Sonlight on Pinterest

SonlightPinterestDuring the past few months I've been building Sonlight's Pinterest boards. It's been a lot of fun organizing Sonlight's books and materials into various categories.

Over the years as my family built our Sonlight library I kept the books organized on our shelves by Core level. Sometimes I would want to reuse books about, say, a particular world area, or a certain period of history. Then I would have to scan through all the shelves looking for what I needed. With that in mind, I have sorted our products into dozens of categories for easy reference.

What if you have a younger child sitting in on Core with an older sibling, and you'd like to pull in some books from the lower level Cores that would tie in? There are boards for American History for Younger Students and Eastern Hemisphere for Younger Students.

What if you'd like to take the time to do a unit study on, say, farms? Check out the Farm Stories board for some great books to go along with that theme. What if your children really love mystery stories? There's a board for that, too! What about games Sonlight carries? That, too... and many, many more!

Go check it out! I hope you'll find it helpful and will "follow" us there. Of course it's an ongoing project, but that's what makes Pinterest fun, right?

Enjoying the adventure,
~Karla Cook
Lifelong Learner

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Worth the Wait!

Our Core A box arrived to our house the day we welcomed a very active toddler into our home for a few days. I told the kids we would have to wait until she left to open it. Disappointed, they agreed that was the best option.

We wanted to have a box party and, of course, cover an entire room with amazing books and adventures to be had! So we waited with anticipation.

The moment the very active toddler left our home, everyone began chanting "it's box day!"

The kids were elated to find many of their favorite books and begged me to read the new ones. Thank you Sonlight for providing a year of educational adventures for our next school year. We can't wait to get started!


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The last Sonlight box ...

BoxDayI saw this bittersweet thread title on the Sonlight Forums yesterday. Hannah B shared that she had just ordered the British Literature module, and it would be the last Sonlight box she would likely see delivered to her home. Her daughter will be a senior in high school this fall. She commented ... I don't know. I guess we're almost at the end and it just feels weird.

At the same time, I was perusing some of our photo contest entries, and came across this adorable shot that Nicolette K. shared of her 5 year old daughter's box day experience. The K family will be enjoying the wonders of Core A this year.

Milestones! Whether you're at the front end of your homeschool journey, or you're at the bridge that takes your student from high school to college or career, life is full of milestones. In ancient times, a milestone was a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place. Today, the term often means an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.

I'd like to encourage you to take some time to review the milestones of this past school year. Don't let the year come to a close without recognizing the challenges and accomplishments of your homeschool journey from 2013 to 2014. As you look ahead to the 2014-15 school year, commit to recording the highlights of your homeschool. From Box Day to the day you close the last book, make note of the triumphs along the way. When it finally comes time to enjoy the last Sonlight box, perhaps it won't seem quite so "weird" if you can look back and enjoy the milestones that brought you to that final box.

Still on the journey ...

P.S. - I would love to see pictures of your Sonlight milestones from this past year. Please don't miss the opportunity to share them via our Sonlight Photo Contest, which will come to an end in just under a month!

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Modesty as Respect

I've seen lots of articles on modesty lately. With summer upon us, it feels like everyone is talking about what young women need to do to "keep their brothers pure," and how they find a line to walk between acceptance and beauty, and what constitutes acting inappropriately.

The word "modesty" makes me cringe a little. I picture someone swathed in cloth from head to toe. Someone who is not current on any level of fashion and who is unrelatable for the majority of people with whom she would interact.

Instead of modesty, I prefer to think of respect.

Respect for yourself means that you dress in a way that is empowering to accomplish your goals — be it exercise, a park date, or church — and attractive. It means that you are appropriate for your surroundings and are able to confident and comfortable.

The Bible talks a lot about women being beautiful; it was something they were naturally, and something they worked on. I don't think working at being beautiful is a bad thing. To dress yourself in a way that is lovely adds to the world, and we all need more beauty in our lives. Respect means taking time to figure out what beauty is for you and working at that, for you to say, "I'm worth spending time on. I'm worth investing in." So when you look in the mirror you see the daughter of God who is lovely.

Take a look at the show What Not to Wear (not an endorsement, though I personally do like it). They take women who dress in all sorts of ways, be it out of style, immodest, or whatever, and say, let us help you find what beautiful is for you. Each woman leaves feeling empowered and beautiful because they have the tools to dress themselves appropriately for their season of life.

When you respect yourself, you will not be immodest.

Respect for others means that you dress in a way that shows you know your audience, those that are around you, and your setting. It's why we don't wear jean shorts to weddings (unless that IS the setting!) and why we don't wear wet suits to the pool.

The current culture of the pool is bikinis, and so I work at loving the women around me and admiring their cute suits (while I sit in my maternity tankini). I seek to respect the culture and honor the women who are dressed in less than me. I don't know their motivation, but I can still love them, still honor them, still treat them as women worthy of respect. They are at the pool to spend time with friends while their children splash. They want to feel cute and fit in. And they do. Why would I take offense?

If I were to visit a country were showing your arms is not culturally acceptable, I would cover my arms. It is not because I feel showing my arms is immodest, I would just seek to be respectful of that culture.

When you respect your setting, you will not be immodest.

What do you think? Can we move away from "modesty" (since that varies wildly from culture and age) and talk instead about respect?


This book really has helped me to buy appropriate clothing for my body type, colors and fashion personality.

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Taking a Break

Have you noticed how much work you to have to do to go on vacation? For me, it often feels so overwhelming, I'd rather stay home. I'm a homebody. My wife rejects my proclivity, insisting that vacations are a good and important thing. Enjoyable even!

Bah! Humbug.


My impression is that summer "vacation" is busier for families than the school year. So much happens! Is that true for your family? Busy or not, there comes a point where the weariness of play and the tedium of disarray takes it's toll. When boredom strikes, what is one to do?

Me? I'm going to try to shoot a short film for fun and spend a ton of time with my wife. So I'm not going to be around these parts for a couple weeks. If you comment on this post, I won't see it until the end of this month (which means typos will remain intact until I return). There will still be good stuff to read from the other bloggers here a couple days each week. But I'm not going to be blogging and neither will Autoblot™.

Since there will be less content here for a bit, you may run out of things to read on on the internet (especially since Facebook offers little more than the same four linkbait articles each month <sigh>). Should you find yourself pining for excellent content, fear not! I've got you covered with the amazing Other Posts of Note I've read recently. Browse these gems to convince you to click the link and skim through these great blog posts covering such diverse topics as:

Seriously, bookmark, save, keep handy the Other Posts of Note.

And enjoy to next couple weeks! I'll see you on the 28th.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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A Celebration of Sonlight Families with Adopted Children

I believe Sonlighters are special people. They are eager to learn. They love to discuss important ideas. They truly seek to share God's love with others. I am reminded of this each time I have the privilege to meet Sonlighters in my travels.

I rejoice that God has called many Sonlighters to welcome adoptive and/or foster children. What a beautiful picture of our adoption into God's family. When parents welcome children who need a permanent home, it is a practical, visible picture of a heavenly reality.

John and I have never felt called to adopt, but we are encouraged when we hear stories from those who have. I believe our curriculum can be a unique blessing to adoptive homeschool families. As families read together, they are knit together, and their new children gain language skills easily. Sonlight is less confrontational than workbooks, and less distant than computer-based programs. Sonlight's combined structure and flexibility give adoptive families the tools and freedom they need.

I want to highlight some beautiful adoptive families and share their words about their Sonlight homeschool experience.

Sonlight teaches kids about the whole world (including their birth countries!)

"Sonlight is opening up a world to our children that is as diverse as our family. For once, their school books will talk about the places where they were born and have pictures of children who look like them and love the Lord." –Suzanna N of Ooltewah, TN

"We want our children to see people all over the globe the way God sees them. Since our youngest daughter is adopted from China, we wanted a curriculum that was sensitive to her need to learn about her birth country and culture as well as the rest of the world." –Sandra P of Clear Spring, MD

Sonlight helps create family bonds

"As we've added children to our family through adoption, Sonlight has made the adjustment easier for everyone, because we're just all together, all the time. The books that Sonlight recommends bring the characters and events to life in a very memorable way." –Joli S of Blackshear, GA

"My daughters are adopted. Reading our Sonlight books has created not only opportunities to learn about different cultures and people, but also a special time of bonding."  –Heather F of Miami Shores, FL

"Sonlight has helped us bond as a new forever family. This past year we adopted two older children. They came with little knowledge of the world around them. Lots of time reading together, sitting close on the couch and being surrounded with great literature helped open their world." –Maryann L of Tok, AK

Sonlight frees parents to take care of their family's needs

"Our little one, adopted from China, has significant special needs and often needs to be in my lap. Our entire family can usually be found cuddled together to do our reading. I would not have the time or energy to put together curriculum, a schedule, choose books, or generate discussions and comprehension questions. Now [with Sonlight] I get to spend my time and energy on loving my family, meeting their needs and teaching my children." –Jennifer S of Citronelle, AL

Sonlight is a gentle way for kids to learn, even if they've had a rough start

"In two years Ashley went from being a nonreader to reading at a fourth grade level! When Ashley joined our family, she detested everything about school. She was adopted out of foster care at age 10 and could not read. She would rather go to bed than have to read. That all changed when she was introduced to Sonlight." –Jennifer S of Magnolia, TX

"When they were adopted, my oldest girls hated school and were convinced they couldn't learn. Seven years later, they help teach their younger siblings and choose to use their free time to read." –Elizabeth M of Derry, NH

And those are just a few of the stories we have from families who have adopted. Whether or not God has called you to adopt, please take a moment with me to celebrate and pray for those families with adoptive children.

And for every Sonlight family, we truly count it our privilege to serve you.

Many blessings to you and yours,

P.S. To read about one Sonlight family's adventures in adoption and serving the Lord, check out Heather doesn't work for Sonlight; she is simply one of many long-time customers with lots of wisdom and love to share.

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Helpful Tip: Change Your Schedule to Fit Your Family

There is so much wisdom to be gained from the collective decades of experience we homeschoolers share. This morning, Kari Patterson told us how a simple schedule-switch worked wonders for her family. Her son had not been enjoying math. She moved that subject to the afternoon -- after he'd had some time to wake up and play and eat a solid lunch -- and transformed the day.

How great is that? I'll tell you: Pretty stinkin' great!

Growing up, my mom did our Read-Alouds after lunch. If we were done with our other work before then, the rest of the day was ours. If not, we had to trudge back to the books and do work after our siblings had run off to do something fun. As a morning person, and being more than a little competitive, this worked great for me.

[Aside: In retrospect, this schedule may not have worked so well for my little brother. But he turned out okay; his biggest claim to fame, of course, starring in MathTacular.]

Us on an Audio Tour of a Castle in England some years ago

There are many reasons something may not be working in your homeschool day. It could be that your child needs a bit more time before he or she is ready for that subject. Perhaps the program itself no longer meets your student's needs (that's why I changed math programs in Junior High). Or perhaps, as Kari noted, you just need to shake up your routine a bit.

What have you done to make your homeschool day run more smoothly?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad

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