Sonlight Language Arts

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  • Reviewed on Monday, March 25, 2013
  • Grades Used: k&1st
  • Dates used: 2012
I LOVE the selection of books that Sonlight uses for reading. However, that's about all I love. I bumped my first grader to an entire 2nd grade curriculum (including Sonlight). I HATE having to open my teacher's manual and make copies and would rather have a consumable workbook. Also, their grammar instruction really lacks. I would have thought that there would be more than what is provided. The first part is the Beginner's Bible. That's a LONG time to be spending on one book and despite it being a lot of short stories, it gets boring.

I WILL say that with Sonlight I noticed that my kids would pick up a book and read randomly. Once they went to public school they stopped reading. So we will be purchasing their readers again but just as read alouds.


  • Reviewed on Thursday, September 29, 2011
  • Grades Used: 2nd & 4th
  • Dates used: 2010-2011
Last year, my daughter was in 2nd grade, but was reading very high level books. We chose the 4th-5th grade readers. Unfortunately, the language arts that goes along with them is very high level as well. She was very easily frustrated by the tasks that they asked her to do. Spelling was a chore (though that part got better when we tried again this year). The examples they give for the writing are what a grown-up would write, so, as a new homeschooler, I had no idea what to be expecting out of my kid. She was already a struggling writer. We skipped a lot of the lessons last year because they were just so frustrating for all of us.

I wanted to try it again this year, hoping maybe she'd be a little more ready for it. We were also bringing my first grader home (who tested into the 2nd grade readers/LA). The 3rd grader did better with it, but it was still tough. The 1st grader could do any of it. The spelling words were too difficult for her (though she was reading fine). It just seemed very disjointed to me. We love the readers and the read-alouds that come with the Sonlight program. They keep going back to them. But, the LA arts was lacking. We are now moving on to First Language Lessons and Writing with Ease and it has alleviated my stress level in regards to what my children can/can't do immensely. I was really stressing that my kid couldn't do what was expected in the SL language arts. I realize that I placed them both in higher level LA's, but I had no idea the writing portion would be so difficult.


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, June 16, 2010
  • Grades Used: Core K and Core 2 Intermediate
  • Dates used: 2007 & 2010
I really love Sonlight. In a perfect world I would only ever use everything they sell and never ever stray. Sadly I've had to pack up their Language Arts and I hope I never ever ever have to use it again. I bought the Core 1 LA for my son and we both hated it. The readers are so annoying. They are just so hard to read aloud. I thought maybe it's just my boy...he's a bit of a late reader. Then my baby came along and she taught herself to read so I figured why buy something else I already have everything I need. She HATED it too! She can't read the books aloud either.
I also tried the Core 2 intermediate this year.I either really love Sonlight or I enjoy punishing myself and my son. We liked the Diamond Notes. They were helpful for learning how to gather your thoughts on paper. When it came time to write a more lengthy paragraph I quickly realized something was missing. It was my son's ability to work beyond the 4-5 sentences the Diamond Notes bases provide. Sonlight's IG's have example paragraphs so you can get an idea of what they expect your child's writing lo be like. LOL! Most adults couldn't put that together let alone an 8 year old boy! I also found the paragraph a week to be tedious and tear inducing for both of us.
The spelling portion introduces the rule and lists the 10 words, sometimes the words would be super easy and the next week so hard even I had difficulty. Instead of making the words more challenging as the year goes on it's just a hodge podge of spelling rules and word lists.
Most disappointing of all was my son's test results this year. While his reading comp score blew me away his language mechanics score was below the 23rd stanine . I attribute this to Sonlight's approach to grammar which is to introduce the concept , for example capitalization, one time. How can your child master this after seeing it once and answering a couple of questions on half of worksheet? They are selling this as an all in one LA program but trust me, it isn't.
We've switched to 1st Language Lessons and both kids are LOVING it.I'm going to continue to use it for the summer and the rest of the next school year. My son will also use Switched on School House when we start back in August. I like what I've seen from SOS so far. It appears to be a well rounded program.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, March 30, 2010
  • Grades Used: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
  • Dates used: 2007-2010
I am happy with Sonlight Language Arts as a more "natural" and also "less boring" learning approach. I went through A Beka K4/K5, 1st, and 2nd grade Langauge arts, but was doing Sonlight for History. I got tired of juggling all the different teachers manuals, so I thought it would be easier if I just went "all Sonlight".
The readers tie directly to the Lnguage Arts which makes it easy to use.
There is not much instruction on grammar and parts of speech so I would definitely reccommend supplementing with a grammar book of some kind. You are the one teaching them the grammar, etc. through their writing assignments. I buy all the "optional" workbooks and that helps with phonics and vocabulary. I also bust out with my Abeka flashcards from time to time to review sounds when I feel like it.
My oldest son gets frustrated at times with the writing assignments, but I think it is simply because he doesn't enjoy writing anyway.
My younger son says Language Arts is his favorite subject and absolutely loves the first grade readers and the Explode the Code workbooks. We just finished the "I Can Read It!" series and he really enjoyed the stories. At the first grade level they are reading only 2-3 pages a day.
My older son, who is doing 2-advanced language arts (4th grade level), is reading 2-3 chapters from a book each day. They seem to enjoy reading more since we switched to Sonlight.

Another thing I like about Sonlight is how structured it is. Both of my kids (though they are 3 levels apart) do the same things on the same day. Monday is copywork, Tuesday is grammar or some kind of figurative language instruction, Wednesday is pre-writing, Thursday is a writing assignment, and Friday is optional activities. They read all five days.

One word of caution is that this curriculum requires parental involvement, especially with the writing and grammar assignments. Often in the first grade curriculum the child makes up a story and the parent writes it down for them to copy in their own writing later, which can be pretty time-consuming.

I sometimes wonder if there are programs out there I would like more, but as long as my kids are enjoying and learning, I see no reason to switch.