Peek inside an Instructor's Guide (IG)

Sonlight Instructor's Guides include complete lesson plans and notes for the entire year!

Parents often rave about their History / Bible / Literature, Language Arts and Sonlight Science Instructor's Guides! Take a look and see what the excitement is all about ...

Imagine having a personal homeschool mentor plan and organize your entire homeschool year. What if she gave you customizable schedules, complete lesson plans, pertinent activities, and thoughtful questions to aid your students' comprehension? What if she left you handy tips and pointers to help you relax and homeschool with confidence all year long? This is exactly the support you get with a Sonlight IG.

IGs show you the way every day, all year long:

Your Instructor's Guide (IG) is a road map for the entire school year ... with virtually all the planning done for you. You get:

  • Complete 36-week lesson plans that integrate your children's various subjects into an exciting, unified learning experience.
  • Activities, teaching tips, discussion questions, counter-balancing commentary and more.

IGs eliminate the stress of everyday planning:

Imagine falling asleep tonight relaxed, with no worry about what you're going to teach in the morning. That's what an IG does for you. It does the planning for you. Put simply, these guides just make your life easier. As Lois M writes:

"Everything is put together and organized better than I could have done in a million years. The kids have my time instead of my stress!"

Curriculum experts develop each IG ... so you are free to focus on your expertise: knowing and guiding your children.

Each Sonlight Instructor's Guide is the result of hundreds (thousands?) of hours of research and experience. This expert work saves you significant time, stress and frustration so you can spend time teaching and enjoying your kids, not planning lessons.

This sentiment is echoed by many customers:

"Sonlight helped save me loads of time so I could focus on teaching instead of planning."
--Lois B

IGs turn your books into curriculum

Each History / Bible / Literature program, Language Arts course and Sonlight Science program includes an Instructor's Guide. That guide weaves your books and supplies together into a cohesive full-year curriculum.

"The schedule is already written for us, which makes it easy, worry-free, and keeps us on track and accountable for reaching our school year's goals."
--Jennifer G

See for yourself!

Interested? Keep reading for an in-depth look inside an IG. Better yet, request a free sample of any IG.

Backed by a money-back guarantee

Buy any All-Subjects Package or History / Bible / Literature program (or any individual IG) and you're covered by a one-year money back guarantee. If for any reason you don't love materials, simply return them for a complete refund of your purchase price. That's confidence you can bank on!

Our IGs Will Make Your Day (Easier)

How? Take a look at some of the noteworthy benefits you'll realize with Sonlight IGs.

Easy to use

  • Get started quickly. At the beginning of your school year, read the essential "how" and "why" information for your History / Bible / Lit, located at the front of your IG. This will ensure a good start.
  • Everything you need is in one place. Find each week's schedule, notes, discussion questions, timeline and map activities, vocabulary and teaching tips, all in one section. Your daily notes for subjects are all right behind your weekly schedule.
  • Take school with you on the go. Want to do Sonlight outside or on a road trip? Just pull out that week's section of the IG, grab the scheduled books, and enjoy your adventure.

An intuitive setup

The IG setup makes sense. You can find what you need quickly and follow along. For example:

  • Mapping helps you incorporate geography seamlessly into the school day. Younger students use their Markable Maps to locate places they read about. Parents get full color maps with answers to the assigned map points. These hole-punched, laminated maps fold into your IG and also serve as a bookmark to hold your place. With clear location names, students make a visual connection to how all their Readers, History books, and Read-Alouds relate geographically. Parent notes provide place names and coordinates, so you can easily find and check each map point. High schoolers' black-and-white maps are included in their Student Guide, while the Parent Guide has identical answer keys. Just watch your students' geography knowledge soar!

Comprehensive and effective

  • Q&A format helps you focus on what's important. Discussion questions with answers for each day's reading hone in on the key points. They help your kids get more meaning out of their reading and allow you to assess how well your children understand what they're learning.
  • Understand the rationale behind scheduled activities and methods. We offer abundant explanations that let you in on the "why" behind many of the suggested activities. We explain the purpose behind these activities and what your children can gain. So you're better equipped to take advantage of the ideas behind the activities and perhaps make modifications.
  • Numerous notes help you take advantage of teachable moments. We want you to know why we chose a certain book or what we hope your children learn. We talk about "heart matters" (e.g., "Note the beauty of family relationships revealed in this book."). We give you warnings about specific books or about difficult content, telling you what to expect and often suggesting how to discuss it. This helps you capitalize on teachable moments and discuss important issues (such as racism).
  • Science and Language Arts IGs Activity Sheets reinforce your teaching and further engage learners. A variety of activity options coordinate with your students' Science and Language Arts studies and draw on a range of skills and interests. (See pp. 138-139.)

A note about upper-level IGs

For high school, you can "mix and match" History and Literature courses from any upper level. Choose the course combination to create the program that's best for your students.

The 100-400 IGs continue to offer many of the same great features and benefits found in the lower grades. Rather than a single IG, each upper-level course includes a Parent Guide and also a separate Student Guide. Your Parent Guide mirrors the Student Guide, but also includes answers, provides extra notes about book plots and literary elements, and allows you to check their progress and discuss their reading (even if you haven't read the books). This setup lets you be as involved as you want and gives your high schoolers the tools to work independently.

History / Bible / Literature Instructor's Guide

What you get in a History / Bible / Literature IG:

1. Complete, ready-to-use lesson plans All your books and activities are fully scheduled for the entire year. No need to create your own plans!

2. Daily schedules Daily schedules outline 36 weeks of material for Bible, History/Geography, Read-Alouds, Readers & Language Arts.

3. Discussion questions Discussion questions (with answers) for the assigned reading help you track your children's comprehension.

4. Timeline and map activities Put your learning in chronological and geographical context. Timeline Activities tell you when to add people, events and dates to your timeline of history. Map Activities help you plot the places you visit in your reading. Your kids plot points on their Markable Map, and you have all the answers in included map keys.

5. Vocab & cultural literacy notes Find clear definitions for important vocabulary that appears in your reading. Enjoy useful cultural literacy notes that add depth to your reading and explain things students probably should know but likely don't know (e.g., what a hoop skirt looks like).

6. Teaching tips for Mom or Dad See the rationale and educational philosophy behind Sonlight's methods and activities. Get help discussing tricky topics (such as poverty) with your kids. We've got your back so you can teach with confidence.

7. Extensive notes Train your children to read discerningly. Our notes provide counter-balancing arguments to lopsided readings. These notes help you "listen to the other side"--as Proverbs 18:17 seems to encourage--in order to hone understanding. You won't believe how much you'll learn!

8. An easy record-keeping system With space to record completion dates, your children's initials, extra notes and even extra subjects, all your records are in one place for reporting requirements.

9. Add your Language Arts program Check out the additional Language Arts portion.

Your History / Bible / Lit IG gives you flexibility:

  • You are in the driver's seat. The IG is a guide, not a taskmaster. As you become comfortable teaching your children, you can skip and alter assignments as you want to fit your family's unique needs.
  • You have options to work how you want. If you prefer to do a week's worth of a single subject in one day, work horizontally across your schedule page. If you prefer doing a little bit from every subject each day, work vertically.
  • Day-by-day schedule does not tie you to a traditional Monday through Friday calendar. Take breaks when you want and pick up right where you left off.

Language Arts Guides

Your Language Arts Guide includes:

1. Clear Language Arts instruction Our Language Arts programs helps you get the most from your studies each day. Assignments are as clear and engaging as possible. An appropriate level of grammar instruction and copywork/dictation passages ensure that you get the most helpful assignments.

Simply follow the daily schedule for a complete year of learning. Extensive teaching notes help you instruct your students with excellence, answer questions and ensure that they grasp key concepts. (Discover Sonlight's "natural learning" approach to Language Arts.)

2. Copywork/Dictation assignments Weekly copywork or dictation assignments help children learn the basics of writing based on the models of master communicators. Assignments are based on your child's age and ability level, and most passages come from the Readers in their History / Bible / Literature or Language Arts program.

3. Phonics instruction (in levels A-C) Assignments and activities coordinate with your children's Readers to develop confidence in reading and spelling.

4. Readers Schedule & Notes (in levels A-C) History / Bible / Literature levels A-C let you pick the appropriate Readers / Language Arts set for each child, so your Language Arts Guide includes the Schedule and Notes for those corresponding Readers.

5. Grammar and writing mechanics Each week in Language Arts A-W, you receive clear grammar instruction about a specific concept that ties into the week's copywork/dictation passage. Then your students get a few exercises to practice and cement what they learned.

6. Effective creative writing instruction Our step-by-step direction encourages exploration, sets children free to develop their creative side and helps them become superb written communicators, too.

7. Activity Sheets and answers Students complete assignments on the included Activity Sheets. Weekly Notes show the answers to grammar questions and suggested responses for Creative Writing assignments.

8. Schedules for optional workbooks If you want more instruction in phonics, grammar or vocabulary, we include schedules for optional workbooks.

Where do I find the Language Arts Guide?

For levels A-C, you can add a separate Language Arts Instructor's Guide to your History / Bible / Literature purchase. This guide coordinates with the Readers Pack you choose and integrates your Readers' Schedule and Notes.

For levels D and higher, the Language Arts Schedule is separate from your History / Bible / Literature IG. Your Language Arts notes and assignments come after the other notes and assignments each day.

Science Instructor's Guide

Your Science IGs (for Science A-G) provide:

1. Complete, ready-to-use lesson plans All your science books and experiments are fully scheduled for the entire year. No need to create your own plans!

2. Detailed teaching notes Weekly notes help you get the most from your materials. They explain each assignment and activity, point out fun facts about your reading and provide extra information about important topics.

3. Weekly experiments and activities Simple, engaging experiments coordinate with your reading and provide hands-on learning. Sonlight's science kits provide the key supplies ... so you actually do the experiments.

Many experiments are simple activities that build on the day's lesson--like exploring taste buds using basic ingredients like lemon juice and sugar. No planning necessary!

Your kids will love the discoveries they make throughout the year. (And you'll love that they're demonstrating concepts and making learning stick.)

4. Organizational tools to plan ahead See at a glance what supplies you need for experiments this week and the coming week. See what supplies you'll find in your Sonlight Science kits, and which household items you'll want to have ready. You won't be surprised at experiment time!

5. Interactive Activity Sheets Your Activity Sheets--with hundreds of activities, illustrations, charts and pictures--help students remember what they've learned.

Activities progress with children's abilities: From cutouts, matching, circle-the-answer and dictation to fill-in puzzles and sequencing analysis.

Prep time? Zero. Educational value? Immense. Reproduction rights mean one guide is good for the entire family.

6. Complete Answer Keys Separate Answer Keys mirror your Student Activity sheets for easy grading. You get continual insight into your students' comprehension. No testing necessary.

Download the first three weeks of any IG

Ready to take a look inside a specific IG? You can download the first 3 weeks of any Sonlight® Instructor's Guide by selecting the IGs you're interested in on the 3-week Samples page.

Convinced that an IG is what you need for your school year? Find your homeschool curriculum today!