Sonlight Christian Homeschool Curriculum is a literature-based, Christ-center learning program. It’s based on the methods and philosophies of Charlotte Mason and Ruth Beechick. Sonlight offers complete lesson plans for Bible, History, Geography, Language Arts, and Science. The lessons are based on real living books not textbooks. The Instructors Guide offers you a daily reading schedule for each subject, study guides, map study, timeline entries and comprehension questions for each book. It is Christ-center in that it includes Bible readings, memorization, devotions and missionary stories. Also, the study guides are written from a Christian viewpoint.
This school year is our 3rd time using Sonlight. But, I wasn’t crazy about it the first time I used it. That was five years ago, my children were 5, 4, 2 and newborn. We started with what is now Core A but then it was called Core K. I did the main Core but not the Language Arts. I thought the books looked very interesting for my 5 and 4 year old. They did not like the history readers at all, I would get them out to read and they would moan and groan. They loved the read-alouds though. The Boxcar Children was the first one we read and they begged for chapter after chapter. I think we finished it the first week. I made the decision to not continue with the history lessons but read whatever read-alouds they enjoyed. It was a winning solution. Looking back on it I realize that my children weren’t ready for history at the time. They loved nature and we read a lot of animal books that year in addition to our Sonlight books. If I had chosen a different Core that year we probably would have loved it as we do now.
After my self professing flop of Sonlight we tried a few other curriculum. And it seemed every year I tried something different like last year when I stumbled upon the Waldorf method and thought it was just what my kids needed. Well it may be what they need but I should’ve started learning about it 5 years earlier and 4 kids ago. I just couldn’t make it work well for us and I was defeated by January. That’s when I started thinking about Sonlight again. I got out my catalog and started pondering what we could do and I walked into our local homeschool bookstore and fell in love. I just wanted to sit on the couch and read to the kids again like we had done all of our other years. At this time my oldests were 8, 7 and 5 and I thought they would love P4/5. And I was right this time. They loved every book that we read. Some people would never think to do p4/5 with an 8 and 7 year old. But we were so busy with still learning to read and basic math that I wanted books that they enjoyed and relished. And so it was. Stories from Africa and New Toes for Tia, stories about how God worked in childrens lives, were wonderful books. My 8 and 7 year olds understood so much about what they children in the stories were going through. They really saw God’s glory in each of the stories. It was wonderful. I don’t think my 4 1/2 year old would relate to the stories as they did. I think it’s a great literature pack for an 8 and 7 year old and if you added maps and science experiments it would suffice for a K-2nd curriculum.
It only took us about 6 months to read all of the books. Because my kids were older they could listen to a whole weeks assignments in one day. So even though we started it last February we were ready for our next core in September. And I thought at 9, 8, and 6 they were ready for Core B. This year I decided to use the Science and the Language Arts as well as History. The Karate Kid loves history now, loves biographies and real stories about real people and has becoming interested in Ancient Civilizations. He also loves to learn about any science topic. I wasn’t so sure about the Gymnast’s interest but she has enjoyed it just as much as her brother. As long as she has some visuals (color pages are her favorite) she seems to be able to grasp the story better. I found several Dover coloring books to divide between the kids that were perfect.
I have P3/4 that I am going through with the two younger boys. We are going really slow through it as I don’t plan to do P4/5 with them until they are 5 and 6. So I have 2 more years to read all those wonderful books and do some fun school with them. And right now they want to read the same story the entire week or longer so it will take us 2 more years to actually read all of the books in P3/4. And I am more than happy with that.
So will I continue to use Sonlight next year? Absolutely. We are going really slow through Core B, I don’t know that we’ll be ready for the next core in September. But when we finish Core B we will definitely be going on to Core C to finish World History and explore the next science topics.