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Sonlight: Pros and Cons?

Sonlight: Pros and Cons?

We are using R&S for math, spelling, english and reading, and I am pleased with the math and spelling, but have mixed feelings about the english and reading.

Well, I was looking at the SL catalog online and, well, it started me thinking. We used SL back in 95-96 with my oldest two when they were 8 and 7, but that was so long ago and I know it has changed since then. We did World History then and it was a one yr course which is now divided into 2yrs and I don't think they had anything for prek.

So, those who use SL, why do you like it? Those who used it, but switched to something else, why did you switch? What did you not like about SL? Do you use the science? What about the language arts?

I think the big thing I like about SL is the Instructor's Guide having discussion questions and the fact that they study come at a subject from differing viewpoints rather than just one side.

Laurie

re: Sonlight: Pros and Cons?

Have you ever read the 27 Reasons NOT to Buy Sonlight? I think that would be a good place to start.

http://www.sonlight.com/not-to-buy.html

re: Sonlight: Pros and Cons?

We switched to Sonlight last year. I had wanted to a few years ago but the price scared me away. But homeschooling had gotten to be such a drag on all of us that I had to try something new. My son loves to read, and textbooks and "readers" always bored him. He wanted to read real books. The second week of Sonlight he told me that he never wants to go back to textbooks, that he loves the Sonlight books, especially the read alouds. He loves to be read to. Many times he finishes an assigned book early because he can't put it down. And his retention has just gone through the roof. I knew I had found homeschooling gold when I found him making a British fort with Legos while we were learning about the American revolution. He had never before combined school with play like that on his own. I am also impressed with the way his critical thinking skills have developed since we started with Sonlight.

The Language Arts program is pretty good, but I think the real strength lies in all the good books he reads. He has always been a reluctant writer, but this year he has really taken off in writing and I believe that is because he is reading good writing every day. We do some of the LA assignments but not all of them. They redesigned their Core programs this year so that LA is included and they are supposed to have made a lot of improvements.

If I had more than one child, I would also love Sonlight for the ability to combine children into the same Core to save time and energy for the parent. We are doing Core D&E this year with a 10 year old but I think it could easily work for the age range Sonlight has for this Core, which is 9-12. Some of the books have been easy for him, while others have been quite challenging. There really is quite a variety. Also, they have done a good job making sure the books chosen appeal to both boys and girls. Several books that were about girls brought moans and groans when we first started, but by the middle to end he loved them.

I hope this helps, sorry if it is too rambling. We really love Sonlight and it has made a huge difference in our family.

re: Sonlight: Pros and Cons?

I am an eclectic homeschooler, so... I am not the type who picks something and uses it year after year. So, I didn't "leave" SL, I simply just chose it for a couple of non-consecutive years.
The pros/cons will depend on each family. If you have hands-on learners, SL wouldn't be meeting that need. You would need to add to it.
When I was using SL, the lower grades used a lot of DK books and I don't like those. That was a con for me. That might be a pro for someone else.
There is a LOT of reading out loud. It actually hurt my throat/voice until I got used to it.
If you don't like reading multiple books at once, you may not like SL.
It may take more time than you want to spend for what is really only a couple of subjects.
Some people don't feel it is "that" Christian. That could be an issue for some. (SL five includes the book Remembering God's Chosen Children as well as "Praying Through the 10/40 Window" which DEFINITELY add a Christian focus. I have always said everyone should use SL5, which was a focus on the 10/40 window. The 10/40 window is an area of highest world population combined with lowest evangelized part of the world. It was an UNFORGETTABLE year. Still one of my favorite hsing years.)
Another pro is that you can use it w/multiple children close in age. It can be more tricky if there is a wide age gap.
I think some of the upper levels are very "negative" in content. I never considered using it at the high school level for that reason.
Another possible con is some people find it overwhelming. If that was the case, you would need to be willing to "let some things go." If you are unable to do that, you may want to choose something else.
HTH a little.

re: Sonlight: Pros and Cons?

I have read that many times. :-) I'm still not sure how I feel about books with magic; talking animals are probably okay, not sure how I feel about fairy tales.

When we used it many years ago, I had no idea of the controversy over talking animals, fiction, etc. One of the books we read then, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, supposedly has magic in it, but I don't remember that. I remember it being about a lady who had neat ideas for straightening kids out and getting them to behave.

I just feel like I'm not doing a good job educating my children in culturally-relevant ways. If they don't know the fairy tales, things from greek mythology, are they less effective at winning people to Christ? My younger children wouldn't know what was meant by things like "he has a midas' touch". My older children at that age, were more familiar with those things. I do want to shelter my young ones from certain things, but am thinking they do need to know certain things before they get out in the world.

Laurie

re: Sonlight: Pros and Cons?

I responded to the MFW thread that talks about MFW vs. SL. We really enjoyed our SL years!!! The reason we switched is because my educational philosphy changed. We may end up using Core F (Eastern Hemisphere) in the future with my ds, but I don't know. Here is my post from that thread:

I am a former SL user. Cores P3/4 through core E.

The major differences:
MFW integrates biblical history with ancient history. Creation to the Greeks was amazing! You learn what was happening in biblical history at the same time as 'regular' world history. Beautiful!

MFW gives suggested reading books in the appendix, separated by week. This allows you to choose how much/how little literature you add to the history.

MFW is much, much more manageable than SL, at least for us. With SL, there was SO much reading that there was little time for other things. With MFW there are notebooking pages on occasion, art and music are added in and correspond to the history when possible. It is so much more of a RELAXED feeling homeschool without compromising academics.

Sonlight offers all the reading in one package. With MFW you have to use the appendix and either get books from the library or order them separately.

SL offers comprehension questions and a map for each book as well as vocabulary.

MFW offers advanced readings for older students.


The major similiarities:

The schedule is basically the same in that all the readings are broken down by week and then day.


All in all, I am very pleased with MFW and plan to use it through the highschool levels. There are certainly things we miss about Sonlight. We read less now. But that is okay! Now that my dd is a lot older, she needs time for other subjects. WHen she was in the younger grades, we had time to read more. Don't get me wrong! We still read plenty with MFW. It is just that our days are much more balanced. The one major reason we switched to MFW was for the biblical integration (as much as possible) and the godly focus.

I hope this helps!!! They are both great programs.

re: Sonlight: Pros and Cons?

I've only used Sonlight for P4/5 and K with LA/Readers 1 and LA/Readers 2. We switched to Heart of Dakota. I like that better.

Sonlight was much more reading aloud for Mom. It also had more books at a time. There did not seem to be a common thread to pull it all together. HOD ties the history and science together with the Bible. Sonlight does not have hands-on. HOD does. Sonlight contains sensitive subjects, like false gods, mythology, violence, and evolution very early on, while HOD delays these discussions. Sonlight, at the time we used it, used a Beechick method of learning language, while HOD teaches grammar. Sonlight has a weekly grid, HOD a daily grid. Sonlight has notes, while HOD is scripted.

Those are just off the top of my head. I'm sure there is more.
I did not dislike Sonlight. In fact, I look back at those two years with fondness. I just like HOD's plan better.

re: Sonlight: Pros and Cons?

Pros? The reading material . . . we loved the read alouds. It's been almost two years since the boys have been in PS and they STILL pull the SL books off the shelf to read. Such good memories.

I am pretty sure we're back to homeschooling in the fall and I know that Sonlight will be back as part of the experience.

Con's? None really . . . although I didn't follow the teacher's guide completely . . . that wasn't a con to me . . . I like to tweak things to work for my family.

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