COAH Community

Help understanding Sonlight

Hi I am searching for a history curriculum (elementary world history) and like the look of Sonlight, but I am having a hard time understanding exactly what it comes with. I hear a lot of people say it comes with a lot of stuff and any reviews always show this monstrously huge binder, but I can’t seem to figure out exactly what is in that huge binder. I don’t want to use any portion of the curriculum other than the history. So if that is all I am looking at, what does the teacher lesson plans actually tell you other than what pages to read out of what book each day? Is there something I am missing, discussion questions, maps to look at or fill out, worksheets, tests etc. I don’t know if it is just me, but when I look at the list of books that come with it (the history ones) it just doesn’t seem like all that much, yet I know it is a very reading intensive program. This year we read about a half hour a day 4 days a week from a history book and we went through so many, so I look at what they include and I think, well that won’t take me very long. So…I have come to the conclusion I am missing something. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? Thanks.

The history is just one piece of it. So there might be 2-3 history books you are reading excerpts from each day, along with the other subjects included in the binder, which are Bible, read-alouds, and readers. I believe from level D on up, the readers correspond to the history period you are studying, lower levels do not. The history seems sparse because the read-alouds and readers (for D and up) are part of it.
There are usually geographical places to look at on the map as they pertain to what you are reading. The map is included in the binder.
There is a timeline book and figures that are sold separately. The binder tells you which figures to put in the timeline when.
The binder is a big schedule of what to read each day from those 4 categories. There are also summaries, notes to the parent, and discussion questions.
There are separate language arts binders that focus on writing and copywork. From level D on up, they correspond to the history/Bible/literature binders. I believe they utilize the readers from those levels.
I’ve used Sonlight a few times over the years and, for me, it’s an expensive program. The Bible feels tacked on as it doesn’t correspond to the history time period or concepts. I’ve done just the history too and it’s not bad if you can get the binder used and your own books from the library or Amazon.
Hope that helps! :blush:

I honestly wouldn’t do Sonlight for just the history. The read-alouds and readers are the best part of the program, and often are historical fiction related to the history you study, sometimes biographies (depends on which Level you are doing.) You’re missing the real joy of the program if you just use the history. Those books are often what make the history come to life (though many of the supplemental history books do a nice job of that too.)

You should be able to see a sample of the GREATBIGHUGE binder on the site though. For me, honestly, it included too much stuff I didn’t use, and not enough stuff that I would have liked! Yes, there’s a schedule, comprehension questions, vocabulary, background info to flesh out the history (in some levels, the IG is almost like another history text with regard to the history notes) etc… I wasn’t going to read all that to my kids, and I wasn’t going to read all of that to prep for teaching my kids each day. I don’t know…the guide just didn’t fit how I homeschooled, but the books themselves were great (I’ve kept most of the readers and read-alouds from multiple levels, and a few history books I couldn’t part with yet, LOL!) We probably liked about 90-95% of the readers and read-alouds over the years, and maybe 50-60% of the history books. Every family is different though, and sometimes you have to try something to see how it works for you! We loved Sonlight for the most part–I just don’t think we’d have liked it as much if we just did the history though.