(Disclosure: Once a month here on Simple Homeschool, I’ll be giving a review/overview of various curriculum options. I’m beginning with Sonlight because it is the one with which I’m most familiar. All information in this post is based on my own experience and opinions.)
Stories have the power to teach, comfort, and transport us to faraway lands. As someone who majored in literature during college, I’ve always loved and enjoyed learning through both the autobiographical and fictional accounts of others.
That’s why when I discovered Sonlight, I could hardly wait to start learning with my kids.
When I was first considering homeschooling, a friend mentioned Sonlight to me. Later I checked out the website and found myself immediately intrigued by their tagline–The way you wish you’d been taught.
Sonlight carries a range of packages covering Pre-K to high school levels. Each level contains a core program combining literature, history, and geography together under a theme for the year. Other subjects are available as add-ons if you need them.
Each core program comes with an Instructor’s Guide–a lesson plan completed for you. The Instructor’s Guide has each week’s readings scheduled for you, along with any other assignments for that week. Sonlight aims to be internationally-minded, so many book selections focus on other parts of the world.
As a newbie just getting started, the Instructor’s Guide appealed to me immensely. I loved the idea that I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel or figure everything out on my own.
We’ve now completed two years of using Sonlight and have no plans to switch in the foreseeable future. We have used two levels of PreK and I have personally worked through one of the high school programs on my own. I can testify to the richness and depth of the material for all ages.
Photo by Desirea Rodgers
Much of our success with Sonlight, I believe, has been because we’ve adapted it to suit our family.
I no longer feel compelled to strictly follow the Instructor’s Guide, and it is rare that I do so. But I still find it a comforting resource to have on hand if and when I need it. There have also been a handful of times when a selected book hasn’t connected with us for some reason, so we’ve moved on to a new choice.
In any curriculum the key to success is making it suit the uniqueness of your children and your family.
Helpful Points to Remember:
- Sonlight Curriculum is a Christian company specializing in literature-based homeschool programs. Most of the books in each core program are secular choices, but the company does have a Christian perspective and worldview.
- It’s possible to combine a variety of ages into one Sonlight level. Since all three of my children are close in age, they are all able to use the same material together. Not only is this a huge timesaver for me, it also means we get to enjoy learning as a team.
- Whole curriculum packages are available, allowing you to purchase materials for an entire year through Sonlight. You can also piece it together according to your needs and wants. Some choose to just buy the Instructor’s Guide and use the library to gather the books they need. I buy the core books and Instructor’s Guide directly from Sonlight, but I buy our math, science, and other materials elsewhere.
- Even if you don’t end up using Sonlight, the catalog itself is an amazing resource to use as a reading list for various ages.
Sonlight does an excellent job helping potential customers figure out if it’s the right curriculum for them.
Here are two helpful articles:
- 27 Reasons Families Love Sonlight
- 27 Reasons NOT to Buy Sonlight
If you use Sonlight, how has it worked in your family? If you tried it and it didn’t work for you, please share your experiences as well to help others as they research curriculum choices.