Let me introduce you to one of my publishing friends, Mrs. Candace of Sonbeams. I was delighted that she was willing to participate in an interview with me. I spent some time reading her information on the Sonbeams website, and I found myself more energized about teaching my preschooler this fall. When you have one preschooler left in the bunch, you tend to be less enthusiastic about teaching preschool — again —- for the 6th time. Kind of like potty training for the 6th time. Somehow, preschool had become just another thing to do. But after reading through her website and looking at her beautiful family, I am off to a better mental start on my school year with my preschooler.
Mrs. Candace, tell my readers a bit about your family.
Well, first and foremost, I want to share that we are a family that loves the Lord. We desire HIS will for our lives above anything else.
My husband is a great supporter of my staying at home with our children. We both realize that our children are a blessing from God,and know that He has given us the responsibility to ‘train them up in the ways of the Lord’. We firmly believe that we will be held accountable for the job we do as parents, and don’t take this task lightly.
I am a former preschool teacher, nanny, piano teacher, and children’s choir director. Children have ALWAYS been a part of my life, and I’m praying always will be. I stay at home with our children, and will be the first to admit that I’m far from the perfect mother/ housekeeper/ teacher. All I can do is do what God has asked me to do – and to the best of my ability. His grace takes it from there.
We have 5 children, 4 living with us. Our oldest is a 5 year old son, always ready to learn something new. It’s really a challenge to find new things for him to do! Next in line is our 3 1/2 year old daughter, she’s also our only daughter. A tender heart, eager to serve, full of love – she’ll be starting ‘school’ this fall.
The next blessing for our family joined our Heavenly Father before they were born, and we’re excited to one day meet them in Heaven! God graciously gave us a son the following year, and life hasn’t slowed down since. DS2 will be two in August, and he will be doing Sonbeams on a VERY basic level. It’s impossible to make him believe he’s not as big as the older two.
Last, but not least, we have a 3 month old son. He fills our days with smiles and baby noises, hugs and kisses.
As you can imagine, there’s never a dull moment, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We are looking forward to learning to plant a garden in the near future at our new home, as well as trying to raise some hens for our own egg supply. Life itself will be a big teacher for us over the next few months.
After looking at your website, I was energized and excited about teaching my preschooler this year. Tell us how Sonbeams came about.
I guess you could say our oldest is partly behind Sonbeams, aside from the Lord’s direction. He has always been ready to learn something new, and I began using what I had on hand to teach him. Much to my surprise, he was reading at 3 1/2 years old! BTW, I’m not counting on another child like this.
I pulled from my experiences working in a preschool years ago as I put together lessons for him. There was that ‘one thing’ that had always bothered me in public preschools though, and was a big reason I left – you don’t have the freedom to place the Lord as the foundation. You aren’t supposed to talk about Him at all, yet are encouraged to share other beliefs/holidays.
I didn’t want my son to just learn his letters and numbers, I wanted him to learn about the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and how can we fear and reverence Him if we don’t know anything about Him?
I also needed something cheap (can I use that word?). As a stay at home mom, we can’t afford to buy lots of curriculum books. We do buy clearance books sometimes, but I needed something more in the line of ‘hands on learning’. While some prefer premade materials, I personally like the option of being able to do/make things alongside of my children. We have fun, and I feel they learn more that way.
I started putting things together in line with the Bible. For instance – In the beginning. What was in the beginning besides God? Nothing! So we started by learning the number 0. Who was the first man? Adam. Adam starts with what letter? A!
Colors – what is the payment for sin? Death, and Jesus paid the price for ALL our sin by the shedding of His blood on the cross – which is red.
Each weekhas a Bible verse, and for A it is Romans 3:23. “For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. ‘All’ starts with A, and what is the opposite of all? None, nothing! Maybe it’s just me, but tying school in with Scripture is exciting, and reveals the wisdom of the Lord.
I love that your preschool program is focused on Biblical teaching. How long does it take to go through one of your typical lesson plans?
This varies depending on each child, and even more so if you have more than one child. I really only had 2 ‘hands on’ children when we started this, and each day could be done in 1 to 2 hours. Sometimes more, sometimes less. When baby #3 entered the picture, the day stretched out MUCH longer. We don’t do all of our school at one time, but instead spread it out through the day.
I like to share with members that they don’t have to complete every single thing written in the guides. They are guides, something to give them ideas of what and how to teach. My oldest still begged for more, but at times, our school day was too much for our daughter. I truly believe at this age you need to go with the needs and abilities of each child. Keep it fun and light!
Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Of course! I’d love to invite them to visit Sonbeams and follow our blog. This year Sonbeams will be taking a little different approach. While the membership still gives access to the guides from last year, I plan to add to that unit studies this year (but at no extra cost). My main goal last year for families that wanted to start right away was to get the Scriptural part done first. This year I’m planning on adding some more hands on/fun activity type things to the membership, as well as more activities for younger children.
Besides the curriculum, we also just released a new collection of ABC Bible Memory Verse Songs. These are a perfect fit with the lesson guides, as each week’s letter memory verse is put to music. I am a pianist, so sitting at the piano and playing tunes is fun. I also used to teach children’s choir. The Lord began placing tunes in my head and fingers as a way to help my children learn their verses. Before I knew it, He had put together a product to minister to others as well! This project has been amazing to work on, and I’m excited to see how the Lord will use it in the lives of others.
My most important goal with Sonbeams is simply to plant seeds of truth into children’s lives. My calling has always been to children, and I have such a love for them. They are honest and sincere, and their hearts are so open to knowing and loving our God. Thank you so much for allowing me to share with you, and I’d like to offer a discount to your readers should they desire to visit the site. Enter 10OFF at checkout to receive a 10% discount on all Sonbeams products.
I also have a newsletter list, and subscribers receive perks such as private sales, discounts, previews on new products, etc.
Thank you for joining us today, Mrs. Candace. It has been a pleasure getting to know you a bit better. And I am looking forward to a new school year with my preschooler.
For the record, I am not being given any renumeration or products for the series of interviews I am conducting with various homeschool publishers. They are wonderful, Christian friends, and I sought to do these interviews for my readers to get to know these publishers better. It seems that it is becoming the norm for bloggers to mention if they are being paid or given perks for sharing links these days.