Moving On

After 7 years of homeschooling with Sonlight, we’re moving on.   There are a number of reasons, but perhaps our family has simply outgrown Sonlight.

This year began with us deciding that we didn’t like the main book that Sonlight used for history, ‘The Story of the World’.  (I mentioned this in my formal review of Sonlight 6)  ‘Story of the World’ is based on evolutionary presuppositions, does not include much of recorded Biblical history  and the proverbial straw is that the Biblical history that it does record is misleading in the best instances and blatantly false in others.  If we can’t trust the author to be factual when it comes to history that is recorded in the inspired Word of God, we aren’t willing to assume that the author is factual when it comes to areas of history where interpretation is necessary.  So we decided to choose our own history resources.

Next we realized that while Sonlight’s suggestion for Bible is good, it is a bit simplistic for children who have been reading and studying Scripture for several years.  It is a book that we could happily use with our 5-8 year olds, but is not a challenge for our 5th-8th graders.  So, we chose to use another book for Bible study.

Then I stepped back.  We were not using Sonlight’s history.  We were not using Sonlight’s Bible.  We were not using Sonlight’s science or language arts.  We weren’t using Sonlight.

We’ve appreciated the safety of Sonlight and it has served our family well, until now.   The creators of Sonlight are people, moms and dads just like us who have looked at some of the resources that are available and have chosen what they think are best.   Perhaps in the future their choices will once again be a good fit for our family, but for now we’re ready to make those choices for ourselves.  We’re ready to leave Sonlight’s plan  behind and create one of our own.

We’ve spent the last couple of months praying, reading, researching, talking, evaluating and  selecting the history and literature books and resources that we want to use with our children. (Our distinctives and methods and other curriculum choices have remained the same.)

I admit that I’m going to miss the already-laid-out lesson plans and the ability to wake up in the morning, open the instructor’s guide and know what we’re going to cover, but I’m excited about creating our own plan for our own family.

We are open to suggestions for GREAT, living history and literature books and are always happy to discover quality book lists, so feel free to share.

Now, if I could just  come up with a way for me to add lesson planning into the schedule without getting more behind on laundry.  Anyone tips?

If you’d like to read more about our how and why we homeschool our 10 children, please visit the homeschool page where posts are listed according to topic.

Other posts in this series:

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90 Responses to Moving On
  1. Elizabeth
    November 10, 2010 | 10:35 am

    We’ve never used a curriculum for history, but read A LOT of books and make-up our own projects. I want to second the recommendation for the Truth Quest History manuels. They are amazing resources.

    I did a brief foray into using Veritas for my 7th grader this year (using the Omnibus) and it turns out not to be a great fit for our family. I have had to do a lot of reworking as it seems to contain a lot of written busy work, in my opinion.


  2. Jill
    November 10, 2010 | 11:09 am

    I’ve been using My Father’s World this year as well and LOVE it. I love it for the lesson plan, of course, but my favorite thing is the way missions and a Biblical World View are woven throughout all of the subjects. And they are very careful when it comes to resources – occasionally there might be a resource suggested that has a bit of evolution in it (very few and far between) but when that happens, the author always warns us ahead of time so we can decide if we want to use that resource or not. But that is rare, like I said. The resources that have been chosen are excellent. My daughter and I are LOVING reading the missionary bio’s, the Window on the World people group bio’s, etc. We’re currently using Exploring Countries and Cultures. The only thing I don’t know much about is how well this curriculum works with Jr. High. But if works so well with the elementary ages. FYI Kimberly – we are also using your Bible memory verse box system and I am amazed at how well that is working! I cant’ believe how much my kids have memorized! Thanks for posting the detailed description of that method.


  3. Liz
    November 10, 2010 | 12:42 pm

    We are not that experienced so can’t really offer any pointers (children currently 4 and 1)! I have enjoyed looking through all these suggestions. We liked Sonlight but it was waaay too expensive for us, especially as we already had quite a few of the books :)

    We are currently using Rod and Staff’s preschool books, and plan to use them at least for a few more years. They are amazingly inexpensive for how rigorous they are. They look really good for the basics of math, grammar etc.

    Our main problem is that we are BRITISH (yes yes, no references to 1776 thank you :)) so many of the packaged programs are just no good for us in terms of spelling and history!!!! We do weird things like spelling colour with a ‘u’, and don’t understand what a faucet is. We don’t seem to care about hygiene or manners as much as you (lol!), and our farms are a little smaller than the average Iowa sprawl.

    I’m thinking I’ll have to write my own stuff…maybe….while I’ve still only got 2 kids?


  4. Shanna
    November 10, 2010 | 12:49 pm

    We love My Father’s World!


  5. Brandi
    November 10, 2010 | 4:09 pm

    Hey Kim,

    Have you considered My Father’s World? Biblically based, multi level, the schedule is all laid out. They have great books and some hands on things to do. This is our 3 year and we are doing Creation to Greeks, we are really enjoying it, while their are other books for history most of what we are reading is from the Bible or the Victor journey throught the Bible, which I also really like.
    MFW included Bible, history, science, art, music and they have suggestions for other subjects.
    Another thing to check out is Diana waring’s history curriculum, especially the history cd’s – they are great!
    Hope you let us know what you decide.


  6. Beth
    November 11, 2010 | 6:47 am

    We are using Heart of Dakota for our oldest child (6th grade.) We don’t do all of the activities, and you may just want to look at it for the list of books.


  7. Julie Johnston
    November 11, 2010 | 11:01 am

    Just last week I read on Vision Forum’s website that they now have planned a curriculum guide using their books. I have not looked into it much…but would assume from our experience with Vision Forum that it is both accurate and excellent! I’m hoping to look into it more in depth soon!


  8. Mari
    November 11, 2010 | 11:18 pm

    I like your blog and I like Sonlight, but my children are to young for “The Story of the World”. What is it about that book that is evolutionary?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Mari,

    If our children were all still young, I think that we would probably choose Sonlight again. We don’t have regrets. Sonlight has been a wonderful program for our family and has facilitated many years of wonderful homeschooling. (We continue to use most of their resources and book suggestions.) I dedicated an entire post to Sonlight, its pros and cons, how we used it and why it worked for us.

    I gave some specifics about the evolutionary presuppositions in “The Story of The World” and a link to an example of it’s biblical inaccuracies in this comment.

    In the chapter and sections I mention in that previous comment, SOTW teaches that the earliest people were nomads, hunter/gatherers wandering here and there finding food and moving when the food supply ran out. Then eventually, over time, they discovered that if you planted seeds crops would grow. They eventually began to settle down around water sources and plant crops and raise animals. This contradicts what the Bible teaches us about early man (see previous comment) and demonstrates that the author has adopted, at least in part, a world view more consistent with evolutionary theory than the Bible.


  9. Letisha Reese
    November 13, 2010 | 11:23 pm

    Have you looked into Mystery Of History? I love it and Christian viewpoint. It has recommended activities for all grade levels.


  10. Rebecca
    November 10, 2012 | 10:40 pm

    We follow Sonlight’s read-aloud list some, but we use the Mystery of History for our history guide. We do not plan to use any of Sonlight’s SOTW/US history. The Mystery… Is Creation based and we like how it lines up the other civilizations and what they were doing with the chronological highlights in the Bible. It lends itself well to the multiple age-groups and has further study for different student levels. We have been reading it alongside daddy’s daily Bible reading, right now we’re reading about Solomon in both. We have found small inaccuracies but we’ve been able to spot them quickly because the Bible story is fresh in the mind. It’s not perfect but it is best foundation we’ve found to weave in the rest of the world beside the Bible. I know there are probably many others, but this is one we decided to go with at this time. Great to read these other posts.
    Also, I made a chart like Sonlight’s daily in MS Excel so that I can just fill in book titles and page #s as I go along. I don’t keep up with it as well as I should but even having the blank chart in front of me gives me a good guide to follow and lets the kids see what we’re doing a bit. It might help you if you’re used to looking at your binder page each day.
    Thanks for sharing with all of us what you’re doing.


  11. Jill
    July 24, 2015 | 8:24 am

    It may be worth nothing that while you may not like SL’s history spine or their Bible portion (we have never used their bible), their choice of books is excellent.
    This is an old post, I know, but maybe for the future, you could forego SL’s spine for history and focus, instead, on their book selection. :)


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