When we first transitioned to a literature based homeschool I had a hunch that I would enjoy it, but I didn’t realize how much I would love it! There are so many reasons I am loving Sonlight this year that I could probably go on and on, here are my top ten.
[info_box type=”pale_box”]I recieved these products for free in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own, and I was not required to give a positive review. For more details see my full disclosure[/info_box]
1. Our Homeschool is More Relaxed
Before moving to a literature based curriculum with Sonlight, our homeschool was more stressful than it should be. There was a lot of busywork, and Grasshopper was not having it. Meltdowns were frequent, frustrations mounted, and it simply wasn’t fun.
With Sonlight, we are more relaxed. We spend more time having meaningful discussions after the reading. Rather than school work being viewed as another item to check off the list, we are enjoying time together reading on the couch.
Stress levels have greatly decreased, since making the switch and there is less frustration for all of us.
2. Easy To Adjust To Our Needs
Grasshopper has autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. As a special needs homeschool I need either a curriculum designed for his learning challenges or one that I can easily adapt. While Sonlight is not designed specifically for his learning difficulties, it is extremely easy for me to adapt the lessons so he can successfully learn.
The curriculum is intense enough to stand on its own as a complete curriculum, yet gentle enough for adaptations we need (more on that in a future post). I think they have a perfect balance here.
3. No More Textbooks
Textbooks were proving to suck all the fun and enjoyment of learning for Grasshopper. He found them to be boring text filled with fact after fact. They seldom piqued his interest. He hated them. I hated that he was hating how we were learning.
In contrast, the books chosen by Sonlight like The Beginner’s American History teach our children history in an interesting story like way. For my son, this is a much more enjoyable approach. Not only is has it been more enjoyable, he is remembering what he’s learned.
4. Sonlight Instructor’s Guide
I love the Instructor’s Guide. Anything that saves me time as a homeschool mom is win in my book. In this case, the guide provides the key element to bring all of the history, literature, and readers together in an easy to use format.
I don’t know about you, but I have no time to create lesson plans and piece together my own literature based curriculum. The fact that Sonlight has done all the heavy lifting here was a key in choosing to use this curriculum.
The Instructor’s Guide is such a big deal to me that I wrote about it in detail here.
5. It Doesn’t Feel Like School
Sonlight fills our morning basket. When we’re having Bible time, reading literature, and studying history we are hanging out on the couch. We don’t move into the classroom until we’re moving on to “table subjects” like math or spelling.
Because of Sonlight’s literature based approach to learning, we are able to do a good chunk of our school day relaxed and enjoying each other’s company. In fact, the literature based approach actually makes this time of our day entertaining. More often than not, the our dog is even sitting in on morning time.
6. Easy to Catch Up When Needed
Like all families, we’re busy. Sometimes life happens and we are unable to accomplish everything we should during school. Because we’re taking a literature based approach this year it’s easy to catch up when we need to. Maybe Grasshopper doesn’t read his readers book during school time, but he’ll read it before bed.
Sometimes we’re unable to get our literature reading in during a day. Because these are fun books, I can usually get caught up during the weekend without making Grasshopper feel he’s being forced to do school. I know if we were using traditional textbooks catching up on the weekends would probably involve bribery.
7. High Quality Books
I don’t know about you, but when I try searching for books on a topic at the library I feel a bit overwhelmed. Which books are the best, which ones will teach history from a Christian worldview? Are the books a through explanation of events?
I know with Sonlight I don’t need to worry about these things. Again, they’ve done the heavy lifting for me by reading thousands of books and handpicking the best of the best.
Grasshopper is the very definition of a reluctant reader. He’s pretty picky. If the book isn’t about bugs, Star Wars, Transformers, or the military he’s usually not interested. However, the book choices Sonlight has selected have been meeting his high standards. There have even been days he asks me to read ahead.
I particularly love how the book selections are expanding his horizons beyond his preferred titles. So far, his favorite has been The Sign of the Beaver.
8. No Unnecessary Busywork
Like many homeschool moms before me, I went through a period where I thought our homeschool should model the public school. We did worksheet after worksheet. In hindsight, so much of this busywork was unnecessary. Worst of all, Grasshopper hated it.
I knew going forward if we were to be successful homeschoolers we needed to change things up to avoid unnecessary busywork. Of course I’m not saying you never need worksheets, or projects. I’m saying that not every lesson needs them. For instance the Sonlight Science uses worksheets. I feel they bring a healthy balance between worksheets with purpose and eliminating the unnecessary.
9. Timeline Book Brings Everything Together
Over our homeschool journey we will be covering many different periods of history. Using the Timeline book brings together all of the key points of history into one place. In time, our kids start to see how the different events piece together with the rest of the world during the same time. It’s a fun project that continues each year, and provides something for our fidgety kids to color during the reading.
10. Sonlight Encourages A Love For Reading
Have I mentioned yet that there are a lot of books to read? When I was younger I loved to read. Unfortunately for me I had a middle school teacher who basically took all the fun and enjoyment out of reading. This teacher had assigned projects to each book read. I don’t mean just one project, there were so many projects assigned for each book that I just didn’t want to read anymore.
I love how Sonlight does not assign a lot of needless projects with each book. While the Instructor’s Guide does have a discussion guide for each book, it’s not done in a way that our kids will feel like the reading is work. The discussion is simply a way to discuss what’s happening in the story and make sure your kids understand what is taking place. I also use it to make sure that Grasshopper was listening.
Of course I am not completely against projects in moderation. If projects are your style, or if your kid enjoys them you have the freedom to come up with some.
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