This is a full Christian curriculum in a box. You can mix and match to suit your family. It is a bible based literature rich curriculum which can be used in a variety of ways. When we started our home ed journey, I researched different approaches to home education and I loved the Charlotte Mason style of natural learning and living books… unfortunately I was also working part time and this meant my husband and I needed something we could both use and follow to bring continuity to each day for the children. We needed something planned and ready to go.
I didn’t know anyone using Sonlight and I also didn’t know many home educators. After a lot of research we decided to take what felt like a huge risk and go for it, we ordered a full subject package. We ordered core B (Intro to world history year 1 of 2), with science, language arts and a maths curriculum. This way you get a discount which pretty much covers the transatlantic postage.
Initially overwhelmed by the amount of books and equipment, also by the HUGE instructors guide… I pushed through and started… just taking one day at a time. We began to read amazing books, discover far off lands and cultures, learn so many amazing facts… all while snuggling on the sofa reading great books, playing with science equipment at the kitchen table.
We are thankful because as a family as we have grown in our faith and with each other as we have enjoyed true faith building stories of missionaries and shared Bible readings… all while learning about a different country and culture.
10 years later we are still using Sonlight! My oldest is currently studying History of Science core J as his (equivalent UK Year 10). We have gone through cores: B, C, D&E, F, G and H! Using this curriculum has been and still is such a blessing. We have had a couple of periods where I’ve tried other things and have always gone back to Sonlight. Nothing seems to compare. Our children are growing up to have such a varied and rich understanding of history, bible, geography, language and science… it’s been and still is exciting to hear the kids discussing history and politics, science and geography so eloquently and in such an articulate way. Our initially sceptical family and friends have also commented on this!
It is expensive… phew! The price was a shock for us. especially on a tight budget!!! but actually as we have enjoyed the high quality books and resources, reused the curriculum for our other children so easily (easily adapting each core for their unique needs) I see the value for money. We have 4 children and our youngest is going to start core B next year. We have also loaned out different cores while we were not using them to other families! Once we have finished there is an option to sell it on, they resell well. Although at the moment we wouldn’t want to part with most of the amazing books. Sonlight now offer PayPal payment, which means you can split it over 3 months interest free… big help. I also try and buy in March when they have a big sale on. As a regular Sonlighter you also receive a further discount.
One challenge I have found, especially initially, is the feeling of being behind, or not managing to keep up and tick everything off each day. I have come to realise that actually Sonlight deliberately provide you with too much to do, so you can drop things that don’t suit your child or you. They provide so much so that missing a book or two out is totally ok, you still gain a broad understanding of the subject with the parts of the curriculum your kids engage with. We have also found audible to be a wonderful blessing. I just don’t have time for all the read aloud books… we have audible on in the car or just snuggle on the sofa with a drink and biscuit while I prepare a meal or catch up with housework. My older ones read them independently as well and often multiple times as the years go on.
A question often asked about Sonlight is: is it too full of American culture and history? You can choose not to include American history cores if you want to. There are snippets of American culture and history in the books you get, and my children have been amused at the American use of language at times… but it’s actually not been a negative for us at all. We have chosen to include a year of American history for those of our kids that would like to do it… it’s been very interesting and also important in understanding world history and British history.
I believe there is no such thing as a perfect curriculum… but I am thankful we took the risk to try Sonlight when we did! It has helped us provide the education I dreamed of when starting out on ‘the road less traveled’. Naturally encouraging a deep love of learning and as the kids are getting older they are happily independent and diligent in their studies. It has brought focus to our days, it has taken away the stress of planning and researching… it has brought peace to our very busy household!
Cost: approximately New: $350-$850 + (depending on what subjects and extras you need or want) +postage. Often Sonlight is available to buy second hand on Facebook or eBay.