I’ve said it time and time again, we love Sonlight. I share our experience with the literature-based curriculum often, both online and in real life. I run a group of local homeschool moms and one question I frequently get is, “Is Sonlight really worth it?”
My answer is always a resounding, “Yes!”
However, my one-word answer is never enough. They want to know why we like it so much, how it works with multiple ages, how we split up the subjects, do the kids really learn with just books, but it seems expensive . . . ? The questions don’t stop there, but those are the ones I get most frequently.
*This post contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.*
Is Sonlight Really Worth it?
I’m going to answer those questions (and more) with as much detail and explanation as I can (which is why this one is called Part 1).
Sonlight is hands down the most natural, family-oriented homeschool curriculum we’ve ever come across.
Why do we like Sonlight so much?
When we started homeschooling eight years ago, it didn’t take long for me to decide that we would be a Charlotte Mason-style homeschool. That decision was easy. The hard part was deciding what to read. So many blogs and programs out there claim to have the best reading list.
For years I just picked from different lists and then made my own lesson plans for each child. It was terribly time-consuming. One of the many reasons I absolutely love Sonlight is that all my plans are done for me. I no longer have to stress about making lesson plans or reading lists. I simply grab the next week’s lesson and we’re off!
How do I school multiple ages with the same books?
That’s an easy one. Our school day essentially has two parts, table time and read aloud time.
As part of our morning homeschool routine, we jump right into our read aloud time after breakfast. All the children find something quiet to do while I grab another cup of coffee and our read aloud stack. During this time, I read our Bible, history, and general read alouds.
These subjects are all about learning new information, and children in a large range of ages can all learn the same information. Sonlight programs teach using biographies, historical fiction, and other books designed to appeal to children of all ages.
Table time is part of our afternoon routine. After we’ve had lunch and the baby is down for his nap, we grab our science, language arts, and math. This is where it can vary from child to child. Right now both Max and Caroline are doing Math-U-See Alpha, but Louisa is doing Primer.
In general, kids of different ages will be doing different levels of language arts and math. We include science with our table time because we can only do experiments when the baby is asleep.
It typically takes us about an hour and a half to get through our morning read aloud time (because we always read more than what is scheduled) and about an hour for table time.
So for two first graders and a preschooler*, they spend less than four hours a day with school work. Mind you, the entire read aloud time is spent playing, so it’s not really work.
*Louisa only participates in our table time because she wants to. She begged for her own math book, so I broke down and bought her Primer. Other than the math, she only does simple writing pages to help her develop her motor skills and we read a lot. That’s it. Her main job right now is to play, because after all, that is how very young children learn.
Do the kids really learn just by being read to?
Yes! As parents who went to public school, we often find ourselves in the trap of trying to recreate that environment and end up doing school at home, not homeschooling.
Children love stories. Imagine a storyteller (you) with eager children gathered around her. What would happen if she stopped at the most exciting part? The children would beg her to keep going! That’s exactly what Sonlight helps me accomplish. I’m cultivating a love of learning in my children through literature.
Literature-based learning is an educational philosophy based on children’s natural curiosity and love for stories.
By reading engaging stories, the kids make emotional attachments to the characters and their story. They remember who did what and why they did it. They may not remember exact dates and statistics, but who cares!
Tell me, what do you remember from your texts books in school? I don’t remember much if anything at all. But I do remember every novel and historical fiction I’ve read. I formed attachments and therefore memories of the characters and their lives.
But it costs so much??
This is probably the number one question I get asked.
“Sonlight seems expensive, is it really worth it?”
Let’s take a look at that.
Nowhere does it say that you have to get an All-Subjects Package (although I totally recommend that you do ), but if money is the one thing keeping you from making the best decision for your homeschool, let’s assume you are only getting a 4-Day Level Package.
Max and Caroline are doing 4-Day Level B which totals $498.09 if you don’t already have the required resources (Binder, Timeline, and Markable Map).
On average, people school for about ten months per year. If you average out that cost, you’re only looking at $50 per month. That’s just over $12 per week. And that’s if only one child is using it. For me, with two kids using it, the cost is cut in half!
What I’m saying is . . . it may seem like a lot up front, but this quality of education is well worth it.
Not to mention these perks:
- You can reuse the same curriculum for other children as they get older. You buy it once and use it for as long as you homeschool!
- With any Package purchase, you get SonlightCares which entitles you to a one-year guarantee, Sonlight Advisors, Repurchase Discounts, and more.
- Your children will develop a love for books and learning, something they will never get from a textbook.
- The countless hours you spend together while reading the wonderful stories will become treasured memories for all of you.
This post is already longer than I expected it to be so I’ll stop here.