"Can we do this forever!?!"~ Elizabeth (7) during the first week of SONLIGHT.
I love teaching out of this curriculum. My daughter loves doing it. That moment was almost a year ago, but still gives me warm fuzzies. She was happy. We were looking for something that fit my daughter's learning style and found it. This curriculum is a great fit for the child that likes to be challenged, but not stretched and needs the materials to stay fresh. A friend of mine shared with me about her daughter who had done Sonlight up until the last year of highschool. She loved it, but was put in public school in the 12th grade for purposes of transcripting, prom, graduation, etc... She graduated at the top of her class with a full scholarship and got a top level position at a local hospital before graduating from college. That was an impressive testimony from a good friend. We made the call and were connected with Margaret. She is an advisor with Sonlight. The advisors are one of the best features of this program. They are available with advice, tips and to answer questions when they arise. This is a great feature and extends throughout your child's school year. With great patience, as I had a lot of questions, Margaret walked me through creating a program that wrapped itself around Elizabeth. The resulting curriculum was perfect. My daughter who was a very struggling reader, now excitedly looks forward to book day. That is the day we pull her new books. She loves to read now and Dad has a bevy of great bedtime reading (we save some read alouds for bedtime) such as Boxcar Kids & Dr. Dolittle. The Hands on History portion had us making a trebuchet, car, an obelisk, and lots of other cool things that we all had fun with. World Cultures delivered an engaging and impressive exposure to different cultures while delving into different time periods as well. Something very special about this curriculum is how it does it all in a very relatable way. The grammar portion was intimidating at first glance. My daughter was struggling with writing a sentence and it was grooming her to write stories, but I am glad to say we have come a long way since September. A couple of weeks ago she started writing a book called The Faithful Tree because she was inspired by a tree that fell during a snowstorm this year. She both wrote and illustrated it. It's not Beverly Cleary, but it was sweet and unprompted. My daughter loves to read and is writing extemporaneously. Also, she is a stellar speller. Months of poetry have left their mark... A weekly word list is part of the curriculum and correlates with Explode The Code, an assigned workbook. The combination is powerful. Wordly Wise was fun and broadened her vocabulary. Also of note, Handwriting Without Tears and copywork really helped to refine her handwriting. Okay, enough about Grammar and onto math. We used Math U See. We really enjoyed it. To keep this short, please see the separate review for this program above. The science was great. She did Science A. It was an astonishing exposure to what felt like our universe, from the atom to the solar system and everything in between. When I think of the scope of what we covered I have a strong impulse to lean back and say yeah, we did that... It was awesome and fun. There were lots of hands on experiments and the Discover and Do DVD makes making sure every experiment sees the light of day easy. We have grown seeds, made homemade volcanoes and lots of other hands on activities. Of note is the required encyclopedia is chock full of links that are clips of the subject they are learning about. This was a really engaging feature. One of the very best benefits of this curriculum is how the stories have helped mold my children's character. I say children's because my 3 year old also listens in. In fact, most often she sits through her sister's lessons. I find this to be a great multigenerational curriculum. I have had a 2, 3,and 8 year old sitting through the read alouds. Egermeier's Story Bible, Good News Must Go Out, The Giant Leafy Obstacle and many others were SO inspiring. Stories of courage, selflessness, doing right when it is hard and so many other character lessons are taught. This curriculum truly educates the whole child in a way that benefits all who listen. The days vary in length, but one on one instruction is rarely more than 2 hours. Parental prep is about an hour a week. The days are well planned out grid style day by day making it a breeze to facilitate. The price is a bit higher than some, but they do have a great interest free payment plan you can take advantage of. There is also the potential to sell it off at the end of the year in that many of the materials are non consumable, if you can bear to part with them. Overall, it was well worth the investment. We have observed great academic, character, and spiritual growth in our daughter and she "loves the way she learns." So do we. As always, questions and comments are welcome. :)
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