I love books!
I once cut out a comic that has a tiny little pastor sitting behind a small desk that has a looming book case behind it, towering above the pastor and the small lady he is talking to. We can only guess what she said, but he says,
“Books are not things of this world.” [Amen!]
Because of my love for books, I guess it was a no-brainer that when I got more experienced as a homeschool mom I branched out into designing my own literature unit studies with my kids. The year I did this the kids were in 9th, 7th, 5th and 1st grades, with a 3 year old thrown in for good measure! We did a study of animation and read biographies of Walt Disney and Bill Peet—and did some animation besides. We did a Robert Louis Stevenson study and read his biography and a few of his books—anyone for buried treasure? And we did a few other equally intriguing studies as well. WE all loved it!
But the planning about killed me.
So, the following year it was back to textbooks. A few years later I discovered a curriculum that was literature based, but had daily lesson plans. Amazing! I mean, I literally wept for joy. And that started my love affair with Sonlight Curriculum.
There are a lot more literature based curricula out in the market place now, and people ask me all the time why Sonlight is better or how it is different. I am not an expert on all curricula, but I can tell you how Sonlight is unique.
~Reading Great Books inspires children to do their own hands on activities such as drawings, writings, making pyramids out of sugar cubes and constructing beaver dams out of sticks and mud and so on. After reading a book on Samuel Morse my kids actually made a working telegraph system that ran between their bedrooms! I stayed out of their way and was called upstairs to stand in amazement when they sent messages the 40 feet-from one end of their attic bedrooms to the other.
Many curricula have plans for moms to spend lots of time and money preparing coordinating hands on activities. And some people like that. But I believe we just need to provide a learning-rich environment and great books—that's all you need. The kids will take it from there.
~Sonlight's goal [and my personal goal] is that of creating Ambassadors for Christ that are equipped to reach THIS generation. With Sonlight's broad base of books and their detailed IG teacher notes, children are taught to "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
I know with the well rounded education they get from Sonlight that our children have been prepared to go to a our state universities, sit with people of varying backgrounds; not be judgmental, but seek to understand where the person is coming from, then show Christ's love to that person--as an Ambassador.
I found many curricula try to advance their own agenda, but with Sonlight the information is given to you and then it is up to you to interpret it to your kids. The study notes constantly remind us to measure what this person or nation did by looking to God's word. The notes are very balanced and lead kids to learn how to think critically and not to believe something just because it is in a book.
~And, I think the thing that makes Sonlight head and shoulders above any other curriculum is the Instructor's Guides [IG]! If you are convinced that the literature approach is the way you want to go, look at Sonlight’s Instructor's Guides. They are amazing--and another benefit, you can get all the books from Sonlight so there are no fruitless trips to the library and/or the book store. The editions match the IG right down to the paragraph and page number. The IGs save you so much time, and are so complete, they are unparalleled.
And that is why if you love books, love creativity and want to raise ambassadors for Christ who can think critically, Sonlight is the perfect curriculum.
[Pictures, top to bottom: A picture of the kids the year I wrote my own unit studies-here we are at Gettysburg; the other two pictures are ones I like of the older boys reading to the younger kids.]