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Growing up homeschooled in the prehistoric late 80’s entitled me to one disadvantage, I was the guinea pig in our homeschool family. This meant that as the oldest sibling, there was a lot of trial going on with curriculum. Most of the time this worked to my advantage because I get bored easily and just about every year we were trying something different. My Mom must have been an amazing teacher, because I still thrived despite not having the “perfect” homeschool curriculum.
A few things continued steadily on throughout my entire homeschool journey, especially the much dreaded Saxon Math. Great curriculum, however I had a serious lack of interest in Math! God bless my Dad for all those early morning Algebra lessons before he went to work. He likely hated that more than I did, which is saying a lot!
During my high school years we stumbled upon a curriculum gem that had me wishing away all those years of using different curriculum. Sonlight was the curriculum that lit a spark in me to desire to learn more. Today I can remember maybe one textbook I had used in our homeschool, however many of the Sonlight books I had read during my high school years have stuck with me well into adulthood.
Graduating from high school meant saying goodbye to all the amazing literature I had spent years reading and learning from. Some are still favorites of mine and are sitting on my bookshelf this very moment: My Antonia, Jane Eyre & The Scarlet Pimpernel are a just a few. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing much of them in college, for I was entering back into the world of textbooks once again. I found myself quite jealous of my youngest sibling in kindergarten who was likely going to be using this curriculum from start to finish. In fact he did, because my Mom had fallen in love with Sonlight as much as I had.
So when the decision came to home educate my own kids, I admit I didn’t do much research on curriculum. I jumped straight to Sonlight eager to begin our journey towards loving learning. Sonlight has held up even to my most dreamy of imagined homeschool mom moments which is impressive, because I tend to imagine things perfectly in my mind, it usually doesn’t quite follow through carried out in real life. No curriculum is ever perfect and we’ve certainly had our moments, but all the joys have certainly outweighed any of the rough moments. Five years later, I am so glad I didn’t get distracted by the other curriculums demanding my attention.
Compared to over 25 years ago when my Mom began homeschooling me, the resources have multiplied to an often overwhelming point, all demanding we add more to our packed homeschool routine. I have tweaked a few things along the way but we still use a Sonlight Core each year as the base for our History, Geography & Reading. My kids look forward each year with anticipation for Box Day, when we get all our new books in before a new school year! Instead of back to school clothes shopping, you’ll find us ripping open our Sonlight box and looking over new books with as much excitement as Christmas morning.
8 Reasons We Love Sonlight
Learning Through Literature
Sonlight curriculum allows your kids to study geography & history through the pages of some of the best literature you can find. Truly there is no better way to remember a time or place than to become immersed in a character who was living in that time or place. You imagine how they felt and see how those times truly impacted their daily lives.
Anyone can memorize when and where history took place. It is entirely different to see your kids making connections to geography and history as they realize that these people were real people. Who lived and breathed just as we do! Suddenly these old dusty stories of Peter The Great, George Washington, Cleopatra & Pocahontas are completely captivating as well as memorable.
This has completely changed my own heart towards reaching those in the world who have never even heard of Jesus. The need for us to share love of Jesus to unreached people groups is unmistakable when you read the books that Sonlight puts in your hands. The missionary stories teach my kids who real heroes are. Heroes are people who put everything on the line for the sake of another. We get to read these compelling stories as we learn more about the world and look for each country on our globe. This gives my kids a bigger picture for Gods kingdom work when they realize, the world doesn’t quite revolve our bubble.
Exposes Opposing Worldviews
One of the best things we can do for our kids, is expose them to opposing worldviews. The notes in the Information Guide from Sonlight always had helpful tips for me to navigate what can be a tricky conversation about everything from evolution to slavery or world religions. Personally I always want to have these conversations with my kids before they are surprised by it in the world.
Of course this doesn’t mean they should be exposed with everything at every age. However I am grateful that Sonlight gives you just the right topics and questions begin to navigate these conversations. This has given me the chance to learn to ask my kids what they think about a topic before I dive in to my “perfect” answer. Most often, they astound me with their ability to articulate some thoughts that leave my mouth dropped open.
Say goodbye to the tedious weeks of planning out your entire homeschool year! Each day is laid out for you in the information guide so you know just want to do each day, all 36 weeks. Not only does this save me precious time planning, it helps me stay on track all year too. If we start falling behind, we can catch up or get ahead if I know we want to take some extra days off. It also gives me the courage to scratch something right out if I feel like we’ve studied it enough, it isn’t meant to master you but to support you. The information guide is a valuable help to any h mom!
4 Or 5 Day Schedules
Have a day for homeschool classes? Or just want to have a day dedicated to life skills, cleaning, cooking or exploring nature each week? Look no further than the Sonlight 4 or 5 day schedule, you choose! We honestly use our extra day off to clean the house, do laundry and get back on track for another week as well as another morning dedicated to extra curricular classes.
I have been asked before if this is enough school? Yes, in fact our pile of books completed at the end of 144 days of school is still astounding to me! With a bit of organization, you can get a lot of schooling done in less time!
Mom Loves It
Yes that is right, I love Sonlight so much that I look forward to teaching it! There is something really empowering as a Homeschool Mom to continue educating myself as I teach my kids and it is nice to have curriculum I thoroughly enjoy. This year I had the pleasure of learning American History, Astronomy and Apologetics all over again. Next year I will to explore more topics alongside my little ones. Also, I cannot complain about the cuddles I get while we dive into these wonderful stories!
Leaving A Legacy Of Books
Last year I was able to scour my parents bookshelves and find so many of the books we needed to put together our Sonlight Core. Grandparents sat with grandkids huddled around piles of books, recalling so many of the stories that had become favorites. As I piled up stacks I was struck by this awesome feeling that someday my kids would read these books to their own kids. Even if they don’t homeschool there is a decent chance these classic read aloud books will find their way to my kids families.
Some of the books we have read, my Mom read to me as a kid even when we weren’t using Sonlight. When I pull out Strawberry Girl or Little House In The Big Woods it brings me back to my childhood. I get to pass this legacy of literature to the next generation. And sure, most kids are reading books, not much special about that! But Sonlight manages to find books that work their way straight to the heart of my children.
I know some people are shocked to hear me say this but I find Sonlight to be extremely cost-effective. There are ways to make Sonlight frugal by purchasing the information guide, then getting books from the library or finding the books used.
Even if you buy it brand new, it is still a frugal choice because almost all of it can be reused with siblings. I have four kids, two of them are going through the cores together, but I will go through each Core I have purchased 3 times! All of the worksheets can be replaced through Sonlight at a huge discount as long as you purchased the original copy through them directly! What a huge benefit!
When I finish using a Sonlight Core I box up whatever books my kids haven’t already whisked away to keep in their bookshelves and save it for the next kid!
Even though it’s been a challenging year for us, it has also been a productive year.
Despite many set backs, we have stacks of high quality literature that have gone from words on pages to stories in hearts.
I have seen moments where my kids are beginning to think more emphatically about the world around them.
Those are the teaching moments that melt a homeschool Mamas heart and make the whole year worth it!
13 thoughts on “8 Reasons We Love Sonlight Curriculum”
Sonlight has some fantastic literature choices. I love to buy their summer books.
Yes they always have such fun book selections for Summer Reading!
Some of our favorite Sonlight books are still on the bookshelves at our house too, waiting for the day when I can share them with our grandson. 🙂 One of the aspects I like best about using Sonlight was being able to listen to audio books (books on tape back in our day) while driving.
When we did our 10,000-mile field trip in 1999, our librarian allowed us to take out a milk crate full of books and audio books, and we were also allowed to keep them longer than the traditional 2 weeks. When Greg flew in to meet us 3 weeks into the trip, he brought another batch, and he took to finished books back when he flew home. That summer, we listened to and discussed all of the Sonlight books available on tape through Kent District Library as we drove — I can’t remember what year we were doing but it was the higher level of American History. The next fall, we went back and read the books that weren’t available on tape.
That was the only year we ever actually finished all the books! And to top it off, because we’d done school while on our trip (just the Sonlight,) we finished up the school year by the beginning of April. 🙂
Blessings on your homeschooling and your writing! 🙂
Yes we have used Audio Books quite a lot this year! This is my first year doing 2 full Sonlight Cores and using a few Audio Books here and there has really helped getting through all the reading. That is so cool that you brought all those books with you on such a long trip! How awesome for the library to help you out so you could do that. Traveling plus books? Sounds amazing.
Thank you so much for your lovely comment!
I couldn’t agree more!!!
I love Sonlight so much!!
There is no way I could homeschool without it. 🙂