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Sonlight removing religious content for use in public school program


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This time last year, Sonlight was defending their implementation of the very "popular" books (I say that sarcastically) of the Light and the Glory, and Sea to Shining Sea. These books purport the providential view of the Christian manifest destiny to rule over the United States.

 

Many people (including me) were offended at the inclusion. The SL forum pretty much said "we can do what we want," we're a business, lalala. We want to display the fact that we are teaching from a Christian viewpoint, lalala.

 

So now this. I am not defending the need to keep Sonlight Christian -- whatever! It just makes me speechless because last year it appeared that they were shoving this need for Bible inclusion in every note down their customers' collective throats (Have you looked at, say, the sample of IGs for elementary US History?), and yet this year, they are saying that this whole curriculum can be done without any Christianity references at all. . . . which is what customers have been wanting for what? -- maybe ten years I have seen this request?

 

It's just amusing. Sonlight in the news again. Are they not always in the homeschool community news in March?

 

Oh, P.S. -- in their 27 reasons not to buy Sonlight, number 9: "We believe that academics ought to be based on and intentionally related to Scripture. Bible readings, themes and memory verses are an integral part of each Sonlight Core program. . . rigorous Bible study is woven into the Cores."

 

So, as I said this time last year, "This ain't yo mama's Sonlight!"

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To clarify again- Sonlight isn't going to be used in the public schools (at least not in regards to this article). This is a one day a week homeschool enrichment program that uses their own materials, and then offers curriculum for free to the families that enroll in the enrichment program. They will use Sonlight in their home.

 

I am happy to have heard both sides because I have been able to see how it would benefit some families. You are right that families would be able to take the secular version and purchase the religious parts, if they desired. I am not against being inclusive of all types of homeschoolers (and it isn't even a matter of the families being non-religious, many of them are, and again I get that the public school cannot offer religious materials and I have no problem with that) But who knows if they will ever offer the secular version to the public. It will be interesting to see.

 

I do think that the fact that the CFO's children attend the program has something to do with it. And again, to me, it feels like a move opposite to what I thought Sonlight was about. And yes, purely financial, not about the greater good of all types of people.

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This time last year, Sonlight was defending their implementation of the very "popular" books (I say that sarcastically) of the Light and the Glory, and Sea to Shining Sea. These books purport the providential view of the Christian manifest destiny to rule over the United States.

 

Many people (including me) were offended at the inclusion. The SL forum pretty much said "we can do what we want," we're a business, lalala. We want to display the fact that we are teaching from a Christian viewpoint, lalala.

 

So now this. I am not defending the need to keep Sonlight Christian -- whatever! It just makes me speechless because last year it appeared that they were shoving this need for Bible inclusion in every note down their customers' collective throats (Have you looked at, say, the sample of IGs for elementary US History?), and yet this year, they are saying that this whole curriculum can be done without any Christianity references at all. . . . which is what customers have been wanting for what? -- maybe ten years I have seen this request?

 

It's just amusing. Sonlight in the news again. Are they not always in the homeschool community news in March?

 

Oh, P.S. -- in their 27 reasons not to buy Sonlight, number 9: "We believe that academics ought to be based on and intentionally related to Scripture. Bible readings, themes and memory verses are an integral part of each Sonlight Core program. . . rigorous Bible study is woven into the Cores."

 

So, as I said this time last year, "This ain't yo mama's Sonlight!"

 

 

I totally agree...and I'm not a Sonlight Mama. (and I never have been) It just totally "rubs me the wrong way" that they keep "waffling" on their position.

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Do people really think they are doing away with the Christian version entirely?? I saw NOTHING in that article to give that impression...

 

The school district would hardly be ordering through SL's website after all. There is no reason to think a homeschooler is suddenly going to get a bible free program. Didn't they recently change their cores so the bible portion could not be left out?

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I think it's more of a state/school misreading the constitution than a Sonlight problem. There should be no issue with the state funding a curriculum that contains religion for an INDIVIDUAL family if that state says that they will reimburse. Sure they couldnt' sell to a public school for use in the classroom but to an individual it should be permitted.

 

To me letting a homeschool family choose whichever curriculum they want is freedom OF religion vs. the school's freedom FROM religion. Also, if a state has a voucher program to let students choose which school they want to attend using public funds, a homeschooling family choosing whichever curriculum they wish should be no different.

 

I'm not a fan of Sonlight doing this because they shouldn't need to. I also think it's ironic to use SONlight curriculum seculraly.

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This time last year, Sonlight was defending their implementation of the very "popular" books (I say that sarcastically) of the Light and the Glory, and Sea to Shining Sea. These books purport the providential view of the Christian manifest destiny to rule over the United States.

 

Many people (including me) were offended at the inclusion. The SL forum pretty much said "we can do what we want," we're a business, lalala. We want to display the fact that we are teaching from a Christian viewpoint, lalala.

 

So now this. I am not defending the need to keep Sonlight Christian -- whatever! It just makes me speechless because last year it appeared that they were shoving this need for Bible inclusion in every note down their customers' collective throats (Have you looked at, say, the sample of IGs for elementary US History?), and yet this year, they are saying that this whole curriculum can be done without any Christianity references at all. . . . which is what customers have been wanting for what? -- maybe ten years I have seen this request?

 

It's just amusing. Sonlight in the news again. Are they not always in the homeschool community news in March?

 

Oh, P.S. -- in their 27 reasons not to buy Sonlight, number 9: "We believe that academics ought to be based on and intentionally related to Scripture. Bible readings, themes and memory verses are an integral part of each Sonlight Core program. . . rigorous Bible study is woven into the Cores."

 

So, as I said this time last year, "This ain't yo mama's Sonlight!"

 

 

I agree with you completely!! This is part of the problem I have with it. A company that preaches one thing, and then does something completely opposite.

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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 believe a company that claims to be Christian AND sell Christian material should keep that material Christian. Not change it's view to fit what the world wants. It needs to know what it believes and stand by that belief. And yes, to me it is selling out to others if you change that belief or omit it to sell something. I do not feel discriminated against if a Catholic curriculum company sells curriculum based on the Catholic faith, or a Jewish, or a wiccian (if one exists) or a whatever curriculum sells a curriculum that contains it's belief in it. I am buying it knowing that I will get their religious/non religious views in it. With what you said....maybe I am should feel discriminated against because the secular curriculum I purchased has omitted God from their curriculum.

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So will this change things for homeschoolers?

 

 

In regards to the article, this is only about this one district's homeschool program. So, yes, it changes things for the homeschoolers in the program that will get a revised secular edition, but at this point I do not believe anything is changing with the purchased curriculum.

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This time last year, Sonlight was defending their implementation of the very "popular" books (I say that sarcastically) of the Light and the Glory, and Sea to Shining Sea. These books purport the providential view of the Christian manifest destiny to rule over the United States.

 

Many people (including me) were offended at the inclusion. The SL forum pretty much said "we can do what we want," we're a business, lalala. We want to display the fact that we are teaching from a Christian viewpoint, lalala.

 

So now this. I am not defending the need to keep Sonlight Christian -- whatever! It just makes me speechless because last year it appeared that they were shoving this need for Bible inclusion in every note down their customers' collective throats (Have you looked at, say, the sample of IGs for elementary US History?), and yet this year, they are saying that this whole curriculum can be done without any Christianity references at all. . . . which is what customers have been wanting for what? -- maybe ten years I have seen this request?

 

It's just amusing. Sonlight in the news again. Are they not always in the homeschool community news in March?

 

Oh, P.S. -- in their 27 reasons not to buy Sonlight, number 9: "We believe that academics ought to be based on and intentionally related to Scripture. Bible readings, themes and memory verses are an integral part of each Sonlight Core program. . . rigorous Bible study is woven into the Cores."

 

So, as I said this time last year, "This ain't yo mama's Sonlight!"

 

THIS! An now they will change it to please the masses.

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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,

 

 

So if I discuss Catholic doctrine with my friends who are fellow Catholics and other topics with my non-Catholic friends I am being deceitful and two-faced? Seriously?

 

Now if I acted Catholic with my Catholic friends but said anti-Catholic things around the non-Catholic ones, then that would be deceitful. But there is a big difference between avoiding religion in a conversation and saying things that are anti-religious.

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So if I discuss Catholic doctrine with my friends who are fellow Catholics and other topics with my non-Catholic friends I am being deceitful and two-faced? Seriously?

 

Now if I acted Catholic with my Catholic friends but said anti-Catholic things around the non-Catholic ones, then that would be deceitful. But there is a big difference between avoiding religion in a conversation and saying things that are anti-religious.

 

No it is if you discuss what you believe with one group of friends and purposely omit those beliefs in conversation if the conversation is pertaining to those beliefs with others because you are ashamed or don't want them to know what you truly believe. That is what SL is doing here, changing it's views to please others. Either they believe their curriculum should be Bible based or they don't, they cannot have it both ways.

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No it is if you discuss what you believe with one group of friends and purposely omit those beliefs in conversation if the conversation is pertaining to those beliefs with others because you are ashamed or don't want them to know what you truly believe. That is what SL is doing here, changing it's views to please others. Either they believe their curriculum should be Bible based or they don't, they cannot have it both ways.

 

 

:iagree:

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I just read Lukes response to this on SLs facebook page. Apparently SL has a parent company which is news to me, I thought SL was it's own company. Who is SL's parent company, I would like to see what they are about.

 

If i'm remembering correctly, InquisiCorp is the company John H of Sonlight started to produce things that didn't align with the Sonlight focus, i.e., religious.

 

I believe the science CDs are their product.

 

I'm going on memory here, but I remember when this happened - except maybe not it becoming SLs parent company.

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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.

 

 

Amen. Amen. Amen.

 

Sometimes, I cannot believe the ugliness displayed by (protestant) christians toward other (protestant) christians. Sonlight is just putting out an inclusive version of their core programs. They are not renouncing their faith or their core mission. They still sell their evangelical bible packages and a variety of evangelical products that might be rightly termed hateful and anti toward non-evangelical christian faiths. I've thrown a few of those books in the trash myself after purchasing a Sonlight core. In my mind they are still very much an evangelical christian company.

 

To quote Susan Schaeffer Macauley:

"One aspect of life is not more Christian than another. So it's Christian to enjoy a juicy melon. That is because I am eating, it is a real event, and I'm made so that I enjoy cool melon on a hot day. It is Christian to put my arm around someone to love or comfort them. That is because this is a way human beings relate, show they care, enjoy each other. More than this: it must be said that certain Christian books are in fact not so. For instance, some go beyond biblical teaching and, like the Pharisees, burden the people with weightly rules and regulations. This is why we have to be very, very careful when we consider "Christian education." To be that, it has to serve the person, the way he really is. And it must, of course, be based on the sureness of the biblical truths. So, it has to be appropriate for the needs and minds of that same person."

 

To those of you who are (protestant) christians, doesn't this change help more (protestant) christians to afford and obtain Sonlight products? If a homeschooling family can't afford to purchase Sonlight out-of-pocket, now they can purchase the secular version with charter school money and then purchase just the Bible package out-of-pocket. Are you saying that they aren't "christian enough" if every product they sell doesn't have a bible verse on each page? Should they stop selling some of the other secular products they offer like Singapore Math or Handwriting without Tears to prove their christian-ness? Where does it end?

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Since I'm not a Sonlight user, I hesitate to respond, but I think it's probably a good move. Yes, it's to generate revenue--and there's nothing wrong with that. If a Christian company has the opportunity to make more money to stay in business, and perhaps even expand, I think it's wise. As long as they are not going ANTI-Christian, it really won't change who they are. Plus, it might give people who have no experience with Sonlight the opportunity to deal with the "Christian side" of the company on their own, years down the road. More exposure for the company is a good thing for them.

 

I've always found it somewhat sad that secular homeschoolers don't have some of the great options we do. I'm a ToG user, and I just haven't heard of meaty programs like that for those who don't want inclusion of religious material.

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I can tell you my experience. we are in a charter school and use sonlight. Sonlight did not re write the syllabus for us. We simply pay out of pocket for the religious books (readers and read alouds) and we pay for the teachers manuals at a discount. However, the material IN the teacher's manual is the same as if we were buying it directly from Sonlight.

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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.

 

 

I completely agree. I find some of the comments in this thread to be highly exclusionist and, frankly, pretty repulsive.

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I'm not a fan of Sonlight doing this because they shouldn't need to. I also think it's ironic to use SONlight curriculum seculraly.

 

That was my first thought! How can you buy secular curriculum from a company named SONlight? Are they going to have a subsidiary with a name that isn't obviously a Christian reference?

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The response on the Sonlight forums leaves me more confused. Basically it was said that the article is misleading and/or incorrect. Judy says the gentleman quoted in the article is employed by Inquisicorp, not Sonlight. Yet on Sonlight's website he is listed as a Sonlight employee: http://www.sonlight.com/employee-profiles.html

 

I know for a fact that it was Sonlight (not Inquisicorp) that put up a display at the district's homeschool fair last year. And the people in the program are being offered Sonlight, not a different brand name under the same parent company. Honestly that response has me more confused, not feeling better.

 

As far as the inclusion theme going on in this thread- as I have said many times, my issue is more with Sonlight- not the inclusion/exclusion of homeschoolers in general. I am all for people being able to access whatever curriculum is right for their families- whether that is religious or not. Sonlight is not offering a secular version to homeschoolers- they are now backtracking on an article that was published and quoted by their CFO (again, listed on their website as a Sonlight employee) saying that it isn't even Sonlight that is being offered. I can promise that it is being offered as Sonlight.

 

Again- I think this thread has gotten somewhat off track, and now with Sonlight's response, I am left scratching my head even more (although not totally surprised).

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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.

 

The bolded is where I think the disconnect lies (for me at least.) On the one hand, on their forums, you must abide by a certain Christian code. In each of their "poofs", they have eliminated people who didn't meet their desired standards. This last time, they seemed to get rid of the "wrong" kind of Christian (and many non Christians) and have made posting guidelines more narrow so the forums can be a light to the rest of the world and won't lead anyone astray. So, on the one hand, they would like to ensure their forums represent the "right" kind of Christian, but they as a company don't need to hold themselves to the same standard they are holding others?

 

I was surprised when I read the link; I thought Sarita felt very strongly that their curriculum should lead people to God. Creating a secular curriculum won't do that.

 

(Except for the apparent double standard regarding the forums, It doesn't bother me that they are offering PS a secular curriculum. The forums lost a lot of experienced homeschoolers, strong Christians (who just happened to believe the "wrong" Christianity), and people who could challenge a person to understand why they believed the way they did.)

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Guest inoubliable

Good for them. They're a business - making money, by selling their curriculum to a public school system. To do that, they had to tweak it.

 

Is it the Xtian hypocrisy that's got people upset? Because, really? That's not huge or news.

 

 

Good grief.

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I think it is a very Christian thing for them to do. There are more and more people choosing to homeschool. Some states are doing what they can to make resources available to families that want to homeschool. As a Christian program it can not be funded by the state. Secular it can. Christians can still add religion into their homeschool programs. They can also look online and add the non secular books from Sonlight in.

 

I am a Christian, but I use a lot of secular programs. Having secular learning materials to work from does not remove God from my heart. It sounds like Sonlight is working toward being and inclusive company, loving and helping their neighbor. What is wrong with that?

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I think it is a very Christian thing for them to do. There are more and more people choosing to homeschool. Some states are doing what they can to make resources available to families that want to homeschool. As a Christian program it can not be funded by the state. Secular it can. Christians can still add religion into their homeschool programs. They can also look online and add the non secular books from Sonlight in.

 

I am a Christian, but I use a lot of secular programs. Having secular learning materials to work from does not remove God from my heart. It sounds like Sonlight is working toward being and inclusive company, loving and helping their neighbor. What is wrong with that?

 

Re: the bolded. Because "inclusiveness" looks like "hypocrisy" to a lot of Xtians.

 

I think it would be great if Sonlight released a secular version of their product. A lot of homeschoolers in secular homeschooling circles have lamented for years of not being comfortable using Sonlight because of the religiousness of it, but wanting to because of other things that they liked.

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I asked about the article on the SL board and was pleased to hear the response.

https://forums.sonli...stian-material/

 

Also Luke responds to a question about this on their Facebook page.

 

I think this is an important comment on this thread. Unfortunately a lot of people will keep posting without reading this....if they would, this discussion could probably end.

 

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Good for them. They're a business - making money, by selling their curriculum to a public school system. To do that, they had to tweak it.

 

Is it the Xtian hypocrisy that's got people upset? Because, really? That's not huge or news.

 

 

Good grief.

 

It's not just good ol' generic Christian hypocrisy in this case. Sonlight has worked very hard to isolate and rid themselves of the wrong kind of Christian. Unless you've been involved on the forums there, you really have no idea how horribly they've treated people who didn't fall in line with Sarita's worldview. It's the huge inconsistency between how they've treated other Christians and this new development of secularizing their curriculum to sell to public schools. And this run-around about it not being Sonlight but InquisiCorp is just completely ridiculous, and again indicative of the way they operate. I read the Facebook and Sonlight forum posts and they were intentionally trying to distance Sonlight from the decision which is ridiculous. John and Sarita Holzmann own Inquisicorp, not some shady foreign businessmen making decisions without their knowledge or consent.

 

ETA: it is very easy to look up the ownership of the companies. They even share an address. The employees are "shared." It blows my mind that they expect people to buy the idea that this is some decision that "they" had nothing to do with. The whole point of setting up the alternate company in the first place, we were told, was so that they could sell products to people in areas who weren't able to buy things from a "Christian" company because it was outlawed or dangerous.

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But that's kinda my point. They've been shady for a while. Now they're extra shady. Why is anyone surprised? If you don't want to use their stuff because of how shady or hypocritical they are - then don't? This just doesn't sound like big news. I've never used Sonlight, and I've never been to their forums, but even I've heard of their nastiness for quite some time now.

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I read the Facebook and Sonlight forum posts and they were intentionally trying to distance Sonlight from the decision which is ridiculous. John and Sarita Holzmann own Inquisicorp, not some shady foreign businessmen making decisions without their knowledge or consent.

I agree with this.... it IS the company doing it, just in a different division.

 

ETA: it is very easy to look up the ownership of the companies. They even share an address. The employees are "shared." It blows my mind that they expect people to buy the idea that this is some decision that "they" had nothing to do with. The whole point of setting up the alternate company in the first place, we were told, was so that they could sell products to people in areas who weren't able to buy things from a "Christian" company because it was outlawed or dangerous.

 

I don't recall the not being able to buy from Christian companies per se as being part of it, what is sticking out in my head was the ability to easier market any of their secular products.

 

There was a big letter from John on it wasn't there? I wonder if that is still floating around in cyber-space.

 

I personally don't have any issue with them doing this - even if it is the other branch doing it it. I would like a secular version of Sonlight at this point.

 

I have Core 6 and 100 sitting here - I should sell them.....

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I don't see why it's so upsetting. As Chriatians they live their lives for The Lord and have given the Christian homeschooling community a wonderful resource for many years.

 

As business people, they also changed some materials to suit a wider market. If they were Making it anti-Christ or adding books that make fun of or denigrate Christianity, that would be purely wrong.

 

My husband works at a secular company and most of us have and will...

 

I don't understand why ppl are so upset.

 

 

However, not that I am a huge SL fan. I don't like their marketing techniques and practices, their attitude, and their gimmicks. But that's another story. :)

 

Edited to add: Although I don't think selling to a secular market is wrong, I do think they just are so full of constant contradictions. Trying to separate InquisiCorp and SL, and even Sarita and John, just seems so confusing and, two faced. But SL has always been full of contradictions, gimmicks, weird PR moves, strange control over their forums, and aggressive advertising. Which is why I don't like the company.

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I think this is an important comment on this thread. Unfortunately a lot of people will keep posting without reading this....if they would, this discussion could probably end.

 

 

 

I've read it, it makes me more confused. You have InquisiCorp, the parent company of Sonlight, producing secular versions of Sonlight, and you have Sonlight, producing Christian curriculum. Both are in the same building and both have the same names, John and Sarita Holzman, and Greg Thewes at the head. So we have two different companies made up of the same people, sharing the same curriculum, with two different missions. Sarita is the very outspoken president of a company pushing a very specific Christian view, and the president of a company trying to push secular curriculum. How to be more contrary?

 

I think secular SL would be a good thing, but dang this is just another PR nightmare.

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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.

 

:iagree:

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But that's kinda my point. They've been shady for a while. Now they're extra shady. Why is anyone surprised? If you don't want to use their stuff because of how shady or hypocritical they are - then don't? This just doesn't sound like big news. I've never used Sonlight, and I've never been to their forums, but even I've heard of their nastiness for quite some time now.

 

I agree, and that's why I no longer use them.

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I asked Sonlight specifically about this. Here is Luke's answer:

 

Tricia, short, short, short answer: No. That is not true. <smile> Slightly longer answer: Sonlight's parent company is working to create secular content--based largely on Sonlight--to offer public schoolers. A representative of Sonlight's parent company had an interview with a local paper to talk about these plans. The paper erroneously used Sonlight's name, which will, naturally, be far more eye-catching: "Christian company Sonlight is going secular!" ...but the reality is far less buzz-worthy. Sonlight is staying exactly as it is.

 

I know Judy is working up a more detailed response for the Forums, so you can probably learn more there later today. I just wanted to give you a gist of what's going on and alleviate any concerns you may have. Sonlight is, as ever, committed to our values and serving you.

 

Hope that helps!

Then he said this, to someone else's question:

 

I can try to make it make more sense, Laurel <smile>. Sonlight was founded as it's own company back in 1990. Years later John and Sarita discovered that some people who wanted materials they were making could not acquire them simply because the company

was Christian. Wanting to reach the maximum number of people with great educational resources--such as Discover & Do, MathTacular, and some stellar books--John and Sarita started the parent/umbrella company. This provides many benefits in the business world, such as creating materials for many difference audiences. Sonlight is, itself, it's own company and not an offshoot at all. Sonlight hasn't changed and continues to hold to our values and mission. In some senses, the "parent company" is the offshoot.

 

By having a parent company, we can use Sonlight's IP (intellectual property) in more spaces than simply the homeschool world. That's why you'll find things like MathTacular elsewhere on the web. [i keep using the DVDs as examples because I made them <smile>] This means the parent company can also use Sonlight's great IG layout, as an example, as a jumping off point for developing resources for public schools too.

 

Judy has a great post response about this over on the Forums:https://forums.sonlight.com/topic/332019-are-you-a-true-christian-company-or-a-company-that-sells-christian-material/

 

Does that make more sense?

 

 

~Luke.

 

And there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. 8)

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I asked Sonlight specifically about this. Here is Luke's answer:

 

Tricia, short, short, short answer: No. That is not true. <smile> Slightly longer answer: Sonlight's parent company is working to create secular content--based largely on Sonlight--to offer public schoolers. A representative of Sonlight's parent company had an interview with a local paper to talk about these plans. The paper erroneously used Sonlight's name, which will, naturally, be far more eye-catching: "Christian company Sonlight is going secular!" ...but the reality is far less buzz-worthy. Sonlight is staying exactly as it is.

 

 

I know Judy is working up a more detailed response for the Forums, so you can probably learn more there later today. I just wanted to give you a gist of what's going on and alleviate any concerns you may have. Sonlight is, as ever, committed to our values and serving you.

 

 

Hope that helps!

 

Then he said this, to someone else's question:

 

I can try to make it make more sense, Laurel <smile>. Sonlight was founded as it's own company back in 1990. Years later John and Sarita discovered that some people who wanted materials they were making could not acquire them simply because the company

 

was Christian. Wanting to reach the maximum number of people with great educational resources--such as Discover & Do, MathTacular, and some stellar books--John and Sarita started the parent/umbrella company. This provides many benefits in the business world, such as creating materials for many difference audiences. Sonlight is, itself, it's own company and not an offshoot at all. Sonlight hasn't changed and continues to hold to our values and mission. In some senses, the "parent company" is the offshoot.

 

By having a parent company, we can use Sonlight's IP (intellectual property) in more spaces than simply the homeschool world. That's why you'll find things like MathTacular elsewhere on the web. [i keep using the DVDs as examples because I made them <smile>] This means the parent company can also use Sonlight's great IG layout, as an example, as a jumping off point for developing resources for public schools too.

 

Judy has a great post response about this over on the Forums:https://forums.sonlight.com/topic/332019-are-you-a-true-christian-company-or-a-company-that-sells-christian-material/

 

Does that make more sense?

 

 

 

~Luke.

 

 

And there you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. 8)

 

 

 

InquisiCorp was founded in 1991.

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I don't know very much about Sonlight at all, and Sonlight in particular is not the issue for me, since I don't use their curriculum, nor do I share many of their narrow beliefs. BUT, as a Christian who is concerned about the mentality I'm witnessing on this thread I can't resist responding to some of it.

 

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 don't see the difference, unless you consider Amazon, for example, to be in the latter category. There is big difference between Sonlight and Amazon! And I don't see why those labels are necessary or relevant anyway - what's a "true Christian" company, and why does it matter? "True Christian" as opposed to what? "False Christian"?

 

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.

 

 

There's a false dichotomy here. Secular does not mean "non-Christian". My math program is secular. It is not "non-Christian". It is perfectly compatible with a Christian/Biblical worldview, as are my other curricula, whether they contain references to God/Jesus/Bible or not (most do not). Be careful about your terminology.

 

From what I've read on this thread, nothing Sonlight is doing or selling is "non-Christian", nor are they changing their beliefs just because they're omitting explicitly Christian content from a version of their curriculum that doesn't require such content to be an effective tool for teaching/learning certain subjects. A company that claims to be Christian does not cease to be so as long as their curriculum is compatible with the beliefs of Christianity.

 

Frankly, I am shocked that many of you who like Sonlight aren't happy about this development. Considering the amount of material used in many public schools that is not compatible with the beliefs of Christianity, the fact that there's a public school system in existence that would embrace a quality curriculum that is secular but not actually anti-Christian in its approach and content areas is great, in my opinion. I think that the public schools should be entirely secular and leave religious instruction to parents and churches, but Christians whose kids go to the public schools that use the SL curriculum will have an opportunity to learn those subjects without an obvious bias against their faith. Can you try to look at it from that perspective?

 

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.

 

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

 

 

Amen.

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Since I'm not a Sonlight user, I hesitate to respond, but I think it's probably a good move. Yes, it's to generate revenue--and there's nothing wrong with that. If a Christian company has the opportunity to make more money to stay in business, and perhaps even expand, I think it's wise. As long as they are not going ANTI-Christian, it really won't change who they are. Plus, it might give people who have no experience with Sonlight the opportunity to deal with the "Christian side" of the company on their own, years down the road. More exposure for the company is a good thing for them.

 

I've always found it somewhat sad that secular homeschoolers don't have some of the great options we do. I'm a ToG user, and I just haven't heard of meaty programs like that for those who don't want inclusion of religious material.

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

Every child deserves an opportunity to have a quality literature based history program w/out the specifically Christian references. Muslims home school too, you know. So do Jewish families, Buddhists, agnostics and atheists.

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I don't see it as shady at all. It's a business, not a church or religious service organization. There is nothing wrong with them making a profit off what they have created. Using parts of their materials in a non-religious fashion opens up an avenue for more profit. The secular materials the parent company will publish are unlikely to "go against" Christianity in any way. IMO they are not being at all unloyal to their religion, or misleading or unethical. They are marketing their own intellectual property. I think they have explained the business relationship quite nicely. I just don't get the big deal about this. It's like, how dare they publish something that doesn't mention God ! Well, whatever. It's their intellectual property and they can do with it as they please. As long as they don't write anything that opposes their own Christian beliefs, which I really can't imagine happening, I just cannot see anything for anyone with a complaint about this to hang their hat on. It's like being mad that Hobby Lobby dares to sell vases that don't have a cross or a bible verse stamped on them...because they might (gasp) be happily used by a secular household, or a household of another religion. So ? So what.

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I don't disagree at all.

But Sonlight is not doing this to be inclusive of these groups. They are doing this so the public school will offer (and pay for) their product. It is not for the greater good of the world, or so that all homeschoolers have use for their program. It is a financial move and has nothing to do with being appealing to other religious or non-religious groups. The county that this is being offered to is one of the richest in the nation. They are very few low income families in the district. Sonlight is being offered to the homeschooling families that use the enrichment program. I get the feeling that some people are seeing these poor, impoverished children that would not otherwise have the means to read a good book, or have access to Sonlight. That may be the case in many areas, but this is not one of those areas. Maybe it will expand to that in the future. It may affect me differently because I am seeing both sides of it- the side that Sonlight is telling people, and receiving the flyers in the mail about the Cloverleaf program and the fact that they advertise it as Sonlight curriculum, not Invisicorp.

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I don't disagree at all.

But Sonlight is not doing this to be inclusive of these groups. They are doing this so the public school will offer (and pay for) their product. It is not for the greater good of the world, or so that all homeschoolers have use for their program. It is a financial move and has nothing to do with being appealing to other religious or non-religious groups. The county that this is being offered to is one of the richest in the nation. They are very few low income families in the district. Sonlight is being offered to the homeschooling families that use the enrichment program. I get the feeling that some people are seeing these poor, impoverished children that would not otherwise have the means to read a good book, or have access to Sonlight. That may be the case in many areas, but this is not one of those areas. Maybe it will expand to that in the future. It may affect me differently because I am seeing both sides of it- the side that Sonlight is telling people, and receiving the flyers in the mail about the Cloverleaf program and the fact that they advertise it as Sonlight curriculum, not Invisicorp.

 

 

Is this what you are talking about the pdf's from https://www.dcsdk/HomeEducationPartnership? Wow, I don't know how to link pdf files but they are certainly advertised as SL, fancy symbols and all. Now I understand why the ACLU was investigating this.

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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.

 

 

This is my POV, too.

 

I understand some people are able to secularize Sonlight or take out the parts that don't fit their religious beliefs and that is great if it works for them. But I really don't care for SL as a company. I also admit that I do tend to be hypersensitive about stealth outreach.

 

I peeked into this latest uproar because SL is so often recommended to new homeschoolers and promoted as one that can be secularized or used by non-evangelicals and I was among those who thought it would work when we first started homeschooling. (And it didn't work for us both because of their views and not really feeling a need at this point for what they offer.)

 

Now, I have no problem recommending things that did not work for us or that we would (likely) never use. I also think some of the criticisms about SL are not quite accurate (as far as how to use the IG, for one), but I still wouldn't ever recommend them.

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The county that this is being offered to is one of the richest in the nation. They are very few low income families in the district. Sonlight is being offered to the homeschooling families that use the enrichment program. I get the feeling that some people are seeing these poor, impoverished children that would not otherwise have the means to read a good book, or have access to Sonlight. That may be the case in many areas, but this is not one of those areas.

 

 

Not everybody who lives in an affluent area is wealthy. And because of the high cost-of-living found in such areas, a family who is middle class still may not have hundreds of dollars to spend out-of-pocket per child each year for SL.

 

I don't have any problem with SL developing a secular version the way that Angelicum developed a secular version of its curriculum called Great Books Academy.

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https://www.dcsdk12..../dcs1172572.pdf

 

They call it BrightFlash, aka, SL.

 

 

Thanks for the link. That is the first I have ever seen it called BrightFlash. For this school year it was most definitely Sonlight. Good to know it is a different name. ETA- I hadn't looked at the entire PDF when I first opened the link- so, it says BrightFlash but right under it is the Sonlight logo. Oh well.

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