Want Your Early Elementary Students to Experience Wonder and Delight?
As a mom with early elementary students, you know that look of thrilled amazement that crosses your children's faces when they see something new and interesting.
You know what their voices sound like when they get excited: how they speed up what they're saying, how their voices get louder and higher and happier.
You have seen their eyes brighten, and heard them laugh and cheer.
Does the word "school" conjure images of wonder and delight on your children's faces?
Most likely, though, if you think about the word "school," the picture that comes to mind doesn't match that look of wonder and delight.
But you can imagine what successful homeschooling looks like. It looks like that.
You Know What You Want … But You Don't Know How to Get There
You are likely not a trained teacher. (If you are, you know that homeschooling your own children is completely different from teaching in a classroom. And you had to almost "relearn" how to teach. A teaching degree is not much help for homeschooling!)
But whether you are a trained teacher or not, you have very little free time. Very little time to find materials, to work up lesson plans, to think about the big picture of what to cover, when, and how much.
This is the reality of parenting young children: you don't have time.
A Delightful School Year Is Easier Than You Think …
"Sonlight has planned out every last detail for me. I love that! The Instructor's Guide is jam-packed with helpful information. Just as I'd hoped, the literature has instilled a genuine love of reading and learning in my children. Here, we were fortunate to have a robin build her nest near our house this spring. The kids immediately ran to get Eggs and Chicks [from Science A] to learn all about the process that would unfold." –Lily W of Falcon Heights, MN
My mom developed Sonlight's elementary programs almost thirty years ago. She had been a bookworm since her childhood, and drew from her extensive knowledge of children's books when she started to put Sonlight's programs together homeschooling my siblings.
Now I have just finished going through Sonlight B, one of the early elementary programs, with some of my own children. It was a marvelous experience. Each day, I pulled out the stack of books we were about to read, open my Instructor's Guide to the right page, and do the assignments scheduled.
… Just Read Great Books, in the Right Order
In Sonlight programs, you learn with books. You read some books for History, and more books for delight. Your children read real books (not just excerpts) to practice their reading, and you read more books to learn about Science and to do experiments.
But Make Sure They Are Great Books
Not really a book lover? Dawn E said,
I had a reluctant son who didn't like books at all. By the end of Grade 2 and Sonlight C, however, he complained that I never read to him and that it's not fair that we don't read enough books. [Sonlight C has 26 books in History and Read-Alouds.] His pile that he wants to read during the summer keeps growing!
From a reluctant reader to a son who complained that his mom "never" read—when she had read 26 books that school year, not counting Science (nor the 18 or so books in his own Reader program—the books he reads himself).
What do you think?
I'll tell you what I think: I think Sonlight books are amazing.
Sonlighter "greatwidesomewhere" talked about her experience:
After completing two All-Subjects Packages and ordering a third, we set the children by the bookshelves and asked them to pick out which ones they didn't want to reread.
After around an hour picking and prodding at the books, reminiscing as much as considering which to give away, both kids were ready to give away exactly two books.
I pointed out that our Sonlight D wouldn't fit on our existing shelves.
My exceedingly pragmatic nine-year old turned and, without missing a beat replied, "Guess we'll need more shelves."
So that's exactly what we did.
A Sonlight Box Day Delivers Books and Delight
You will love Sonlight's early elementary programs.
In History, you'll read stories from around the world and the United States, from the assassination attempt on George Washington to the outstanding achievement of the Great Wall of China.
And each year you'll have about a dozen books that you get to share with your children. (We call them Read-Alouds.) If you were fortunate enough to grow up in a house where your parents read to you, you know what a gift this is, for children to listen as their parents read to them. These Read-Alouds will become part of your family's heritage … and I can assure you, your children will remember and talk about many of them for years to come.
Usually at least a couple of the Read-Alouds tie in with the History. So you'll read some age-appropriate Greek myths when you study Greece, and read a detective story set in Rome when you study Rome.
And each year has a poetry book, too.
But mostly these Read-Alouds are classics, chosen because they are outstanding in children's literature. Don't miss out! The charm and poignancy of Charlotte's Web, the steadfast goodness (and understated interest) of Mountain Born, the screamingly funny Adventures with Waffles (my boys literally did scream with laughter) …
Your Children Will Learn to Read, As Well
Children can, of course, listen to far more complex stories than they can read. So the Read-Alouds work for a range of ages.
Meanwhile, as children learn to read, you don't want them to be bored with stories on the order of "See Dick. See Jane. See Dick run. Run, Dick, run!" That's hardly a compelling story.
You have several options to choose from in Sonlight's early elementary programs, from learning about the very first letter sounds in Sonlight A to the rich stories Sarita has chosen for Sonlight's unique Reader program for precocious early elementary students who are reading at the fourth or fifth grade levels. Your choice (or choices) will depend on your children's unique ages and abilities. But whatever reading level you choose, know that all Sonlight Readers are selected for high interest and delight. Even if they have limited vocabularies, we want your children to feel insatiably motivated to read their books.
Sonlight Science Is Awesome!
"The quality of books and experiments that make up the Sonlight Science program is unparalleled. Science isn't something meant to be experienced from 2:00 to 2:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Homeschooling gives us the flexibility to not be controlled by the clock. With Sonlight, imaginations and ideas are fired up." After reading Improve Your Survival Skills in Science F, William (11) and Caroline (8) designed a homemade bridge, bringing learning to life." –Anne K of Reno, TX
Later in life, Einstein vividly recalled the first time science surprised and amazed him: when he received a compass, and some mysterious force kept the compass pointing north.
In Sonlight Science B, as it turns out, you get to make a compass, and it is, indeed, uncanny, to watch the magnet rotate to the north.
But each of the early elementary years includes dozens of simple science experiments that eagerly look forward to. From floating a needle on water (really!) to watching a coin bounce on top of a bottle because the air temperature changes – these are high impact, yet simple experiments to do.
Each program contains a range of books, a DVD that demonstrates all the experiments your children will do, and a Science Supplies Kit: everything you need to evoke wonder and amazement in your children.
Your Choice of Math
Sonlight carries eight different math programs. Some of them are award-winning programs designed to offer complete mathematical training, preschool through high school. Others we have chosen to supplement you primary math curriculum and enhance your children's mathematical understanding. No need to worry about your choice: we provide thorough descriptions and offer .
Practical, Usable Language Arts
"One of the many reasons we love Sonlight is for the creative expression activities in the Language Arts program. They're constantly challenging my children in new ways, for example, how to look at a picture and imagine what's happening. We loved reading A Big Ball of String [LA 1], and then making an invention with a simple strand of yarn. Sonlight does a fantastic job of teaching grammar, too — from adjectives to sentence structure — everything needed for reading and writing. The curriculum teaches and applies in a way that children truly learn and remember. Isabella (6) loves the cutout activities offered each week, such as putting two words together to make a compound noun." –Lisa M of Little Elm, TX
The point of Language Arts is to be able to get your words onto paper while using proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You may have heard that good writers read a lot.
That's true. Because readers learn how well-written language sounds. They learn the patterns, the cadence. They also see the punctuation in context.
When you use Sonlight, you read a lot.
But you also write, both creative (imaginative) assignments and factual reports.
And Sonlight avoids workbooks for grammar and punctuation. (I remember one workbook when I was attending a classroom school before Sonlight: the authors provided a lovely space wherever we were supposed to add a comma. That had no bearing on real life, and I learned nothing, since my written words don't have handy, pre-made spaces for me to insert commas. I have to know where to place them.)
Sonlight Language Arts teaches grammar and punctuation following Ruth Beechick's method, in which—following the example of master wordsmiths like Benjamin Franklin and Jack London—we provide a sentence or two for copywork, dictation, and further study. This is a low-stress, but lasting, way to learn.
Together, All the Pieces Equal One Great Year
You could stick your children in front of a computer screen all day. Many parents do.
You could wrestle with your children over workbooks. Many parents do.
You could even send your children off to school. Many parents do.
Or you can take the less common road, and read to your children, where you enjoy what they're studying at least as much (if not more) than they do.
I love this quote from Tammy D:
Here is how I see Sonlight. I can go and get a boxed textbook curriculum like [some companies]. Yes, it would seem easier. I just give it to them and they do it. I can go about my day while they learn independently. I really wouldn't be needed unless I decided to grade and not let them grade themselves. ([One company] actually encourages the child to grade.) Then, at the end of the year, I can pull out the test and a few pages and toss the rest of the money I spent on that curriculum in the trash.
I can get Sonlight and be much more involved. I can watch the look on my little girl's face as she experiences sadness when she hears about soldiers going barefoot in the snow and how they had to do without so much. I can see their faces light up with laughter when we read silly books like Detectives in Togas. I can see their faces when they get to see a Science experiment and it just simply amazes them.
Is Sonlight expensive? Sure. But, really, I feel it is so much more worth the cost.