Multi-Level Homeschooling with Sonlight

I mentioned in one of my last question and answer posts that our family has successfully used Sonlight Curriculum as a basis for multi-level teaching in our home.  Many of you were interested in a more detailed post about Sonlight pros and cons and using it with multi-levels.

If you haven’t read my previous posts on how we homeschool or why we homeschool you may wish to as they will give you a basis of where we are coming from and why Sonlight is a good fit for us.  Before I go any further let me mention that while Sonlight is a great program for our family, I always hesitate to recommend it to others because every home and homeschool is different and just because we enjoy it and it is a good fit for us, doesn’t mean that it will fit in your home or work with your style of homeschooling.

Our family has been using Sonlight since the winter of 2004, Amber was 7, Kaitlin was 5, Matthew 4 and Alyssa 3.  We also had 3 preschool children.

What is Sonlight?  Sonlight is a literature based Bible, history, literature and reading curriculum that is fully scheduled on a day by day basis.  We have also used Sonlight for language arts and science.  They sell those components separately.

We use Sonlight as the basis for our curriculum, but it is not the only thing we use.  We do a lot of additional memorization and Bible reading as well as considerable amounts of extra read alouds.  (We like to read aloud for at least two hours each day.)

Click here for a glimpse at a Sonlight Instructor’s Guide.

How we use Sonlight:

  1. We read the assignments (except the children’s individual readers) together as a group.
  2. We discuss what we have read and other topics that the readings trigger in the kids heads.  This is the part that is optional for the smaller children, depending on what is being discussed.  We are currently discussing economics and the price-wage spiral, inflation, money supply, etc.  I’m allowing the younger ones to be excused from those discussions.
  3. We work through hands-on projects together.
  4. We  look up the locations that we are discussing on the map.  I begin by asking the youngest children to locate it and then move to older children if they aren’t able.
  5. We keep a time line of important people and events.
  6. We don’t always do the discussion or comprehension questions but we always discuss our readings.
  7. We talk about Sonlight most nights at the dinner table.  It keeps daddy current with the conversation and is built-in review for the children.

We will be beginning two levels of Sonlight next year.   Both Sonlight level 6 and Sonlight level 1 cover the first half of world history, while Sonlight level 7 and Sonlight level 2 cover the second half of world history.  So even though we will be working with two different levels, we will still be studying the same things and be able to maintain the family conversation.

What we love about Sonlight:

  1. Literature selection – Even homeschoolers who don’t use Sonlight curriculum use Sonlight’s reading lists because they choose books that are not only well written with quality content, but are fun and fascinating to read.  I attribute the fact that our children all enjoy school to the superb literary selections that Sonlight chooses.
  2. Pre-planning is already done, I spend my time teaching my children not lesson planning – Lessons are planned out on a daily basis, I simply open the instructor’s guide and begin working through the assignments with the children.  A lot of homeschoolers have said that Sonlight is time consuming for the parent and I’m not going to disagree with that.  However, all of that time is spent directly reading to or teaching my children.  That is what I want to be doing with my time.  There is a difference between having a program that requires significant amounts of time to lesson plan, research and pre-read and a program that requires significant amounts of time teaching your children.  Sonlight falls into the latter category.
  3. Method of teaching – Sonlight’s method of teaching is organic and laid back.  Important information is not presented to the children in a list or condensed paragraph that they must then memorize and be quizzed over.  It is presented in the context of literature, of a story and is thought about, discussed and perhaps researched.
  4. Simple to teach multi-levels – I have used one level of Sonlight with children ranging in age from 13-4.  Of course, our 4 year old is not getting the specific political tensions between the Japanese and the western world, but she knows that Commodore Perry is the man who opened trade with Japan and she can find Japan on the map.  She may not understand the why’s and how’s of the Great Depression, but she knows that a lot of people lost their jobs.
  5. Flexibility – Sonlight is especially well suited to covering more or less than is written in the curriculum.  Our children enjoyed studying about the War Between the States.  Since Sonlight is literature based it is simple to choose additional books and resources and add them to our schedule as we studied that particular time period.
  6. Teaches children to think- Because Sonlight uses literature to teach, the children are accustomed to thinking, discussing and analyzing almost everything that they read.  We sometimes have a difficult time getting through our reading assignments because of the questions and conversations that are sparked by the content.
  7. Incorporates geography and timeline work with day to day assignments.
  8. Creates a family conversation – When we began to use Sonlight this is how I described the change in our homeschool.  Whereas before the children had been reading and studying more independently (yes even at 7, 5 and 4)  Sonlight created a conversation.  We were learning together and “school” was the most popular topic of conversation.  When the Olympics occurred just a few years after we had studied Greece our family was able to discuss what we had learned because we had learned it together.  (This would be true of most multi-level program.)
  9. Presents a balanced and honest view of history – With one exception Mark and I have been very please at the balanced approach with which history has been presented.

These strong points of Sonlight work with how we homeschool to create a strong back bone for our curriculum.  It also helps us in our goal of strong family relationships.  The beauty of having the basics mapped out for us is that it gives us a solid plan to cover everything, yet allows us to customize it as we see fit.

What we don’t love about Sonlight:

  1. Doesn’t thoroughly integrate Biblical history – This is my biggest criticism of the program and would be a deal breaker if we wished our children to work more independently but because I’m directly involved in teaching Sonlight to the children, I control how much Bible history is included.
  2. There have been a  few literature selections that we felt were inappropriate. – Again, because I’m reading nearly everything aloud, this becomes a non-issue.  However, I do not recommend that parents give Sonlight to their children to work through independently.  I try to read the independent readers before the children get to them and there have been some that we have had our children skip.
  3. Sonlight’s  independent readers tend to be below our children’s reading level.  This is easily solved with all of the additional reading that our children do on their own.  Sonlight schedules readers that are easier than the child’s reading level for the purpose of encouraging the children’s love of literature and making sure not to discourage them with books that are a struggle for them to work through.  This was most problematic for level 1 and level 2 of Sonlight and we assigned a lot of extra reading.  Now however, our children read so much that I don’t usually assign specific books but allow them to read where their interest lies.  (Our 9 year old is currently enjoying “20,000 Leagues under the Sea”.)

We use Sonlight to teach multi-levels simply by exposing the younger children to the information and the discussion, by encouraging them to be involved in map work, asking questions aimed at their comprehension level after each reading and including them in the dinner table discussion by asking them questions about the basic people, places and events, whereas the older children focus more on the “whys” and “hows”.  We also select additional read alouds if we feel that they need more exposure to a specific time period.  We incorporate all our children similarly with science and I will be writing a separate post about using Sonlight language arts for multi-levels, or rather my version of Sonlight language arts. 🙂

Each year when we reevaluate our goals, plans, where we are and where we are going, we consider switching away from Sonlight and research other multi-level teaching programs.  Every time we have come to the conclusion that, for us, Sonlight is the best fit.

So there you have some basic information about Sonlight in our homeschool.  What did I miss?  What do you still wonder?  Want to come over for a day of school at our house?

If you decide to purchase Sonlight through one of my links, you will receive a discount on your order and I will receive credit toward future Sonlight purchases that our family may make, so THANK YOU for making the effort of using these links to place your order!

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46 Responses to Multi-Level Homeschooling with Sonlight
  1. Morgan
    September 29, 2009 | 11:58 am

    My family used Sonlight from 1997-2000 and we loved it. I think what a lot of parents mean by “time-consuming” is not in the planning, but in how much you have to be involved in the teaching of the material. That was why we stopped using it. Although we loved it, my mom needed something where we could work more independently, at the point in time.


  2. Celee
    September 29, 2009 | 12:25 pm

    Since this is my first year using Sonlight and I have little ones, too, I’d love a more specific break-down of your schedule. Do you do your read aloud time all at once or do you break it into two or three different times of the day? Do you schedule it for while babies and toddlers are napping? At what point do you do map and timeline activities? Do you use just the one timeline for all your kids and study it together as a group?
    Thanks in advance for helping me get our homeschool machine running more smoothly.


    Raising Olives Reply:

    Celee – We usually do our read aloud time all at once. Occasionally we will finish up some reading in the late afternoon. We usually read aloud while the little ones are awake. I like for them to listen. We work with the map and the time line immediately after we read what we are going to mark on them. We use only one time line for everyone.

    Tristan – We have used Sonlight Science for the past 4 years.

    Tristan and Jill – There has only been one book that we didn’t have the children read at all. It was for a number of reasons but primarily because it spoke about a 12 year old swimming in her panties. The book was not a great work of literature and we thought that it added very little to the topics that we were covering, so we simply skipped it. There have been other books that we have edited because we tend to be very picky about language (we don’t use words like “gosh”, “gee”, “heck” or “darn” and when we come to them in a book we just mark them out.

    The one point that we felt Sonlight was not fair and balanced in history was their view of Columbus and the South American Indians. They gave the idea of the noble savage and horrible, greedy discoverer and while some of that is true their was not the balance that we have observed throughout the rest of the program.

    Angela – Feel free to pass along any hints to make my life easier. 🙂


    Tami Reply:

    I don’t know how old your core 3 is, but we are just finishing it this year. I thought the European discovery of America was presented very well. We read a book written by John Holtzman (sp?) himself called “Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans” that I thought was especially well done. My 10 yr old disliked it very much, she called them “evil” and didn’t want to listen – a very strong reaction, esp to the human sacrifice issues. Sonlight made a big point about how, at one time, the ancestors of those groups did know the true God, but because someone failed to teach their children about Him, He was forgotten, leaving only a very warped and deceived religion. That made a big impression on her, and on me too. They also had notes re alternate theories of how the Americas came to be populated, and told about the MN runestones and the 10 commandments discovered in AZ (I think). They talked about Columbus’s treatment of the native tribes, but also pointed out the cultural issues of the times – for example, Columbus and his men weren’t entirely sure if non-white people were fully human. They also made it clear that while fame and profit were clear motives, spreading Christianity was also, for some explorers more than others obviously. We certainly didn’t get much of the “noble savage” idea, except from the Story of the USA workbooks that were used. They are published by a mainstream school publisher and are very PC. They present me w/ an excellent opportunity to point out bias in education in almost every chapter! Maybe my core has been updated more than the one you have, but I was pleased. I also liked the Daniel Boorstin book that was used as the spine- I esp liked that he pointed out that the Louisiana Purchase, just 14 years after the Constitution was written, was quite a major abuse of constitutional power. It seems that the limits of the constitution have been ignored almost from the very beginning. I suspect most elementary history books fail to point that out.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:


    Thanks for sharing your perspective on Core 3. It has been 3 years since we covered that material, so my memory is a bit foggy. It will be interesting to see what I think when we go through it again in 3 more years. 😉

    I do agree that everything else that Sonlight has covered has seemed very fair and balanced. The point you made about the Louisiana Purchase is an excellent example.

    I think you will enjoy next year. The War Between the States is covered beautifully.

    Thanks for taking the time to add your input!


  3. Tristan from the Crew
    September 29, 2009 | 2:06 pm

    I would love to come to a day at your house! Let me bring my children and we can have a lot of fun.

    I’m glad you posted about how you use Sonlight. I have looked at it before and still consider it. I would love to know how it works on a day for each of your ages. Do you have to buy extra materials for extra children? For example next year I would have ages 9, almost 6, 4 1/2, almost 3, 1 1/2.

    I also look forward to your post about Sonlight Language Arts. Do you use Sonlight Science as well or something else?

    I know every family is different. Do you mind mentioning the one exception to the balanced and honest view of history here and why you skipped some of the read alouds (what you felt was inappropriate?)

    You are simply a wealth of knowledge! Write en ebook please!


  4. Luke Holzmann
    September 30, 2009 | 9:08 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with Sonlight!



  5. Katie
    September 30, 2009 | 9:22 am

    Thank you for your post on Sonlight Curriculum. My children are still young (4 and 2). However, I have been reading Sonlight catalogs and researching alternatives for the last few years. People seem to think (from reviews) that Sonlight’s read alouds tend to be geared toward the higher end of the age spectrum. I want to start P4/5 next year when the kids are 5 and 3, but I was afraid the books/concepts mught be over their heads. After reading your post about what your 4 year old was able to pick up from upper cores…it gives me more confidence in starting Sonlight next year. Thanks for the post!


  6. Jill
    October 1, 2009 | 9:21 am

    I’m also curious about the literature selections you felt were inappropriate and why? Thanks for sharing.


  7. Angela
    October 1, 2009 | 6:21 pm

    I’ve just started that phase of needing two groups, doing levels 1 and 6. The funny thing is that my 6 and 7 year olds want to be there for the 9,10,11,&13 yr olds stuff. The hard thing is providing supervision for the baby, 2,3,&5 year olds during TWO quiet reading times, and still getting all the individual work and chores done. It is very challenging, and I wish you were ahead of me, so you could tell me what to do.


  8. Celee
    October 2, 2009 | 11:11 am

    Thank you, but now I have follow up questions. How old is your youngest? I mean, do you have a crawler that is getting into mischief while you’re reading? Would you require a 3 year old to sit still during reading, or allow him to work a puzzle or something while you’re reading. We do require him to sit still for family worship, but that doesn’t last as long as our Sonlight reading does. I want to make sure I’m not demanding too much from my little ones, but I do not want to neglect training them. Thank you for all your help!


    Raising Olives Reply:


    Sorry I should have been more clear. I posted about what our little ones do during read alouds here and here (this second link is probably more specifically what you are asking about). Our youngest is currently 1 1/2, but up until this year we’ve always had 3-4 children under the age of 3, so we have done all that. I use blanket time (described in that second post) with crawling babies. I explain more about it in my posts, but for read aloud time none of the children are required to sit still.

    Also, the babiest baby is often taking his morning nap during most of school. Sorry I wasn’t clear on that, I always think of nap time as the afternoon when everyone is quiet and forget about that morning nap time for the youngest. 😉

    Hope that clears it up for you.


  9. Celee
    October 2, 2009 | 2:16 pm

    Thank you so much! I’ve used blanket and chair time with my 3 year old and he’s doing great. It’s the 11 mo that is quite demanding right now. So we try to do our read-alouds while she’s napping. We can’t get it all in during her morning nap, though, so we have to come back to it in the afternoon.

    I’ll go back and read those earlier posts on multi-level homeschooling, too. Thank you for specifically answering my questions! I’m sure I’ll have more, but I’ll go back and read everything in the series first.


  10. Angela
    October 3, 2009 | 7:25 pm

    This is what is working so far, sort of. After breakfast we have family worship, then I do the younger group school – which takes 30-45 min, while the big kids each take a day to engage the pre-schoolers, baby stays with me. Then we do individual stuff till and after lunch, with the older group school during nap time. It is just hard to keep everyone engaged and productive.


  11. Amy
    October 5, 2009 | 9:28 pm

    I am late reading this post, but I will put my two cents in, too. We love Sonlight and are on our 10th year. I usually have 2 different cores going, along the same time period. (I have 6 children, 5 that I teach.)I pick and chose the best of the two to read aloud to everyone. Sometimes it is a read aloud from the younger core, sometimes the older, and sometimes it is a reader from the older core that I want my littles to get in on. Then I read the history aloud from the older core. To make sure the older ones get all of their core in, they do more reading on their own. So, they read some of the read alouds for their core, along with most of the readers for that core. The littles are sometimes read to at their level, and most of the times it is above, but they still get a lot out of it. We do our reading in the afternoon when the baby and preschooler are sleeping. We usually read for longer than nap time, so they wake up and join us for the end. That way we have quite time without the little ones, but they also learn to sit quietly while we are reading.

    I am glad to see that you, Kimberly, continue to do a hands on curriculum with many childern. It seems like many families who have lots of children eventually switch to curriculum that is more hands off from the parents. It takes us all day to get our school work done, but we continue to like it. Times when we get more into individual work and less reading, everyone’s satisfaction with school goes down, especially mine!


  12. Raising Olives
    October 5, 2009 | 9:46 pm

    Angela and Amy – Thanks so much for chiming in here. It is encouraging to hear how things work in your homes. I really value having those who are farther along the path than I am and I appreciate your taking the time to share how you are working with two levels of Sonlight.

    This year has been a more challenging homeschool year for us for a number of reasons, but I think it will be great preparation for working with two different levels of Sonlight next year and the new challenges that will bring.

    I envision doing something very similar to what you are describing, Amy. Focusing on the older ones for read alouds, having them do more independent reading (or reading as a group, but without mom) and adding in extra read alouds for the younger ones.

    Angela – I just noticed that we have children almost exactly the same ages. Mine are currently 13, 11, 10, 9, 7, 6, 4, 3 and 1. I think only two of our children are different ages and that only by a year (or more likely by a few months).


  13. darci
    October 28, 2009 | 8:43 pm

    HI Kimberly,
    Great post on Sonlight.
    We are working on some schedule shifts with multi-level homeschooling.
    Specifically, with a 4th grader and 3rd grader… then three little ones 3 and under.
    I also do not want them to be independent… but all working and learning together.
    How would you recc doing this?
    They have Math and English and Spelling – separate right?
    When they do their own reading / readers … your kiddos read aloud — but how many at once? In different locations?
    My 4th and 3rd have different readers… or I could put them together, listen together, and take turns reading aloud?
    Can you help me with some specifics?
    Do your kids do handwriting worksheets?
    I’ve used Sonlight Science, so I get that. They all use the same level and read the book a loud, then do the experiment together?
    What is your specific schedule for each child… to keep them all going and learning?
    thanks for any help you have to share! 🙂


    Raising Olives Reply:

    No worries about running out of blog topics while I have you around. 🙂 I currently have two posts about Sonlight that I’m working on, I’ll try to answer some of your questions more thoroughly in those.

    We actually only do Math separately, all language arts are taught together although all the children may have some independent work assigned.

    Our older kids (9 and up) read silently and they do this after lunch during rest time. I often let them take turns and read aloud to each other.

    Yes, our kids have handwriting books.

    Sonlight Science exactly as you described. I read the book aloud to everyone and they work through the experiment together.

    I will be posting more about our specific schedule soon (it’s one of the posts I’m working on, if I don’t fully answer your question there, feel free to ask again. 😉 )


  14. Erin
    November 16, 2009 | 1:50 pm

    I’m really looking forward to more posts on this topic. In my “great curriculum search”, I have been looking around at Sonlight, and the only drawback I can really find is the potential difficulty in teaching 2 different Cores. That, and trying to figure out which Core(s) we’d have to start with. So, if I’ve followed your blog correctly, you use FIAR for your littles, and let them sit in and absorb from the Sonlight lessons, as well? I really appreciate all the informative homeschooling posts you have, its so helpful to get a peek into how others do it, especially those with larger families than mine!


    Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes! You have exactly what we do. Next year we will face the 2 core dilemma. I have big plans and high hopes that it will work out beautifully, but not having actually done it…. We’ll wait and see. My advantage in beginning two cores at this point in time is that I’ll have had 6 years of Sonlight under my belt and I’ve already gone through core 1 once, so hopefully I have a good grasp of how to combine the cores into one mega, multi-level world history course. 🙂


  15. Nicki
    January 13, 2010 | 12:10 am

    After 2 years of considering, I’m ready to order Sonlight for the first time. My kids are 13 and 9, and 4 and 1, so I’ll be ordering Core 5 for the older kids, and will do FIAR with the little boys. I was finally sold on it after reading about your experiences and how you accomplish it with more kids than me! I LOVE that we will all be learning the same thing. It’s what I’ve always done, but I have been writing my own lessons and doing research, finding books, etc. When I wasn’t prepared, it didn’t get done.
    I’m so excited, and really looking forward to more posts on Sonlight!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Your ages are similar to ours and we are finishing up Core 5 this year. I think that you will be happy with your decision. Next year you’ll all be ready to move to 6 and 1.

    Please let me know if there are some specifics that you’d like me to post about Sonlight.

    Thanks friend!


  16. Kathi
    January 26, 2010 | 3:59 pm

    I realize this is similar to other ?s, but I’m going to ask anyway.I had decided to make my own curriculum (I know, crazy) but then read Amy’s posts on Sonlight.

    We’ve used MFW’s CtG and are now doing RtR.Next year, the girls will be 8th and 5th…the boys 2nd and K.

    What would you buy?

    BTW…My Ker will be doing MFW’s K (which I love), so he’s not really an issue.

    Thanks for your help.
    Have a good day.
    – Kathi


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I think that MFW is My Father’s World. What are CtG and RtR?

    Are you asking what level of Sonlight? or which curriculum?

    If you’re thinking of going with Sonlight, I would consider using Core 6 with your 8th and 5th (I will be doing that next year with my 5th-8th graders) and Core 1 with the 2nd and K (I will be doing that next year with my 3rd-K kids). Both Core 1 and 6 are world history, so I envision being able to incorporate the cores together.

    I know that Celee (see her comment above for a link to her blog) is doing 1 and 6 together this year. She may have better info on that idea than I do since she’s doing it and I’m just planning to do it.


  17. Beth Hudson
    May 1, 2010 | 1:44 am

    I’m a little late to the game on this post. I found it while cruising around your homeschooling posts. This has been our first (half) year homeschooling, and we’ve been using various curriculums for various subjects. I’ve dreamed of using Sonlight since I first read about it while researching, but the cost of buying two Cores made it only a dream. The thought that I could use one Core for both of my older kids is very exciting. But I’m wondering which Core and how to customize it. Maybe you could help?

    My oldest will be in 3rd grade next year, but is pretty advanced. The second will be in 1st grade next year. What Core would you recommend for both? Should I start at the beginning with Core 1? How could I make it harder for my oldest?

    And what do you do about math? We are currently using Math-U-See, and it’s working pretty well for us. Do you have your kids do their math separately?

    Sorry about all the questions. I’m just excited that it might actually work to use one Core for both older kids! 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    When I’m selecting a Sonlight Core, I generally gear it toward my oldest children, in your case that would be Core 3. Something else to consider is where that will put you a few years from now. The Cores seem to jump up in difficulty right around Core 4 and 5, so perhaps you would consider doing Alt. 1 & 2 and then jumping into Core 3 when both of your children are in that range.

    Another consideration when choosing where to place your children is younger children. I don’t ever want to be doing more than two levels of Sonlight at one time and I think for the majority of families that is a realistic goal. So consider any younger children that you have and think about where they will fit into ‘school’ and what needs they will have.

    Another thing to remember is that Core 1 & 6 are both World History and Core 2 & 7 are both second year World History, so those are levels that are easier to combine. This is what our family is doing. We’ve been in one Core up until now and this year we will be combining Core 1 & 6 and next 2 & 7.

    As far as making it harder, you can assign more reading on the topic and/or give more writing assignments about what you are studying, but honestly most of the time we just discuss things at a higher level, talk more about worldview, assumptions, etc. in whatever you are studying.

    I’d say that if Math-U-See is working well for you, I’d stick with that. Math is one of our subjects where everyone has their own level.


  18. Pamela
    May 6, 2010 | 2:12 pm

    Hi, you mentioned in the above post that you do not feel that Sonlight thoroughly integrates Biblical history. I am wondering what materials/books you use, if any, to fill in this gap. I am new to homeschooling and leaning towards Sonlight, but this is one area that I consider to be lacking as well. Thanks!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We focus a lot on Biblical history as part of our regular life. The last time we went through Core 1 (when our big kids were little) we were simultaneously going through Greenleaf Guide to Old Testament History as part of our family worship.

    This year we will once again be studying ancient history and I am going to be incorporating Mystery of History along with Sonlight 6 and 1 to fill the gap.

    Also, since we use Sonlight to directly teach our children I don’t feel that this is as big of a problem as it would be if they were studying it on their own. We are constantly reminding ourselves and talking about what was happening in the history of Israel during this or that period of time.

    I hope that helps.


    Amber Henderson Reply:

    I have been passed on some sonlight books and instructors guides from 2004. They are labelled with letters and grades, not core 1 etc. do you know if core 1 is the same as core A and so on? And, would you use older guides for the sake of keeping costs low even if they are 10 yrs old?
    Thanks, A


  19. […] year we will be combining Sonlight Core 1 & 6.  We will be using resources from both of these Cores to create a multi-level history plan for our […]

  20. Deirdre
    June 7, 2010 | 12:33 am

    I am eagerly awaiting any info on how you are planning to weave Core 1 and 6 together. We will be doing it too this yr except I am not as together as you are and so I sit at your feet and learn. Thanks!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I am hoping to get to this, but I’m not sure when. 😉


  21. Kari
    July 11, 2010 | 2:48 am

    I just received our first order from Sonlight. I’ll be returning it and returning to the Bible as our curriculum. Volume #1 in American History talks about the Ice Age, and the world being 30,000 years old, never once mentions creation, and the Core Curriculum included “To Kill A MockingBird” in the 8th grade curriculum. WAKE UP PARENTS! How can you support this?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Kari,

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts about Sonlight. It certainly isn’t for everyone and I’ve often said and written that if you want a curriculum to just hand to your children without your (the parents) direct involvement and discussion then I don’t recommend Sonlight.

    That said, I’m not sure which book you are referring to in regard to the evolution/creation issue. Sonlight does use secular books and several of them refer to ancient earth or evolution, but most often those portions of the books are not assigned and when evolution or ‘ancient earth’ is mentioned within an assignment it has always been noted and denounced in the Sonlight Instructor’s Guide.

    Sonlight has written a long article “27 Reasons NOT to Buy Sonlight” and your reasons fall into several of those categories.

    Because of how directly involved both Mark and I are in our children’s education and how much Bible reading, discussion and instruction they receive outside of ‘school’, Sonlight has provided a good structure for some of those other subjects. We appreciate the deep discussions that Sonlight books generate as we evaluate and address issues in the light of God’s Word.

    Sonlight has been a blessing to our family as we work to raise and educate the 10 children with which God has blessed us and we will continue to honestly discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Sonlight in an effort to help others.

    I’ve written many things about our reasons and goals for homeschooling (they are quite different from most homeschoolers ideas and goals) if you’re interested in how we evaluate and choose curriculum.

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment and sharing your perspective.


  22. […] year using Sonlight.  I have posted about Sonlight before, how we use it to effectively educate children who are at many different levels and how Sonlight fits into our daily schedule.  For our family Sonlight has been a tremendous […]

  23. My Boaz's Ruth
    July 16, 2010 | 1:04 pm

    One thing that is really appealing to me about My Father’s World is how they use the Bible as the spine in the Creation to the Greeks section (CtG)


  24. Betty
    March 4, 2011 | 9:45 pm

    I’ve never used Sonlight, but I would be interested in learning which readers to be wary of. I wish there was a website to provide specific info on books. I’m not a fast reader and can’t keep up with reading ahead of my 3 older ones. I’d love to know which readers to pre-view. Thanks!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I recently posted about the Sonlight readers that we don’t read. Feel free to ask about specific books if you have more questions.


  25. Twila
    August 25, 2011 | 2:54 am

    You mentioned “… my version of Sonlight language arts.”
    Have you written something on this yet? Can you share a link to that spot? (sorry I get lost in your blog…)
    Thanks a bunch!!
    Is this curriculum “Canadian friendly”?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I never did get around to writing more about Sonlight language arts. Basically “my version of Sonlight LA” is a Charlotte Mason, whole language approach to the Sonlight program. Honestly, I would suggest reading up on CM’s language arts philosophy and adopting that.

    We’re currently using CM’s method of language arts with McGuffey readers. I am in the process of writing posts about how that works for children at different levels.

    Sonlight is “Canadian friendly”. It was written and designed to work well for missionary children, so it’s a good international program.


  26. brandy
    March 20, 2012 | 2:52 pm

    hello, I was wanting to know do you use the LA and Science from SL? If so what is it you like and do not like about it? Thanks for your time.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Brandy.

    We have used both the LA and the Science from Sonlight in the past. While I thought the science was fine, I was always disappointed with the LA. It did not seem well organized or laid out and was a bit sporadic on what it covered. I also found the writing assignments to be tedious.

    Here is how we teach language arts currently.

    We now use Apologia for teaching science. I explain how it works in our home in this post.


  27. jul
    August 2, 2012 | 2:01 am

    i’m really late on this question for this post, but i would love a list of the sonlight books you avoid. i don’t use sonlight guides, but have all/most of their books for my kids’ reading for each year. however, we’ve come across one here and there that i’ve been surprised at. as i’m a slow reader, and haven’t been able to catch them always before my daughter does, i would love your thoughts.



  28. Beth
    April 23, 2013 | 5:19 pm

    I just ran across your post because I’m trying to figure out next year. We skipped Sonlight this year and were considering putting the younger kids in Core A, but my 6th grader in Core G. Doing one core was a lot for me, and I’m not sure if I can do two. Please let me know how it worked for you to do the both (I had been thinking the same things about A & G being the same topics)


  29. Kirstie
    October 15, 2013 | 2:57 pm

    We use SonLight too, and enjoy it. We are currently in Kindergarten and 2nd grade.

    Ihave been stuck and found your blog and that you started Sonlight in 2004 with your then 7 year old….Ihas wondering if you had a copy of the “History Guide” 2004 Intro to World History Part 2 (2nd Grade)…I received a friends schedule, but no Notes/Guide came with it?? She doesn’t have it either. Strange, I know…that usually is with the schedule. Praying you can help! 🙂


  30. Dawne
    June 14, 2014 | 6:28 pm

    Enjoyed reading this older post! I am going to link it to our Sonlight Moms group on FB. 🙂


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