Here is an interview that I had with Sonlight homeschool curriculum providers. Find out all about them and what they have to offer homeschool families.
Sonlight is a literature-based curriculum, and therefore doesn't use the more traditional textbooks or workbooks for the core humanities subjects (i.e. History, Geography, Reading/Literature and Language Arts). When students encounter a character or event from history, wrapped in the form of a great story, their understanding and retention sky-rockets. Suddenly what might otherwise be a dry or boring piece of information comes alive for them. Even as parent/teachers, we learn new and exciting things about history that we don?t recall from our own educational experiences.
What types of learning styles does Sonlight cater to?
The flexibility of Sonlight's literature base really makes it a good choice for most learning styles. Certainly an auditory learner is going to thrive on a curriculum that involves listening to great stories. A visual learner will enjoy reading their own materials and sitting along-side mom or dad as they read together. For those busy kinesthetic learners, a literature based program allows them to rock in a chair or draw pictures while they listen to what is being shared. While their hands are busy or their bodies are moving, their ears and brains are attuned to what mom or dad is reading.
How much parental involvement is required when teaching with Sonlight homeschool curriculum?
In our lower levels, there is a fairly high level of parental involvement. A literature-based program means that mom or dad is going to be reading aloud, discussing concepts and working along-side their student as they learn. At the high school levels, students work more independently, but there is still interaction with mom and/or dad.
What types of students tend to like/dislike using Sonlight homeschool curriculum?
I haven't encountered too many students who don't enjoy being read to. I expect that there are those who dislike reading or who struggle with the reading process so that it is off-putting to use a literature-based program. The program can be adapted though and scaled down though for a student that isn't able to read as much.
How long has Sonlight homeschool curriculum been around and how did you get started?
We just celebrated our 20th anniversary! We planned and enjoyed a number of events over the summer that allowed us to celebrate in person and virtually? with the Sonlight family. Sonlight began in 1990 as the brain child of Sarita Holzmann and Becky Lewis. As back-fence neighbors, they both homeschooled their children, and both held a similar, low-stress philosophy of homeschooling that centered on good books. One day, Becky came to Sarita and said, "You know what we should do? We should start a home school supply company that gathers all the best of the best homeschooling materials, puts them together into a complete package, including a thorough Instructor's Guide, and makes them available for an international audience..." And the rest is history!
Do parents need to purchase the complete curriculum or can they just purchase certain subjects or books?
Sonlight's Core curriculum consists of literature-rich packages that weave together History, Geography, Bible and Reading/Literature. While we feel that you lose the depth and richness of the program if you only purchase portions of a Core package, you can indeed order individual subjects, or even individual titles, if you desire.
If you purchase a Core, you can also purchase a Language Arts program that closely coordinates with the Readers in that Core.
Sonlight's hands-on Science programs are a great fit for many families, regardless of whether or not they use a Sonlight Core program. Sonlight also sells Math programs, Electives and many other resources you can purchase separately.
I'm always happy to offer advice! Two things readily come to mind when I speak with folks who are new to the whole homeschooling concept - 1) Find someone who has traveled this path ahead of you. Mentoring was a popular buzz-word in the '90s, but the concept is just as valuable today. Look for a homeschooling mom who began her journey before you, and ask if you can talk with her, observe her homeschool, and pick her brain! There is no reason to muddle blindly through this experience when so many have wonderful experiences and wisdom to share. 2) No matter what homeschool curriculum you choose for your family, keep in mind that you are the "master" and the materials you purchase are the "tools" you will use. Purpose to teach to the hearts of your children, not to the curriculum. While academics is very important, remember that it is only one part of all that you will invest in your children.
My Comments: Thanks so much to Judy for giving us this glimpse into the Sonlight homeschool curriculum. Hopefully you have a better understanding of what Sonlight has to offer and whether it is a good fit for your family.
If you are thinking about using Sonlight homeschool curriculum, you can also read my Sonlight review and find out more about Sonlight homeschool materials along with the features, likes, dislikes and options.
New to homeschooling? You can view their Newcomer packages by typing "newcomer" in the search bar on their site.
Considering Sonlight? Don't buy yet! Read their 27 Reasons NOT to Buy Sonlight on their website first.
Love to learn, guaranteed! Test drive Sonlight’s programs. If you don’t love them, get your money back.
Get even more home school education and interviews with other curriculum publishers and authors.