9 Reasons Why We Love Using Sonlight

Choosing a curriculum can be a daunting task with all of the many options out there nowadays.  We are about to begin our 5th year homeschooling and once again we're sticking with Sonlight.  Many of you have had great questions about it so here goes....9 reasons our family loves using Sonlight!

{One of the many reasons why I love homeschooling...oh, and in case you're wondering, I was almost 8 months preggo w/ Lucy in this pic!}
1.  Almost all of the work is done for you.
Yep.  You heard me correctly!  With the Sonlight Instructor's Guides, everything is planned and organized in an easy to follow schedule.  All of the lesson plans and teachers notes are in one place. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that I don't have to spend my summers (or late nights!) figuring out what I'm going to teach the next day.

The Instructor's Guides also make it simple to keep detailed records.  All I do is stamp (or write) the date on the lesson plans!  (You can go here to download a sample of Sonlight's Instructor's Guides.)

2.  Sonlight is extremely "Missions Minded."
From the very beginning they teach children about missions.  Did you know I was almost 20 years old when I learned that there were millions of people groups in the world without a Bible in their language?  It also was the first time I had ever heard of the "10/40 Window."  Through the books in the Sonlight curriculum, my children know all about the unreached people groups, in fact they start learning about them in Kindergarten!  When they started learning about them, most of the countries and peoples I had never even heard of! (Isn't that sad?)

When a missionary couple came to our church who were going to Niger to minister to the Toureg people, my children knew where it was and had already learned about that nomadic people group and their culture.  Another instance was when another missionary family came who were headed to a closed country in Asia...a country most Americans have never heard of!  But again, my children had already been educated about that country, it's culture and people!  

Many days my husband will come home from work and I'll say, "Honey! Guess what I learned in school today?!"  =) I'm learning so much along with my children, and in turn it has given me a renewed urgency about missions and the millions of people who are yet unreached with the Gospel.

3.  World History is taught first.

In most curriculums, this is not the norm.  With Sonlight, they begin in Kindergarten with a study of world cultures, then in 1st grade progress to World History, which continues in 2nd grade.  It is not until 3rd grade that any American History is taught.  But it doesn't begin with, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue!"  We learned about the ancient peoples of South America, the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans, who lived here long before the pilgrims.  Much is learned about the different Indians tribes who lived all across our continent before Europeans took over.  After learning all of that, the American History that we are all so familiar with makes so much more sense and is more meaningful. 
Learning ancient world history has also been very beneficial for myself and my study of the Bible.  Once I knew the political, cultural and religious problems surrounding Biblical events, it really aided in my understanding of God's Word.  Historical and Biblical timelines finally "clicked!" and it was easy to see the big picture.

4.  My kids learn about evolution.
Yes, I did say that they learn about evolution, but from the right perspective.  We believe it's important that our children know that most children learn that the earth is "millions of years old" but that is because the people who write their science books do not believe the Bible.  As an evangelist friend of ours teaches in a creation conference, "millions of years" is nothing but a fairy tale!  They do not learn about every wrong teaching in the world, and we do want them to be "simple concerning evil" (Romans 16:19), however it is important to "vaccinate" them against teachings that are as prevalent and as damaging as evolution.

5.  They don't write all of their own material.

Sonlight compiles their curriculum from what they feel is the "best of the best."  In our opinion, no one company can be an expert in everything, and we love that they draw from so many great sources and authors.

For instance, they don't publish their own math books, instead they recommend several different Math curriculums that you can choose from.  Find the one that fits your child!  Which leads me to # 6.......

6.  It's not a "one-size fits all" curriculum.
For instance, maybe your 1st grader can read really well and the 1st grade readers are way to easy, but you still want her to do 1st grade History.  Well you can choose readers and a language arts program that is appropriate while keeping the other things grade level.  

Every child is unique and we cannot always stuff them in the "grade" box and expect excellent results.  I think it's just awesome that with Sonlight we can "mix and match" to find what works best for our children. 

7.  We get to read awesome books.
My hubby and I would both have to confess to plucking the school books off the shelf late at night and reading them because we just can't wait to see what happens.  I'm pretty sure we enjoy them just as much, if not more than our kids!  We are heading into our 5th year of Sonlight and I can count on one hand the number of books that we thought were just "okay."  They choose such excellent titles that we love to read and re-read.  When the first grade books were unpacked this past year for Caleb to use, Lydia was beside herself with excitement because she couldn't wait to hear some of them again!

8.  Younger siblings can reuse the material.

This is a huge plus!  Most of the books in the Sonlight curriculum are not consumable, so that makes it easy to pass it on.  Also, any worksheets that Sonlight publishes are reproducible for your family.  I always copy the worksheets for Language Arts and Science so that I don't have to buy them again! 

9.  Satisfaction is guaranteed.

Sonlight operates with integrity and it really is a pleasure to do business with them.  For instance, years ago we bought a markable map and then many months later they realized the map they were selling was wrong.  (There were a few teensy-tiny islands missing.) So you know what they did?  They sent EVERYONE who had every purchased one of those maps a brand new map that was correct.  Wow.  Talk about going above and beyond!  They could have just sent out a memo saying what was wrong!  I was so impressed.  Another time was when I had a Science Instructor's Guide with a few mistakes in it and they caught it (I hadn't even noticed yet!), sent me a new one for free, and a $10 coupon as an apology. Again, I had not reported it...I didn't even know yet that there was a problem! 

Besides their integrity as a business, Sonlight is continually updating and changing their material in an effort to always do their best. You don't have to worry about getting some antiquated curriculum that nobody bothers to update!

And if you're nervous about trying Sonlight, check out there "Love to Learn Guarantee"...it may be the perfect thing for you!


Well, that about wraps it up, although I really could go on with more reasons!  I hope this has been a help to those of you still making curriculum decisions.  (You can also read 27 reasons NOT to use Sonlight and 27 reasons why families love Sonlight.)  If you have any more questions, please feel free to leave a question in the comments or shoot me an email!  

Next week I'll be sharing our curriculum picks for this year (i.e. Math, etc.) and the only thing I don't like about Sonlight.  Stay tuned!

What curriculum do you use for homeschooling?  Have you ever heard of Sonlight?

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  1. Hi Laine! I just found your blog through 5Days 5Ways and we have a LOT in common! I am also a pastor's wife, also a homeschooling mama, and have #4 on the way! So nice to "meet" you.
    I love this rundown on Sonlight. I actually just bought all of my curriculum for the year yesterday and am going with several different companies, but Sonlight looks amazing!

  2. I almost went with Sonlight this year, but decided to wait until I have 2 children in school so we can take advantage of the 'sharing' subjects, etc. I am really impressed with it, so am keeping it in mind for the future!
    I am a REALLY big fan of doing world history first- that's one of the things that caught my eye about Sonlight. And even though we are Americans, we live in Canada, so we want our kids to have a balanced view of world history from an early age- something I never had.
    Can you include a segment in your next post about the cost of the curriculum and how much you save in consecutive years by re-using books/sharing subjects, etc.?

    1. Absolutely! I hadn't thought about sharing that...thanks for the great question!

  3. We used Sonlight when we homeschooled for two years. I love it! I still reference the book lists when I am looking for read-alouds to use in my classroom. The mission-minded perspective was a big thing for me, as well as the "inoculation" against alternate world views. Very rich learning.

  4. Thanks so much for introducing me to sonlight! I am wondering, do you ask the discussion questions while reading the stories or wait until you are finished reading? I'm scared that my children would listen to the story and then tune out during discussion. :) (my oldest is two, maybe in a few years that will change)


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