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Æthelthryth the Texan

Anyone see the new Sonlight catalogue? they changed things all up. Again.

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Just a vent/observation thread, but mine came in today, and I have yet to see a company make more substantial changes every flipping year than Sonlight in the however many years we've been doing this now. I get updating, but they more like up-end. They just slid all of the cores (or whatever they are calling them this year) up quite a bit on the age range, which seems like a fairly substantial change (and they ditched the book descriptions. Again.) 

For the younger ages I think that's great- I have some of those cores and some of those books were waaaay over my kids' heads and interest levels for what they included for K and 1.... so I'll give them a pass on elementary. But now they have World History Year 1 (G) as up to 9th grade and World History Year 2 (H) as up to 10th?!? There is no way those would be an appropriate high school credits. After reading the Gather Round thread this just added another 🙄regarding dumbed down high school curriculum. Sorry. I had to have a "get off my lawn" sort of homeschooler's moment about standards. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
Sorry that should have been up not down
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Yes!  I just received my copy yesterday.  I was left scratching my head a bit.  Story of the World for grade 10?  In full disclosure, I have never used an entire grade package. We have just ordered their readers.  Perhaps there are additional primary source readings for history in the student or instructor guide?  

Sadly, however, this would have been better than the world history class I had in high school.  I’m not sure this is where the bar should be set...

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Someone get the Sonlight folks some ADHD meds, lol. 

That said, I do agree that kids probably learn more in some of those younger cores than I did in highschool - and I'd bet a lot of money they retain it a lot more. I remember like, one thing, from world history in 9th grade - that Charles Martel was called The Hammer, because I liked the way my super cute, super young, history teacher with a Boston accent said "Charles", lol. 

But no, i wouldn't say those are high school level, without adding in and modifiying a lot. 

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1 hour ago, Ktgrok said:

Someone get the Sonlight folks some ADHD meds, lol. 

That said, I do agree that kids probably learn more in some of those younger cores than I did in highschool - and I'd bet a lot of money they retain it a lot more. I remember like, one thing, from world history in 9th grade - that Charles Martel was called The Hammer, because I liked the way my super cute, super young, history teacher with a Boston accent said "Charles", lol. 

But no, i wouldn't say those are high school level, without adding in and modifiying a lot. 

 

You remember more than me. I took high school history in French since I was in French immersion. A lot was lost in translation. Then add in the fact that it was just boring as heck and I didn't care about it - I don't remember a thing I was taught. 

In fact the only history I remember from ANY of my years in school, is from grade 4. Why? Because they used a really engaging text, we did a lot of hands on projects, and I was interested in the subject matter. 

I have learned a lot about history as an adult, from reading A Child's History of the World with my grade 7 son. CHOW is of course deemed an "elementary school" level book. But it's engaging and interesting, and it has made History come alive for my son. 

My point? History isn't about the rigor of the book. It's about whether or not it makes it come alive for the student, whether it engages them, piques their curiosity and presents it in a way that they'll remember. 

I would argue that a lower level book like SOTW will likely accomplish that far better, than some "rigorous" textbook or dry book of facts. 

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Sorry but I’m going to maintain they they should have stuck with SOTW for 6 or 7th and 8th grade along with the Kingfisher and the accompanying lit books like they had it for the last 20 years. That was acceptable. Saying that an average high school kid shouldn’t be able to be taught at a higher level is never going to sell me. There are a lot of engaging history books that are approachable and still high school worthy. SWB has a whole set of those too so they could’ve modified it and not just dumped the same course and called it 9/10 grade. My oldest kid did those courses at ages 11 and 12, with no issues, and she is a regular, non-exceptional student. They were appropriate for that age. Saying they are appropriate for age 16 (unless with the caveat of using for LDs which they are NOT) is laughable. 

I’ve used their high school courses like 300 and 330 too. They still manage to be engaging, approachable and yet at a reasonable level for legitimate high school credits. Those are high school level classes. SOTW is not. It is not going to prepare most kids for college level reading, discussion or anything else. For someone who has a kid not going to college I guess that possibly, maybe, that is a bit different (but I don’t think you should lower standards for them either) but to say you read SOTW vol 3&4 in 10th grade, along with junior high level literature books,  and that’s the extent of your history and English credit,  is never something I’m going to 👍🏻. This sort of thing and the Gather Round has me very quickly understanding @8FillTheHeart frustration level on standards these days. Sorry, but high school students should be expected to read and cover more hisotry than a text many here use for first graders. These are books that cover zero nuance on more complex historical matters because they are written for pre-pubescent children. But I’m sure judging by the success of anything else around that just caves to validating and engaging, it’ll be a success. 🙄

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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4 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

. This sort of thing and the Gather Round has me very quickly understanding @8FillTheHeart frustration level on standards these days. Sorry, but high school students should be expected to read and cover more hisotry than a text many here use for first graders. These are books that cover zero nuance on more complex historical matters because they are written for pre-pubescent children. But I’m sure judging by the success of anything else around that just caves to validating and engaging, it’ll be a success. 🙄

I haven't looked at Sonlight in yrs, but oh my, you are singing my song.  The homeschool market  definitely appeals to lowering standards so low that the impression is of great academic success.

A couple of days ago on our local FB group there was a mom who was in tears bc she enrolled her child in school a few weeks ago bc she was hoping he would be tested and qualified for the local gifted program.  Reality is that the school does not want to even promote him to the next grade level next yr.  The mom had thought he was advanced bc he was using a grade ahead level in T4L and TT.......

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5 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I haven't looked at Sonlight in yrs, but oh my, you are singing my song.  The homeschool market  definitely appeals to lowering standards so low that the impression is of great academic success.

A couple of days ago on our local FB group there was a mom who was in tears bc she enrolled her child in school a few weeks ago bc she was hoping he would be tested and qualified for the local gifted program.  Reality is that the school does not want to even promote him to the next grade level next yr.  The mom had thought he was advanced bc he was using a grade ahead level in T4L and TT.......

This seems to be a thing among homeschoolers, thinking their child is gifted. I have no idea what is prompting it. Very few people actually understand what it means to have a truly gifted child. They don't realize that smart and gifted aren't the same thing. 

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2 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I haven't looked at Sonlight in yrs, but oh my, you are singing my song.  The homeschool market  definitely appeals to lowering standards so low that the impression is of great academic success.

A couple of days ago on our local FB group there was a mom who was in tears bc she enrolled her child in school a few weeks ago bc she was hoping he would be tested and qualified for the local gifted program.  Reality is that the school does not want to even promote him to the next grade level next yr.  The mom had thought he was advanced bc he was using a grade ahead level in T4L and TT.......

That's scary, for many reasons. One being  because I don't know what percentage send their kids back to school eventually- particularly for high school- but it's large, and that's what going to end us up back in regulation here, is my concern. When I started homeschooling the dominant byline when looking at outcomes, was that homeschoolers by and large far outperformed the public schools when it came to college entry scoring/etc. but I think those days are going to be gone if this is the case and the predominant online narrative. I have had my differences with Sunlight over many years, but I would have never called their lit and history dumbed down, and now I am thinking differently there. They still have the upper level 200, 300 etc. course, but they are shoved in the back and not a dominant feature. Maybe that's due to sales, but if you are new and just flipping through you're going to see what we all knew formerly as intermediate school level courses sitting there for high school. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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3 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

This seems to be a thing among homeschoolers, thinking their child is gifted. I have no idea what is prompting it. Very few people actually understand what it means to have a truly gifted child. They don't realize that smart and gifted aren't the same thing. 

That and I don't care how smart and gifted you are, it's difficult to overcome substandard teaching, be it at school or at home. It feels like so much of homeschooling now has gone over to meeting the child where they are at while not inconveniencing the parent, that the parents just turn the whole thing over to the kids and then shrug when an 8year old didn't manage to self-teach, self-manage time, etc. etc. 

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3 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

This seems to be a thing among homeschoolers, thinking their child is gifted. I have no idea what is prompting it. Very few people actually understand what it means to have a truly gifted child. They don't realize that smart and gifted aren't the same thing. 

Yeah I have an ongoing situation where an acquaintance insists that her high school dd is in all honors courses because she homeschools. When I ask what makes the courses "honors" she says "It is homeschool. All homeschool is honors." 

Alrighty then...my child the same age has an ACT score 15 points higher than her child and I'm saying "yeah I don't think my dc classes really are rigorous enough to claim honors." 

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19 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

This seems to be a thing among homeschoolers, thinking their child is gifted. I have no idea what is prompting it. Very few people actually understand what it means to have a truly gifted child. They don't realize that smart and gifted aren't the same thing. 

Not really my pt, but I do agree with your post.  My pt was more that the poor kid was using materials that the mother thought were a yr ahead, but unfortunately he isn't on grade level.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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5 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

That's scary, for many reasons. One being  because I don't know what percentage send their kids back to school eventually- particularly for high school- but it's large, and that's what going to end us up back in regulation here, is my concern. When I started homeschooling the dominant byline when looking at outcomes, was that homeschoolers by and large far outperformed the public schools when it came to college entry scoring/etc. but I think those days are going to be gone if this is the case and the predominant online narrative. I have had my differences with Sunlight over many years, but I would have never called their lit and history dumbed down, and now I am thinking differently there. They still have the upper level 200, 300 etc. course, but they are shoved in the back and not a dominant feature. Maybe that's due to sales, but if you are new and just flipping through you're going to see what we all new formerly as intermediate school level courses sitting there for high school. 

Standardized test scores I have seen for home educated children generally follow a trend of above average in language arts and below average in math. 

I think even historically those that showed above average scores overall were based on a very self-selected sample.

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14 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

That's scary, for many reasons. One being  because I don't know what percentage send their kids back to school eventually- particularly for high school- but it's large, and that's what going to end us up back in regulation here, is my concern. When I started homeschooling the dominant byline when looking at outcomes, was that homeschoolers by and large far outperformed the public schools when it came to college entry scoring/etc. but I think those days are going to be gone if this is the case and the predominant online narrative. I have had my differences with Sunlight over many years, but I would have never called their lit and history dumbed down, and now I am thinking differently there. They still have the upper level 200, 300 etc. course, but they are shoved in the back and not a dominant feature. Maybe that's due to sales, but if you are new and just flipping through you're going to see what we all new formerly as intermediate school level courses sitting there for high school. 

I am getting to the point now where I don't think my kids are going to be negatively impacted by the change in perception.  My 8th grader is close enough to graduation that change won't occur that quickly and my 10 yr old is the most globally advanced student I've had. I'm pretty sure her outcomes will be OK. 

But, the fact that homeschoolers at large are so gung-ho for subpar materials and dismissive of the fact that perception of colleges and Us do rely on what they see, yeah, the attitude takes for granted the perception Us had of their predecessors.  

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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55 minutes ago, maize said:

Standardized test scores I have seen for home educated children generally follow a trend of above average in language arts and below average in math. 

I think even historically those that showed above average scores overall were based on a very self-selected sample.

I agree with your second point. Anecdotally, a family friend who is a math teacher had the opposite experience with previously homeschooled students doing fine with math, but having trouble with the required writing. This was several years ago. With all of the posts on our state fb page proclaiming that homeschool math programs are "a year or two ahead" I suspect that previously homeschooled kids who enroll in school will be surprised at what they haven't covered. A deep understanding of topics covered in 3rd grade is great, but if 4th grade topics aren't covered, a kid will not be ready for 5th grade topics. 

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1 hour ago, maize said:

Standardized test scores I have seen for home educated children generally follow a trend of above average in language arts and below average in math. 

I think even historically those that showed above average scores overall were based on a very self-selected sample.

On your second point-I could see that.  I wish I could remember where I heard it to look and see the study it came from, but it was something to the effect of once you controlled for a two-parent household with one of the parents at home, the academic outcome advantage some attributed to homeschooling disappeared.

Now I do think that a lot of people can far exceed the educations offered by an awful lot of public and private schools around here-  it just seems like that's no longer the point for many homeschoolers online. I think it was in the Gather Round thread maybe, or perhaps the earlier Calvert one where someone mentioned that homeschooling is no longer seen as a calling or a serious type of endeavor that requires effort on the part of the parents. But the publishers are not helping things either doing things like this! The school at home publishers seem to still be keeping up, but I think that's only because they are so widely used in a bunch of private schools. But some of the other publishers- and these little at home things I've seen in the last year on some other forums......just wow. 

I've had my differences with Sonlight over the years, but one thing I would have never called them was lax as far as History and Literature (with perhaps the exception of their US History High School core). So to see them jump onto the dumb down train was really disconcerting. I would have had zero problem if they had a caveat suggesting those cores for students with LDs going into high school. I think Memoria Press has the Simply Classical line to help with that iirc, so I can understand similar marketing there, in which case it could be appropriate in the right situation. But to just say- oh hey, we added some new Kindy type cores, so we're just shoving everything up the line......I mean, how is a new homeschooling parent coming in supposed to know any differently? A lot of those G&H books are candy books. They are fun, and quick and easy reads. I don't think they are bad books. (I very much enjoyed some of them like Witch of Blackbird Pond etc. with my dd!) But at some point, kids need to get shoved into a higher level of reading or else they're going just keep on with the candy books, which is how we end up with adults who think that James Patterson is the pinnacle of high end literature. Candy is great sometimes- even for grown ups, but we also need the main course. 

I am really glad I got in with homeschooling when I did years ago and not now though, because honestly with no teaching experience at the time, I needed guidance with high standards, not just this whole lackadaisical type of thing going on now. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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Do those of you that are talking about the lowering standards feel this is mainly specific to newer curricula? We are a newer homeschool family and I assumed we could trust the long-standing things like sonlight to be on par with grade-appropriate levels. I for one don’t want to educate my children in a way that means they aren’t prepared for college. 
 

If curricula like Sonlight has lowered their HS standards, where does that leave things like My Father’s World & HOD, which at first glance look to me similar to a Sonlight model in terms of non-traditional approach?

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22 minutes ago, Allie said:

Do those of you that are talking about the lowering standards feel this is mainly specific to newer curricula? We are a newer homeschool family and I assumed we could trust the long-standing things like sonlight to be on par with grade-appropriate levels. I for one don’t want to educate my children in a way that means they aren’t prepared for college. 
 

If curricula like Sonlight has lowered their HS standards, where does that leave things like My Father’s World & HOD, which at first glance look to me similar to a Sonlight model in terms of non-traditional approach?

@Allie, I would recommend that you start by reading The Well-Trained Mind, to learn about the three (general) stages: Grammar, Logic or Dialectic, and Rhetoric. If you have a grasp on those, you will be able to recognize whether a course appears to be designed for that level of study.

Grammar -- mostly taking in facts, mostly concrete, not a lot of abstract ideas

Logic/Dialectic - beginning to synthesize information, understand cause and effect (for example)

Rhetoric - be able to take in facts, synthesize and arrange them, develop new ideas or theories, and write and speak about those.

This is simplistic, but even with this much info, you could see that a program that doesn't present much beyond Grammar and Logic (such as Story of the World) is inappropriate for high school because the student is not let to Rhetoric-level ideas and assignments. There wasn't enough to work with.

Secondly, you could look at The Well-Trained Mind to get an idea of the appropriate reading level for literature. When you begin to research a literature-based program such as Sonlight or MFW or HOD, you could see if a majority of the books are intended for your student's age and grade level. It doesn't have to be every book -- Sonlight will frequently use a grammar stage book as sort of an introduction to a topic that will be addressed in depth, with appropriate resources. But mostly, it should be evident that these books are meant for your child's age/stage.

Thirdly, look at The Well-Trained Mind to see the kind of writing assignments that students at each level should be working toward. If you can clearly see that they won't be able to work at that level with a certain curric because it is just too simplistic, then you can choose something else.

Lastly, look into Bloom's Taxonomy. Basic comprehension questions are the lowest form of thinking -- not unimportant but again, a high schooler should be beyond assignments that merely prove that he did read the book.

Oh, and of course, you can always ask for discussions about curriculum on these boards. 🙂

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38 minutes ago, Allie said:

Do those of you that are talking about the lowering standards feel this is mainly specific to newer curricula? We are a newer homeschool family and I assumed we could trust the long-standing things like sonlight to be on par with grade-appropriate levels. I for one don’t want to educate my children in a way that means they aren’t prepared for college. 
 

If curricula like Sonlight has lowered their HS standards, where does that leave things like My Father’s World & HOD, which at first glance look to me similar to a Sonlight model in terms of non-traditional approach?

Personally, I can only speak to Sonlight in regard to boxed Literature type. I am not bothered by them shifting things through Junior High to clarify. They added in a Science Exploration year that looks interesting, etc. So I think you could play with any of the "lettered" levels through 8th grade and transition just fine. I own levels A, B, G, H, 100, 300 and 330 to give you an idea, so I don't have them all, but enough of a spread to give me an idea. I think A and B could easily have been done for grades 3/4 (which is what they've shifted it up to) *for the most part*. But being said, the only levels I used the TM for were really G & H when we very first started with my oldest and I was a newbie. The others I just used the books pretty much- I always like the idea of the schedule when my life is hectic, but I never stick to  it. 🙂

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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5 minutes ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

@Allie, I would recommend that you start by reading The Well-Trained Mind, to learn about the three (general) stages: Grammar, Logic or Dialectic, and Rhetoric. If you have a grasp on those, you will be able to recognize whether a course appears to be designed for that level of study.

Grammar -- mostly taking in facts, mostly concrete, not a lot of abstract ideas

Logic/Dialectic - beginning to synthesize information, understand cause and effect (for example)

Rhetoric - be able to take in facts, synthesize and arrange them, develop new ideas or theories, and write and speak about those.

This is simplistic, but even with this much info, you could see that a program that doesn't present much beyond Grammar and Logic (such as Story of the World) is inappropriate for high school because the student is not let to Rhetoric-level ideas and assignments. There wasn't enough to work with.

Secondly, you could look at The Well-Trained Mind to get an idea of the appropriate reading level for literature. When you begin to research a literature-based program such as Sonlight or MFW or HOD, you could see if a majority of the books are intended for your student's age and grade level. It doesn't have to be every book -- Sonlight will frequently use a grammar stage book as sort of an introduction to a topic that will be addressed in depth, with appropriate resources. But mostly, it should be evident that these books are meant for your child's age/stage.

Thirdly, look at The Well-Trained Mind to see the kind of writing assignments that students at each level should be working toward. If you can clearly see that they won't be able to work at that level with a certain curric because it is just too simplistic, then you can choose something else.

Lastly, look into Bloom's Taxonomy. Basic comprehension questions are the lowest form of thinking -- not unimportant but again, a high schooler should be beyond assignments that merely prove that he did read the book.

Oh, and of course, you can always ask for discussions about curriculum on these boards. 🙂


This is great advice, thank you! I am working on reading The Well Trained Mind right now, but am still in the early chapters

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This is a side note, but what's interesting to me too is seeing how some of these long standing, family run companies, like Sonlight and TOG for instance, are struggling with the hand-off to be run by a younger generation. I have seen Sarita come and go at least twice. Now she's back, emails are back, and I think she's even speaking at conferences this year. The kid who had taken over is nowhere to be seen (at least in my inbox.) Similarly TOG founders had retired and handed the reins over to one of their kids, and now those kids have bowed out. So I wonder how much longer some of these companies are going to last. I am guessing most of them are now in their late 60's/70's? 

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3 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Sorry but I’m going to maintain they they should have stuck with SOTW for 6 or 7th and 8th grade along with the Kingfisher and the accompanying lit books like they had it for the last 20 years. That was acceptable. Saying that an average high school kid shouldn’t be able to be taught at a higher level is never going to sell me. There are a lot of engaging history books that are approachable and still high school worthy. SWB has a whole set of those too so they could’ve modified it and not just dumped the same course and called it 9/10 grade. My oldest kid did those courses at ages 11 and 12, with no issues, and she is a regular, non-exceptional student. They were appropriate for that age. Saying they are appropriate for age 16 (unless with the caveat of using for LDs which they are NOT) is laughable. 

I’ve used their high school courses like 300 and 330 too. They still manage to be engaging, approachable and yet at a reasonable level for legitimate high school credits. Those are high school level classes. SOTW is not. It is not going to prepare most kids for college level reading, discussion or anything else. For someone who has a kid not going to college I guess that possibly, maybe, that is a bit different (but I don’t think you should lower standards for them either) but to say you read SOTW vol 3&4 in 10th grade, along with junior high level literature books,  and that’s the extent of your history and English credit,  is never something I’m going to 👍🏻. This sort of thing and the Gather Round has me very quickly understanding @8FillTheHeart frustration level on standards these days. Sorry, but high school students should be expected to read and cover more hisotry than a text many here use for first graders. These are books that cover zero nuance on more complex historical matters because they are written for pre-pubescent children. But I’m sure judging by the success of anything else around that just caves to validating and engaging, it’ll be a success. 🙄

 

For the record, I wasn't saying I agree with them dumbing it down. My point was just to not totally dismiss it's ability to impart knowledge, just because the reading level is lower. That said, I think SOTW (especially the latter two books) could still work as a spine for grades 9/10 (not any higher), if it is fleshed out with some high quality literature books. This is what SCM does for example - their spines are a pretty easy read, but they add in grade appropriate literature, including primary sources etc... in high school.  I haven't looked at the SL program in question, so I can't comment as to the level of literature they've put with the spines.

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I have always wanted to love Sonlight and have used aspects of their program over the years.  I was just on their website this morning trying to look at some stuff for second grade. When my oldest was in K I bought the whole core.  I felt many of the books were way too mature for 5yo.  My biggest beef with them was their language arts.  It was so scattered and by my daughter’s first grade year they had changed it twice!  Right before we started it was crazy grammar and then we ended up with no grammar.  A couple of years later they made a big deal about adding grammar back in.  Which is best?  Sonlight kept touting how well their graduates did, but what did they use?  You can’t tell outcomes if the product keeps substantially changing something as foundational as their language arts philosophy.  Sonlight’s continual flip flops was what ultimately led me to Memoria Press.  I don’t use it religiously, but at least they have a brick and mortar school that uses the curriculum, they have curriculum writers that you can ask questions of, and while they keep adding resources, they haven’t changed the basics.  Will my outcomes be the same as theirs?  Probably not, because I don’t have a controlled classroom and I have less experience with the material, but it does give a starting point.  I want to know the credentials of the program author, something I really couldn’t glean from Sonlight.  The Gather Round curriculum authors from the other thread  pretty clearly had no writing/subject matter credentials at all.  It also doesn’t take more than an hour or two to go the public school open house and see what they are teaching at your child’s grade level.  I doubt my kids are covering as much quantity as the Public school in our district, but we cover different things like Latin and Greek because my kids want to and what we do cover I feel like they retain better so it is a bit hard to compare.  I do know they have a much better work/life balance than in promoted at our school and a better attitude towards learning.  So far, none have been interested in the AP/IB rat race they see some of their friends attempting.  It is a bummer about Sonlight as those cores aren’t high school level, but I do feel confident they will change back...they always do.

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52 minutes ago, Allie said:

Do those of you that are talking about the lowering standards feel this is mainly specific to newer curricula? We are a newer homeschool family and I assumed we could trust the long-standing things like sonlight to be on par with grade-appropriate levels. I for one don’t want to educate my children in a way that means they aren’t prepared for college. 
 

If curricula like Sonlight has lowered their HS standards, where does that leave things like My Father’s World & HOD, which at first glance look to me similar to a Sonlight model in terms of non-traditional approach?

 

Don't panic!  lol  Yes, the Sonlight high school cores are fine.  We've done 100, 200 Lit and 300 History.  Those cores were perfectly fine for high school.  In fact, we are the biggest readers in the world and we could barely keep up with the reading schedule in those cores.  I think J is probably fine for 9th-10th grade.  A bunch of people have used those world history cores for 9th grade (I think some kids are late-bloomers, but I wouldn't use them after 9th).  Likewise, My Father's World is fine for high school.  I've never used HOD.  We DID just buy Beautiful Feet's Ancient History and Literature - it just came last week.  And that is ok for high school, too.    

The curricula that I am suspicious of are the online/computer-based ones....but some of those are probably fine, too.  I don't know.  I have a huge aversion to using devices with kids.  

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17 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

Just a vent/observation thread, but mine came in today, and I have yet to see a company make more substantial changes every flipping year than Sonlight in the however many years we've been doing this now. I get updating, but they more like up-end. They just slid all of the cores (or whatever they are calling them this year) up quite a bit on the age range, which seems like a fairly substantial change (and they ditched the book descriptions. Again.) 

For the younger ages I think that's great- I have some of those cores and some of those books were waaaay over my kids' heads and interest levels for what they included for K and 1.... so I'll give them a pass on elementary. But now they have World History Year 1 (G) as up to 9th grade and World History Year 2 (H) as up to 10th?!? There is no way those would be an appropriate high school credits. After reading the Gather Round thread this just added another 🙄regarding dumbed down high school curriculum. Sorry. I had to have a "get off my lawn" sort of homeschooler's moment about standards. 

 

Also, for the record, not sure what you're looking at, but online, they have G listed as for grades 6-8, and H listed as for 7-9, and they're both listed under "Middle School". So perhaps it was nothing more than a typo.

Edited by mshanson3121

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29 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

This is a side note, but what's interesting to me too is seeing how some of these long standing, family run companies, like Sonlight and TOG for instance, are struggling with the hand-off to be run by a younger generation. I have seen Sarita come and go at least twice. Now she's back, emails are back, and I think she's even speaking at conferences this year. The kid who had taken over is nowhere to be seen (at least in my inbox.) Similarly TOG founders had retired and handed the reins over to one of their kids, and now those kids have bowed out. So I wonder how much longer some of these companies are going to last. I am guessing most of them are now in their late 60's/70's? 

 

I've been wondering that, too.  

And another thing about Sonlight.  Yeah, the constant changing is obnoxious.  I mean, LEAVE it alone!!!!!  LOL.  I'm actually glad that they don't make changes to the high school cores, because I think if they did, the changes would make the cores worse.  It would also jack up the price of the high school cores, because that's what it did to the lower level ones.  You used to be able to buy an IG for like 30 bucks.  Now, they're like 120 bucks.  

Also, everyone remember....the SL people (John and Sarita) didn't homeschool high school.  They put their kids back in school at that point.  

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8 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

 

Also, for the record, not sure what you're looking at, but online, they have G listed as for grades 6-8, and H listed as for 7-9, and they're both listed under "Middle School". So perhaps it was nothing more than a typo.

They haven't updated the online- won't until April 1. It's only in the catalogues. They've been sending emails out for weeks. 

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8 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

They haven't updated the online- won't until April 1. It's only in the catalogues. They've been sending emails out for weeks. 

 

Are you in the Facebook groups?  Everyone's talking about it like crazy this week in the groups.

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20 minutes ago, Evanthe said:

 

Are you in the Facebook groups?  Everyone's talking about it like crazy this week in the groups.

I am not on Facebook, so I haven't gotten to hear the SL chatter much since they closed the forums. What do they think about it there online? Like I said, I was pretty happy about them shifting for the easier years- I think they push a lot of the books down too young and should have a lot more picture books than chapter books for early elementary in particular. But I really liked their high school stuff as it was (minus ever their LA- ever). I wonder if they weren't selling as much and that's why they changed? 

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5 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I am not on Facebook, so I haven't gotten to hear the SL chatter much since they closed the forums. What do they think about it there online? Like I said, I was pretty happy about them shifting for the easier years- I think they push a lot of the books down too young and should have a lot more picture books than chapter books for early elementary in particular. But I really liked their high school stuff as it was (minus ever their LA- ever). I wonder if they weren't selling as much and that's why they changed? 

 

It sounded like it was stressing a lot of people out!  This is the season where everyone's buying their stuff for the fall and they were trying to decide which cores to buy.  I don't know why they change so much!  

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I find that they've become really schizophrenic.  They have Story of the World at the high school level, but they're including George vs. George, which is really an upper elementary/ middle school book in their new kindergarten program.  My older one was REALLY advanced, and my younger kid was a super advanced listener, and I tried using George vs. George with them when older kid was six or seven and younger was five.  Both kids were super lost.  

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They also appear to have switched the additional Kingfisher spine out completely for G&H 4-day. so that means it is *only* SOTW. The older versions had both, which I thought was a nice go together. But now Kingfisher is out and they have Usborne World Encyclopedia only included with the 5 day plan......

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20 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

They also appear to have switched the additional Kingfisher spine out completely for G&H 4-day. so that means it is *only* SOTW. The older versions had both, which I thought was a nice go together. But now Kingfisher is out and they have Usborne World Encyclopedia only included with the 5 day plan......

I always thought it was the addition of UILE and the Genevieve Foster books that made the first two SOTW books closer to logic stage. 

SOTW used to be recommended for these grades:

Vol 1 - first to fourth grade

Vol 2 - second to fifth grade

Vol 3 - third to sixth grade

Vol 4 - fourth to seventh or eighth grade (in my opinion, vol. 4 is very appropriate for logic stage)

Not that they couldn't be used across a wider span, but again, the addition of grade/stage appropriate books for older students IS how you use SOTW across a wider span.

 

Edited to add: I see what you are saying -- not only have they lowered the level to make these cores a little less appropriate for LOGIC stage, but they have also removed some of the materials that would realistically allow them to approach the first year or two of high school. Uh oh.

I do know that SL has long considered these cores to be OK for high school, because of that old link about assigning credits to high school. Whoever put that together (Jill? Another person I forget?) believed that cores 5/F, 6/G, and 7/H were appropriate for high school because they had more information than she had learned in high school, or that she believes current high schoolers to learn. 

I wouldn't deny that there might be more information, but again, it's also about developing mature thought and preparing for college. It's going to be pretty jarring for students to move from comprehension questions and outlining of history texts meant for elementary and jr. high to writing rhetoric level papers about college-worthy sources. 

I understand that SL is only recommending these cores for 9th and 10th, but the next level is 100, which (IMO) is not more difficult or advanced than 7/H. That would leave one year for a genuinely college prep high school course, which for many students would not be enough. 

 

Edited by Lang Syne Boardie
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If there are alternate high school tracks that offer something beneficial for students who are not college bound, I think that is fine. I can almost hear the people who will say, "Not every student is neurotypical, not every student is developmentally typical, not every student is college bound." 

That's true. I don't disagree. I have tutored and raised such students. 

However, if a curriculum provider is marketing their courses as equivalent to high school level and college prep, then it matters if they fail to spell out that a slower-paced track might not provide adequate college prep.

Edited by Lang Syne Boardie
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This is still more proof that we have to take responsibility for what we are doing, across the board and every step of the way. Like if you don't know what your student could be doing, should be doing, and is doing...that's on you. 

It is the pits because of course these people are set up as experts. 

But realistically we all need to be able to hear person X say "this is what I recommend for high school" or "this is what we did for my kid's high school" and still be able to recognize if that's too much or too litter for the kids WE are teaching. Some curricula people are going to say you need to do more than you actually need to do and some are going to say that it's perfectly fine if you way less than what you ought to be doing. 

Even when The Box is the answer for your family, you have to do this work. 

I'm sick to death of people talking/thinking about homeschool as if monkeys should be able to do it. Even when it's easy because all the circumstances came together smoothly, it still takes a touch of wisdom to be done well. 

We need to be wise. 

 

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Yes!  Just because you're homeschooling doesn't mean it's more advanced/ better than/ superior educationally to public school.  This is especially true with low parental involvement programs.  Arg!  Major pet peeve.  

 

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6 minutes ago, OKBud said:

This is still more proof that we have to take responsibility for what we are doing, across the board and every step of the way. ...

, you have to do this work.....

 

I think the issue is a lot of people just accept what someone tells them at face value and thinking is not part of the equation.

What I find disheartening on the one hand is that the dumb-downed options have affirming voices on these forums.  But, I am encouraged by the number of younger poster who are jumping in and refuting the quality of the education.

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Nm

Edited by Plum

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1 hour ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

I always thought it was the addition of UILE and the Genevieve Foster books that made the first two SOTW books closer to logic stage. 

SOTW used to be recommended for these grades:

Vol 1 - first to fourth grade

Vol 2 - second to fifth grade

Vol 3 - third to sixth grade

Vol 4 - fourth to seventh or eighth grade (in my opinion, vol. 4 is very appropriate for logic stage)

Not that they couldn't be used across a wider span, but again, the addition of grade/stage appropriate books for older students IS how you use SOTW across a wider span.

 

Edited to add: I see what you are saying -- not only have they lowered the level to make these cores a little less appropriate for LOGIC stage, but they have also removed some of the materials that would realistically allow them to approach the first year or two of high school. Uh oh.

I do know that SL has long considered these cores to be OK for high school, because of that old link about assigning credits to high school. Whoever put that together (Jill? Another person I forget?) believed that cores 5/F, 6/G, and 7/H were appropriate for high school because they had more information than she had learned in high school, or that she believes current high schoolers to learn. 

I wouldn't deny that there might be more information, but again, it's also about developing mature thought and preparing for college. It's going to be pretty jarring for students to move from comprehension questions and outlining of history texts meant for elementary and jr. high to writing rhetoric level papers about college-worthy sources. 

I understand that SL is only recommending these cores for 9th and 10th, but the next level is 100, which (IMO) is not more difficult or advanced than 7/H. That would leave one year for a genuinely college prep high school course, which for many students would not be enough. 

 

Exactly, on the bolded. 

I don't think I ever saw the old link on assigning credits.....that's kind of scary. And agreed on 100. I showed my daughter the new scope and sequence- she absolutely loved Sonlight the years we used it, but even she is shaking her head now. In comparison to what she has done in high school (including SL 300s) she's like "no way" as far as G and H as they now stand. 

1 hour ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

If there are alternate high school tracks that offer something beneficial for students who are not college bound, I think that is fine. I can almost hear the people who will say, "Not every student is neurotypical, not every student is developmentally typical, not every student is college bound." 

That's true. I don't disagree. I have tutored and raised such students. 

However, if a curriculum provider is marketing their courses as equivalent to high school level and college prep, then it matters if they fail to spell out that a slower-paced track might not provide adequate college prep.

Bolded again here- exactly again. SL has always had a significant section in their catalogs featuring scholarship awards and student achievements (see pages 108 and 109 this year for instance!)- I don't think it's misleading to say that they were for some time represented and representing themselves as fairly rigorous on the history/lit front (although I know that's arguable as with any curricula). But their scholarship award requirements aren't exactly low either. I've looked. So to just slide this change in as equivalent to how things have always been done....yeah, it's not the same level of preparation at all. 

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1 hour ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

I always thought it was the addition of UILE and the Genevieve Foster books that made the first two SOTW books closer to logic stage. 

SOTW used to be recommended for these grades:

Vol 1 - first to fourth grade

Vol 2 - second to fifth grade

Vol 3 - third to sixth grade

Vol 4 - fourth to seventh or eighth grade (in my opinion, vol. 4 is very appropriate for logic stage)

Not that they couldn't be used across a wider span, but again, the addition of grade/stage appropriate books for older students IS how you use SOTW across a wider span.

 

Edited to add: I see what you are saying -- not only have they lowered the level to make these cores a little less appropriate for LOGIC stage, but they have also removed some of the materials that would realistically allow them to approach the first year or two of high school. Uh oh.

I do know that SL has long considered these cores to be OK for high school, because of that old link about assigning credits to high school. Whoever put that together (Jill? Another person I forget?) believed that cores 5/F, 6/G, and 7/H were appropriate for high school because they had more information than she had learned in high school, or that she believes current high schoolers to learn. 

I wouldn't deny that there might be more information, but again, it's also about developing mature thought and preparing for college. It's going to be pretty jarring for students to move from comprehension questions and outlining of history texts meant for elementary and jr. high to writing rhetoric level papers about college-worthy sources. 

I understand that SL is only recommending these cores for 9th and 10th, but the next level is 100, which (IMO) is not more difficult or advanced than 7/H. That would leave one year for a genuinely college prep high school course, which for many students would not be enough. 

 

I really liked the older versions of G & H that had the Foster books in them... I think those Cores *could* have been (kind of-sorta-maybe) 9th grade credit worthy in some special situations... but not the current iterations in the new catalog. 

But I also think that Core 100 is early high school credit worthy in some situations, too.  I think some of the middle grade like literature should be subbed out, but most of it is fine as scheduled. Especially if you add in the writing suggestions in the lit IG.  Not honors, not high achieving, but nice and average for someone who needs something like that.

 

I do wish SL would stop having multiple personality disorder.  Just keep *something* the same for 3 years in a row, people. Please. 🙂

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1 hour ago, OKBud said:

This is still more proof that we have to take responsibility for what we are doing, across the board and every step of the way. Like if you don't know what your student could be doing, should be doing, and is doing...that's on you. 

It is the pits because of course these people are set up as experts. 

But realistically we all need to be able to hear person X say "this is what I recommend for high school" or "this is what we did for my kid's high school" and still be able to recognize if that's too much or too litter for the kids WE are teaching. Some curricula people are going to say you need to do more than you actually need to do and some are going to say that it's perfectly fine if you way less than what you ought to be doing. 

Even when The Box is the answer for your family, you have to do this work. 

I'm sick to death of people talking/thinking about homeschool as if monkeys should be able to do it. Even when it's easy because all the circumstances came together smoothly, it still takes a touch of wisdom to be done well. 

We need to be wise. 

 

I will give some slack to newer people on a few things when it comes to using programs that have been dumbed down, because say you did your research and pulled up posts from 5 or 6 years ago here for instance- or a copy of a guide like Duffy's or even WTM. Well, a few years later, that program is not going to be the same. But when you are new, you don't realize how severe some of the changes can be with things from year to year, so while most updates mean mild version changes not severe enough to alter the content- things like they're doing in this case radically alter the content.

And as @Mom2mthj mentioned up thread- they've always radically altered their LA from year to year to where I don't even know how it could be a coherent approach for the earlier years the way they kept changing it. They were part of why I ended up with IEW- their LA was horrible. And some years it was included, some years not. Maybe that information is easier to find on FaceBook and because I'm not on there I don't see it?  But I will say there have been some fairly large shifts within some well known curriculum companies lately where what you used to get, isn't what you are getting now. And if you're relying on older posts, they might no longer be valid. That's a reason I wish Cathy Duffy would also still publish her book. They don't keep the website as up to date from what I can see- the hard copies were always a great reference. 

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48 minutes ago, JoyKM said:

The “rigor” of each grade or level gives me pause as well. I feel like curriculum sellers purposely made up the concept of “levels” to introduce confusion in comparing their curriculum to traditional school which creates an opening for marketing claims. I don’t think “levels” are bad, it just feels like it creates that confusion for me.  In looking at curriculum for the early grades, I noticed that most of the content (as listed in the scope and sequence/table of contents) was the same or, for some, behind what my daughter is doing at public school right now even though the curriculum seller touts it as “ahead” or “more rigorous than any public school.”  I chalked it up to marketing—getting people to feel that their child is advanced using their product is a selling point, and many (but not all) homeschool families will just accept that assertion due to already established views on public school. Curriculum selling is big business. It’s interesting to hear from several moms that they notice homeschool curriculum having lower standards for each grade themselves—especially from something as well known as Sonlight.  

My take away from threads of late is that if I want feedback on something,  I need to make a new thread and not just peruse old ones if I can't see a copyright date where the old reviews would still be valid.

I think sometimes people hesitate to start threads because it's like "asked and answered" in a courtroom, but it shouldn't be. Most of the mainline curriculums appear to be revamping more and more often these days to stay competitive. It's not like my KONOS I bought this year that was last updated 20 years ago! Lots of long standing companies have done updates, some quite major in the last couple of years, so people should definitely ask and err there instead of worrying about annoying posters here by asking the same old question "yet again".

It's worth risking the "see linked thread" reply to something from 2010 to reply with "thanks, but I'd like more recent reviews."  It's not as active as it used to be here, but you'd be surprised what people will chime in for. 

I think IEW will be a great example in months to come. They have completely upgraded everything, ditching old programs and re-recording all the videos for the first time in something like 15+ years,  so we are going to need new reviews here. 🙂

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Well, I am using the same answer keys for Horizons with my youngest and grandkids as I did with my oldest. 🙂 1 program that hasn't changed. 

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17 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

Well, I am using the same answer keys for Horizons with my youngest and grandkids as I did with my oldest. 🙂 1 program that hasn't changed. 

Well that's a good point!  I think my Saxon TM copyrights are 1994, so we're in good shape there for now. But these whipper-snappers like all these new fangled things. Btw if you ever totally revamp your program I expect full disclosure on the scope and sequences changes. 😉

Edited to interpret- your work is clearly needed in todays market!! It stinks you had to shut down your shop. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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13 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

.

I have to say this is the first I've ever heard of this. Any of the studies I've ever read show homeschooled students surpassing public school peers in both LA and Math. I would be interested in seeing these studies that show otherwise. 

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2 hours ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I will give some slack to newer people on a few things when it comes to using programs that have been dumbed down,

 

Newbs get alllll the slack. So do old hands. Anyone who is TRYING, taking it seriously, and paying attention will probably do fine. 

 

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