am

    I enjoy looking over other peoples homeschooling schedules, it is neat to see how everyone plans things out and fits things in. Thanks for sharing. :O)


  4. Tristan from the Crew
    November 18, 2009 | 3:33 pm

    Okay Kimberly, here are some specific questions about your family schedule:
    1. Do you wake all the kids at 6:00am? Who wakes with an alarm, or is allowed to sleep past 6 (I’m thinking a baby or toddler maybe?)?

    2. Are your children all morning people (cheerful in the morning easily) or are there some you must pull out of bed?

    3.How do you get your toddlers to bed at nap or bedtime? Do you just lay them in bed and they go to sleep, or do they play quietly, or what? How did you get this sleep pattern going for them? (Can you tell we’re short on sleep here? The 8 month old and 2 year old were up until midnightlast night and this is not terribly uncommon. For naps I hold the baby until he falls asleep, I lay down with the toddler for about 5-10 minutes.)

    Thank you for any ideas on the sleep and waking front. We are all up by 7am, but we still struggle to get little ones to bed by 9pm. From age 3 on up they just go willingly and lay down, but the just turned 2 year old shares a room with the 5yo and he jumps on big brother and pesters him so neither one gets any sleep if I just put them in there together with the 2yo awake.


    Raising Olives Reply:

    I have your questions filed to answer later in a post. Here are some quick answers.

    1. Yes, except small babies. (under 1 or 2 depending on how much sleep a child seems to need)
    2. Basically, yes. On Saturday’s when they are allowed to sleep in they are all up by 7. We have one who would sleep much later, but she is so laid back and mild mannered that once she’s up, she’s happy.
    3. We read a book, pray with them and they go to sleep on their own. We’ve done this from the time they are little. Once they settle into a rhythm as infants we just keep the nap time routine the same.

    One thing we began with our first and are very thankful for, is the early bedtime. Remember, I’m really not a night person. So even when our babies are newborns I don’t wake them up for a 10 or 11pm feeding (I’m usually sleeping by then). I feed the baby around 6 or 8 and let them sleep as long as they will. So that sleep period for the baby always ends up being their longest. I keep the 2 or 3 am feeding way past the time that they drop that late night feeding. Does that make sense? I’m not suggesting that you should do it this way. It is just what has worked for us.


  5. Marcy
    November 20, 2009 | 10:46 pm

    What is the productive time in the afternoon for the older kids?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    This is simply time that they can choose an activity that develops an interest or talent that they have. Cooking, knitting, science experiments, wood carving, sewing, music, etc are all activities that fill this time. Sometimes I tell them to just go outside and play together. I think that develops creativity. Thanks for taking the time to ask.


    ashley rahar Reply:

    I’ve so enjoyed your blog. This post has helped as this is my first year homeschooling full-time (with just a 6,5, and 14 month old)…just with those, I’m struggling to fit it all in!
    I’ve found that my boys (6,5) LOVE to do creative work, like you’ve listed above. How did you start the knitting, science experiments, wood carving? That sounds right up their alley!!! At what age/point were they able to do these with little instruction from you? And do you have specific sources that teaches or inspires them to do it?
    Thanks so much!


  6. Grace Munoz
    December 31, 2009 | 1:39 pm

    This is the best thing posted that I’ve seen anywhere. Such a practical and specific breakdown like this is what I needed. Thanks!! Happy New year!!!


  7. Rhonda Copeland
    January 8, 2010 | 1:42 am

    Hi Kimberly,
    I am new to your site and am so inspired by your organization of your home and your life. My question is that I am a newly widowed mother and my husband and I were planning to home school before his passing. I know God wants me to do this-the hesitation comes concerning the fact of my son being isolated for he is an only child. I have been praying about scheduling which again will be different for one child but also I work from home which also causes me to be in the field some days in the week but my son would be able to come with me so that part would be fine. I just need help with activities to deter bordom and loneliness-any suggestions would be appreciated. Oh what is the Sonlight program that you sometimes refer to-I am about to come up with a curriculum and suggestions would be great!!!


  8. Kimberly @ Raising Olives
    January 11, 2010 | 4:24 pm

    I’m so glad that you are willing to walk this path. I pray that God will bless you and your son bountifully. He has very special promises for the widow and the orphan.

    Pray, pray, pray! It’s amazing how clear the path is if we are only looking for it. Ask God to make your path unmistakable.

    Remember that God has given your son the gift of being an only child, it’s exactly what he needs right now. You are his best solution for loneliness.

    Our kids love arts and crafts. Our boys enjoy wood carving and spend hours whittling and carving from their imaginations. I posted some of our quiet activities here.

    Sonlight is the curriculum that we use. I love it and it’s a perfect fit for our family. With only one child going through it’s pricey, but you should be able to re-sell for about 80% of your purchase price.


  9. […] before, how we use it to effectively educate children who are at many different levels and how Sonlight fits into our daily schedule.  For our family Sonlight has been a tremendous blessing.   I often say that Sonlight changed […]

  10. Whitney
    June 10, 2012 | 11:52 pm

    WOW, i wish I could become this organized. I have very little managing skills, I’m just horrible at it, but reading your site is very encouraging as I only have a 2 1/2 year old and a 7 month old. I have a few quick questions…. I was wondering what your family usually does for lunch meals and also I noticed in the schedule it says kids eat lunch, mom exercises..Does this mean you do not eat with the children you exercise instead? Ad also from another section i was reading, at what age do you usually start “blanket time”? Do you think it would be too early to start with my 7 month old? Thanks for all your help and God bless your family.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Whitney,

    Correct, I don’t usually eat lunch with the children. When they were younger I always ate with them, but now that many of them are older and capable of supervising, I take the opportunity to exercise.

    We usually start blanket time as soon as we need the baby to learn his/her limits. I don’t think that 7 months would be too early.


  11. Mama Jenn
    June 30, 2012 | 1:10 pm

    Hi, Kimberly
    this is our first year doing Sonlight. I’m so glad that I could find someone with a schedule already in place! We tried to do Sonlight for two weeks, and I thought I was doing something wrong-it would take us all day(literally- until 5 or 6 pm!) and the kids would be pulling their hair out in boredom.
    My questions are-
    1. when do you give the kids bath time? Is that during the “all kids bedtime” stage?
    2. I purchased Core B, and the schedule has it at a full school year(36 weeks). But, as I have said, it is driving us bonkers trying to do everything mentioned within a day. With the schedule you posted above, did you complete this core within a year, or did it take longer? Shorter?
    3. What age do you consider your child to be an “older child” and what age groups do you consider to be a “little child”? I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how much my children can do on their own, and how much I should help them with.
    Oh, and I have only 3 children, ages 8,6, and 5. I looked at the chores mentioned for each chore time, and I must say…THANK YOU! I was on the verge of tears trying to figure out something my kids could do to help out without overwhelming them everyday, and at the same time doing my own cleaning! I can’t wait to try this out!


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