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Sonlight removing religious content for use in public school program


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#1 hsmom10

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:34 PM

Has anyone heard this? I live in a district in CO (close to Sonlight headquarters) and saw this in a newspaper article. Basically one of the districts has a one day a week homeschool enrichment program, through the public schools. I knew last year they offered Sonlight as a curriculum to use, free of charge, and was surprised that a religious curriculum would be offered through the public school system. Well, in this article it says that in order to be used by the public school district next year, they have done "secular edits" and have removed all religious content or anything advocating faith so that the public school will be able to offer it to families. I guess the CFO of Sonlight lives in this school district, and his children attend the public school enrichment program.

I don't have a problem with public schools not being able to use religious curriculum. I don't have a problem with anyone wanting to use Sonlight in a secular way.

What bothers me is that SONlight, who has always been a religious company, is conforming or altering who they are, to fit in to a public school model. The CFO is quoted in the article saying "It would not be worth it to do it for one district. There are other entities. We're working with groups in Alaska, Ohio and Washington."

I have been a long time Sonlight customer, but I am not sure I want to support them through this. I am not even sure this info would remain on the Sonlight forums.

Just seems crazy to me. Has anyone else heard anything about this?

#2 MeghanL

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:38 PM

I don't see it as Sonlight changing who they are. I've used Sonlight and omitted parts. Should they not sell to me because I'm not using their curriculum in full? Of course not!
I see this as no different. The school district is providing a really incredible service to their homeschool community and after the materials are delivered, Sonlight really has no say in how the materials are used.

#3 EKS

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:44 PM

I think this is awesome and I hope they sell the curriculum to the public!

#4 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:51 PM

Years ago, John Holzmann had a company called EnvisiCorp or something like that, that existed for the purpose of publishing material suitable for public schools. It was separate from the original Christian Sonlight curriculum offered to homeschoolers. I think. I can't remember the details. Maybe somebody else here remembers?

#5 MinivanMom

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:55 PM

That is fabulous news! I don't see at as changing who they are at all. They are still a (protestant) christian company, but now they are offering more options. I don't think it's any different than allowing the customer to choose whether or not they want to purchase Sonlight's Bible package. It's giving the consumer more choices. Considering the lack of curriculum for secular homeschoolers, I think this is great news.

#6 Jonibee

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:55 PM

http://www.ourcolora...1a4bcf887a.html

I am just speechless.

#7 hsmom10

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:55 PM

Interesting. I guess I see it different. Again, I do not have any problem with people omitting or using the program in a secular manner. There is just something that rubs me the wrong way about them doing it for the public school system.

#8 hsmom10

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:56 PM

http://www.ourcolora...1a4bcf887a.html

I am just speechless.



Thank you for the article link.

#9 DawnL

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 06:58 PM

Do you have a link to the article?

I agree with you. From what you've said, it sounds like Sonlight is rewriting their program to have a secular version. That's their right, of course, but I would want to make sure that wasn't what my kids would be using.

I've seen far too much, lately, of curriculum publishers changing their products to suit the public schools, when many families are pulling their kids to avoid the public school curriculum in the first place. I know Math U See changed their entire program, Alpha through Zeta, to suit the public school. in the case of MUS, they have said they have simply added things and haven't changed or omitted anything from their original program. That being said, I am glad I already own the untarnished versions, Alpha through Zeta, of MUS.

#10 Jonibee

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:00 PM

That is fabulous news! I don't see at as changing who they are at all. They are still a (protestant) christian company, but now they are offering more options. I don't think it's any different than allowing the customer to choose whether or not they want to purchase Sonlight's Bible package. It's giving the consumer more choices. Considering the lack of curriculum for secular homeschoolers, I think this is great news.


I understand the need for more secular homeschool materials, but for a Christian company to rewrite their curriculum to leave all hints of religion out of it . . . well, that's like leaving my Christianity at the church door on my way out. Great news for those who want secular, but disappointing to me. It's like hiding my Bible in the closet in case anybody should see it. You either stand for being a Christian or you don't. I've never felt that people should try to have both sides of the fence.

Off my soapbox now.

#11 DawnL

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:00 PM

Thanks for the link! :)

#12 nmoira

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:01 PM

Alpha Omega makes Odysseyware, a secularized version of its program... with evolution even. :tongue_smilie: It's still sexist and still has other questionable content (a friend's daughter used it in a virtual charter for two years before my friend just couldn't take it any more).

#13 hsmom10

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:01 PM

Do you have a link to the article?

I agree with you. From what you've said, it sounds like Sonlight is rewriting their program to have a secular version. That's their right, of course, but I would want to make sure that wasn't what my kids would be using.

I've seen far too much, lately, of curriculum publishers changing their products to suit the public schools, when many families are pulling their kids to avoid the public school curriculum in the first place. I know Math U See changed their entire program, Alpha through Zeta, to suit the public school. in the case of MUS, they have said they have simply added things and haven't changed or omitted anything from their original program. That being said, I am glad I already own the untarnished versions, Alpha through Zeta, of MUS.


Here is the link:
http://www.ourcolora...1a4bcf887a.html

#14 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:03 PM

What I meant by bringing up InvisiCorp (which is the name I'm now remembering, LOL) was that they didn't stop publishing Christian curriculum just because they also make it secular-friendly for a different audience. Two product lines, one for hs'ers and one for public schools. I'd want to hear from Sonlight directly before I assumed they were de-Christian-izing the product they've been selling for so long. I doubt that.

#15 hsmom10

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:33 PM

What I meant by bringing up InvisiCorp (which is the name I'm now remembering, LOL) was that they didn't stop publishing Christian curriculum just because they also make it secular-friendly for a different audience. Two product lines, one for hs'ers and one for public schools. I'd want to hear from Sonlight directly before I assumed they were de-Christian-izing the product they've been selling for so long. I doubt that.


I don't think they are de-Christian-izing anything they are selling to the homeschooler. They are just altering the program for the public school district. Again, it is less to me about using it in a secular manner, and more that I am not sure I like them being involved in the public school system. And that they would remove the basis of who they are (christian) to fit. It makes me uncomfortable, partly because it seems to be such a secret. Sonlight has not come out and said this is the direction they are taking. They never even really acknowledged they were part of that district curriculum fair last year. I don't know. It just doesn't feel right to me.

#16 Murrayshire

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:48 PM

I think it is wonderful news! In the past I've heard a lot of homeschoolers, including myself, expressing how they want a secular curriculum like Sonlight....So I'm on board if they want to write a secular version for whomever! I would seriously consider staying with them then!

#17 acsnmama

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:55 PM

I understand the need for more secular homeschool materials, but for a Christian company to rewrite their curriculum to leave all hints of religion out of it . . . well, that's like leaving my Christianity at the church door on my way out. Great news for those who want secular, but disappointing to me. It's like hiding my Bible in the closet in case anybody should see it. You either stand for being a Christian or you don't. I've never felt that people should try to have both sides of the fence.

Off my soapbox now.


I agree 100%

It's an all or nothing thing. What they're doing isn't "wrong" but since they are a Christian company, than those who want a secular program, can definitely choose not to use some of the materials, however, to rewrite it specifically, is definitely in favor of the $$ and not representing Christ as they stand for. I never cared for Sonlight anyway.

#18 MeghanL

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:16 PM

Why can't reaching a wider audience with great materials be a goal in and of itself? Most curriculum companies started out Christian, because that was their only market. I think it's great to see this type of change, especially with all the good it will do for the communities it helps. I don't think it would be better for them to leave the religion in and have the program shut down (because that is what would happen). Having a 'Christian' company (what does that mean anyway???) show some flexibility to provide a great resource for homeschool communities is nothing but positive in my book!

#19 Mom2TheTeam

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:21 PM

I agree with OP on this. They are riding the fence and I'm not comfortable with that. I'm glad I'm not a Sonlight user because this would make me rethink using them.

#20 MeghanL

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:27 PM

So those that think this is something to stop supporting Sonlight over...why?
How is this not purely a good thing for everyone involved?
Christians can continue to use Sonlight for their religious matterials.
Schools can support homeschool communities by offering classes using Sonlight materials in an inclusive way.

I just really don't understand why this is leaving their faith at the door of the church. Or, is the thought that any time something secular enters the house/business/mind of a Christian they are no longer Christian?

#21 boscopup

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:35 PM

*
POPULAR

Meh. The curriculum itself really doesn't depend on the Christian theme. The Bible isn't integrated into the history/literature anyway. Some cores have a few missionary books and such, but most of the history/lit is pretty secular already.

I don't understand why they shouldn't be able to help out public schools by offering notes for books that are secular already. For example, there is nothing Christian or not Christian about Johnny Tremain. What's wrong with giving notes for it to help teachers?

If it were someone like MFW or TOG doing this, where they integrate Bible/worldview into everything, I think it'd be hard to do. But for Sonlight? It's already easy to use it secularly. I just don't see a problem with it. It's no different from selling the secular books (which would be a large portion of them) to secular homeschoolers. They aren't changing Sonlight. They're just offering a separate product line to get GOOD BOOKS into public schools.

Also, Sonlight isn't a church. They're just a company. And sometimes Christian companies to secular things, just like individual Christians do secular things. My DH works for a company. This is a secular job. He's still a Christian. He just earns his money doing a job that has nothing to do with his faith. Nothing wrong with that. Why can't a Christian company likewise earn some money via a secular job?

And why the snobbery against the public schools, as if they don't deserve good materials? I don't get it. On the one hand, we complain that public schools aren't doing a good job educating, but on the other hand, we complain when a homeschooling company provides them with materials that could help them do a better job.

Now if Sonlight were to provide the public schools with anti-Christian materials, I'd have a problem. But giving them notes to go along with Johnny Tremain? No problem.

#22 laundrycrisis

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 08:40 PM

I hope they offer it to the public ! I would love to have more options for well-written curriculum that does not have religious views jammed into the nooks and crannies.

Just because religious comments are taken out does not mean they would then be selling material that is somehow opposed to whichever of the many versions of Christianity they were aligned with before.

#23 Crimson Wife

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:07 PM

I wonder if this will be like Angelicum vs. Great Books Academy. I can purchase GBA materials with the stipend from our virtual charter but not the Catholic materials of Angelicum.

#24 nansk

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:36 PM

I wonder if this will be like Angelicum vs. Great Books Academy. I can purchase GBA materials with the stipend from our virtual charter but not the Catholic materials of Angelicum.

Yes, I thought of this same example when I read the OP.

#25 butterflymommy

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 09:45 PM

There is a huge amount of money to be made selling and licensing curriculum for PS use, enough to make homeschool sales look like peanuts. From a financial perspective this makes all the sense in the world-- maybe he is hoping to expand.

#26 hsmom10

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 10:55 PM

Thanks for all the replies- I appreciate seeing the different sides.

I just want to clarify, although it doesn't really matter, it isn't that the public school enrichment program will be using Sonlight- they use their own curriculum. But families that choose to use the enrichment program are given Sonlight for free to use in their home.

I agree completely that it is a financial move

#27 serendipitous journey

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:06 PM

OP, I can relate to your sense of unease at a Christian company making an un-publicized (by them) move toward the secular market. Those feelings seem entirely justified and understandable to me.

On my own account, I am glad to see this move because I am coming to believe that having two options -- providential/God-in-the-physical-world materials on the one hand, and empirically based materials on the other -- from single publishers could solve many of the troubles homeschoolers have with curricula. I am thinking esp. of recent threads on the role of a "neutral" POV in science materials. Now I think the whole point of science is to understand why things happen, and so a "neutral" curriculum is one that is missing a large chunk of the exact information I want to teach. However the young earth folks and I have completely incompatible ideas about why, and how, natural history unfolded as it did and what it means today. If science publishers could freely publish two lines of materials, each inclusive of young earth or old earth teachings and overseen by appropriate editorial staff, what a service that would be.

I do hope that Sonlight's adapted materials will be made available to the general public.

I also want to mention that my own challenge with materials that are officially "Christian" is that they are not merely Christian, but Christian + young earth for example. To Biblical literalists those things seem identical; but for people like me who believe that Biblical literalism is a form of idolatry, it is a big problem: please forgive discomfort that my words may cause, and know that I would never accuse a Biblical literalist of idolatry. I am not in a place to judge such things. But I myself cannot use the Bible in this way with a clear conscience.

There are various other problems I have in implementing a Sonlight curriculum as written that do not stem directly from the Christian belief in the divinity and unique saving power of Jesus, but from other corollaries of their particular and Protestant orientation. I am glad of the Sonlight materials, am especially appreciative of their gentle attitude toward homeschoolers with different beliefs and hold dear the Sonlight value of teaching love for the brotherhood of man. But if I could have all that without any doctrine included, it would be a blessing indeed.

to all: :grouphug: and thanks for this community of educators.

#28 melmichigan

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:36 PM

I'm speechless.



#29 hsmom10

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 11:46 PM

I can't figure out how to quote on my kindle, but actually agree with a lot of your points, serendipitious journey. I am actually an old earth, non- providencial history person. I have had trouble finding that perfect curriculum for our family and have eliminated some of the Sonlight materials over the years. But I do appreciate some of the religious content and knew when deciding on Sonlight that it was a Christian company with religious teaching.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out and if a secular version will be available for the public.

#30 serendipitous journey

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 12:02 AM

I can't figure out how to quote on my kindle, but actually agree with a lot of your points, serendipitious journey. I am actually an old earth, non- providencial history person. I have had trouble finding that perfect curriculum for our family and have eliminated some of the Sonlight materials over the years. But I do appreciate some of the religious content and knew when deciding on Sonlight that it was a Christian company with religious teaching.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out and if a secular version will be available for the public.


I agree ... And as I was reflecting on this, I was struck by the importance of relationships in homeschooling choices, and particularly by the emphasis Sonlight places on their family/ community of users, and on their ministry of being Christian educators. I can see how receiving news of a secularized option from the media, and not Sonlight, would be jarring and have a feeling of wrongness.

#31 Jonibee

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 02:12 AM

I can see how receiving news of a secularized option from the media, and not Sonlight, would be jarring and have a feeling of wrongness.


And maybe this bothers me personally more than anything.

Yes, people have asked for a secular Sonlight for years. And seems to me that they should announce such a development to their customers first, since they place a great deal of emphasis on the fact that they "listen to their customers."

Sonlight is adding to their long history of bad PR decisions, most especially among long-time Sonlight users. The "feeling of wrongness" has been brewing for years over there, with entire public forums "poofed" in their entirety at times. Nothing dismisses a person's opinion so much as to just pretend they aren't there and erase all proof that anything was ever said. Now their forums are private and that keeps the riff-raff out.

Feeling of wrongness? Yes. But it's not the first time.

#32 delaney

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 05:18 AM

I would think that by producing a secular product they are simply being open-minded and accepting of other religions. If they offer a good product why exclude faiths other than christian. Christians do not own the market on religion so why be exclusive? If they completely STOPPED offering a religious curriculum then I could see being upset. Aren't there bigger things to worry about than this since it really isn't effecting your life unless they change the homeschool plans? The list of being mad is so long so why add to it. Chick-fil-A and gays, Wal-mart and low wages/foreign products....you could be pissed off for the rest of your life. If you like Sonlight and it works then just roll along and don't take everything personally, right?

#33 Down_the_Rabbit_Hole

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:25 AM

I understand the need for more secular homeschool materials, but for a Christian company to rewrite their curriculum to leave all hints of religion out of it . . . well, that's like leaving my Christianity at the church door on my way out. Great news for those who want secular, but disappointing to me. It's like hiding my Bible in the closet in case anybody should see it. You either stand for being a Christian or you don't. I've never felt that people should try to have both sides of the fence.

Off my soapbox now.

I understand what you are saying and agree. It is life me acting/talking one way with my Christian friends and then acting/talking another way around my non-christian friends....it is being two faced, In SL's case it is selling out.

This news is upsetting to me, I just returned to SL but this news has me questioning my purchase. I think I might ask SL about this, get their reply and go from there.

#34 Down_the_Rabbit_Hole

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:34 AM

I would think that by producing a secular product they are simply being open-minded and accepting of other religions. If they offer a good product why exclude faiths other than christian. Christians do not own the market on religion so why be exclusive? If they completely STOPPED offering a religious curriculum then I could see being upset. Aren't there bigger things to worry about than this since it really isn't effecting your life unless they change the homeschool plans? The list of being mad is so long so why add to it. Chick-fil-A and gays, Wal-mart and low wages/foreign products....you could be pissed off for the rest of your life. If you like Sonlight and it works then just roll along and don't take everything personally, right?

I think what the OP is getting at is a company that claims to sell Christian material but then alters that material is not a true Christian company. They are a company that sells Christian material....big difference. I have no problem buying secular and have, I have no problem with a company selling Christian and non Christian curriculum. BUT if a company claims to be Christian then all it's material, the material it personally creates (SL IGs) then they need to stick to their beliefs not change them to suit different people.

#35 laundrycrisis

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:45 AM

This "true Christian", "two-faced" business is one of the reasons I steer clear of the specifically religious parts (ie, groups, co-ops) of the homeschooling community. IMO it's offensive to know that others even think about people that way.

It would be one thing if the other version to be published contains statements that are actually anti-Christianity - I could give a few examples of what those might be !!! But I'll behave and not do that. But just removing religious references is not "anti". It's inclusive. And accusing anyone, or any company, of being two-faced just for being inclusive - brings to mind other name-calling that could be exchanged. But I won't.

Frankly, this negative, accusatory attitude toward things that are inclusive is IMO the major source of division within the greater homeschooling community.

#36 54879525

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:52 AM

It's all about making money.

If they offered a secular program to homeschoolers I'd consider buying it.

#37 54879525

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 06:53 AM

This "true Christian", "two-faced" business is one of the reasons I steer clear of the specifically religious parts (ie, groups, co-ops) of the homeschooling community. IMO it's offensive to know that others even think about people that way.

It would be one thing if the other version to be published contains statements that are actually anti-Christianity - I could give a few examples of what those might be !!! But I'll behave and not do that. But just removing religious references is not "anti". It's inclusive. And accusing anyone, or any company, of being two-faced just for being inclusive - brings to mind other name-calling that could be exchanged. But I won't.

Frankly, this negative, accusatory attitude toward things that are inclusive is IMO the major source of division within the greater homeschooling community.


Exactly!

People act like they are selling to the devil or something. Geesh.

#38 Kathryn

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 07:03 AM

Hmm. I left Sonlight last year, in large part because of their decisions made last year regarding cores: making LA and Bible part of the core, adding in some books that I have a big problem with, etc. I've since seen/heard about other things that made me glad I changed. And a large part of that unhappiness was how we were treated on the forums when asking questions. I guess I'm kind of rambling, but to get back on topic, on the one hand I'm surprised because of how much more "Christian" they seemed to going, but on the other I'm not because they seem to really only care about their bottom line.

#39 AngelBee

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:07 AM

Public schools and charters will only pay or reimburse secular materials.
I bet SL would be willing to sell additional items to individual families and they would pay that out of pocket.

Honestly...I don't have a problem with it.

#40 Mango

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:12 AM

...and in WI. We're ordering Sonlight through our virtual charter school next year. Not the core or TM's, but individual subjects. The first two have the religious content. The school can't buy anything with religious in it. But they can buy biographies or fiction.

Interestingly we can't afforded anything Sonlight without the subsidy from the virtual charter school.

DH and I are looking forward to donating the materials to missionaries when we're finished with it.

#41 delaney

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:15 AM

I think what the OP is getting at is a company that claims to sell Christian material but then alters that material is not a true Christian company. They are a company that sells Christian material....big difference. I have no problem buying secular and have, I have no problem with a company selling Christian and non Christian curriculum. BUT if a company claims to be Christian then all it's material, the material it personally creates (SL IGs) then they need to stick to their beliefs not change them to suit different people.

Wouldn't a truly christian company accept all views and not discriminate and judge based on religion? It seems to me if their product is that great then in the interest of education they would want to reach as many families and people as they can. My guess is that they are reacting to requests of potential customers/schools and genuinely wanting to help. Shouldn't we assume the best of a religious publisher and not start throwing stones? In the end they will gain more business than they lose so it will be a win-win for them and a loss for those that get all mad and walk away. KWIM?

#42 Serenade

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:25 AM

It makes me uncomfortable, partly because it seems to be such a secret. Sonlight has not come out and said this is the direction they are taking. They never even really acknowledged they were part of that district curriculum fair last year. I don't know. It just doesn't feel right to me.


What should they do, come out and make a public confession?

I see no problem with what they are doing, and I'm a longtime Sonlight user. I see this as a good thing, making a different version of Sonlight so even more students can be exposed to such a great program.

Others companies do this, too, so that people can use available funds from their charters to buy traditional homeschool programs. In reality, this helps homeschoolers, too -- those who have charter funds available to buy the material. They can use the charter funds to buy the bulk of the books, and then hop over to the regular Sonlight store with their own funds and buy the IG and any missing books if they so desire.

#43 momma2three

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:31 AM

Now that the secular homeschool market is growing so quickly, I imagine that other similar companies will be doing the same, too.

Let's be honest with ourselves: Sonlight is a company that wants to make a profit. They see an open market, and a demand, so why wouldn't they go for it? It would be a poor business decision NOT to.

#44 Serenade

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:36 AM

Sonlight is adding to their long history of bad PR decisions, most especially among long-time Sonlight users. The "feeling of wrongness" has been brewing for years over there, with entire public forums "poofed" in their entirety at times. Nothing dismisses a person's opinion so much as to just pretend they aren't there and erase all proof that anything was ever said. Now their forums are private and that keeps the riff-raff out.


Just wanna say, as a long-time Sonlight user, I disagree entirely. Sonlight has made some changes -- some people like 'em, some people don't. That's life.

Personally, I think it would be silly for Sonlight to come out on the forums and make a public confession regarding their publication of secular materials. It really has nothing to do with the traditional Sonlight materials -- they are not changing them. This is not something that Sonlight is trying to keep secret, either, or they wouldn't have their CFO openly discussing it.

#45 Serenade

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:38 AM

Frankly, this negative, accusatory attitude toward things that are inclusive is IMO the major source of division within the greater homeschooling community.


Agreed.

#46 PinkyandtheBrains.

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:38 AM

I think this is wonderful, Sonlight has an excellent program and if there is a way for public schooled kids to benefit from it then great! I'd love to see more of this kind of thing in the schools.

#47 Alyeska

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:41 AM

Wouldn't a truly christian company accept all views and not discriminate and judge based on religion? It seems to me if their product is that great then in the interest of education they would want to reach as many families and people as they can. My guess is that they are reacting to requests of potential customers/schools and genuinely wanting to help. Shouldn't we assume the best of a religious publisher and not start throwing stones? In the end they will gain more business than they lose so it will be a win-win for them and a loss for those that get all mad and walk away. KWIM?


I don't see how Sonlight is discriminating and judging anyone.


To the OP, I understand how this could be upsetting. To remove religious content from their IG's is kind of shocking to hear. But I don't think they are doing anything wrong. I guess I liken it to when I volunteered several years ago in the public school to help a few students who were struggling and needed one on one time. I went with good intentions to help students...I didn't bring my Bible and relationship with the Lord into our conversations--but He was certainly with me. : ) So did I leave my Christianity at the door? No. I am a Christian and can't leave that anywhere. It is who I am to my core. Caring about all people (public school students included) is part of being a Christian. : )

Someone in the public school realm sees that Sonlight has something good going and wants public school students get in on it. But they cannot use public funds for it. Honestly, I think this is great and hope that this helps public school students.

#48 PentecostalMom

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:52 AM

That is fabulous news! I don't see at as changing who they are at all. They are still a (protestant) christian company, but now they are offering more options. I don't think it's any different than allowing the customer to choose whether or not they want to purchase Sonlight's Bible package. It's giving the consumer more choices. Considering the lack of curriculum for secular homeschoolers, I think this is great news.

Why can't reaching a wider audience with great materials be a goal in and of itself? Most curriculum companies started out Christian, because that was their only market. I think it's great to see this type of change, especially with all the good it will do for the communities it helps. I don't think it would be better for them to leave the religion in and have the program shut down (because that is what would happen). Having a 'Christian' company (what does that mean anyway???) show some flexibility to provide a great resource for homeschool communities is nothing but positive in my book!

So those that think this is something to stop supporting Sonlight over...why?
How is this not purely a good thing for everyone involved?
Christians can continue to use Sonlight for their religious matterials.
Schools can support homeschool communities by offering classes using Sonlight materials in an inclusive way.

I just really don't understand why this is leaving their faith at the door of the church. Or, is the thought that any time something secular enters the house/business/mind of a Christian they are no longer Christian?

Meh. The curriculum itself really doesn't depend on the Christian theme. The Bible isn't integrated into the history/literature anyway. Some cores have a few missionary books and such, but most of the history/lit is pretty secular already.

I don't understand why they shouldn't be able to help out public schools by offering notes for books that are secular already. For example, there is nothing Christian or not Christian about Johnny Tremain. What's wrong with giving notes for it to help teachers?

If it were someone like MFW or TOG doing this, where they integrate Bible/worldview into everything, I think it'd be hard to do. But for Sonlight? It's already easy to use it secularly. I just don't see a problem with it. It's no different from selling the secular books (which would be a large portion of them) to secular homeschoolers. They aren't changing Sonlight. They're just offering a separate product line to get GOOD BOOKS into public schools.

Also, Sonlight isn't a church. They're just a company. And sometimes Christian companies to secular things, just like individual Christians do secular things. My DH works for a company. This is a secular job. He's still a Christian. He just earns his money doing a job that has nothing to do with his faith. Nothing wrong with that. Why can't a Christian company likewise earn some money via a secular job?

And why the snobbery against the public schools, as if they don't deserve good materials? I don't get it. On the one hand, we complain that public schools aren't doing a good job educating, but on the other hand, we complain when a homeschooling company provides them with materials that could help them do a better job.

Now if Sonlight were to provide the public schools with anti-Christian materials, I'd have a problem. But giving them notes to go along with Johnny Tremain? No problem.

This "true Christian", "two-faced" business is one of the reasons I steer clear of the specifically religious parts (ie, groups, co-ops) of the homeschooling community. IMO it's offensive to know that others even think about people that way.

It would be one thing if the other version to be published contains statements that are actually anti-Christianity - I could give a few examples of what those might be !!! But I'll behave and not do that. But just removing religious references is not "anti". It's inclusive. And accusing anyone, or any company, of being two-faced just for being inclusive - brings to mind other name-calling that could be exchanged. But I won't.

Frankly, this negative, accusatory attitude toward things that are inclusive is IMO the major source of division within the greater homeschooling community.


We are a Sonlight family, love it and will continue to use it. If some that call themselves Christian choose to quit using their materials over this, that is their loss. If SL were changing all its materials to be non-Christian, then they would need to change their name and a zillion other things. They are simply offering their excellent curriculum in a manner that is acceptable to the state-mandated schools. This is one of the reasons why I keep my children at home. However, I do not depend on SL, or any other curriculum provider, to teach my children about our God or our religion.

#49 BatmansWife

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:56 AM

I think this is awesome and I hope they sell the curriculum to the public!


:iagree:
The program we are in through the public school only allows us to buy secular. I think it would be great if we had the option to buy Sonlight.

#50 stripe

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 08:57 AM

Do you have a link to the article?

I agree with you. From what you've said, it sounds like Sonlight is rewriting their program to have a secular version. That's their right, of course, but I would want to make sure that wasn't what my kids would be using.

I've seen far too much, lately, of curriculum publishers changing their products to suit the public schools, when many families are pulling their kids to avoid the public school curriculum in the first place. I know Math U See changed their entire program, Alpha through Zeta, to suit the public school. in the case of MUS, they have said they have simply added things and haven't changed or omitted anything from their original program. That being said, I am glad I already own the untarnished versions, Alpha through Zeta, of MUS.

I have a similar, but sort of opposite concern : the secularizing of materials that remains a stealth form of Christian outreach. Supporting them means giving money to a company that sends out emails about how your contributions help convert members of "THUMB" religions. To those who ARE members of those faiths, as well as anyone who is not religious as well as Christians who do not share Sonlight's outlook, this is troublesome. I can tell you, I found their emails offensive.


What's with the ads?