Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thinking About Sonlight

There has always been something rather appealing to me about Sonlight, which seems kind of strange since I really do love Montessori. I think part of it is the resources they use, but having a guideline for just one course (social studies is on my mind) is starting to appeal to me. To have some structure I can say to my son, "Hey, this much has to get done this week."

I'm specifically thinking of the 4-day "world history in a year" they have for grades 7/8 (Core W). I'm actually thinking of ordering it to start now; well, ASAP. I just have to be honest with myself and admit that we're pretty much halfway through the school year and I've accomplished nothing with him for social studies. Well, no, that's not true: we did the Great Lessons and looked a bit at some history books, but that's it. Probably less than 10 hours worth of stuff in all.

Now, the Core package would also have LA stuff, which isn't a bad thing. But it's much pricier than anything I've purchased before. Which might also be a motivator to use it. lol. Another possibility is to just get the guide and then try to find the necessary books myself.

Decisions, decisions...

Anybody combined Sonlight with a Montessori-infused home? Advice?


  1. Daisy,

    I have not yet used Sonlight in particular, but we have used Mystery of History and other "programs" and fully intend to keep doing so.

    Starting at the elementary age, there is already a "need" to fill in various interests or local educational requirements with outside resources - and those outside resources are going to be chosen based on the situation (home, school, dynamics of the people within the environment, etc.). That is a built-in part of elementary Montessori - having a core/framework that corresponds to everyone, then allowing each person their individuality as well as community culture.

    Then in adolescence and high school, they can take a program or a textbook and develop a plan of education with it. By high school and college ages, while there should still be some freedom with creativity as well as hands-on *real* work, the child is also ready to handle lectures and such (this is NOT the category in which I would place Sonlight).

    In short, if it is going to work for YOU and YOUR son, do it! It is *entirely* Montessori to do so!

    1. My son's at the jr. high level (grade 7) but hasn't done the typical Montessori elementary; I largely unschooled him and his natural interests so far have been to read comics and he did read a ton of science books when he was younger, but they're not satisfying him anymore. We actually had a good chat yesterday and he kind of felt like he knows a lot about animals (his fave) and didn't know what more that there was to explore. I told him that there are people who do 4 years of study at the university in science, then another 4 years just studying a particular area in zoology--they know a lot more than what he does, right? That was a seed I didn't think needed planting, but it did.

      Anyhow, he doesn't have the research skills, so this is what I see I need to work on the next couple of years. (High school starts in grade 10 here.) You've got me thinking that I need to see what Sonlight's World History program *does* exactly. Is it just reading and answering questions?

      I'm having the thought this morning that my main issue is that I'm having a tough time deciding and that Sonlight would just make all the decisions as to what to do. lol. My impression has been that Sonlight is kind of like CM and Montessori in that it is very literature-focused, but I don't know what the follow-up work is like at all.

      Thank you, Jessica! I may not have an answer as to whether to get that particular package or not, but I do now feel like I have the means to figure out ahead of time if it's actually going to work.

  2. The nice thing is, you can always Montessori-ize it ;) Take the main curriculum, utilize it how it fits your family, have some minimal requirements, then allow for time/choice for personal interests. At a quite younger age, we use Mystery of History. We read a lesson (supposed to be daily, but well... it's just too interesting to just read the lesson ;) ), then the requirement is to make the timeline card for it. I browse the activities and I might pinpoint a few here and there that are a must-do. Otherwise, my son then browses each set of activities and chooses what will work for his own interest - and oh my does it take off!

    We're still not done with volume 1, because he discovered the Wall of Fame set and now he's been going through all the past lessons to create this Wall of Fame from scratch. In the meantime, he finds more activities that he didn't care for originally, but now he's done more research, and is older, he is now interested. So he's worked through most of the middle/high school level activities as well ;)

    The few adolescents I have had the opportunity of working in a Montessori manner with - this is how we did things and it worked great (but it wasn't full-time homeschooling either, in those cases ;) ).

    1. Jessica, I so appreciate your responses! I need to do something different from what I'm doing and hearing how others have done things with this age is so helpful. :)

  3. You can get good deals on ebay for sonlight and may be able to get history readers without LA part.

  4. I answered your post on Playschool... but just had another thought... What do you think about RC History? Here is the link for Volume 2 and it has a great booklist and it is from a Catholic perspective. The teacher's guide is about 1/2 of the cost of Sonlight.


    More about what is in each TG:

    1. I hadn't heard about that either. Thanks!

      It hit me that I should see what sort of thing exists in French. We are using soooo many English resources right now. It would be nice to have at least something in French in our French-speaking home!