I’m a newbie to homeschooling and just order Sonlights P4/5 for my boys. Does anyone have personal feedback about this curriculum? I like what I’ve read online and can’t wait to get started!
We used Sonlight Cores B+C, D, and E. We love Sonlight!
Do you share a curriculum between two children? I am going to try to involve my two year old as much as possible during the P4/5. If anything else we will just repeat it in a year and a half with him.
I’ve done SL since P3/4 with my oldest, who is now 8. We’re doing Core B now, because I deliberately slowed her down by adding a ton of stuff to Core B, since I’ve heard from others that you don’t really want to start Core D too soon.
For combining, I find that the early cores are light enough that it makes sense to keep each child at their own level. For instance, I have a 6-year-old (was 5 at the start of the school year, so she’s kindergarten) and an older 4-year-old (was 4 at the start of the school year), so they’re a year apart. This year, I had the older of the two doing P4/5 and the younger P3/4. I would just read one P3/4 book first, both listening, then I’d do the schedule P4/5 readings and the younger one was welcome to listen as she wished or wander off to play.
I just started combining the two of them, though. I’m doing my own thing for a year, a sort of geography tour of the world, but using a lot of books from P4/5 again, which the 4-year-old is now ready for. When I finish, probably sometime this fall/winter, I’ll combine the two of them together in Core A. So combining can work, but I just don’t think it’s worth it until you get to at least about Core A when the reading starts to pick up more.
Another reason I like to wait a bit to combine them is, well, I’m not actually combining my oldest two. My oldest is 8, then the others are 6, 4, 2, and a new baby. I’m combining the 6-year-old and the 4-year-old and keeping the oldest on her own core. The reason is that she’s huge on being read to and has a ton of patience for being read to, plus she’s not super sensitive and is fairly mature. She needs to be doing a core that is on her level. My 6-year-old likes being read to but doesn’t have the infinite patience for it that her older sister had at her age, plus she’s very sensitive. If I tried to combine her with the 8-year-old, I’d have to “hold back” the 8-year-old from where she should be. But combining the 6-year-old with her 4-year-old sister works much better. The two of them pair together very well and have similar imaginations/playtime styles, whereas the older has her own style and fights with the 6-year-old a lot.
All this to say, if you have more than two kids, waiting until you see their learning personalities emerge lets you make a better decision about who to combine with whom and when and into which core.
So helpful! Thank you! You mentioned not starting Core D too soon. Why is that? I’ve been made felt that you can work quickly through curriculum due to the 1:1 factor and hungry hearts.
We will be starting to homeschool in the fall. We’re planning on combining our two oldest with B+C. They will be 9 1/2 and 7.
Love Love Love Sonlight - but have supplemented their LA with Voyages in English. Feel free to stretch cores to fit your age levels. I added Time Travelers and other supplements to units I wanted to stretch out. Their reader list is great - saves loads of time. I do prescreen the books (at least look at reviews of them) as I need to be careful with sensitive younger ones. Their forums are great help too. We LOVED B & C so much. Have fun!
We are using Sonlight as well. I really like it! I have a 2nd and 3rd grader so we are using B+C Core for both and then separate LA/Reading and Math.
For many things, yes, that is true. But there are some things that can’t be rushed because they’re more about developmental stage than ability. In the case of Core D, it’s about maturity and ability to handle things that can be scarier or darker. Core D has some books that have scenes that are scarier or sadder than younger kids may be able to handle, but that older kids will take in stride. So parents who start Core D with kids who are younger than 8 (or some more sensitive 8-year-olds) might get the impression that Sonlight is depressing and too dark for their kids. Whereas kids who are older would read the books and find them moving and memorable. I hope that makes sense. So it does depend on your kid to some extent, but it’s not so much something that can be affected by the level of teaching they’ve gotten, it’s more about personality.
That’s in contrast to something like language arts or math, where it’s not at all uncommon to have a homeschool be several years ahead in either subject. One thing that we see on the forums a lot is somebody who says that their 7-year-old is reading at the 5th grade level and doing math at the late 3rd grade level, and so they feel that they should start their child with Core D so there’s sufficient challenge. And then they post later to say that Sonlight is too sad or that their kid hates the books (even though the child can read them fine) and they’re moving on to another curriculum. Whereas if that same child had started Core D at age 9 (or maybe 8) they would have loved it and grown with it.
I love Sonlight. I have used it now for 13 years. Over the years I have tried a few different curriculum’s but I always went back to Sonlight quickly. (I guess I thought I was missing out). I have a high school senior and a fifth grader. As I am reading to my 5th grader my 12 grader says “I remember that story”. That is amazing! I find myself getting excited about reading a book for the second time and that happens a lot because there are so many good books.
I highly recommend Sonlight.
Looking into doing science (A) this fall. I notice there is a 4 day and 5 day option. The 4 day being cheaper, which for us being on a very limited budget is something we are conscious to. Can someone explain the difference between 4 and 5 day?
For all Sonlight programs, the 4-day option just has fewer books, basically. It’s designed for people who want to keep with a 36-week schedule but really only have 4 days a week to devote to the subject, maybe because of doing a co-op or other activities. So the 4-day science will just do fewer books. Generally the “5 day books” (the books done only if you do the 5-day version) tend to be more fun or supplemental, they never put the spines or most crucial books of the program on that day.
For some reason SL likes to keep the 4-day and 5-day schedules lined up, so their design tends to be that there are 4 days of basic scheduling, then a 5th day that is different from the rest. So you’d be reading, say, about the human body on M-Th., and then on Friday you’d take a break to read Eggs & Chicks, then you’d put Eggs & Chicks away until the next Friday.
When I did Science A, what I liked to do was to do all the Fridays in a row once I started. So I’d do the human body M-Th., take a break for a week and do several “Fridays” in a row so that I did Eggs & Chicks all at once, then I’d go back to the human body. Or whatever, I don’t remember the subjects for Science A.
One option, since you mentioned a limited budget, could be for you to buy the 4-day science program, then look for which of the 5-day books you could find at the library and read those just for fun!
This was really helpful, as I was just wondering what the difference was too. Do you think the 4 day would make it harder to meet the yearly hour requirements?
Awesome! Thank you for that amazing explication. Yes we plan on only doing science 3 days a week, so the 4 day is what we will do and supplement via library for anything else. Did you enjoy science A? Which is the level we will be doing.
You can easily do 4 days in 3 by doing readings on the day you do the experiment. Yes, we liked Science A a lot.
Nicole, I guess it would depend on how many hours you have to do. If you’re doing 4 days a week because you have a co-op on the 5th, the co-op would count towards hours. If you’re doing the 4 day to save money, you could probably supplement with books/videos on the topics from the library if you need more hours.
Although I am not new to Homeschooling I also just ordered P4/5 and I’m excited to find out more about Sonlight! Really want to know if you can incorporate the reading parts of the curriculum with any other curriculum or if that hinders you or the program in some way?
Incorporate it with what kind of other curriculum? Like another history/geography program, or something else? I would think that you could certainly use P4/5 with, say, Expedtion Earth or similar. With the later programs, you’d probably want things to coordinate. I am using Core B with Story of the World, for example. I’ve also used a modified P4/5 that sorts the stories by country and added activities for each country. Right now for two of mine, I’m doing a “tour of the world” using P4/5 books along with lots of extras, sorted by country. Those two will do Core A next year while my oldest does Core C.
I bought P4/5 to try it out and see how it works for our family but my oldest is 8 and so I’m thinking of trying Core A/B. I am interested in the books more than anything else so I wasn’t looking at Sonlight as a complete curriculum, I was thinking of getting all the books in the Core but then stretching it out to last more than a year and including things like note booking, social studies (I’m in Canada and have found a great social studies program to teach about Canada and Canadian history), plus we would do our own language, spelling and math? Do you think that could work?
I have friends that sonlight works great for and others not so much. I purchased the same curriculum for my oldest and we just couldn’t get into it. I boxed it up and am going to pull it out again for my youngest in August. I was overwhelmed with all the reading in Core A. Just remember, just because it says it, doesn’t mean you have to do it! I tried that way and got a little burned out. They have great books!
I have mixed feelings about Sonlight. We LOVE the readers/read alouds. They bring life to history! This is our first year homeschooling and my kids are 10 & 12 so I’ve kept them together using D+E (Bible, history, reading, and LA).
On the other hand, my kids get a little bored with the actual history books and the LA isn’t working for us. (I really don’t like writing negative things, but I know I would appreciate truthful reviews about any curriculum I was considering).
I mainly just use the teachers guide and schedule as a general guide and make my own adjustments as we go. When I first started with it I tried following step by step and it could be a little overwhelming.
I will be trying something different next year, BUT I will always check their book list for whatever topic we’re covering in history, no matter what we use!
Overall, I’m glad we started out with Sonlight. Having a teachers guide to “show me the ropes” for our first year has been very helpful