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I doubt see it mentioned often.

It was their catalog that persuaded me I *could* homeschool. We've "used" it since the beginning, sometimes with heavy modification.

 

 

I don't see them often listed in the planning threads. Do you use them, especially at the higher levels? What do you like? Did you use them at the beginning, but left? Why? Would you not touch them with a ten foot pole? Why?

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My kids used them briefly while in a university model school.  I did not care for them at all.  

-I thought much of the readings were dry and dull.

-I'm not a box checker; that is to say that I like to choose materials that work for me and my kids rather than use what a pre-written curriculum says I should use.  If I'm going to "tweak" that much, then Sonlight is just too expensive to only use bits and pieces

-They change things A LOT.  I couldn't purchase things, use them, sell them to buy the next thing. 

-Along with the above, things tend to get complicated and confusing.  I do not like the IGs.  At all.

-They have some scientifically questionable content and completely leave out certain scientific topics.  Not for us.

-Poor customer service

-Poor business practices

-Hated, HATED their language arts program.  I thought it was very poor in general.

-Controversial, and unappreciated by my family, historical language/references/stereotype.

-As above regarding religion as well.

-Lots of stuff in the readings that I felt were very age inappropriate, at least for my kids.

 

I could probably keep going, but I think I've done a decent job showing how very much I dislike Sonlight  :001_smile:

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My kids used them briefly while in a university model school. I did not care for them at all.

-I thought much of the readings were dry and dull.

-I'm not a box checker; that is to say that I like to choose materials that work for me and my kids rather than use what a pre-written curriculum says I should use. If I'm going to "tweak" that much, then Sonlight is just too expensive to only use bits and pieces

-They change things A LOT. I couldn't purchase things, use them, sell them to buy the next thing.

-Along with the above, things tend to get complicated and confusing. I do not like the IGs. At all.

-They have some scientifically questionable content and completely leave out certain scientific topics. Not for us.

-Poor customer service

-Poor business practices

-Hated, HATED their language arts program. I thought it was very poor in general.

-Controversial, and unappreciated by my family, historical language/references/stereotype.

-As above regarding religion as well.

-Lots of stuff in the readings that I felt were very age inappropriate, at least for my kids.

 

I could probably keep going, but I think I've done a decent job showing how very much I dislike Sonlight :001_smile:

Same problems here. My dislikes of their opinions is less vehement than eemaluv. But on the whole

I've had the same problems.

 

I will also add, that we tried it again this year and found the gigantic humongous binder of assignments overwhelming even after several

Weeks of getting to know it.

 

We also found that it was too many required books.

 

I feel MFW is more balanced and although it didn't work for my son, MFW is what I always recommend to people looking for a boxed approach. MFW is also a better company, with more stability, better policies, hardly any change unless truly warranted, more affordable, and on top of all that they support bible translation which I think is something all Christians can wholeheartedly support.

 

We won't try SL again :)

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I used them a bit at the beginning.  Their attitude to other faiths in the end made it impossible for me to continue.  This is an excerpt from an email that I wrote in response to a mailshot from Sarita:

 

'I recently received your letter in which you described belief in Hinduism as 'spiritual slavery', 'bondage', and said that Hindu people have 'no joy.'  I had previously appreciated John's lack of venom about other faiths, but now do not feel able to associate with your company.'

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My kids used them briefly while in a university model school. I did not care for them at all.

-I thought much of the readings were dry and dull.

-I'm not a box checker; that is to say that I like to choose materials that work for me and my kids rather than use what a pre-written curriculum says I should use. If I'm going to "tweak" that much, then Sonlight is just too expensive to only use bits and pieces

-They change things A LOT. I couldn't purchase things, use them, sell them to buy the next thing.

-Along with the above, things tend to get complicated and confusing. I do not like the IGs. At all.

-They have some scientifically questionable content and completely leave out certain scientific topics. Not for us.

-Poor customer service

-Poor business practices

-Hated, HATED their language arts program. I thought it was very poor in general.

-Controversial, and unappreciated by my family, historical language/references/stereotype.

-As above regarding religion as well.

-Lots of stuff in the readings that I felt were very age inappropriate, at least for my kids.

 

I could probably keep going, but I think I've done a decent job showing how very much I dislike Sonlight :001_smile:

 

Well, I pretty much have had the opposite experience! Lol I guess it goes to show how different everyone is.

Disclaimer - have only used cores P4/5 - F

 

My experience:

- Excellent customer service

- Very broad outlook on topics with many different viewpoints included. I've left out a couple over the years that I felt were too slanted by the author

- Very good and broad overview of science, including both evolution and creation perspectives

- excellent literature choices that allowed me to discuss indepth issues with my children

- love the way they don't impose personal or denominational religious beliefs.

- high resell value - even the older versions still sell well, which is handy if you want to buy next year's curriculum

- best support group ever of homeschool moms on Facebook

- IGs can be followed or tweaked very easily and are good for keeping on track when you have multiple kids

- I actually think the LA is fine for the lower levels - No experience above F - BUT only if the child is on the same level reading and writing - Which mine are not. We still use the readers/lit, but add in MCT LA

 

The one thing I wish they would do is lower the ages on cores. Sonlight is a full and challenging program. Most kids do better at what Sonlight recommends for the higher age range.

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We have used Sonlight from their "old" Pre-K Core (before they split it into P3/4 and P4/5) through Core H.   Some years we used it as written, some we tweaked, and we stretched one Core over 2 years.   Many years I've purchased the IGs used and then collected used copies of books to save some money.   I did not care for their LA but the rest of their program was a very good fit for our family.   I think that Sonlight has given my kids a real love for learning and I attribute their voracious appetite for reading at least partially to using a heavy literature-based curriculum.

 

We decided to switch for high school because I wanted a more traditional approach with World History, American History, Government and Economics.   

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Look through the BookShark level k before buying it. We really didn't like it. I wish I would have looked at it during the homeschool conference more closely. Its very similar to sunlight.

Why didn't you like it? I would be using the language arts and readers for grade 1 and also math grade 1.

Was it the history and science you didn't like?

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I use Sonlight Cores for elementary and love it for that age. I don't know if they even still sell cores, but it's just the history, literature, Bible. I credit Sonlight with turning my kids into readers. We've loved books I never would have chosen on my own. I don't like that they keep changing it so much, including changing out spines. I didn't like that they added LA to the cores and I was then paying for something I had no intention of using. We used Cores A-E (my youngest is finishing up E now) and then switched to TOG for middle school and up.

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Well, I pretty much have had the opposite experience! Lol I guess it goes to show how different everyone is.

Disclaimer - have only used cores P4/5 - F

 

My experience:

- Excellent customer service

- Very broad outlook on topics with many different viewpoints included. I've left out a couple over the years that I felt were too slanted by the author

- Very good and broad overview of science, including both evolution and creation perspectives

- excellent literature choices that allowed me to discuss indepth issues with my children

- love the way they don't impose personal or denominational religious beliefs.

- high resell value - even the older versions still sell well, which is handy if you want to buy next year's curriculum

- best support group ever of homeschool moms on Facebook

- IGs can be followed or tweaked very easily and are good for keeping on track when you have multiple kids

- I actually think the LA is fine for the lower levels - No experience above F - BUT only if the child is on the same level reading and writing - Which mine are not. We still use the readers/lit, but add in MCT LA

 

The one thing I wish they would do is lower the ages on cores. Sonlight is a full and challenging program. Most kids do better at what Sonlight recommends for the higher age range.

 

I'd agree that many kids (mine included) did better when they were in the upper age-range recommended for a core.

 

My experience was more like Tumbatoo's. We used Cores PreK through F and 100, plus most of G-H with a different spine text, and a lot of the literature from 200-500 (and maybe one or two 600 level books) but with different history texts.

 

I never had a customer service issue (and when I posted prayer requests on their message board, I sometimes got a note or a card in the mail that the staff prayed for me too).

 

The range of books chosen often presents differing viewpoints, and enabled my kids and I to have discussions where we looked at topics from various viewpoints. 

 

We also found that the books and IG's had a high resale value--even after an IG had been changed, there are usually people who were interested even if an IG was older. I would agree though that I wish they changed things less often! Sometimes it can leave one's head spinning (LA is included, now it's not, now it is again...same with Bible and how the IG is organized and... whew! It's a common enough issue that it made it into Sonlight's 27 reasons NOT to buy article.)

 

We loved about 95% of the literature choices, or found them valuable if we didn't. There were very few lit. books that we just didn't care for. Sometimes I could take or leave the history choices.

 

Great support on the SL boards.

 

I agree that Sonlight's IG's can be overwhelming, and the pace didn't always fit us. I really like their one-page guide within the IG that lists all of the books in order by week of introduction, and after a couple of years I went to using that. Then, when I had different preferences with history spines, I dropped the IG all together and created my own 1-page guide similar to theirs. That suited my style and needs better.

 

I'm with the OP that Sonlight really encouraged me that I could homeschool, and I'm thankful for them. 

 

I liked the *idea* SL LA, but in practical use, an all-in-one type of LA that was more natural/Ruth-Beechik oriented instead of incremental and mastery based didn't offer what my kids needed, so I found other things for LA.

 

I've also never really met a literature guide that I loved--they never seem to focus on the things I'm interested in discussing with my kids. Sometimes the elementary IG's had questions about minutiae, and I wanted to discuss things like beautiful language, or why the author chose the title. I would have loved a resource that helped more with things like that--but we enjoyed the readers and read-alouds never-the-less.

 

All in all though, I'm thankful for Sonlight and have enjoyed reading with my kids. I'll miss that (and still have quite a library downstairs of "friends" we couldn't let go. There are some I never got to and may have to after my last one graduates this spring...)

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I use Sonlight - I have for years and still do. I love the books, the worldview, the discussions it brings, the way it presents other points of view, the customer service (I have had a box of books on my doorstep in less than a week and I am in Australia), and, dare I say it, I even like the LA.

 

I currently have two using Core p4/5 (nearly finished and about to start K), two in Core G, and my 16yo is doing Core 300. A bit over a year ago when my second youngest dd was nearly about to start K work, I was thinking about what I would do with my youngest two after having had quite a gap since the first 6 kids. Would I use SL or would I go a different route now that I had a chance to 'start over'? So, being all contemplative I asked my eldest DD what she liked and remembered most about her earlier schooling. Her answer was "Anything Sonlight". That sealed it for me. I started my little two on SL and we are loving it....again.

Edited by LindaOz
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Why didn't you like it? I would be using the language arts and readers for grade 1 and also math grade 1.

Was it the history and science you didn't like?

 

Where to start. First it doesn't have a phonics program, which I feel is a pretty glaring omission. The amount of time to actually do this as is takes us from 8:00 to 2-3 in the afternoon. The amount of things they expect to get done in a day is unreasonable. In fact the most frustrating thing I have found is that it is not an age appropriate curriculum for a 5 or 6 year old. The history is a review from the ancients to today, you move so fast there is no retention. Why does a 5 year old care about the tudors, the conquistadors... They don't and they don't like it. You force it on them and it makes them miserable and makes them hate school. You read out of the Usborne Encyclopedia for History and science. There are so many real books that would be better than reading out of an encyclopedia. The science worksheets cannot be filled out by them, I have to fill them out for them. Why did they not make them age appropriate, I have no idea? The science experiments don't correspond to what you are learning, it feels very disjointed. Both the History and science move way too fast. I feel like it would be better to stop and spend time to let them really understand and absorb what they are learning. Whats the rush, its kindergarten? The read alongs can be tough, you read them a chapter with pages that have no or few pictures. I think its a little early for them to listen to chapter books. Again my K'er dreads the read alouds because they are so long. Really there are better programs out there that you can put together for less money. I will be glad to be done with Book shark this year. Never again. 

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We are in our 8th year of Sonlight, from p3/4 through f (using it now in 6th grade). It's my kids favorite part of school, and mine! ee just love reading together. Though it gets more one consuming each year! The books get longer!

 

I love the discussions it provokes. We touch on many subjects that wouldn't really come up in everyday conversation. At least not for us.

 

I've heard tog has better questions in the guide and I've also heard tog can be difficult to get done. I don't know. Sonlight questions aren't great, but the discussions and topics that the books bring up are.

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Where to start. First it doesn't have a phonics program, which I feel is a pretty glaring omission. The amount of time to actually do this as is takes us from 8:00 to 2-3 in the afternoon. The amount of things they expect to get done in a day is unreasonable. In fact the most frustrating thing I have found is that it is not an age appropriate curriculum for a 5 or 6 year old. The history is a review from the ancients to today, you move so fast there is no retention. Why does a 5 year old care about the tudors, the conquistadors... They don't and they don't like it. You force it on them and it makes them miserable and makes them hate school. You read out of the Usborne Encyclopedia for History and science. There are so many real books that would be better than reading out of an encyclopedia. The science worksheets cannot be filled out by them, I have to fill them out for them. Why did they not make them age appropriate, I have no idea? The science experiments don't correspond to what you are learning, it feels very disjointed. Both the History and science move way too fast. I feel like it would be better to stop and spend time to let them really understand and absorb what they are learning. Whats the rush, its kindergarten? The read alongs can be tough, you read them a chapter with pages that have no or few pictures. I think its a little early for them to listen to chapter books. Again my K'er dreads the read alouds because they are so long. Really there are better programs out there that you can put together for less money. I will be glad to be done with Book shark this year. Never again. 

 

Do you mind me asking which Core or grade level are you using?

 

This is my biggest issue with SL, and why I always recommend that you look at the RANGE of ages for a particular Core, and not the "Grade level" attached to a package.   It sounds like you are using either Core B+C (recommended for ages 7-9) or Core B (recommended for ages 6-8), and not the "Kindergarten" grade level package (which is actually Core A, recommended for ages 5-7).    For two siblings ages 5 & 6 sharing a Core, I would actually recommend P4/5 (recommended for ages 4-6).    The Core that covers from ancients to today (B+C) is much more age-appropriate for a 9 year old than a 5 year old.

 

I've known a lot of people IRL who have used SL (or Bookshark, which is the same set of books without the Christian content) for a year or two.   In nearly every case, the families who hated SL used it for children who were at the youngest recommended age, or combined with a younger sibling who was younger than the recommended age range.    If you visit the Sonlight forums, the long-time SL users are the ones who used Cores when their children were at the upper end or even older than the recommended age range for each Core.

 

I also don't like the "full grade" packages at all.    Pick a Core based on your child's age and maturity level, then add the other components (science, math, Reading, etc.) based on their ability, not based on a "one size fits all" package.

 

Edited to Add:  I just looked at the Bookshark website, and I think anyone who is considering the program would do well to spend some time at the Sonlight website to get a feel for the different levels, which seem to be differentiated better on the SL website.   Bookshark seems to be sold based on straight grade levels, which (I think) tends to push families to packages with content too mature or too difficult for the ages of their children.

Edited by SebastianCat
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Just to add- Sonlight isn't a stand alone curriculum for us. We use it for literature and history. And usually bible. Every now and then we'll use the science. We use our own math, grammar, writing, etc.

 

I buy the IG for bible/literature/history (it's one IG) and the books that go along with it. Usually I'll pick up most of the stuff used. So it's not a necessary part of our curriculum, but it's the part we enjoy the most and have the best memories with.

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I've used Sonlight from elementary through middle school. My kids start branching away form it at some point.

 

I've always done my own math and science. I've loved snuggling up with my littles and reading for school. I no longer use the IG, just go through most of the books. Since I"m on my fourth child, I skip certain books which are not my favorites and I don't need a list of discussion questions.

 

I don't like a lot of the changes since John is no longer in charge.

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We kind of used Sonlight for years. I say kind of because we didn't use language arts or science because they both seemed scattered to me. We loved all the reading we did and it was great for years until my oldest got older and decided she didn't want anymore historical fiction. She felt a lot of the characters had a modern gloss and didn't represent their time period well. She wanted to stick with nonfiction for history. I quit with my youngest about the same time because she hated to sit still for read alouds and doesn't love reading and history like my oldest does.

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We are long time SL users.  I have used Core 4/5-100.  Some "by the book" and others heavily tweeked.  I love the IG.  I love the stretched out reading assignments(they have made all my my kids great with recall and summary skills)  We have had years that we used the science and LA.  Now we are using Core A with my Ker(with science)  I have combined my 6th and 3rd graders with Wayfarers and fit in a bunch of SL books.  I am a lot more confident now and we find our own library books and websites to delve deeper.

 

Honestly, my Ker doesn't beg for the Usborne history.  I don't know of any history program that would be "retained" by a Ker.  I just think of it as a thin layer of primer that will be built upon later. Words and names that he will hear again and will stick better then on a second and third exposure. 

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I started out with them. We started at core b and in hindsight should have gone for a lower level. I ended up doing the language arts in a year but spreading the other stuff over two.

Issues

Just too much. I like reading aloud but it was too much and my kids didn't retain because it was an overload.

Missionary focus. We're Christian but don't share the mainstream beliefs and while my son loved the missionary stories I found them a little off putting. Also we didn't ever do the bible memory verses and I really disliked the sing the word CDs.

Cost. I would have gone with them again but $800 US translates to about $1200 with shipping and that's just one kid. While the books can be reused for younger kids I don't really enjoy doing it a second time.

Instructor guide. It feels confusing and heavy.

Story of the world. I wish they did this in the age group it's meant for not Grade 5.

 

I do love a lot of the readers and read alouds. We also really enjoyed the animal science the year we did it. There are a lot of strengths and I would probably consider doing it but tailoring but I just can't justify the expense for something I have to modify anyway. It's less work to use well trained mind and build something from that.

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I adore Sonlight and Bookshark. We ended up sending ds to a public magnet for K and I cried because we wouldn't be doing them. So we use them as a booklist for our bedtime read alouds. So far we have been able to get the books we have read from the library. DS has LOVED them and I feel like it has helped him in so many ways. I agree with PP that Core A is an overview of history. It gives them a taste. Its just an introduction, not meant to be painful or forced. Even the older cores resell REALLY well. The facebook group is amazing and the most supportive homeschool facebook group I have seen.

 

We used P4/5 and loved all the books except Uncle Wiggly. We both hated it. I may try it again now that he is older but its one of those books you love or hate. I had no problem tweaking the IG as needed. Took what we liked, left the rest. I plan to continue to use the books from both Sonlight and Bookshark as bedtime stories. Books I would have never considered reading to him are now long time friends.

 

Its like everything. You have to go with what works for your family. We have friends that use and love MFW but that would be a disaster for my son. Other friends use Abeka and the worksheets would make life miserable around here. Sonlight/Bookshark are a good fit for us for now. If we were homeschooling we would do AAR and Singapore math and probably something else for LA.

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Well, I pretty much have had the opposite experience! Lol I guess it goes to show how different everyone is.

Disclaimer - have only used cores P4/5 - F

 

My experience:

- Excellent customer service

- Very broad outlook on topics with many different viewpoints included. I've left out a couple over the years that I felt were too slanted by the author

- Very good and broad overview of science, including both evolution and creation perspectives

- excellent literature choices that allowed me to discuss indepth issues with my children

- love the way they don't impose personal or denominational religious beliefs.

- high resell value - even the older versions still sell well, which is handy if you want to buy next year's curriculum

- best support group ever of homeschool moms on Facebook

- IGs can be followed or tweaked very easily and are good for keeping on track when you have multiple kids

- I actually think the LA is fine for the lower levels - No experience above F - BUT only if the child is on the same level reading and writing - Which mine are not. We still use the readers/lit, but add in MCT LA

 

The one thing I wish they would do is lower the ages on cores. Sonlight is a full and challenging program. Most kids do better at what Sonlight recommends for the higher age range.

 

Same here.  We love Sonlight!

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Where to start. First it doesn't have a phonics program, which I feel is a pretty glaring omission.

When my kids did the early Sonlight programs they included phonics. I think it was the MCP program. I wonder if MCP is still included. I loved that program and continued using it years, even after the older Cores no longer included it.

 

The history is a review from the ancients to today, you move so fast there is no retention. Why does a 5 year old care about the tudors, the conquistadors... They don't and they don't like it.

That depends on the child. I have precious memories of my two kids (one who was 4 at the time) perusing the Usborne Book of World history for hours and hours, until the book almost wore out.

 

It's true that Sonlight is not a program for everyone -- there are a lot of books (maybe too many at times). We've not always used Sonlight -- sometimes we switch to another program for a year or two for various reasons. However, I have NEVER found fault with Sonlight's customer service, and Sonlight is definitely my favorite homeschool company.

Edited by Serenade
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The final straw for me was being informed that if we didn't do it exactly the SL way (spending too much time on say, music) that we were not really hsing and were cheating our children.

I'm not sure who told you this, but I'm sure it didn't come from anyone official with Sonlight. Sonlight has never taken that stance. They've always told parents to use the program as they see fit. I've been using Sonlight on and off for 10 years, and I'm active on the Sonlight forums, and I have never seen anybody official say something like that.

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I'm not sure who told you this, but I'm sure it didn't come from anyone official with Sonlight. Sonlight has never taken that stance. They've always told parents to use the program as they see fit. I've been using Sonlight on and off for 10 years, and I'm active on the Sonlight forums, and I have never seen anybody official say something like that.

I have never heard that either. They very much take the stance of here is a buffet. Take and use as works for your family.
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I doubt see it mentioned often.

It was their catalog that persuaded me I *could* homeschool. We've "used" it since the beginning, sometimes with heavy modification.

 

 

I don't see them often listed in the planning threads. Do you use them, especially at the higher levels? What do you like? Did you use them at the beginning, but left? Why? Would you not touch them with a ten foot pole? Why?

 

I guess I am a former Sonlight fan. I still recommend it to others starting out who want a box and have an avid reader, but it's no longer what we use. I used it for 7th and 8th grade with my oldest when we first left public school. It is definitely what gave me the confidence to homeschool and overall, once I figured out how to tweak, gave us a very good experience as we came into our own as homeschoolers. It was the perfect fit for my Dd at the time (excluding the language arts) and I credit the books with beginning her love of history. For that, I will be eternally grateful. 

 

I have to qualify all of this by saying my love only extended toward the History and Lit. I didn't care for the Bible curricula, and I especially didn't like the Language Arts, which is, as others have mentioned, periodically included and then withdrawn. I was happy when it disappeared. I also never stuck to the schedule. My daughter is a fast reader and blew through the schedule so quickly that it became only a reference for the order of the books. So basically, I paid a lot for a booklist. :) Had I seen the way Tibbie modifies it back when we used it, I think I would've gotten more out of it. But I didn't stumble across those posts until too late. I also have found the inundation of emails to be off-putting, but those seem to have slowed down at least. I do feel like there's a bit of an identity crisis at the moment though. I never know if it's Sarita or Amy or who blowing up my inbox these days.....

 

I did order it for PK4 for my youngest, and then again ditched the schedule. Then I ordered K, and again ditched the schedule and added in and subtracted books. I decided we like staying on topics longer and don't want to be tied to breezing through on someone else's schedule. That's our preference and not slam on the Core A itself. BUT, I finally (being a slow learner) realized that while I like the idea of Sonlight, and am practically intoxicated by the catalogue, it just isn't what we need right now. I like putting my own history and lit together and studying what we find interesting. However, I give much credit for Sonlight for getting me to the point to be confident in doing that. Without Sonlight, I seriously doubt my oldest would be immersed in Greek History this year with Mr. Calihan and looking forward to three more years of Classical studies with him. She drinks it all in, and to look back at where she was at the end of 6th grade in public school, to now have a kid with such interests is nothing short of miraculous. Social studies in public school did not inspire it. Story of the World (yes, I think it was beneifical to a 7th grader even though that's "below" the intended level...Hell, it was beneficial to the 37-year-old in the house as well....) and all of those books in Sonlight get credit for lighting that spark! 

 

We've moved away from SL for high school. I wish their high school continued on the four-year cycle and perhaps we would've stayed, but I'm happy the way it worked out. Roman Roads/Schola Tutorials has been a great blessing to us, but we wouldn't have gotten here without Sonlight. 

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We use it and love it. We use the history, literature and Bible.  I am not a fan of the history in Core A, the Usborne books, are just not engaging at all.  I skip them most of the time.  The history in Cores B-E is really good though.  At first glance the books appeared boring to me but once we started read them they were fantastic.

 

We use other things for language arts, math, and science.

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I did a Sonlight core last year and we had a good year.  This year, I wanted to try something new since Sonlight took away the option of a 4 day schedule and we only homeschool 4 days a week because of a one day a week enrichment program.  The new thing didn't work and we went to Bookshark since their IG was less expensive and they had the 4 day a week schedule.  We do a separate Bible study anyway so it didn't matter that Bookshark didn't have the Bible.  

 

Also, I tried TOG since I have it with my now 6th grader.  I wanted him to answer questions on paper and TOG only has questions for their dialectic level.  Ds just wasn't ready for them.  But, he can answer the Bookshark questions.  Also, having an online IG with Bookshark makes it so I just have to cut and paste the questions without having to type them all out. So, I can't say that we "love" Sonlight, but it's working right now.

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Came right out of their catalog! Way before your time, if you've only been doing it for 10 years. And then ironically enough, several years later, they came up with their stripped down version, for 4 days a week. Don't remember what they called it.

My guess is it was a misinterpretation of what was actually stated, because I have many many friends who have been using it much longer than that and have used bits and pieces when it suited them.

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I consider myself a Sonlight'er, though it may not look like that now.  For me too, the catalog gave me the confidence that I needed to choose to homeschool.  And Sonlight held my hand for many years.  I have most signficantly used the history/lit/bible portion, but I have tried the LA and Science early on.  I have  used preK-100, then send my kids to public high school.

 

I have used the schedule as a tool that I have greatly appreciated.  It has opened me up to many books I would never had chosen, but loved.  It probably pushed me not only to enjoy different literature, but also raised the bar for how much to read. At times it was too much but it always felt like the heart of our school time. Most of my kids loved to read and loved to listen to books.  I have bought a few cores new when I was short on time, but mostly I have found the books and many IGs used

 

I have 5 kids so over the years I have had to adjust and combine some to make everything manageable. This can be very tedious to some, but I found I really love taking the schedule they give me and adapting it to my kids. It is so helpful to know what is a reasonable amount to expect to read each day.and have a good starting point for how things fit together. I'm not the kind that feels i need to check each box everyday, instead I look at it more at a week at a time

 

I have used the discussion questions and narrating  to varying degrees.  Really that is just a part of teaching that I haven't fully developed in myself yet.  I could think of some ways these could be more useful, but it would probably still come down to me as the teacher figuring out how to engage my kids in a meaningful discussion.  Sometimes i wrote the questions right in the book so it was more fluid, but didn't have the time to keep that up..I have found in the middle school years I want to add things to history to make it stick more,  SOTW test/maps, study guides for History of US, but that is mostly so they can be more independent and still retain something, probably because I dont excel at the discussion and listening to narrations.

 

Eveyone is different, but for me , this is what I needed and what I love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We used SL from Pre-K through Core H and loved it. I have so many fond memories of snuggling up with my kids and reading to them and so do they. My daughter is in 9th grade now and still brings up how I used to read to her and her brother all the time. It's one of the best choices I ever made. I only wish those days weren't over!

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I got an email this evening from SL that was too ironic not to share here. 

 

 

This year, for the first time, we are offering fully-optimized four and five-day programs! If you're involved in a co-op, or simply want a slightly slimmed down schedule to enjoy a more relaxed pace, the Sonlight true 4-Day program is designed for you. With this new offer, you'll enjoy:

  • Just 4-days of school a week to provide you with a truly flexible schedule
  • Books and assignments to last exactly four days - including Bible and Readers
  • Completely new 4-Day Instructor's Guides for History / Bible / Literature, Language Arts and Science

 

Ummmmm.......my first SL package in 2014 was a four-day schedule AND a five-day schedule in the same IG. That's nothing new! Why would they say it's for the first time? Also, I noticed John is back on the emails again. Weird. 

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I got an email this evening from SL that was too ironic not to share here. 

 

 

Ummmmm.......my first SL package in 2014 was a four-day schedule AND a five-day schedule in the same IG. That's nothing new! Why would they say it's for the first time? Also, I noticed John is back on the emails again. Weird. 

 

That's crazy.  I used SL in the early 2000's and they had both the four-day schedule and five-day schedule back then, too.  Love Sonlight's literature approach but am really not too crazy about their marketing schemes.  Every year it's back and forth, back and forth, change this, change it back, oops, no one likes it, change it back . . . it gets tiresome.

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I began homeschooling with Sonlight, 19 years ago, and used through Core 200 with various kids and various bits. I loved reading to my little ones, although I'd do a book a day for the week instead of a little bit from each book each day. I struggled with using the language arts and ended up with something more grammar focused -- but then I am a technical editor, after all -- and used WWE for my last child when it came out.

 

They do use Explode the Code, which is a phonics program. They do change their book lists and their IG more often than I'd like. At first I liked that, but now it's less exciting. And we've moved in a more classical direction over the years, for younger kids, and in a more standard high school pattern for older kids. One of my kids BEGGED me for a single book per subject, so he got to do textbooks and was happy with that nice, predictable, boring method. He loved SL's psychology though. I don't recommend it now for high school unless you're willing to drop out several of the literature books to slow the pace or have a very avid reader. I still love it for the younger grades.

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I think they say "fully" because many complained it really wasn't a true 5-day. It was a book tacked on to the 5th day, read a bit at a time each day 5. Or something like that. I may have it backwards. But, the complaints were there about not a true 4 or 5 day schedule, because of the way they scheduled those extra books. I remember people saying they bought the 5 day package for the extra books, but used the 4 day schedule, using the extra books how they wanted.

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I got an email this evening from SL that was too ironic not to share here. 

 

 

Ummmmm.......my first SL package in 2014 was a four-day schedule AND a five-day schedule in the same IG. That's nothing new! Why would they say it's for the first time? Also, I noticed John is back on the emails again. Weird. 

 

I think the emphasis was on a "true" 4-day schedule. Many times in the past the 4-day schedule was really the same as the 5-day but crammed into 4 days. Also, sometimes they still scheduled 5 days of reading on the 4-day schedule....things like that. 

 

John started working for Sonlight again and is now the Director of Marketing, so that's why his name was on that email.

Edited by MerryAtHope
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Edited to Add:  I just looked at the Bookshark website, and I think anyone who is considering the program would do well to spend some time at the Sonlight website to get a feel for the different levels, which seem to be differentiated better on the SL website.   Bookshark seems to be sold based on straight grade levels, which (I think) tends to push families to packages with content too mature or too difficult for the ages of their children.

 

This is actually false. While it does look that way, if you are part of their Homeschool Chat Group, you will hear from BkSk alone, that the #'s on the History Guides are actually levels & not grades. It makes no sense, really, because those levels are also what they put for the grades so it is semi-confusing, but just like with SL you stick to the higher age on the Guide/Core & you'll be fine. We've used some BkSk {currently doing so with a younger child} & SL.

 

BkSk schedules far less books & moves at a slower, more even pace. Their IG does not have Bible or LA intertwined with it. This can be good or bad depending on your tastes. I don't mind because I don't use SL LA or BkSk LA. The slower pace is nice if you have a slower reader or want a more even pace. You will find in some levels BkSk has half as many books as SL.. 

 

Having said that, both my children will be using SL again next year. The oldest is this year anyway {as mentioned above}, but the youngest will move back into SL as well. :) 

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I got an email this evening from SL that was too ironic not to share here.

 

 

Ummmmm.......my first SL package in 2014 was a four-day schedule AND a five-day schedule in the same IG. That's nothing new! Why would they say it's for the first time? Also, I noticed John is back on the emails again. Weird.

For previous years, even with the four day schedule, some things were still five days. Then last year they tried smoothing everything from the five day schedule into four days, though reading and LA, etc were still five days. Sounds like this is a completely reworked four day schedule.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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We used it (or at least pieces of it) very happily for a few years. Never liked the language arts even though I kept buying it because it was always new and improved. The bible tended to be a bit hit or miss for us too. I seemed to be buying separate programs pretty frequently. I always bought quite a bit to supplement the program. Plus we took weeks off for unit studies.

 

I liked literature based learning and SL it taught me pacing and helped me to design my own which ended up being important when we moved to the UK. We didn't want to spend to years reading American History books when there were historical places all around us. We took a couple of years off SL and used the library. I really enjoyed the freedom of not feeling like we had to finish something that we disliked because it was part of the schedule. We tried to go back a couple of times.....yes, two mainly unused stacks of books were purchased. We just never managed to enjoy it again. We ended up finding other things we preferred because for later years SL really wasn't the choice my family wanted. Although fond memories of it kept making us think we did.

 

I want to add that I do actually occasionally recommend a year of SL to someone who is starting to home educate. It's a great confidence booster and allows people to determine what they want to do in the future.

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For previous years, even with the four day schedule, some things were still five days. Then last year they tried smoothing everything from the five day schedule into four days, though reading and LA, etc were still five days. Sounds like this is a completely reworked four day schedule.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

It just came across as really disingenuous. I didn't spend thousands on a prototype and that's what they've made it sound like. It's just a bit disappointing to me that they can't pick a model and have enough confidence to stick with it. We've done this for three years and every single year they have a pretty major change. It's does make one wonder about their leadership. They are they only curricula company I see doing it that often. I get the draw of their product, obviously, but it really seems quite amateurish as does the constant change of the "voice" of their company. Just my two cents.

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I adore Sonlight and Bookshark. We ended up sending ds to a public magnet for K and I cried because we wouldn't be doing them. So we use them as a booklist for our bedtime read alouds. So far we have been able to get the books we have read from the library. DS has LOVED them and I feel like it has helped him in so many ways. I agree with PP that Core A is an overview of history. It gives them a taste. Its just an introduction, not meant to be painful or forced. Even the older cores resell REALLY well. The facebook group is amazing and the most supportive homeschool facebook group I have seen.

 

We used P4/5 and loved all the books except Uncle Wiggly. We both hated it. I may try it again now that he is older but its one of those books you love or hate. I had no problem tweaking the IG as needed. Took what we liked, left the rest. I plan to continue to use the books from both Sonlight and Bookshark as bedtime stories. Books I would have never considered reading to him are now long time friends.

 

Its like everything. You have to go with what works for your family. We have friends that use and love MFW but that would be a disaster for my son. Other friends use Abeka and the worksheets would make life miserable around here. Sonlight/Bookshark are a good fit for us for now. If we were homeschooling we would do AAR and Singapore math and probably something else for LA.

The big problem with Uncle Wiggily is when you discover that you hate it but your kids always want more because they love it so much!

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When I started homeschooling, there were very limited curriculum choices and no homeschool sites on the internet. 

 

One year, SL language arts was so bad that they gave a credit to those of us who bought it, so we could spend that money on something else. I used Basic K, 1 and 2 (whatever they were called back then), and Core 100. I bought other IGs over the years, intending to use them, and then either gave them away or sold them. I always wanted to love SL, but it never went over well here and required too much editing. I remember that the K books were all over the place. Some books were too babyish, while others (like Twenty and Ten) were more mature.

 

I have a dear friend who's homeschooled for 20+ years with SL and loves it, but it's just not for me.

 

 

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