Sonlight offers a 5-day program and a 4-day program. Because the 4-day program has 36 fewer scheduled days in the Instructor's Guide, there are fewer books overall. But what if you want to follow the 4-day homeschool schedule while reading the 5-day books and the notes? In that case, you have two options.
- You can order the 4-day curriculum and let the additional 5-day books be supplemental reading for fun.
- You can order the 5-day curriculum and adjust the schedule as needed.
Let’s look at both of those.
Using the 4-Day Schedule with Supplemental Reading
If you prefer to know exactly what you’re doing each day without much thought on your part, the 4-day schedule is going to be better for you. The assignments are already scheduled, and you don't have to make adjustments.
As for missing out on the notes for the additional books, yes, that might be disappointing. But it is also good practice for the rest of life, in which, if we want to know more about something, we go and look it up.
- You can locate map points and identify events on the timeline.
- You can look up words in a dictionary.
- You can talk through what you like, what the characters could have been done differently, the ways that some characters demonstrated virtue, and so on.
Alternately, you could allow your family just to read the 5-day books for fun. Books just because you love them . . . it’s an enticing thought.
Using the 5-Day Program with a Schedule Adjustment
Once your children are working independently, this option can be more challenging. But if you are still directly involved with the homeschooling, making your own schedule adjustments can work especially well.
Basically, with this option, you adjust the schedule on-the-fly. Overall, you know that you want to get through about five days in four days' time. So you just modify the schedule:
- read a few extra chapters in your Read-Alouds
- reserve a few Readers for the summer
- double up on shorter Science or History assignments
For example, in the World History Programs Sonlight B and Sonlight C, Hillyer’s A Child’s History of the World takes longer to read than The Usborne Book of World History. Ideally, you’d double up on the Usborne book, and not double up on Hillyer. Or if you did double up on Hillyer, you wouldn’t also double up on Science that day.
This method works best after you can get a sense of which assignments will take longer, without stressing about getting every last bit on the day that it should be done.
To put it another way: this method works well if you can feel good about moving forward in all subjects, without feeling stressed about being in slightly different places in the Instructor’s Guide.
One mom who uses this method keeps a list of the books and larger assignments she didn’t get to. At the end of the year, she revisits them. Then she chooses which, if any, to read or assign.
Between these two options, there isn’t a right or a wrong way to make a 5-day program fit into a 4-day homeschool schedule. There is merely a way that will work best for you. You probably can guess about yourself which will be more restful—to start with less and add as you choose, or to start with all and eliminate as needed.
Go with your intuition, and have a great year!