Middle School: The Critical Years

Conformity & Criticism

Middle scool is often a time when students celebrate conformity and discourage the differences they see in their peers. It's a time when children may be particularly vulnerable to the severe criticisms and put-downs of fellow students. Be aware that if you send your children to junior high, you may be submitting them to influences that will negatively influence them for years to come.

A 2006 study reports that "a majority of twentysomethings—61% of today's young adults—had been churched at one point during their teen years but are now spiritually disengaged."

We suspect they didn't face the tough questions of faith and modern culture until college. Since they hadn't been prepared to navigate these issues from a Christian perspective, they reached an intellectual or emotional impasse and walked away. Like the house that was built upon the sand, these ill-prepared students are collapsing under the weight of peer pressure. As a parent, you have the opportunity to help you children gain sure footing before they head out into the world.

We believe homeschooling through middle school can be extremely beneficial. When you homeschool your children through middle school, you have three extra years to help them grow and mature in their relationship with Christ. You have three more years to build up their self-esteem and prepare them for the moral and spiritual battles they'll face in high school.

Sonlight Enables Parents to Homeschool through Middle School

Sonlight provides parents of middle schoolers with three solid programs to prepare them for high school. History / Bible / Literature G and Sonlight H form a complete in-depth study of world history: Sonlight G covers the dawn of time to the end of the 16th century; Sonlight H picks up where Sonlight G leaves off and carries you all the way through the fall of communism and the collapse of the USSR.

With a strong understanding of world history, your children will be well-prepared for the spiritually strengthening Sonlight 100 program. This "transitional" program — good for mature middle school and high schoolers — provides an in-depth overview of American History.

Throughout your journey, you'll be guided by Sonlight's dependable Instructor's Guides. You'll have daily schedules to follow and invaluable notes about the works your students are reading.

So what, specifically, will your children study in our middle school homeschool curriculum?

Sonlight G

Embark upon the story of the world - an exciting, fast-paced guided tour of the first 5,000 years of recorded history. You and your children will travel across time and around the globe, starting when nomads first learned to farm and continuing forward to the Protestant Reformation.

The first two volumes of Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World provide a lively narrative for Part 1 of our World History program. Used in conjunction with Usborne's visually striking Encyclopedia of World History - with our Instructor's Guide acting as your personal tour-guide - combine to provide a comprehensive and dynamic historical experience.

Sonlight G also uses two Genevieve Foster titles, Augustus Caesar's World and The World of Columbus and Sons, to weave an incredibly rich historical tapestry.

But the history segment is just the beginning of the treasure you will discover on your journey. Masterful works like I, Juan de Pareja, The Golden Goblet, and A Single Shard, plus almost a dozen other Read-Alouds, will bring past eras to life. Your children will also enjoy Readers such as The Bronze Bow, Adam of the Road, and The Great and Terrible Quest. I look at the titles and fond memories crowd my brain. This is education for the joy of it.

Buy Sonlight G here.

Sonlight W

You and your children will travel across time and around the globe - and experience world history in a year! - with an exciting, fast-paced guided tour of recorded history. Alternative 7 relies on Virgil Hillyer's A Child's History of the World to guide you and your child's learning. Hillyer presents a delightful narrative history of the world from "the beginning" to the mid-1990s. A warm, grandfatherly telling of a real story will pull your child in with 79 stories that start at the beginning of time and reach to the present.

Buy Sonlight W here.

Sonlight H

The adventure begun in Sonlight G continues in World History, Part 2. Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World (Volume 3 & 4) pick up the story in Europe at the founding of the Holy Roman Empire and set the pace for your child's studies. With the author's unique storybook writing style, your child will travel from the early 1500s through the fall of Communism almost 500 years later.

Sonlight H covers the same general ground as Sonlight C, but explores the subject matter in far greater depth. Wise Bauer's Story of the World, Vols. 3-4 provide the narrative foundation to the program.

Sonlight H also employs two Genevieve Foster titles, George Washington's World and Abraham Lincoln's World. These two books give you a 360-degree view of the worlds in which these two great leaders lived, and includes biographies of many key historical figures.

But the history portion of Sonlight H is just the beginning of the fascinating journey you're about to embark upon. Masterful works like Great Expectations, Number the Stars, and The Sherwood Ring, plus almost a dozen others, will bring past eras to life. Your children will also enjoy Readers such as The Broken Blade, Anna and the King, and The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn. With such a variety of great books at their fingertips, your children will have a hard time not reading ahead.

To help establish the spiritual maturity we so ardently desire to see in students, we've included a number of "preparatory" books in our Bible program, including Gerali's challenging How to Stay a Christian in High School. Don't let your children miss this important book!

Buy Sonlight H here.

Sonlight 100

If your "tween" or early teen is ready to experience a delightfully broad and balanced picture of American history, this is the curriculum that will bring the journey home. Sonlight's American History in Depth covers traditional history in thorough fashion, yet exposes students to the broader currents and finer shades of historical meaning (and the implications for today!) that a public school or textbook simply won't disclose.

You and your child's Level 100 excursion relies on Joy Hakim's award-winning A History of US series to lead you through the highways and byways of American history. The first volume of Hakim's A History of US concentrates on pre-Columbian American societies. Later volumes devote attention to all the standard issues of history.

And as you journey through Sonlight 100, our detailed Instructor's Guide allows you to relax knowing that you don't have to be an expert to educate your son or daughter. Imagine having all the work and planning done already. You will save hours of time and energy - and be able to go to bed at night without worrying about what you are going to teach the next day.

Wonderful as A History of US is, and thorough as the Instructor's Guide is, the 100 program would not merit the Sonlight name if it did not include a large selection of historical fiction that provides color and depth to the primary text. And so you'll find finely crafted works like Laurence Yep's Dragon's Gate, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Plus, to solidify your students' foundation in the Christian faith, we've included the Bible Study Sampler, a complete 36-week program designed to encourage your children to dig in and study the Scriptures on their own.

Buy Sonlight 100 here.