Discover Sonlight

An Overview for New Customers

As a homeschool parent, you probably pray your children will become flourishing adults who love the Lord. Adults who are equipped to do whatever God calls them to do. Confident believers who influence others and know how to work hard and face challenges.

These may seem like lofty goals, but Sonlight can help you get there. We provide tools that have helped thousands of parents like you raise children who love to learn, love God and have the academic preparation to do whatever Christ calls them to do.

Sonlight’s literature-based curriculum brings learning to life!

Watch the video featuring real Sonlight customers to see if our Love to Learn, Love to Teach curriculum fits your family.

Sonlight Curriculum builds on five big ideas:

  1. Literature-based, Christ-centered learning

    Literature-based learning is an educational philosophy based on children's natural curiosity and love for stories. We use outstanding books as the centerpiece for learning. We also help you teach from the perspective of God's truth and His love for all people.

  2. Parent-directed education

    With Sonlight, you have plenty of helps right at hand, but you are in the driver's seat. You know your children best, you love them most, and you are equipped to tailor their education to their unique needs. Sonlight homeschooling involves lots of close parent-child interaction. We give you engaging activities, great books to read and discuss, and opportunities to develop open communication. Sonlight helps your children learn to trust you as a source of wisdom and direction.

  3. Family-centered homeschooling

    Homeschooling is more than a school choice; it's a lifestyle. Sonlight helps you get the most from your time together as a family. Browse this catalog and you'll see pictures and stories from just a few of the families who tell us they've formed closer family bonds through homeschooling with Sonlight. This reality is dear to our hearts. Because sometimes, a child's confidence that her family knows and loves her is worth more than any academic knowledge.

  4. Global outlook

    Sonlight spends more time than the average curriculum on the world outside the United States. We believe that in our increasingly connected world, children must understand that God does not value one people group over another. We want them to understand the contributions of different cultures and learn to look at situations from others' perspectives. We want children to learn about tough--even controversial--issues while they're in the safe and loving environment of their home. We want them to stand firm in their faith and engage in graceful dialogue with people of other faiths, backgrounds and cultures.

    A huge goal within our global focus is that our children gain a heart for God's work throughout the world. Hence, you'll find many true, inspiring missionary stories in our curriculum. Your children will have opportunities to learn about and pray for people groups in every corner of the globe.

  5. Academic Excellence

    Sonlight is a lot of fun, but it isn't easy. We equip parents to give their children a robust education that prepares them to excel in whatever God calls them to, be it college, the military, the mission field, the workforce and/or family life. Students who have grown up with Sonlight tend to "wow" adults with their understanding of history, literature, the Bible, science and more.

    Over the years, Sonlight students who apply for our college scholarship program have scored consistently and considerably higher than the national average on the SAT. In 2012, the Sonlight scholarship applicant average was 395 points above the national average! These numbers include Sonlight students who applied for scholarships that value creativity, mission-mindedness and acts of kindness over academic performance. In the last two years, the average Sonlight applicant scored 396 points higher than the average for private religious schools and 233 points higher than the national average for homeschoolers (in 2011 and 2009 respectively, the latest years for which we have stats on those categories of non-Sonlight students). We know test scores don't paint the whole picture. But are these Sonlight students well-prepared for college or life? You bet.

    These five values combine to form one truly dynamic and academic curriculum. With Sonlight, you will give your kids an extraordinary education. You will challenge them without overwhelming them. With Sonlight's help, you will discuss real-life issues — like politics, moral relativism, evolution and creation — with your kids and help them gain sure footing about what they believe. You will help them understand the big picture of history and the world around them. You will give them firm foundations in all the main academic subjects. And most importantly, with Sonlight's help, you will give them a lifelong love of learning.

    After high school, your students will be ready to excel in college or the workforce. Sonlight graduates are now engineers, missionaries, musicians, doctors, pastors, elected officials, farmers, entrepreneurs, homeschool parents and more!

    • Sonlight score averages are from 2006-2010.
    • Other score averages are from 2008-2009.
    • Sonlight Scholarship Applicants have all used a minimum of 5 Sonlight Core Programs.

    Click to enlarge.

Core Programs form the center

Core Programs are the centerpiece of your Sonlight experience. Each Core weaves together a year's worth of History and Geography, Bible, Literature, and Language Arts.

Cores are crafted around gripping books. A great story-based history book or series (such as The Story of the World) serves as the "spine" for each program. You gradually read this book throughout the whole year; it's your chronological guide, moving you logically through history. As you progress, you also read lots of biographies, historical fiction and novels that dig into the historical/cultural topics you're studying.

Since quality literature reaches kids of various ages, you can use one Core program with multiple children. We don't assign a specific grade level to each Core for this very reason. Your 3rd and 5th graders could both get great educations from Core E this year!

Take three sweeps through history

With Sonlight, you journey on a solid progression of learning from preschool to high school graduation. Check out the Scope and Sequence of our Core, Language Arts and Science programs.

With the Cores, you'll take three sweeps through history during your Sonlight journey. Each year is specifically created for children in the target age ranges for that Core. All the material--from the content we chose to cover (and the more gritty aspects of History we chose to skip over until later grades), to the Readers and Read-Alouds, to the suggested hands-on activities--it's all at just the level for your children.

The first years (Cores P3/4 through A) are an introduction to learning and the world. In Cores B-E, take your first fascinating sweep through World and American History. In Core F, take a year to explore the Eastern Hemisphere and help your children (ages 10-13) learn to research.

Then dive in and take another sweep at a deeper level through World and American History in Cores G-100. Finally, you do a modified sweep through select aspects of history with Cores 200- 400 (including 2,000 years of Church History, 20th Century World History and Civics/American Government). The last Core, British Literature, is a unique literature-only program. Pair it with other upper-level high school courses from Sonlight, such as Economics, Psychology, Math, Science and College/Career Planning.

How to choose curriculum

The simple explanation?

  • Pick a Core (or two) for your children.
  • Add Sonlight Science and pick an award-winning Math program.
  • OR simply choose the Full-Grade Package that matches your child's grade level.

Then add any enriching electives you want and get ready for a great year!

What will I actually do each day?

Get ready to stop planning lessons and start enjoying your homeschool! Sonlight provides what you need for school each week, including:

  • Suggested daily schedules
  • The books you'll read
  • Maps and timelines to enhance learning
  • The materials you need for Science experiments (except for common household items)
  • Activity Sheets
  • Discussion Questions to ensure retention
  • Scripture readings
  • Suggested hands-on activities
  • and more!

Each day with Sonlight, you open up your Core Instructor's Guide and see what's on the schedule. Spend time reading out loud with your children (until they reach Core 100 around high school level) and talking about what you read. Your kids also read books on their own. Discuss the books using the notes and discussion questions provided. Read Scripture together and work on memory verses. And, if you want, enjoy any of the hands-on activity suggestions for the lower Cores.

Then dive into Language Arts (which comes with your Core Package) and explore your writing and learning assignments for the day. These assignments focus on natural learning and draw heavily on passages from the Readers your children are already enjoying in their Core programs.

For Science, simply follow along with the lessons in your Science Instructor's Guide (or your Schedule Plus, for the upper-levels). Read with your children and learn about fascinating aspects of God's nature and the world around us. In the lower levels, your children complete Activity Sheets and all levels include many hands-on experiments to reinforce learning. If you'd rather avoid the mess, you can pop in a Discover & Do DVD (included in Science A-E) and watch others do the experiments described!

Then you can do a Math lesson, practice Handwriting, practice the piano, learn a foreign language ... whatever you like!

Many homeschool families finish school by early afternoon--or sooner, if they want to--and have the rest of the day for free play, extra-curricular activities, family time and "home economics" (e.g., cooking dinner and doing the laundry!).

Love to Learn. Love to Teach. Guaranteed.

In the end, Sonlight's "secret" comes down to this: we believe most children respond more positively to great literature than to textbooks. And we believe that parents can be their children's best teachers. We're committed to giving you the tools you need to love learning at home.

With Sonlight, kids love to learn and parents love to teach. That is a beautiful thing indeed. Read more about our money-back "Love to Learn Guarantee."


Interested? What to Do Next.


Request a catalog

Ask for a valuable Sonlight catalog filled with our exciting curriculum, insightful articles about literature-rich education, our "against the current" educational philosophy, and much more! We'd love to send you a catalog, at no cost to you and no obligation. Request yours today.

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Request one of the following email series and receive practical tips to make the most of your adventure no matter what curriculum you decide to use. If you'd like even more ideas right now, head over to Homeschool 101.

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Find your homeschool curriculum now



Have questions? Get expert help now.

Experienced Sonlight moms are standing by to answer your homeschool questions at no charge to you. Get one-on-one help for all your questions, big and small. Contact a Curriculum Advisor today.

Key to Sonlight lingo:

Core

Core programs form the heart of Sonlight. These literature-rich packages include an Instructor’s Guide and all your books. They tie in History, Geography, Bible, Read-Alouds, Readers and Language Arts. You can teach multiple children at the same time with one Core. Most customers finish each Core in one school year, though you can move at your own pace. Sonlight Cores can take you from preschool to high school graduation.

Full-Grade Packages

Want all your subjects in one easy-to-order package? Get History, Geography, Bible, Readers, Read-Alouds, Language Arts, Handwriting, Math and Science in one extra-discounted bundle. Each package includes what you need to teach one child for one year. Save time choosing curriculum and save extra money when you get a Full-Grade Package instead of ordering the components separately.

Instructor's Guides

Customer-renowned Instructor's Guides (IGs) put the path to stress-free learning in your hands. You get an Instructor’s Guide as part of each Sonlight Core and Science program you order. The guides turn stacks of great books into cohesive curricula. They provide daily schedules, discussion questions, Bible readings, notes, teaching tips and more. Simply open up and teach each day. The guides have all the intensive planning done for you, so you get to be a great teacher and spend more time with your family.
Request a 3-week sample of any IG.

Read-Alouds

Flip through this catalog and look at the pictures of families reading together. This will be a central, delightful part of your Sonlight experience! Until the high school years, each Core includes many Read-Alouds. You get to read these gripping stories aloud to your kids, learn together, and enjoy memorable discussions along the way.

Readers

Your kids also read lots of great books on their own. From Core A - Core C, they use grade-specific readers that match their current reading level and give them a true love for reading. From Core D on up, the readers integrate closely with the Core material and enhance your children’s study of history, geography and culture.

Sonlight Curriculum Advisors (SCA)

It’s true: you have access to free, personalized homeschool help. Sonlight Curriculum Advisors (SCAs) are experienced, friendly Sonlight moms trained to help you homeschool your unique family. Contact an SCA with questions about what materials you should buy, how to use what you already have and how to solve any homeschool dilemmas you face. You can talk on the phone, email or chat online.
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