Monday, December 31, 2007

Everybody's smilin' - sunshine day!

We are currently in the middle of our holiday break from any organized bookwork. Thought I would let you know how things are going with our recent move to Sonlight Curriculum.

First, I realize that Sonlight wants you to buy everything through them, and they only give you your money back if you purchase a package directly. However, I simply won't spend $800 on one level ... first of all, we don't have that much to spend, but I'm not sure I would spend that much even if I had it. I also don't want to use their math ... and I'm too eclectic to make such a commitment.

So, I utilize the library, bought my cores used, and have only purchased a few items that cannot be located anywhere else (after MUCH research and reading of reviews to discover what I really do and do not need). I have saved hundreds (underline: HUNDREDS!) of dollars.

We still use LifePacs for math (will be using Teaching Textbooks starting in 5th grade), and we don't "do" Bible (I guess I would be considered a hardcore unschooler of the Bible).

Now, having said all of that - I LOVE SONLIGHT! I love their selection of books. We don't do the activity sheets or questions. We just read, and then sit around and talk. The books are very rich with information, and they spark curiosity and challenge your thinking. I make us stick to the reading schedule that they lay out in the curriculum, simply because it always leaves us wanting more (me as much as the kids)!

I don't think I could have handled Sonlight before last year. I would have tried to do it all and found myself frustrated. I can see how Sonlight has added more options over the years to help those who feel that they are not "filling in enough blanks." I have evolved into a much more confident state, and can just enjoy the exposure to living books, without the follow up stuff (I find our discussions much more stimulating than anything the questions could ever produce).

Sonlight is built around literature, and their selection of books are fantastic. Thumbs up!


Summer said...

I'm glad sonlight is workign out so well for you guys. :) $800! Yipes! I think I would have fainted. Good thing you can find used for much cheaper. :)

sheri said...

Sonlight does have an excellent reading list; very thought provoking and not the proverbial "brain candy" that is so prevalant. It's so nice to find something that works for your family. :)

Christy said...

Can you tell me some of the books they use on the 2nd grade level?

Christine said...

I would suggest that you order a catalog or dig around on their website to see their suggested books. It's a bit unusual, but they don't necessarily use grade levels. I have my 4th grader and 3rd grader both on the Core 3 level.

Char said...

Have you looked at the free curriculum at They have laid out "living books" to read in a weekly schedule. Many of the books are available free on-line or at a good library. We choose to buy the books so we had to search for them at e-bay and other on-line sources- not as convenient as Sonlight. It's nice because some of the books can be used for multiple years. I believe Sonlight is considered a 'classical' education whereas Ambleside is 'Charlotte Mason'. Since you talk about the books after reading them it sounds like you are using the Charlotte Mason concept of narration. Just another resource to look at- don't you hate it when you find something that works and people jump in with more options? ;-)

Midnite Scrapper said...

Hey there! I was just checking in to make sure you were okay. I read your blog just about every day and have not seen any posts lately. I love your honest encouragement. Also, I just got a chance to watch your videos in the video bar. Loved them. My favorite was the housecleaning. Take care - Sherry