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Many families use Sonlight homeschool curriculum or parts of Sonlight, so I thought I would list some of the features, advantages, and disadvantages so that parents can make an informed choice as to whether this curriculum is right for them and their children.
Features - Sonlight is a complete homeschool curriculum, with instructor guides, literature, and workbooks that can be used with one or many children. They have “Cores” which is what they call their curriculum packages. The Cores come with an instructors guide that has a flexible weekly schedule, good books that can be used for family or individual reading, and quality support materials. The instructor guide can be used with a four or five day schedule each week. The books and literature that you need to study a certain time period are all chosen for you and compiled into a “Core” package.
Sonlight homeschool teaches both World and US History. Many other curriculums focus heavily on US History, but Sonlight provides a great literature approach to World History for a good number of years. Along with their Science package they also give you the option of purchasing a Science kit. This gives you all the materials you need for any science experiments in the curriculum.
The literature base of their curriculum includes classical literature, historical fiction and many Newberry Award winning books. Their instructor guides are based on parents reading books aloud up until about 7th grade. The read alouds can be for History, Language Arts, and Science depending on the grade.
They provide materials for grades Kindergarten through twelfth grade and cover all subjects. There are no tests or quizzes but there are activity pages and discussion suggestions that help the parent know whether the child knows the material.
Likes - Many parents and students love the literature base that Sonlight homeschool curriculum provides. Children can often remember more about what they are learning if they hear a good story about a real person. The instructor guides give a nice chart of what to do each day. There are active forums on the Sonlight site that can help you if you get stuck or discouraged. There is a Love to learn, guarantee. Test drive Sonlight’s programs. If you don’t love them, get your money back.
Dislikes - Some people don’t like having to stick to a daily schedules. The literature and History programs do not have activity sheets. You just discuss the material. Some didn’t like the Language Arts activities of copy work and worksheet pages and said that the writing program wasn’t thorough enough. Sonlight DOES listen to their customers though and have made changes based on their feedback.
If you want to adapt the Sonlight homeschool curriculum to meet your needs, that is fairly easy to do. You can just use the books and not the instructors guide. You don’t have to read all the books if you feel like there is too much reading. If you don’t like the fact that some books mention morality issues or that they are not Christian books, you can always omit those or use them to discuss with your children that some people don’t choose to live as Christians.
You don’t have to use every subject from Sonlight. You can pick and choose if you like. They offer at least 2 different math programs along with other options in other subjects. Sonlight realizes that not every student and family are the same and they work to make their material user friendly for all types of families.
Some people just purchase the read aloud and History books from Sonlight and use other books for Science and Math and electives. For those parents that want a strict schedule, Sonlight offers that. For those parents that want to do their own thing using books recommended by Sonlight, they offer that too.
Depending on the grade it could take you anywhere from 1 hour (for the younger grades) up to 3-4 hours for older grades depending on how quickly your child works.
A more complete review of Sonlight Curriculum can be found on my Sonlight curriculum page. I like Sonlight and have used their books more than their instructor guides, but I love their idea of a literature based curriculum.
Interview with Sonlight - Read all about what Sonlight has to offer and how they got started when I interviewed them at Sonlight Homeschool Curriculum
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