I was so excited to be trying Sonlight this year. I thought for sure it would be the answer. I’m writing this post because as a blogger, I feel a sense of responsibility. I know that as readers, we see what others are using and think, oh, that may work for me too, and we get a sense of “the grass is greener”. I don’t want anyone to buy a curriculum I am using and then groan, “why did I buy this; it doesn’t work for us!” I wanted to let you know how I am feeling about Sonlight now that we have used it for 14 weeks. It might help you make a better decision about whether Sonlight is right for you. Also, please feel free to email me with curriculum questions at any time if you are considering a curriculum I use but aren’t sure if it would be a right fit for your family. I don’t mind those questions at all.
First, I have to say that Sonlight is a fabulous program. I can understand why so many homeschoolers love it. And Bear loves anything we do that is from the Sonlight schedule. However, it is not working for me right now. I should have known better, but I have always wanted to use Sonlight, even before I had kids, so I think it was just something I had to experience and learn from and get out of my system. Here’s why it isn’t working.
1) I started Story of the World Volume 1 in the summer, so we are farther ahead in history in SOTW than we are in our Sonlight schedule. Drives me nuts! (It doesn’t bother Bear at all. She doesn’t mind hearing about Egyptians again in A Child’s History of the World, and then hearing about Greeks later in the week in SOTW.)
2) Because of point 1, I don’t end up using the schedule. I dropped CHOW and am using only SOTW and have skipped ahead in the SL schedule for history, but not the read alouds – it gets pretty confusing.
3) We signed the kids up for AWANA to be able to join a couples’ small group that happens at that time at our friends’ house nearby. This means that I have AWANA stories to read with the kids throughout the week and AWANA verses for them to memorize. This leaves us no time for SL Bible. Sonlight Bible is fabulous in Core B (we did the first 6 weeks of it) and hopefully we will continue with it when AWANA ends for the year.
4) I love our Language Arts curriculum – and so does Bear – (a great mix of First Language Lessons, Writing With Ease, IEW’s PAL writing, KISS grammar, and now Michael Clay Thompson’s Island level language arts) that I don’t need the Language Arts portion of Sonlight. Beside, Core B’s language arts (the one that came with my used Core, not their newest language arts) is too easy for Bear.
5) The Core I bought used came with the Science materials as well. We used it a bit before Classical Conversations started. I really liked it, but I want to stick to the Classical Conversations topics for Science, so yet another portion I can’t use for now. My plan is to use it in the Spring when CC ends.
In short, I am trying to squeeze too much into the day and week and as a result, Sonlight doesn’t fit in very well. If I could resign myself to use JUST Sonlight, it would be a different story. I’d be perfectly happy with Sonlight. Except, I just can’t! Use JUST Sonlight, that is. Aah! Still, I’m glad I have that IG because I’m using all those reading and history guides and maps in there:)
Knowing now what I know, I won’t be getting Core C next year. I will continue with The Story of the World volume 2 and the Activity Book and buy some books from the Sonlight list (and the Veritas Press and the Tapestry of Grace lists) to complement the historical period. You can see my very long wishlist of books for next year here, though don’t think we will be getting all of them! I will continue with Apologia and REAL Science Odyssey for Astronomy and I’m not sure what for physics. Yet, who knows what might change between now and next fall!
No curriculum can work for everyone. It’s good to read different people’s opinions before choosing and buying. In spite of this, mistakes still happen. Even if a curriculum was a great fit for one child, it may not be for the second. It’s my prayer that this post will be helpful to some in making a wise decision for what will work for their family. I really love the idea of Sonlight, and actually, I like the curriculum, but it needs too much tweaking to be a good value for my particular situation. There are too many other things I also want to include and it doesn’t all fit in a day. I’m glad I tried it. No regrets. Just great realizations!