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Ok, so why NOT Bookshark?


Meadowlark
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I admit, I have a weakness for shiny, new curriculum. I discounted Sonlight in the past because...well, the 24 reasons not to in their catalog. I can't remember exactly what turned me off though. I do know that I LOVE literature so I'm finding myself considering bookshark again.

 

We're trying MFW this year so I guess I'm wondering how it compares to that. I will need to combine my kids and I wonder if I can do that with Bookshark. I do like how BS is age appropriate though, so less tweaking I imagine. Oh, I don't know. The books look amazing, but why are you not enticed by it? Just curious!

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I do understand the appeal. Box day would be fun. The idea of having everything done for me is tempting. But it's definitely not for us. 

 

It's way too expensive for us.

It's just too *much*. I'm a minimalist. The huge packages with all the parts and pieces make me a bit antsy. 

I prefer a more open-ended approach. As nice as it sounds to have everything laid out, it would make me cry. 

I'm picky with books. Very picky. The chances that I would like ANY of the choices are slim. I choose classics almost exclusively.

I don't like any of the math options.

I have a wide age range and we work together on most subjects. 

It looks so busy. It wouldn't leave much time for the other stuff I want to do.

 

My issues aren't specific to this curriculum. I wouldn't be happy with anything I didn't design myself. The only reason I looked at this one at all is because it's secular and I have never considered a packaged curriculum based solely on that.

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Inflexibility?

I looked closely at the list of included items in Bookshark and found out 1) I already own many of the read-alouds and readers or can find them at local library, 2) I don't need math manipulatives and HWOT supplements, and 3) it seems a big investment in something I wouldn't call a "complete" curriculum as I'd still want to add other materials. I don't know if I'll like its history and science programs.

 

If I had to choose one among all boxed curricula, however, Bookshark would be at the top of the list.

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Principle. For years, Sonlight touted their Christianity as a major selling point. I think even one of their 24 smarmy points was "if you don't want to use Christian material, then Sonlight is not for you" kinda statement. Now, they totally dump that and sell out for profit. It's just the principle of it all. Anyhoo, it's like I used to love Burts Bee products....then they sold to Colgate or some other major pharm company.....Burt's Bee isn't who they used to be anymore.

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I thought the above was odd too. Make a selling point of being Christian then take the religion stuff out and sell under a different name. Plus the people writing the instructor guides could be the same people who wrote the more way out of the articles.

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I adore any curriculum that includes a big box of books. I am always looking and looking at Sonlight...just for dreaming LOL.

 

Why I don't use it...

 

what we have currently already works.

 

and

 

I personally believe education is not accuired by just reading... I lean towards Project Based Learning...so a curriculum of tons of reading is not for me.

 

 

I do, however use Sonlight/Bookshark as a reading list. We stiil get to read the boks without using the curriculum that I'm not that enthused about. Reading a couple pages here and there everyday would drive me crazy...I'm a one book at a time type of girl.

 

It's also very costly.

 

We use Moving Beyond The Page. Much closer to what I want in a literature type curriculum and the owners are fantastic...enough good stuff cannot be said about their customer service. Plus its secular...so no Christian infighting occurs.

 

ButI know what you mean...I currently have Bookshark open in a second window...making a reading list for this term LOL. Love looking at it over and over.

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A set curriculum would never work for me or my children - they are all over the place in ability. I do look at almost every boxed curriculum but more to find out which books they are using - and we have read plenty of them and enjoyed them, but I don't need to be told when to read what or given a guide about how to discuss a particular book.

 

Bookshark does bother me because it is a secularised version of a Christian curriculum, however I would probably not let that influence my decision to buy it or not since I have pulled curriculum from all over the place based entirely on what will work with my children and what will help me to educate them.

 

I cannot follow someone else's schedule - to feel I should be doing x, y or z would not go down well because of the way I work and my own schedule and that my children are so young and some days we just need to take the day off or do less or even do way more than usual and if someone was telling me what to do every day I would feel stressed out by that.

 

The expense is an issue as I like to spread what I purchase out over the year - we probably do spend that amount in a year (my DD is moving rapidly through curricula and goes through more than a year's worth of most curricula in a year at the moment) but it is spread out over at least 4 different purchases.

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My first and biggest reason for not using it is that it's way too expensive.  I like to homeschool on the cheap because I can and because I choose to spend our money on other, more fun things (well, and sometimes we have to spend it on boring but necessary things like electricity and food  :laugh: ).  I also don't use it because, like others have said, it is packaged to fit one particular level of learner for each grade level.  For example, while DD is a great little reader now, she is also a picky reader and a bit behind in math. Plus, she'd need third grade this year and we just finished a year of American History. Oh, and another problem, I am-for some reason- very bad at following a schedule.  :glare: All that to say, Bookshark DOES look appealing and I HAVE visited their site...

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For the same reason I wouldn't use boxed SL...it's too much/not enough. :) too much reading, not enough engagement with the material. Instead we read all the readers, most/many of the read alouds, replace the spine with something that can be used with both kids and do interactive/hands on notebooking and some projects, it's the perfect compromise for us. We also don't use their science, LA, or math...I am content to buy their readers and read alouds and make our own thing out of them. :)

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Well, I've been interested, but here's why I am not caving:

1. the price

2. we don't fit into their history schedule (we're either ahead or behind, too young or too old)

3. I've heard that  SL keeps several books going at one time... and that's a no-no for my kids.  I assume Bookshark will be the same.

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Because we used Sonlight for three years and it took a lot of time to undo the damage that had absolutely nothing to do with Christian content.  Mainly: Way too light and doesn't teach deep thinking no matter what they claim.

 

I haven't used it, but this is my reason (kind of) - I've heard miserable reviews about their language arts, and the science looks downright light.

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I am tempted to get it. I won't do the full curriculum, just the history IG. But I am tempted because I like things laid out for me and it keeps calling my name since I learned about it yesterday, lol.

But now I am going to go back to researching what I want to do in general. I have learned I need planned and scripted because planning doesn't happen and building my own doesn't work either. I need to know what we are doing next, open and go.

 

ETA --- Okay, the "OH look NEW and SHINY" moment has worn off and I'm less likely to purchase it. I am tempted to get the guide but will look around a little more at what is out there.

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Some of the science isn't truly secular (RS4K is written by intelligent design proponents). So that's one potential reason.

 

For me, I'm just not a schedule person. I prefer do the next thing curricula (like the way we use AAS or our math texts) or more open ended, do what you like curricula, more like resource guides and living books and routines we make to do these things.

 

I had a chance to see Bookshark... If someone was a schedule person, I think it would be a good option.

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I've lusted over the Sonlight booklists (other than the missionary stuff)…and the thought of a giant box of books arriving is so appealing.  BUT, I tried Sonlight K many many moons ago, and reading two pages from one book, and four pages from another, just doesn't work for our family.  I did find schedules on Sonlight Secular Homeschool groups that eliminated that, though, for K.

 

I am torn. I have gone to the Sonlight site for recommendations for books…and many of them are spot-on.  So I do think I should support a secular alternative of theirs.  BUT, I find the world-view of the Sonlight curriculum has changed a bunch over the past few years, and not in a good way.  I realize that this is part of the John/Sarita? issues…but I'm not sure I want to support that in any way.

 

I'm torn.

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You mean you didn't teach deep thinking using SL.  Its not like they come to your home and do it for you.

 

No, I don't mean that at all.  I taught it with every single discussion question exactly as they wrote it.  It's very light and superficial.

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Principle. For years, Sonlight touted their Christianity as a major selling point. I think even one of their 24 smarmy points was "if you don't want to use Christian material, then Sonlight is not for you" kinda statement. Now, they totally dump that and sell out for profit. It's just the principle of it all. Anyhoo, it's like I used to love Burts Bee products....then they sold to Colgate or some other major pharm company.....Burt's Bee isn't who they used to be anymore.

Ken Ham slammed SL for years and John Holzmann specifically for not being "Christian" enough for including books that he (Ken) didn't feel that Christian children should use. The outcome of this was that SL was basically banned from the homeschool conventions in their own state (Colorado). John Holzmann discussed a lot of this on his blog as well as his thoughts on an old earth. His was very clear that at one point he was suicidal. John pulled away from SL, and Sarita has done whatever to keep their Christian customer base. If you want to avoid something based on principle, avoid Answers in Genesis as a highly judgemental, holier-than-thou, if-you-don't-fully-believe-our-brand-of-Christianity-then-you-aren't-Christian con that uses this method to run competitors out of business.

 

John loves writing homeschool materials, and he is good at it. Due to everything that happened, he has chosen to market to the secular homeschool community. Sarita has chosen to continue marketing to the Christian homeschool community. I don't know that John will ever be secular enough for some secular homeschoolers or that Sarita will ever be Christian enough for Ken Ham. I can only imagine that these were hard individual decisions, difficult decisions for their company, and had to involve thoughtful discussions in their relationship with each other.

 

HTH-

Mandy

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OP- I am keeping BookShark on the radar. John used to post in the secular SL yahoo group as well as the SL forums. I like the way he thinks. I like his guides and his ability to discuss a different POV.

 

However, it is a lot of historical fiction. There isn't a good balance between historical fiction and other genres. It also works best with a child who is able to develop a deep empathy with fictional characters and connect this empathy with what he/ she is studying in history. It makes the history more real and aids in retention for this type of student. My oldest son was this type of student, but I am not sure if it would work this way with my youngest. It sure didn't work for my middle ds who didn't like historical fiction much and didn't make any connections between the fiction and the history unless I connected he dots for him.

 

So, while I will consider level 7 when it comes out, I hesitate due to the lack of diversity in reading material and being uncertain if my youngest is the type of child with whom this type of history learning would resonate.

 

HTH-

Mandy

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I used SL Core D and part of E. By time we started E, I was so sick of historical fiction. It was just overload.

 

I also don't trust the notes at all, based on John's comments in this forum (like the fact that he'd never heard of Stockholm Syndrome... and he was writing a history curriculum?!?).

 

I was also incredibly unimpressed with the Core E LA.

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Cost - I'm a cheapskate.

 

The fact that they say claim to be secular but include RS4K for science. I actually like RS4K, and don't have a problem with using non-secular curriculum, but claiming something non-secular is secular is insidious, and makes me question what else may be hiding away in there.

 

I love Sonlight/BS's booklists, but, from what I've heard of it, the actual teaching model doesn't sound appealing.

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Curriculum in a box, from one provider, has never appealed to me. I've never even considered it. I like to look around and find what is best for my particular student and I can't imagine I would find that from one publisher. And, back when Bookshark was Sonlight, nothing they made looked appealing to me. And my 'big box of books' looks and awful lot like my local library, lol.

 

The only one I would have considered are the bundles from Peace Hill press with the SM option. What they are selling is pretty much what I bought anyway, lol. But, I am long past needing K or first grade so it is not to be.

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The fact that they say claim to be secular but include RS4K for science. I actually like RS4K, and don't have a problem with using non-secular curriculum, but claiming something non-secular is secular is insidious, and makes me question what else may be hiding away in there.

 

Yes, that would be a concern to me too, especially considering some of the ideas about American history that were in the Sonlight program.  And there was an earlier version that someone on a secular board I'm on pointed out at least one example of historical bias that definitely skewed religious.

 

But it does feel like this first wave of users will end up reviewing and picking through that and in a year or two it will be easier to know, assuming someone wants to seek it out, what might be questionable in the program for secular users.  And it may be that because they seem to be trying, that they'll respond to any concerns and tweak things.

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I guess if that's how you do it. I don't think we found it to be light or superficial. Of course I don't think I ever did any of it exactly as they wrote it. But this is a bizarre complaint to levy against a literature rich curriculum which used Landmark in grade 3.

 

Yes. With any curriculum, isn't it what you put into it? The discussions you have with your kids, the questions you ask them? The rabbit trails you explore together, the things you research together? I wouldn't expect just using any curriculum exactly as written to somehow result in my kids knowing how to think deeply, that comes from me teaching and modeling that, using the material as a jumping off point.

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Yes. With any curriculum, isn't it what you put into it? The discussions you have with your kids, the questions you ask them? The rabbit trails you explore together, the things you research together? I wouldn't expect just using any curriculum exactly as written to somehow result in my kids knowing how to think deeply, that comes from me teaching and modeling that, using the material as a jumping off point.

 

Except Sonlight says it does just that using nothing more than their discussion questions.

 

I've run into a *lot* of people with the same complaints as mine.

 

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Except Sonlight says it does just that using nothing more than their discussion questions.

 

I've run into a *lot* of people with the same complaints as mine.

 

 

I didn't know that they specifically claim to teach critical thinking with their discussion questions. That's in their advertisements?

 

I wish they had more Socratic discussion helps for sure. I've never used the IG much though.

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Ooo...this discussion hits the nail on the head for me. Wonderful literature is great, but I need a little help in what to do with it. I have 5 little ones and am a teacher by trade, so sure I can come up with those deep analytical questions to squeeze all I can from the books. BUT- I don't have time! I want it all there for me. Yes, I can (and will) tweak, but I appreciate the foundation to build upon. Any curriculum that just gives page numbers to read is almost worthless to me.

 

So, I'm seeing that many of you think BS/SL are just reading lists basically and the IG's are worthless? I think the IG's should be where the heart of a curriculum is myself. All of your responses have been very enlightening. I've learned quite a bit about both company's that I didn't know before (as in, they're from the same people! ) Thanks!

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Ooo...this discussion hits the nail on the head for me. Wonderful literature is great, but I need a little help in what to do with it. I have 5 little ones and am a teacher by trade, so sure I can come up with those deep analytical questions to squeeze all I can from the books. BUT- I don't have time! I want it all there for me. Yes, I can (and will) tweak, but I appreciate the foundation to build upon. Any curriculum that just gives page numbers to read is almost worthless to me.

 

So, I'm seeing that many of you think BS/SL are just reading lists basically and the IG's are worthless? I think the IG's should be where the heart of a curriculum is myself. All of your responses have been very enlightening. I've learned quite a bit about both company's that I didn't know before (as in, they're from the same people! ) Thanks!

I think Tapestry of Grace is what you would want. 

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The IG is handy for parcelling out the material into daily portions.

 

The commentary by Holzmans is of dubious value. None at all to me and maybe much

More to others. I dislike their politics and loathe their brand of religion.

I loathe Ken Ham's brand of religion, but, as far as Christians go, John is pretty laid back. As far as Christianity goes, John tends to be someone I feel I can have a chat. What is it about his religious views that you loathe?

 

Genuinely Curious-

Like I said, I could say exactly the same thing about others, but have never felt that way about John Holzmann.

Mandy

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A box has never appealed to me.  Well, no, a box appeals to me every single year.  I've looked at all of them, repeatedly.  But I am a tweaker at heart and my husband would probably pass out if I wanted to spend hundreds of dollars on a box that I would then spend ANOTHER hundred dollars tweaking to death.  I can't even follow a recipe.  I can't even follow a single science program...that I chose MYSELF.  

 

-So yes, money is an issue.  Because Sonlight is EXPENSIVE.  And much of what you are getting are books that you can pick up at the library for free. 

 

-Writing my own schedule takes less time than trying to make theirs fit my life.

 

-My kids are everyone on the ability level.  I have a kid that can't read with comprehension, but does 2nd grade math.  I have another that still struggles to count to 20, but he's reading.  I'd have no idea "where" to put them.

 

-I plan on a large family.  So even though I only have 2 students right now (and being a year apart they would be theoretically easy to combine) I want to keep in mind the ability to have the whole bunch together for as many subjects as possible.  The thought of two different cores makes me bug eyed.

 

-I dont think it's as "strong" as I'd like in some areas.  Science, definitely.  

 

If I was in a season where I couldn't write 75% of our curriculum myself, which is a reasonable assumption, I would go with the new Well Trained Mind box.  Its not the same as what I'm using but its similar enough to work.  Assuming they go past 1st grade, that is.  But even then I'm not sure.  I haven't looked at it enough to know if you can, for example, throw a singapore 3 into your 1st grade box and ect.  Or there's the fact that SWB suggests combing for history and sceince...so if you are buying 2 boxes do you just have to buy two history sets even though you will only use one?  THESE are the issues that always come up with a box...  

 

 

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I love the idea of a huge box of books, but like others I satisfy this desire by ordering from various places throughout the year. I could never make such a huge financial commitment to someone else's plan. 

 

I did side eye a bit when I saw RS4K in this "secular" set. 

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I'm more likely to use BS than SL.  If my youngest turns out to be a big reader as my youngest daughter is I may consider it.  I like the fact that I can add my own Biblical materials to my homeschool rather than be forced to use someone else's slant.  This is what makes BS more appealing to me.  Even if some of the secular may not be completely secular, it is still easier to customize - edit/add - than SL would be.

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I just looked over the third grade sample reading list. It's about what I expected. I found about a third to be acceptable. I'm just generally unimpressed. 

I don't know. It just doesn't give me the warm fuzziness. I'm reading that it's literature based and CM inspired, but it looks to me like it's not really literature-the website calls it "book based". That sounds accurate. Subjective, I know. 

I don't see anything CM like at all. Nothing. I really don't get that.

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Ken Ham slammed SL for years and John Holzmann specifically for not being "Christian" enough for including books that he (Ken) didn't feel that Christian children should use. The outcome of this was that SL was basically banned from the homeschool conventions in their own state (Colorado). John Holzmann discussed a lot of this on his blog as well as his thoughts on an old earth. His was very clear that at one point he was suicidal. John pulled away from SL, and Sarita has done whatever to keep their Christian customer base. If you want to avoid something based on principle, avoid Answers in Genesis as a highly judgemental, holier-than-thou, if-you-don't-fully-believe-our-brand-of-Christianity-then-you-aren't-Christian con that uses this method to run competitors out of business.

 

John loves writing homeschool materials, and he is good at it. Due to everything that happened, he has chosen to market to the secular homeschool community. Sarita has chosen to continue marketing to the Christian homeschool community. I don't know that John will ever be secular enough for some secular homeschoolers or that Sarita will ever be Christian enough for Ken Ham. I can only imagine that these were hard individual decisions, difficult decisions for their company, and had to involve thoughtful discussions in their relationship with each other.

 

HTH-

Mandy

 Oh believe me, I do avoid Ken Ham for the exact reason that you've mentioned.  I actually had to sit and listen to him speak, as I was a volunteer at a convention, and my duty was to be in the theater he was speaking in, for general crowd control (apparently they were afraid people would rush the stage, lol).   I was floored and flabbergasted at what he said.   

 

I am not judgemental on whether someone is too Christian, or not enough Christian...none of my business.  You be what you want to be, and I'll be what I want to be...BUT that being said, BE WHO YOU SAID YOU ARE!!  If you are Christian, and you advertise your curriculum as Christian, and even put in print that others should avoid you if they do not want to deal with a Christian....don't go around the corner, put on a wig, and tell everyone else you are secular because you know the kids over on that corner are secular....then turn around and come back to my corner and tell me you are a Christian...and back and forth, back and forth.    I don't care what your beliefs are, stand by your beliefs. 

 

Whether John and Sarita disagree on their religious beliefs inside their home and marriage, none of my business...but when you approach me as a company, and that is what Sonlight does as they do major marketing, HUGE booths at conventions...they are just everywhere homeschoolers are, so they ARE approaching me)....when you do that, your company becomes my business.    So Sonlight, which for years has advertised as Christians, and for years, said they would not back down from that POV....opens a spin-off company, acts like it's "this whole new thing that isnt' really related to us", and sells secular curriculum.........that is just foul.   Can't swallow that.    I can't think of a single Christian company, homeschool related or not, that has done that.   I don't see Hobby Lobby opening a new store called Lobby Hobby, so they can avoid the hoopla that surrounds their legal woes due to their Christian views.  I don't see Chick-Fa-La opening a new restaurant with the same menu items, maybe one pickle instead of two, to avoid their controversy.  They stand by their beliefs while being gracious to the community, regardless if the community agrees.  I doubt anyone who's been on the Sonlight forums would call the Sonlight staff "gracious".   (And yes, I was a member there for a while after having bought a few things from Sonlight...not their curriculum, but other items).

 

So the fact that people are making all this hoopla over Bookshark....yet they wouldn't have looked at Sonlight twice....you do realize it is NOT a new curriculum, right?  It's a realigned curriculum.  It's a changed curriculum.  It's a reformatted curriculum.  But it's NOT new!

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 Oh believe me, I do avoid Ken Ham for the exact reason that you've mentioned.  I actually had to sit and listen to him speak, as I was a volunteer at a convention, and my duty was to be in the theater he was speaking in, for general crowd control (apparently they were afraid people would rush the stage, lol).   I was floored and flabbergasted at what he said.   

 

I am not judgemental on whether someone is too Christian, or not enough Christian...none of my business.  You be what you want to be, and I'll be what I want to be...BUT that being said, BE WHO YOU SAID YOU ARE!!  If you are Christian, and you advertise your curriculum as Christian, and even put in print that others should avoid you if they do not want to deal with a Christian....don't go around the corner, put on a wig, and tell everyone else you are secular because you know the kids over on that corner are secular....then turn around and come back to my corner and tell me you are a Christian...and back and forth, back and forth.    I don't care what your beliefs are, stand by your beliefs. 

 

Whether John and Sarita disagree on their religious beliefs inside their home and marriage, none of my business...but when you approach me as a company, and that is what Sonlight does as they do major marketing, HUGE booths at conventions...they are just everywhere homeschoolers are, so they ARE approaching me)....when you do that, your company becomes my business.    So Sonlight, which for years has advertised as Christians, and for years, said they would not back down from that POV....opens a spin-off company, acts like it's "this whole new thing that isnt' really related to us", and sells secular curriculum.........that is just foul.   Can't swallow that.    I can't think of a single Christian company, homeschool related or not, that has done that.   I don't see Hobby Lobby opening a new store called Lobby Hobby, so they can avoid the hoopla that surrounds their legal woes due to their Christian views.  I don't see Chick-Fa-La opening a new restaurant with the same menu items, maybe one pickle instead of two, to avoid their controversy.  They stand by their beliefs while being gracious to the community, regardless if the community agrees.  I doubt anyone who's been on the Sonlight forums would call the Sonlight staff "gracious".   (And yes, I was a member there for a while after having bought a few things from Sonlight...not their curriculum, but other items).

 

So the fact that people are making all this hoopla over Bookshark....yet they wouldn't have looked at Sonlight twice....you do realize it is NOT a new curriculum, right?  It's a realigned curriculum.  It's a changed curriculum.  It's a reformatted curriculum.  But it's NOT new!

 

I bolded the part that stands out to me. Personally, I don't mind if a company has a religious part and a secular part. They serve different populations. By creating a secular version they are able to be used by charter schools, hence growing their business. There are other businesses that have done done this I think....I have it in my head that Saxon started as a religious company? Is that out of left field? 

 

If anything I appreciate that they are being so up front about things. They listened to their potential market and responded. How well Sonlight is doing it, their science is NOT what I would call secular, is a discussion that could be had. But whatever.

 

I long ago rejected Sonlight, not because it religious, although that would be a major consideration. I rejected it long ago because it is not the right program for my kids. If it were the right one, I would have worked hard to figure out a way to make it work. I am the die hard secular humanist who is using R&S grammar after all, lol.

 

So I am also a big confused by the 'new curriculum' excitement that is going on. I never really thought Sonlight was all that impressive. But, maybe there were more secular people who were looking longingly at Sonlight than I ever realized? I guess those folks are happy now, and that is good.

 

 

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I am not judgemental on whether someone is too Christian, or not enough Christian...none of my business.  You be what you want to be, and I'll be what I want to be...BUT that being said, BE WHO YOU SAID YOU ARE!!  If you are Christian, and you advertise your curriculum as Christian, and even put in print that others should avoid you if they do not want to deal with a Christian....don't go around the corner, put on a wig, and tell everyone else you are secular because you know the kids over on that corner are secular....then turn around and come back to my corner and tell me you are a Christian...and back and forth, back and forth.    I don't care what your beliefs are, stand by your beliefs. 

 

I don't even mind if a company recognizes and respects the needs of different families and makes both a religious and secular version of their curriculum. But I agree with you - I feel like this is different, since they've been so outspoken in the past about being uncompromisingly Christian. 

 

So the fact that people are making all this hoopla over Bookshark....yet they wouldn't have looked at Sonlight twice....you do realize it is NOT a new curriculum, right?  It's a realigned curriculum.  It's a changed curriculum.  It's a reformatted curriculum.  But it's NOT new!

 

I'm pretty sure most people on this board who are excited about a secular version of Sonlight do in fact realize that it's a secular version of Sonlight, and not something brand new :) Lots of people like the idea of Sonlight and the literature included, but don't want the religion. I don't think I've ever seen a post where people don't call it a secular version of Sonlight. Personally, I received the Sonlight catalog for a few years up until we moved, and still refer to the booklists when I'm looking for things to read. 

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So the fact that people are making all this hoopla over Bookshark....yet they wouldn't have looked at Sonlight twice....you do realize it is NOT a new curriculum, right?  It's a realigned curriculum.  It's a changed curriculum.  It's a reformatted curriculum.  But it's NOT new!

 

I believe most know it isn't a new curriculum.  They know it is Sonlight made secular-ish.  There are many who didn't look twice at Sonlight because of its religious nature, but they are now interested in Bookshark.

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I have always thought the advertising and marketing people over at SL were genius. They've done a great job picking books with a broad appeal, packaging it up just right and selling the idea that their particular schedule and commentary of said books is indispensible. And unwaveringly Christian.

 

The catalog virtually shouts that ordering from them will transform said book list into a magically wonderful experience unique to their company. I mean, just LOOK at all the pictures in our catalog of happy families reading the books on our lists!!!

 

By opening the secular branch and using 90% of the very same booklists verifies (to me) that the success of either or both of those companies hinges on them both cobbling together what amounts to good booklists. They are essentially admitting that the same happy experience can be had with or without their unique (Christian) commentary.

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I believe most know it isn't a new curriculum.  They know it is Sonlight made secular-ish.  There are many who didn't look twice at Sonlight because of its religious nature, but they are now interested in Bookshark.

 

Sonlight appealed to me before but the religious bent always took them off the list from the start. And I am sure Sonlight works for lots of families and doesn't for many. I like the idea of assigned reading and someone that has figured that all out for me. So maybe it is an expensive booklist but it also has the questions and vocabulary, etc pulled out. Of course, plenty say those are things that parents should pull out from the reading anyways, but I like the reminders. Different things for different people.

 

So -- yeah, it's not new, but it puts an option back on the table that was completely wiped off before. And an option I probably would have gone with for simplicity sake.

 

I keep going back and forth on it   -- I found something else I think I would like more (Wayfarers) but it won't be available in time and it sounds like the cost is going to be more than Bookshark (just talking history IG - not whole program) too.... so ... I don't know. I feel like crunch time is here and I need to decide on something. But mostly wanted to comment on why Bookshark is getting some "new" excitement from someone like me.

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I do have to say that I think the brand name "Book Shark" is horrible. It is waaaay to SNL for my tastes. It doesn't speak to education or love of reading or tell us anything about the company. It's not even cutesy or clever.  It's just... :confused1:

 

I have pondered that name quite a bit, actually.  :confused1:

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Why not Bookshark?

 

Because you could buy or check out the books and simply read them. We used Sonlight off and on for years and most of the time the master schedule got put aside. It's my own fault I didn't use it to its fullest, but life happens. With many of the books becoming available on kindle or audible, it is easier than ever to make up your own list and start reading. Remember that SL originally marketed to missionaries who needed a complete in-a-box curriculum that could be easily shipped overseas. That business model does not work for them any more.

 

If you want to use Bookshark, or Sonlight, and the price is intimidating, you can still do it very cheaply. At its core, it is a book list.

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Why not Bookshark?

 

Because you could buy or check out the books and simply read them. We used Sonlight off and on for years and most of the time the master schedule got put aside. It's my own fault I didn't use it to its fullest, but life happens. With many of the books becoming available on kindle or audible, it is easier than ever to make up your own list and start reading. Remember that SL originally marketed to missionaries who needed a complete in-a-box curriculum that could be easily shipped overseas. That business model does not work for them any more.

 

If you want to use Bookshark, or Sonlight, and the price is intimidating, you can still do it very cheaply. At its core, it is a book list.

 

:iagree:

 

To me, the value here would be the IGs....and then I read that thread I linked to earlier, and now I'm like..hmmm....Not So Much!

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1.  Money.  We have so many other things to spend money on.  This year (not including onlne class fees for my 7/8th grader), we spent only 400 on curriculum for two kids.  BookShark or SL would be triple that.

 

2.  Time.  My kids read a zillion books on their own time, but "doing" SL or bookShark is VERY time consuming! It would be very stressful to try to fit in that amount of scheduling reading and read-alouds on top of our regular schoolwork.

 

3.  Philosophy of Education differences- I am just moving more and more toward an individualized, less-is-more approach.  While I skew Classical, I just don't see the need for all kids to do all things. My kids, from now on, will continue to have increasingly different educational paths from one another AND from "the norm."  Why stick them in a box?  

 

4.  Types of Children- my dd in particular does not do well with SL's style of books. They tend to be very dramatic, and emotional.  She just can't handle all that drama and it makes her have nightmares. She's just very innocent and sensitive.  SL/BookShark isn't for her.  

 

So...I looked at SL again this year, just like I do every year, and those are the reasons I ruled it out.  Hope that helps.

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I have to admit that other than the science, it does appeal to *me*. But ultimately, it would never work for us- my kid would hate every second of it, and I'd get upset trying to force him through it. So, yeah, no. And besides, I spent years trying to find a math program that worked for us, finally found it at the end of last year, and I am *not* giving it up!

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I don't care what your beliefs are, stand by your beliefs. 

 

So Christians can only sell Christian curriculum?

 

Personally, I think Sonlight is a horrible company and John Holzmann is a crackpot, so I wouldn't touch anything that had anything to do with them with a 10-foot pole.

 

But people have been clamoring for a secular Sonlight for decades, and I don't really see what's wrong with giving people that. They aren't changing Sonlight. They are selling a secular alternative.

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