" 'Can't we do just a little school today?' my son pleaded last Saturday morning..."
Every year we hear the stories: "My son [or daughter] did not want to go to school. I brought him [or her] home and it was no better . . . until I found Sonlight. Thank you for changing my hate-to-learn son [or daughter] into a learning magnet. He [or she] doesn't want to quit. . . ."
But the question is: Why? What does Sonlight do that others don't?
The answer, honestly, is rather simple. It has to do with our literature-rich approach to education: education beyond textbooks.
With other educational media, and most especially textbooks, students read reports about different subject matter. In fact, that's exactly how most textbooks are written: to cram as many "facts" into as short a space as possible.
The problem: they leave out all the drama, the conflict, the context, the emotion, . . . the story — so there is nothing left to attract the interest and attention of student readers.
Sonlight, by contrast, with its "real books" approach to homeschool, brings you right "there" to see, feel, and hear what happened even if it was 2,000 years ago.
With the kinds of books in Sonlight's homeschool curriculum, you get to experience history. They draw you into the story so that all the things traditional textbooks and classroom materials tell you you're supposed to memorize . . . — you memorize "coincidentally." You can't help remembering the names of the key characters, the places they go, the events they participate in.
Somehow, when you are caused to feel something, emotionally, about a person or event: you seem never to forget. The images and experiences are forever imprinted on your mind.
And that, of course, means,
When you enjoy reading your school books; when one of your favorite things to do each day is to read the books that are part of your homeschool curriculum; and when the books themselves make it easy for you to remember your lessons, you've got the easiest learning process possible.
You can read the testimonials we've sprinkled throughout our catalog. We've been receiving stories like these ever since we began our company.
When was the last time you heard stories like these? If we hadn't enjoyed the experience ourselves with our own kids, and if we didn't know so many people who tell us pretty much the same things, I'm afraid we wouldn't believe it ourselves.
"Now I am getting an education while I teach my children with Sonlight. I so wish that I had been given this type of education as a child."
— Lisa in MO
But what can you say in response to the moms who tell us — as Rinae H of West Lawn, PA told us (and provided photo evidence) a few years ago, about her children who decided to stage a "Do School Now!" protest in the middle of August?
Isn't it time for you to see if maybe you and your son or daughter might not see a dramatic, positive change by entering into the joy of the Sonlight home educational experience?
Think about it . . .
If you use materials that you enjoy as much as your kids enjoy them (or, possibly, even more): what do you think the probability is that you'll want to keep homeschooling? Do you think you'll become as easily discouraged or burned out?
Now, please. Don't get me wrong. You're almost sure to experience discouraging, low-as-a-snake's-belly days when you want to chuck the whole homeschooling experience right out the window. It happens to all of us. (And, honestly, more usually in the first few weeks and months of homeschooling than later, after you've gotten the hang of things.) But we all have bad days no matter what our responsibilities.
I'm not talking about those worst-case scenario days. I'm talking about the general experience.
With Sonlight, we get comments like this one from Kristi W:
O.K., the Sonlight books may be meant for my kids, but they are such a treat for me. The way our society has been doing education for so long, it feels positively criminal to have materials that are so appealing and so rich. I keep catching myself saying, This is far too much fun to be work."
Imagine getting to teach your kids under these circumstances!
I don't think that's likely to happen if you're using textbooks, workbooks, computer - or video- based programs. But with Sonlight! . . .
The biggest problem we've found with a lot of our customers is that they would rather spend their time teaching their kids than just about anything. So the housecleaning, laundry, dishes . . . — Yep. It all gets placed on the back-burner while mom and kids "Sonlight"!
In sum: I expect you'll find Sonlight informs, challenges and inspires you as much as it does your kids. And so you and they will find yourselves drawn by the simple joy of discovery to find out whatever you can in all the different subject areas: science, math, geography, history, literature . . .
But while you're enjoying the educational benefits of Sonlight's literature-rich approach, you'll experience some other, unexpected benefits as well. . . .
I can't tell you how often we've had moms tell us that, once they began to use Sonlight, their husbands, who had never been more than mildly interested in what the children were doing suddenly began to ask if maybe they could read some of the books to the kids. Or, if not read the books themselves, then at least listen in while mom read. Or, minimally: "Can I borrow that book when you're done?"
Tammy is not unusual:
My husband, who has never taken much interest in homeschool matters, now looks forward to reading with us every day. He was hooked from the first Read-Aloud! I feel that Sonlight has brought our family closer together as we learn about those in far places. We look forward each day to the next adventure. I know that sounds corny, but it's so true."
Others have told us that when they first began using Sonlight, they were addicted to TV. Too often, they'd spend the night huddled around the tube.
They would be watching the same program together, but they never talked about anything of substance.
But then, after they began using Sonlight, mom and kids began to lose interest in what was on the tube. The stories began to seem thin or contrived.
So the kids would actually begin to read their Sonlight books in the evening! Or, if they didn't have enough Sonlight books, they'd beg to go to the library so they could find other books by the same authors they had been reading in Sonlight. . . .
Pretty soon (sometimes a few months, sometimes a few years), Dad would start reading some of the books. (Maybe Mom and the kids would read them during the day, then Dad would read them at night.) . . .
Eventually — especially as the kids get older — families find themselves discussing things as a family: "Tim, I was reading _______ last night," Dad might say. "What did you think about ______?"
Sonlighters often talk about all kinds of interesting subjects.
And, if I may note something you'll particularly appreciate in the later teen years: the most interesting "subjects" are not necessarily the ones you'll find in the books Sonlight assigns. They are in the discussions you will enjoy as a result of the strong relationships you will have established with your teens by means of your thoughtful, open discussions with them while they were growing up with Sonlight.
You will have established a habit of open communication, and you will have established, in your children's minds, that you are a person they can trust to tell them the truth. . . .
In sum: Not only will your kids get a decent education with Sonlight, but you-all — the entire family — will likely find yourselves being drawn closer together . . . because you'll want to read and think and talk about things together.
A lot of people have told me how much they appreciate the fact that the books they buy from Sonlight are their children's favorites. Their kids don't just read Sonlight books for school. And they don't read them once.
They keep going back to their Sonlight books and re-reading them.
I recently was trying to trim down on the books in our bookshelves and had set aside some I was interested in selling. I asked my son to look through them and make sure I wasn't getting rid of any he wanted. Every single Sonlight book went back on the bookshelf. He said, "Mom, you can't get rid of these. They're from Sonlight!"
People ask why they should invest in Sonlight rather than some other homeschool program. I'd say it's because Sonlight is not merely an investment in your children's education, but an investment in some top-notch intellectual and emotional recreation as well.
And it's not just an investment for your kids' benefit. But it's an investment for you and your husband as well — because you will want to read many of the books for your pleasure and education. Really.
Deb F. wrote:
Your books satisfy my soul. Usually at the end of the school year, I trample the kids as I rush to the library to get something to read. After this first year with Sonlight, I didn't have that urgent need because the books are so beautifully written and well developed. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."
Think about what I've just shared.
You get to enjoy a multiplied blessing from your investment in your children's education. As your entire family reads and re-reads these wonderful books, you can legitimately amortize the cost of your Sonlight program not just over a single year and a single year's education, but over the life of your family's library.
Can you imagine a better investment than that?
Find Your Homeschool Curriculum Now
If you'd like to get more advice and information about the homeschooling process, please check out the following Sonlight Podcast: