Three years ago my husband and I attended our first homeschool conference. It was the spring of Grasshopper’s kindergarten year. Public school was disastrous for him. We had considered pulling him to homeschool at various points during the year. He stuck it out, but by the end of the year we had made the decision he would not be returning for first grade. To say I felt a little overwhelmed at our first conference would be an understatement. We were bombarded with so many different homeschool methods. There were unit studies, literature based programs, worksheet based curriculum, classical, Charlotte mason….you get the idea. My head was swimming.
I have received products from Sonlight in exchange for my opinion. My opinions are my own and not influenced by the company. For more information please see my full disclosure.
Our First Introduction to Literature Based Homeschooling
We were only able to make one day of the weekend long conference, so my husband and I usually split up for workshops. We took the divide and conquer approach, comparing notes with each other after the sessions. My husband attended a workshop presented by Sonlight that discussed how kids can learn through stories in a literature based homeschool. When the workshop was done, he was excited by the idea of teaching our son through high quality literature rather than using textbooks and worksheets.
I however, was not quite there. While I thought the concept of a literature based education was intriguing, I had a hard time believing it could be the foundation of learning. Like many new homeschooling moms, I thought our homeschool should look more like public school. I was hung up on the fact that this type of education wasn’t saturated with worksheets proving that they learned something. Now that time has gone by, my early hang ups make me chuckle. Our kids can learn just fine without worksheets.
Our Joyless First Year
Speaking of worksheets, that’s pretty much all we did our first year homeschooling. It was ok. Grasshopper did learn, but this method didn’t spark a love of learning. Nothing was capturing his attention in a way that made him want to dig deeper. School was mostly busy work to both of us that first year. While it was a far cry better than his public school experience, I knew it could be better.
Our Literature Based Second Year
So the next year, we ditched the worksheets! I spent more time looking into literature based curriculum like Sonlight. I had legitimate concerns of moving to a literature based curriculum. My major concern was that Grasshopper can’t sit still to save a life (his ADHD wouldn’t be diagnosed until a couple months into the school year). Read aloud time was a real struggle our first year. I had to learn to let him fidget and acknowledge that he listened better when it seemed like he was ignoring me.
Because of my attention span concerns, I was hesitant to purchase Sonlight’s full curriculum package. I decided to start with their science as a way to test the waters if you will. For history I used a few random books and tried to wing it (I wish I would have just bought the whole Sonlight package but that’s another topic). I also made read aloud time more of a priority. My goal here was to see if he would actually listen and learn through a literature based curriculum.
Our trial run at a literature based homeschool proved so successful that we are going all out with this method next year!
Results of Literature Based Homeschooling
All of our time reading books was so beneficial! I was concerned if a literate based program like Sonlight would be a good fit for us. It shouldn’t surprise me that not only is it working well, but Grasshopper is excelling! I honestly feel like he is learning so much more from listening to literature than learning through textbooks.
he is learning so much more from listening to literature than learning through textbooks #homeschool #ihsnet Click To Tweet
Grasshopper has also really come to enjoy read aloud time! That in and of itself is a great perk, prior to this past year he REALLY disliked read aloud time. I think reading high quality books was the key here.
We’ve tried textbook formats and he hates them. I am so happy my concerns about a literature based homeschool really were not anything to be concerned about at all.
Why I Chose Sonlight
I do not have an internal library catalog to tell me which books would be high quality, interesting, age appropriate, and educational. Sonlight’s team has read every single book included in their curriculum packages. I know when I buy Sonlight countless books have been read, and gone through a screening process to determine which are best for our children.
They also supply us with an amazing instructor’s guide that tells you which books to read, and how much to read from each book each day. This means I don’t need to spend countless hours trying to figure out a reading schedule to accomplish everything by the end of the school year. Plus, the guide gives great discussion questions. Essentially they’ve done all the heavy lifting in my homeschool planning. That is something this busy mom can get invest in!