Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sonlight® and Classical Conversations

I have had several people ask me about what they need to do if they are participating in Classical Conversations. CC has spread quickly in the past few years and more and more people are finding that they and their children love what it has to offer. But, it is not a full curriculum and they want to know what they need to add to make it so.

Basically CC is a one day a week co-op that is academically strong. You can look at Sonlight® as your curricula and at CC as academic enrichment. It is the one day you can get out of the house and CC enhances what your children are learning, gives your kids timeline and historical “hooks” to put  their information on when they learn it.

 In Foundations [done in the morning]  they learn memory facts on different subjects: Bible, history, science, Latin, Math, Grammar and Geography. They memorize time line information and one sentence summaries of various historical events. They also cover art, music and a science experiment along with a weekly presentation in front of their class of peers and a family presentation in front of the whole group once a year. These oral presentations in CC give them practice with something that isn’t easy to replicate at home.

Essentials [afternoon classes] covers grammar in-depth, IEW writing and math games (to help them get the facts down pat). There isn’t any reading or in depth study. It is mostly an academically strong enrichment that compliments Sonlight® nicely. You would still do a full core but  usually  you start each day with about a 15 minute review of their CC memory work for that week. If you do the afternoon Essentials in CC you will not need to use the Sonlight® Language Arts as it includes grammar and writing.

All this to say Classical Conversation and Sonlight® work well together. If the CC cycle of the year matches your Sonlight core theme, that is great,  but it is not necessary. If your child is doing Sonlight® American History, for example, and the CC cycle is Ancient History, it can still work. Just look at SL as your curricula and the memory work your child is doing in CC will serve him well when he gets to Ancient history.  Even though he may not be currently doing a full study in that time period, he will memorize information that will be reinforced when he studies that time period in more depth in later years. 

If you have anything to add to this I would love to get your input as I would like to be able to help people put together the best curriculum for their family...whether it involves using Classical Conversations or any other program.

Take care,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Retired Sonlight® Books, a list...

I mentioned in my last post that a few other ladies and I worked together to make a list of books that Sonlight® used to schedule in their core curriculum and have now been retired. Some have been retired because they have gone out of print, others have been replaced with newer or more exciting books, and I am sure there are a host of other reasons. I thought I would copy the list of books here in case you are looking for some good books for your kids to read or for you to read together as a family. Most of these will fit that bill nicely.

Sonlight®~ Discontinued Book List (Updated May 2013)

Here’s how we’ve gone about compiling this list:
Prior to 2012, if a book had been moved to another Core, in general, we’ve not included it in this
list, typing up only the titles that have remained dropped. Quite a few books were dropped out
and then added back into SL Cores, at regular intervals, over the years – we’ve only included the
titles that have remained dropped.

Electives, or Science titles have not been noted, unless they were a science biography. We have
not included a separate listing for Core 6A titles.

We have worked through the catalogues:
 2001 Catalog
 2004 to 2012 Catalogs--- and a jumble of personal notes to come up with this non-exhaustive list of discontinued Sonlight titles.

Then I poured pored over the 1994, 1995, 2000, 2002, and 2003 catalogs and
provided about, an extra 165 titles. (All those tiles with this little squiggle ~ between
the title and the author are my hours of work).

[This is a note from the Australian Mom, Chelle,  who compiled all this information] Thanks to an elusive☺ NZ mum, and Vicki (US) for allowing me to blend details from their individually created lists into mine, and streamline everything into one list for others to also use.

Also to Tara, from SL forums, thanks for allowing us to incorporate a good portion of her work
into this list. (All of the titles with the author’s name in brackets, have been her generous
contribution.) Much appreciated.

If you would like this list in a word document format, please email me at:
sldownunder {dot} g {at} gmail {dot} com (Please read “request for use” end note on pg.11)
Other discontinued 
Sonlight® titles may be found on Nicola'sSonlight® Books Arranged in Well Trained Mind 4 Year History Cycle post
Also be sure to pop over to Brenda’s Pinterest to see the collection of visual pins, of discontinued
Sonlight® titles, she is creating for ‘on-liners’ benefit.

Core P3/4
Fiction, Fairy Tales, and Fun for Little Learners
A Robert McCloskey Collection (3 Stories) (swapped for Make Way for McCloskey. 8 Stories)

Core P4/5
Exploring God’s Word (Level Pre.K or Core B):
25 Stories for Little People ~ cassette
101 Favorite Children's Songs ~ cassette
A Bear Called Paddington – Bond
A Family Treasury of Little Golden Books - (Buell)
A Treasury of Children’s Literature – Elsen
Children’s Choice Bible – Chancellor
Curious George ~ Rey (early edition used in 1994-1995)
Emperor's New Clothes ~ ?
Family Time Bible moved to Core P3/4
Ken Taylor's Favorite Bible Stories ~ Taylor (earlier edition of Family Time Bible in Pictures)
Let's Talk about Animals ~ published by Ladybird
Mother Goose Classic ~ Volland edition
My First Encyclopedia ~ Watson
Noah's Ark ~ Spier
Opposites ~ Tyler and Gee
Peter and the Wolf / R Maltby Presents the Orchestra's Instruments ~ 2 cassettes
Real Mother Goose – illust by Blanche Fisher Wright
Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy World ~ Scarry
Right Choices – Taylor
Shapes ~ Usborne
Tall Book of Fairy Tales, The ~ Vance
Tall Book of Nursery Tales, The ~ Rojankovsky
Treasury of Little Golden Books
Ugly Duckling, The ~ ?
You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You (same pub as 20th Century Children’s Treasury)

Core A-Intro to the World: Cultures (Previously named Core K or Core C):
A Boy, A Dog, A Frog ~ Mercer Mayer
Alice's Adventure in Wonderland (Illustrated Condensed) ~ Carrol
Apple and the Arrow, The - Buff
Capyboppy – Peet
Chimney Sweep's Ransom: John Wesley ~ Jackson
Family Under the Bridge, The – Carlson
Granny Han’s Breakfast (Groves)
Hero Tales (Jackson)
Johnny Appleseed (different author) - Kellogg
Johnny Appleseed (different author) - Holland
Kidnapped by River Rats: William and Catherine Booth ~ Jackson
Core A continued….
My Book about Hudson: Hudson Taylor ~ Miller
Poems to Read to the Very Young ~ Frank
Stop that Ball – McClintock
Winnie the Pooh - Milne
Wizard of Oz - Baum

Core B- Intro to World History, Part 1 (Previously named Core 1)

Bandit of Ashley Downs: George Mueller – Jackson
Fables – Lobel
Flight of the Fugitives - Jackson
Follow My Leader – Garfield
From Arapesh to Zuni ~ Lewis (Replaced with From Akebu to Zapotec)
Half Magic ~ Eager
Heidi (condensed version) – Spyri
Hero Tales. Vol. III ~ Jackson
Hidden Jewel, The: Amy Carmichael ~ Jackson
Leah's Song ~ Clifford
Now We are Six ~ Milne
Prince & the Pauper (abridged ed.) - Twain
Queen's Smuggler, The: William Tyndale ~ Jackson
Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest – McGovern
Shoeshine Girl - Bulla
Thieves of Tyburn Square: Elizabeth Fry – Jackson
To the Top - Kramer
Velveteen Rabbit – Williams

Core C-Intro to World History: Part 2 (Previously name Core 2):
A Child’s Garden of Verses (Stevenson)
A Little Princess - Burnett
A Poke in the I - Janeczko
Alexander the Great – Green
* Alexander the Great ~ Wepman (SL lists the authors as Wepman & Ash. We were unable to find a book written by both
of these authors. We found 2 separate titles:
1: Alexander the Great : Empire Builder ~ Maureen Ash
2 :Alexander the Great (World Leaders Past & Present) ~ Dennis Wepman, Arthur M .Schlesinger
Ben & Me - Lawson
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – Fleming
Explorer's News – Johnstone
Fine Print: A Story About Johann Gutenberg ~ Burch (also used in, then drop from, Core 6)
Florence Nightingale ~ (author not detailed in catalog)
Gladys Aylward ~ Swift
Hans Brinker, Condensed ~ Dodge
How our Bible Came to Us ~ Daney
Indian in the Cupboard – Banks
Core C continued….
Joan of Arc ~ Stanley
Kildee House – Montgomery
Little House in Rocky Ridge - MacBride
Magellan – Brewster
Old Ramon – Schaefer
Ordinary Princess, The – Kaye
Shadrach – DeJong
Swiss Family Robinson, Condensed ~ Wyss
Treasure in an Oatmeal Box ~ Gire
Trial by Poison: Mary Slessor - Jackson
Trojan Horse, The – Little
You Can Change the World ~ Johnstone (updated to the new book called Window on the World, same author)
2012 Switch:
Ginger Pye – (Estes) (moved to Grade 4-5 reader package)

Core D-Intro to American History: Part 1 (Previously named Core 3):

A Twister of Twists, A Tangle of Tongues ~ A Schwartz
American Adventures I – Greenberg
A Drinking Gourd - Monjo
Bold Journey – Bohner
Boone, Wilderness Explorer ~ Retan
Can't You Make Them Behave, King George? – Fritz
Columbus ~ D'Aulaire
Erie Canal, The – Stein
Every Day With God – Nichols (?)
Fish do the Strangest Things ~ Hornblow
Flight of the Fugitive ~ Jackson
Giant Treas'ry of Brer Rabbit ~ JC Harris
Hannah - Whelan
Hopeful Trout & Other Limericks - Ciardi
Imprisoned in the Golden City: Adoniram & Ann Judson – Jackson
In God We Trust – Crater & Hunsicker
Insects do the Strangest Things ~ Hornblow
Landmark History of the American People {replaced with From Plymouth to the West, updated version of Landmark Book--Boorstin}
Martha Washington (Childhood of Famous Americans) – Wagoner
Mother West Winds Children - Burgess
Paddle-to-the-Sea - Holling
Poem Stew - Cole
Secret of the Andes – Clark
Silver ~ Whelan
Story of the Lone Star Republic, The - Stein
Story of the USA, Book 1--Franklin Escher
Story of the USA, Book 2--Franklin Escher
War of 1812, The - Morris
2012 Switch:
The Story of Eli Whitney - (Latham) (switched from Hist to advanced reader)

Core E-Intro to American History: Part 2 (Previously named Core 4):
A Bundle of Beasts ~ Hooper
All Sail Set – Sperry
American Adventures 1 – Greenberg
American Adventure 2 - Greenberg
American Wars: World War 1 – Stewart
An Arkful of Animals - Cole
Behind Rebel Lines - Reit
Bolivar – Guyatt
Bully for You Teddy Roosevelt - Fritz
California Gold Rush (Landmark) ~ McNeer
Canada ~ Sabin
Canada the Land - Kalman
Cheaper By the Dozen – Gilbreth
Churcaro: Wild Pony of the Pampa – (Kalnay)
Day it Rained Forever, The ~ Gross
Dog Jack - Biros
Every Living Thing ~ Rylant
Flame Across the Susquehanna – Banner
Great Depression, The ~ Stein
He Free Britain's Slaves: William Wilberforce ~ Ludwig
If You Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake – Levine
Landmark History of the American People {replaced with, From Ft Sumter to the Moon, updated version of Landmark Book--Boorstin}
Light Princess, The ~ MacDonald
Learning About God From A to Z - (Erickson)
Monitor and the Merrimac, The – Stein
Mr. Blue Jeans: The Story About Levi Strauss - Weidt
On the Banks of Plum Creek ~ Wilder
Prairie Boy's Winter ~ Kurelek
Simon Bolivar: The Liberator – de Varona
Shoes for Everyone – Mitchell
Story of the Golden Spike (SL pub) - Stein
Story of the USA Book 2--Franklin Escher
Story of the USA Book 3--Franklin Escher
Where the Red Fern Grows ~ Rawls
World War I - (Kent)
Zooful of Animals, An – Cole
2012 Switch:
Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt (Hist to Read-Aloud)
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (now a Read-Aloud)
The Great Turkey Walk (now a reader)
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (now a reader)

Core F-Eastern Hemisphere (Previously named Core 5):
101 Differences Between Cats and Dogs!
A Glorious Age in Africa – Chu & Skinner
Aladdin &  Other Favorite Arabian Nights Stories – Smith
Ancient China - Cotterell
Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions ~ Musgrove, illust Leo & Diane Dillion
Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum – Bryan
Captain Cook ~ Humphris
China: History to 1949 ~ Mc Lenigham
Coral Reefs ~ Johnson
Disease Fighters, The: Nobel Prize for Medicine ~ Aaseng
East to the Shifting Sands ~ Poynor
Eastern Hemisphere Explorer – Densmer
Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold – Benge
Eric Liddell: Men of Faith ~ Swift
Escape to the Jungle – (Sim International)
Exploring Planet Earth - Tiner
Faces: Australia Through Time – Faces Magazine Vol.III
Gandhi: Peaceful Warrior – Bains
Genghis Khan & The Mongol Horde – Lamb
Gengis Khan (World Leaders Past & Present) - Judy Humphrey
Incredible Journey, The - Burnford
India: The Culture - Kalman
India: The People – Kalman
Island of the Blue Dolphins, The – O’Dell
John Newton: Angry Sailor ~ Strom
Louise Braille - Davidson
Mongols, The – Nicholson
Rascal – North
Rat Catcher's Son, The - London
Remembering God's Awesome Acts - Mortimer
Seabird – Holling
Ships, Sailors and the Sea – Usborne
Slave Ship, The ~ Sterne
Stories from Arabian Nights ~ Lang
Story of Islam, The ~ Kanm
Story of Africa & Her Flags to Colour, The ~ Faul
Tales of a Korean Grandmother - Carpenter
Throwing Shadows ~ Konigsburg
Torches of Joy - Dekker
Traditional Africa ~ Addison
Unreached People Groups DVD
Walkabout ~ Marshall
What They Believe: Islam - Berry
White Queen: The Story of Mary Slessor - McFarlan
With Daring Faith: A Biography of Amy Carmichael ~ Davis
Wolves of Willoughby Chase, The – Aiken
Young Man in a Hurry ~ Clinton
Your Place in God's Plan ~ Holtzmann
2012 Switch:
Teresa of Calcutta (from Hist to Read-Aloud)
Mary Slessor by Benge (from Hist to Read-Aloud)
The House of Sixty Fathers (now a Reader)
The Hobbit (now a Reader)
Call It Courage (to Read-Aloud)
Mission to Cathay (to Read-Aloud)

Core G-World History: Part 1 (Previously named Core 6):
A Boy’s War - Michell
Adventures of The Greek Heroes – Mclean & Wiseman
Air Raid – Pearl Harbor! – Taylor
Ancient Egypt ~ Nickelson and Watts
Ancient Greece ~ Clare
Ancient Greeks in The Land of the Gods, The – Descamps-Lequime
Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery
Archeology: The Young Scientist - Usborne
Augustus Caesar's World - Foster
Between the Forest and The Hills – Lawrence
Big Red - Kjelgaard
Case of the Baker Street Irregulars ~ Newman (Listed as boys reader)
Children's Homer ~ Colum
Cleopatra - Stanley
Condor of the Andes, The ~ Wagner
Daddy Long Legs ~ Webster (Listed as girls reader)
David Livingstone: First to Cross Africa With the Gospel - Worcester
D'Aulaires' Book Book of Greek Myths
Eagle of the Ninth, The – Sutcliff
Everything You Need to Know About World History Homework – Zeman & Kelly
Fine Print: The Story of Johann Gutenberg – Burch
Freckles ~ Stratton-Porter
Girl of the Limberlost, A ~ Stratton-Porter
Hawk That Dare Not Hunt By Day, The – O’Dell
Hitler - Wepman
Ink on His Fingers – Vernon
Isobel Kuhn ~ Dick
Johannes Kepler: Giant of Faith & Science ~ Tiner
Marie Curie ~ Birch (different publication to book being used in Science C)
Martin Luther: Hero of the Faith ~ Nohl
Middle Ages, The - Caselli
Monk Who Shook the Word, The - Davey
Morning Star of the Reformation – Thomson
Napoleon - Carol
North To Freedom ~ Holm (this book is still included, now called "I am David")
Nothing Daunted ~ Repp
Otto of the Silver Hand – Pyle
Scarlet Pimpernell - Orczy
Science Discoveries: Isaac Newton & Gravity - Parker
Story of D-Day, The ~ Bliven
Story of Mankind ~ Van Loon
Story of Music, The – Usborne
Treasure of the Snow, The - St. John
* Twenty and Ten ~ Bishop (moved to core A)
Vasco de Gama: Adventures in Discovery ~ Knight
White Queen: The story of Mary Slessor ~ McFarlan
White Stag, The - Seredy
World of Columbus and Sons, The – Foster
2012 Switch:
The Great and Terrible Quest (to Read-Aloud)

Core H
- World History: Part 2 (Core 7 post 2005, which is different from Core 7 below)

Abraham Lincoln's World--Foster
A Jar of Dreams – Uchida
Catherine The Great (Landmark) - Scherman
Captain Cook Explores the South Seas (Landmark) - Sperry
Dark Frigate, The - (Hawes)
George Washington's World - Foster
Great Expectations--Dickens
Kidnapped Prince, The --Cameron
Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo (Landmark) - Winwar
Painless Poetry - (Elizabeth)

Core W-World History
Augustus Caesar's World--Foster
Betty Greene: Wings to Serve--Benge
Eagle of the Ninth, The-Sutcliff
George Washington's World--Foster
Otto of the Silver Hand--Pyle
World of Columbus and Sons, The--Foster

Core 100 (American History in Depth, previously named Core 7, before 2005)
A Gathering of Days - (Blos)
A Jar of Dreams - Uchida
Adventures of the Greek Heroes ~ McLean and Wiseman
After the Dancing Days - (Rostkowski)
* Black Like Me ~ Griffin (Moved to Core 400)
Blue Willow - (Gates)
Called to Die: The Story of American Linguist Chet Bitterman - Estes
Christy - (Marshall)
Constance ~ Clapp
Custer and Crazy Horse ~ Razzi
Down Ryton Water - Gaggin
Dragonwings ~ Yep
Early Thunder – Fritz
Earthquake at Dawn - Gregory
Four Million and Other Stories ~ O'Henry
Frank Delano Roosevelt - Freedman
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - (Konigsburg) (switched to Core E Reader)
Gentle Ben ~ Morey
Gold Bug and Other Tales, The ~ Poe
Greeks, The ~ Usborne
Green Book, The - (Walsh)
Guns for General Washington – Reit
Henry Hudson: Master Explorer ~ Weiner
Home Ranch, The - Moody
Joni - Eareckson
Julius Caesar: Roman Dictator, illustrated ~ ?
Light in the Forest, The ~ Richter
Loner, The - Wier
Martin Luther King Jnr: A Man to Remember - Darby
Mrs Mike ~ Freedman
My Side of the Mountain - (George)
Nothing to Fear - (Koller)
On to Oregon – Morrow
Patty Reed’s Doll - Laurgaard
Core 100/7 continued….
Pony Express, Cobblestone (1981): - Nankin
Piercing the Darkness ~ Peretti
Red Badge of Courage, The - (Crane)
Rifles for Watie - Keith
Robert E. Lee ~ Roddy
Samuel F.B. Morse: Artist With A Message - Tiner
Smokey the Cowhorse ~ James
Sounder - (Armstrong)
Stout-Hearted Seven - Frazier
Streams to the River, River to the Sea - (O’Dell)
Time Enough for Drums ~ Rinaldi
Trails to Posey ~ Cook
Tut-ankh-amun and His Friends ~ Aldred
Two Tickets to Freedom ~ Freedman
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Stowe
Up a Road Slowly ~ Hunt
Young Scientist Book of Archaeology ~ Usborne
Wait for Me, Watch for Me, Eula Bee - Peck
We’ll Race Your Henry Ford - Mitchell

Core 200-History of God’s Kingdom (Previously named Core 8):
A Taste of Chaucer (SL pub) – Malcolmson
Americas’ Favorite Poems – Pinsky
Bartholomew Fair ~ Stolz
Black Beauty – Sewell
Beauty – McKinley (listed as girls lit)
Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson
Canterbury Tale, The - Chaucer, retold by McCaughrean
Don't Check Your Brains at the Door ~ Mc Dowell
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Weir of Hermiston - Stevenson
Emperors Winding Sheet, The - Walsh
Fire Upon the Earth - Langford
Flames of Rome, The - (Maier)
Flying to the Moon – Collins
Good Wives – Alcott (listed as girls lit)
Hang Tough, Paul Mather – Slote (listed as boys lit)
Hatchet – Paulsen
Hawk and the Dove, The – Wilcock
In His Steps - Sheldon
Jackaroo ~ Voight
Little Men – Alcott (listed as boys lit)
Little Women – Alcott (listed as girls lit)
Pride and Prejudice - (replaced with annotated version)
Quo Vadis – Sienkiewicz
Separate Peace, A--Knowles
Summer of the Swan, The - Byars
Taste of Chaucer: Selections From the Canterbury Tales ~ Malcomson, editor
Trumpeter of Krakow, The - (Kelly)

Optional Titles for Research Paper for the Core 200 Year
Thirty Days to Understand Church History ~ Anders-Lundsford
This was John Calvin ~ Van Halsema
Who Moved the Stone? ~ Morrison
William Booth ~ Bennett
Optional Resources for Research Projects
Becoming Orthodox ~ Gillquist
Catholic and Christian ~ Schreck
Catholicism and Fundamentalism ~ Keating
Church of Rome at the Bar of History, The ~ Webster
Common Ground ~ Bajis
Evangelical is Not Enough ~ Howard
Faith Alone ~ Sproul
For the Life of the World ~ Schmemann
Gospel According to Rome, The ~ MeCarthy
Not By Faith Alone ~ Sungenis
Not By Scripture Alone ~ Sungenis
Roman Catholicism: Evangelical Protestants Analyze What Divides and Unites Us ~ Armstrong

Core 300-20th Century World History (Previously named Core 9):
Darkness at Noon - Koestler
DK 20th Century Day to Day – Schlesinger (CD-Rom)
DK Visual Timeline of the 20th Century, The ~ Adams
Exodus ~ Uris
For Whom the Bell Tolls - (Hemingway)
I Had Seen Castles ~ Rylant
Let One Hundred Flowers Bloom – Jicai
Life During the Russian Revolution ~ Sherrow
Mammoth Book of Eye-witness History ~ Lewis
More to be Desired than Gold ~ Wilson
Mother Jones: Fierce Fighter for Workers’ Rights ~ Pinkerton Josephson
My Life in Advertising & Scientific Advertising – Hopkins
Permanent Book of the 20th Century, The - Lewis
Robert Frost: Selected Poems
Run Baby Run - (Cruz)
Spy Who Came in From the Cold – Le Carre
War of the Worldviews – DeMar
What Everyone Should Know About the 20th Century ~ Axelrod and Philips
Youth Walk Vol.1 – Walk Thru the Bible Ministries

Core 400-Civics/American Government (Previously named Core 10) :

America's Caesar ~ Durand
Belle Prater's Boy ~ White
Crazy Lady ~ Conly
Crucible, The ~ Miller
Day They Came to Arrest the Book, The ~ Hentoff
Dry Divide, The ~ Ralph Moody
Giver, The ~ Lois Lowry
Godless Constitution: The Case Against Religious Correctness, The – Kramnick & Moore
Institutes of Biblical Law, The ~ Rushdoony
Julie of the Wolves ~ George
Jungle, The ~ Sinclair
Lies My Teacher Told Me ~ Lowen
Moby Dick ~ Melville
Never Before in History ~ Gary Amos and Richard Gardiner
Our Right to Drugs ~ Szasz [Optional Title]
Outsiders, The ~ Hinton
Shadow of the Almighty ~ Elliot
The Discovery of Freedom ~ Lane [Optional Title]
Tools of Dominion ~ Gary North
Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A ~ Betty Smith
Walden and Civil Disobedience--Thoreau
When in the Course of Human Events ~ Adams
Where the Broken Heart Still Beats ~ Meyer

 530-British Literature
No changes
Request for Use:
** Please be considerate and do not copy and redistribute the details off this list as your own work. If you decide to recreate this list, or use portions of it, to place in amongst a list of your own design; in your own document, on a post, in a tweet, on pinterest, or as a whatever ( ?) …… ☺

Please give credit to the Sonlight® moms/mums who contributed to, or worked on the original:
Jill (Kentucky – US),
Vicki (US),
Tara (SL Forums),
Chelle (NZ)
Thank you ☺

Monday, May 7, 2012

Summer Reading...

With summer just around the corner I couldn't help thinking of a great summer reading list I helped work on. It is the "Retired Sonlight Book" list. Hundreds of books that used to be in the Sonlight Curriculum programs have been removed for one reason or another. Sometimes a book goes out of print, sometimes a better books becomes available and sometimes I think they just want a bigger variety of authors represented.

Whatever the reason, the following list is incomplete list of books that have been removed. Most of these would make great books for summer reading and they are all categorized by Core level so you can pretty much tell what age they would be good for.

You can find the link here . If  if you would like this document in Word, or if you have any of the early catalogs and can help by telling us what has been discontinued from them, that would be great. We are missing books that have been retired from 1990-1993 and 96-99 so if you have any of these catalogs, we would welcome your input.  Just contact me at bluegrassjill at and I would be glad to send you the Word File  or to add your books to the list.

Take care,

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I love my job...It's All About the Books!

One thing I LOVE about my job as a Sonlight Consultant is that because I want to keep current, I try to read all the new books Sonlight adds to the curriculum.

I am working my way through this year's new books and have to say I am impressed. I just finished No Children, No Pets, which is an AVYX reprint of a book written in my birth year. [Hint--it was in the 50's]. It has lovely 50 illustrations and a wonderful plot along with nice children who are helpful, smart and pleasant. This book is  new to Core A and will not only delight children but the satisfying ending left me with a pleasant sigh on my lips.

I read Habibi earlier this week and it gave a good overview and picture into live around Jerusalem and the friction between Israel and Palestine and the longing for peace. It was a very realistic story that focuses on one American family who relocates back to the Dad's homeland. Interesting and it seemed authentic to me.

I also read the  book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon where the Author Grace Lin weaves together many Chinese folk tales and wonderful color illustrations  to make a compelling story. Before my last convention I read A Long Walk to Water which is an excellent biographical story about the lost boys of sudan and it weaves two stories together about one of the boys and what he is doing today to help his country. One of my friends adopted one of these boys many years ago, so this story was especially insightful.

Breaking Stalin's Nose is another new book that was a quick read but gives a picture of the life of oppression under Stalin.I think my favorite new Sonlight book that I read this year, though, is I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade. It left me wishing for more and also with a pleasant sigh and a thought of, "Sarita has done it again." Set in the time when Kublai Khan ruled Mongolia this story has interest, intrigue and really takes you to 13th century Mongolia and get a glimpse into the daily life of the people. Wonderful.

Least of All was a sweet story showing how everyone is important and the value of reading. Good Master's Sweet Ladies is an incredible book with over twenty vignettes about life in the Middle Ages. 

I still have many books to read but this sampling makes me so thankful that Sarita takes the time to read thousands of books so that she can put the best of the best in Sonlight's Curriculum. Well, gotta go. I am off to read Listening for Lions--it looks like another great pick.

Take care,

The Three Most Important Things to Teach...

For this and other exciting posts, check out my posts on the Sonlight Blog.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Books Alive!

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 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 learning with living books!

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 AND 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.

Take care,


[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.]

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Convention Time rolls around again...

 Bob and I got the truck loaded up early in the week do we wouldn't have to do it in the predicted rain. We have a big truck but it was packed pretty full.

Last year I wrote a little article about how I am a  homeschool carny and it was written during the take down phase. [I reprinted it at the link above.] I thought you might like to see the booth all set up this  year.
 Core D with the Mathtacular Educational Kit on the front table. I love Core D because I guess I have always loved American History and some of the books in this study--Witch of Blackbird Pond, Carry on Mr Bowditch and others are some of my favorite children's books.
 My back table was awesome! Everything you need to teach your Kindergartener...just add your student and a pencil and you are good to go. Lots of great books and hands on materials.
 This is hard to see, but the front table has Core 100, Sonlight's high school American History and samples from the preschool Cores.
 I had lots of math samples--something for every learning style.
And the front table, complete with sign in cards, brochures, peppermints and pens. I couldn't keep the peppermints stocked--they were very popular.

At the end of the weekend we had talked to a few  hundred people and given out over 300 peppermints and about 100 little magnifying glasses to the children.

It was a great weekend in Greenwood, Indiana.

Take care,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tiny Libraries...

I read this very intriguing article in USA today a couple of weeks ago that I thought you might be interested in.

Tiny Libraries Have People Thinking and Reading Outside the Box.

This is such a neat idea--individuals are making little boxes, like a big mail box, and turning them into free libraries. They work on the premise of  "Take a book, leave a book," says Todd Bol the founder of the Little Free Library movement.

This idea has taken off and Little Free Libraries can be found across the world, spreading the love of literature far and wide. some of these little libraries with just a handful of books have a great turn over. In Madison, Wisconsin Jenna Hansen has a Little Free Library in her front yard. In the past year and a half she says that "literally thousands of books have been in and out of here."

I love this idea. We have a neat library system in our small town where books from the county library are delivered to our local "Library in a Box" which is like a block of 30 lockers. We can go online and chose our books and they are delivered to the box. We get a call when the books are delivered. then we punch in a code at the box, the door opens and we get our books and go home. It is a great system and I have increased my library usage considerably since it was set up a couple of years ago.

But, maybe you live in a place where a Little Free Library would be practical? Would you like to be a Little Librarian? You can go to Little Free Library to find out more information. I actually have a limited number of children's books and would be happy to donate a couple to get you started.

Take care,

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Drawing...Norman Rockwell Print

The Land of Enchantment. Comment here and on my blog. You get one chance to win for each post [two total per person]. This is a large print--
Full-color 12.75" x 23" print on heavy art stock and looks awesome anywhere.

Custom-printed with an extra-wide border. Perfect for the mat and frame of your choice!

You can't really see it from this picture, but this is probably my favorite story book print and for sure my favorite Norman Rockwell print. It has many, many  favorite storybook characters all in sort of a collage in the background and two boys reading in the foreground.

It is a challenge to find all the old familiar friends. I looked and looked for a long time before I finally found them all. I have one just like this framed in my office. It makes me smile.

If you would like to win one, just comment here and/or on my Paths to Learning Facebook Page on a favorite storybook character. Or maybe a character that your children love. If you post here and "like" me on FB, that is two entries. If you already like me on FB--Thanks!--and just post your favorite there too.

Some of the storybook characters  and books that are in this print are:
  • Little Red Riding Hood, Last of the Mohicans, Aladdin, Knights of the Round Table, Old King Cole, Robin Hood, Rip Van Winkle, Rip Van Winkle, Hiawatha, Long John Silver, Cat the Fiddle, The Seven Dwarfs and more.
I have a nice supply of these prints, so for every 10 people that enter I will give away 1 print. I think you will love it.

So, what is your favorite Childhood storybook or storybook character?

[And, if you get a friend to "like" me on facebook, you will get an extra entry. Just comment on FB or here and let me know. I would love to get up to 50 likes in the next 5 days.]

Monday, March 12, 2012

What I learned today...

I don't have a smart phone but I hope to get one next year. As I prepare for my 2012 Homeschool Convention events I was encouraged to make a QR Code sign for my booth.  So, here it is, the QR code for my Homeschool Resource Library. I put this code on a table sign which will sit on the front table of my Sonlight Curriculum Booth.

I really wonder if anyone will use it. Do you ever scan any QR codes? If so, do you do it often? What makes it more likely  that you will scan one?

 I am really interested.

 I see them around, but don't really have a clue as to how they are used.

So, anyway. It"s true you learn something new every day. Whew! Now I can relax for the rest of the day, knowing I already learned something today.

Take care,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

NEW Drawing on my Facebook Page


This one is for two bars of homemade Prairie Kari soap! One bar of Goat Milk Vanilla Cappuccino and one bar of Goat Milk Hyacinth.

 Drawing ends in two week, March 18th, winner announced the 19th!

You can enter on my Facebook Page Paths To Learning
Take care,

Friday, March 2, 2012

In Honor of Dr. Seuss... a past post...

In honor of Dr. Seuss and other wonderful storytellers, I am reprinted a blog post from 2009. 

Never Tease a Weasel-Part 2...

Yesterday I talked about the problems that I had trying to teach my children important character traits by reading books written specifically for that purpose. They just did not translate across to make an impact on my children. They might know to Never Tease a Weasel, but brothers were fair game!

I believe character traits are caught not taught! But, I think we can do something to make catching them a bit easier. It is somewhat of a secret, but I will share it with real books! Not books designed to teach character--kids are too smart for that, but when you share real, living books with your children you will have many opportunities to talk about the characters in the books--what they did right, what they did wrong, what they should have done.

I remember when I read Little Britches to Kari and Scotty. That book is full to the brim of character lessons-most of them learned by the author, Ralph Moody when he was growing up in Littleton, Colorado around 1910. This autobiography is a wonderful account of growing up on a ranch--about responsibility and honesty and about the relationship between a father and son.

Ralph is an amazing storyteller who weaves his story like a fine tapestry. It is amazing how he remembers so well what it was like to be a child and the lessons Ralph learns in the book are as applicable today as they were 100 years ago. Whether you homeschool or not, this is a delightful book to read aloud to your children. It will make a lasting impression on the whole family.

And who can forget about the elephant who is "Faithful, 100%"? Horton Hatches the Egg is another story where you can talk about doing what is right, about responsibility and friendship, about love, adoption and what makes a good parent. This is a great read-aloud book that brings up many character issues for you to discuss with your young children.

There are so many wonderful stories with great story lines and characters worthy of emulation or of scorn. One of our favorite biographies was about Eric Liddell--the guy the story "Chariots of Fire" was based on. He was dedicated to running and to God, yet he had to make a choice between them. His story is inspiring and humbling--a great book to read-aloud to older elementary and middle school children.

And then there is great historical fiction like "Daughter of the Mountains," that teaches faithfulness and sticking with a job. There are bad guys you can talk about as well as those who are good and kind. This book, like many others, gives you, the parent, an opportunity to talk about those core beliefs that you want to pass on to your children.

Another book for younger children is "The Bee Tree." It not only teaches natural science, but also the value of reading and the wisdom of older people.

I could go on and on--and if you want more recommendations, let me know, but basically, pick out a good book and begin reading it to your children. Talk about the situations, the characters, their decisions and what they could have or should have done differently. What would you do if you were in their shoes?

So read a book to children,
Now there's some good advice...
You can talk about the characters
And whether or not they are nice!

Take care,

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I am giving away a Kindle Fire....

I am getting excited about my conventions this year. They promise to be the best yet. If you live in the Midwest you may want to come to the Cincinnati "Great Homeschool Convention" in mid-April.

I will be having a drawing for a Kindle Fire this year! This is something I am personally offering. Just come by one of the two Sonlight booths and sign up. Not only will you get a chance at the Fire, but you will also be able to get a new 2012 catalog, a coupon good for $15 off an order of $50 or more and bring a friend and you can each chose a free book!

I will also have a daily drawing for a "Pamper Yourself Basket" which will be a Sonlight tote bag that has handcrafted soap, hand scented lotion, chocolate and other goodies.

You need not be present to win the Kindle Fire or the Pamper Yourself basket, but I will be awarding the baskets daily and the Fire on Saturday at 5:00 pm.

I will have lots of samples, several full cores, all the instructor's guides and a great team to help you with any questions you may have.

Bring a friend by and you can both chose a free book. You can follow me on Facebook by going to Paths to Learning and liking me. You may also want to check out my Homeschool Resource Library. Let me know if I can help you in any way. Email me at

PS: I will also be in Indianapolis at IAHE March 30-31.

Improved Stuff at Sonlight...

A note from Sonlight I thought you might be interested in.

Seventeen Sonlight moms [I was one of the seventeen] crowded around to hear about the 2012 Sonlight product line. Several had helped us design the changes. All were excited about what they saw. The conversation flowed with comments like, "Did you see how easy to use these Instructor's Guides are now?" "This just makes so much sense." "Our moms are going to love this!"
So what did they see? Big changes this year to serve your day-to-day homeschool needs. Enjoy your first peak at the 2012 improvements:
This year, your Sonlight Curriculum will give you:
  • Enhanced and re-designed Instructor's Guides for Cores A - G
  • More complete Core Programs
  • Improved Language Arts instruction
  • Enriched Bible instruction
Watch the video to learn more. Then stay tuned as we start to release more details next week. This improved curriculum goes live on April 2. 

More to come,
Tim Heil