Monday, February 2, 2009

Sonlight Review

History did not start with Columbus. The western hemisphere is not the only one on the planet. Missionaries from past centuries have present-day applications. Use the Sonlight Core 5 Eastern Hemisphere curriculum to unlock the mysteries of the Eastern Hemisphere and to instill a life-long interest in missions in your children.

Sonlight’s literature-based approach uses real books to inspire your children’s imaginations. Expect the textbooks to get dusty! Conversations replace worksheets and prepare your child for the dialectic discussions you’ll have in a few years. Sonlight is “the way you wish you’d been taught.” Adventure and excitement await you in your explorations of North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Over sixty books are included (divided into history/geography, read-aloud, and reader categories). The books include classics such as The Hobbit and Around the World in Eighty Days, biographies of great missionaries such as Hudson Taylor and Mary Slessor, and books to capture your child’s interest in the Eastern Hemisphere such as Ships, Sailors, and the Sea and Teresa of Calcutta. My kids had dibs on half the books before I finished putting together the Instructor’s Guide!

If you’re into notebooking, you will love the complete portfolio your child will make using the Eastern Hemisphere Student Exploration Pages (answer key included). The 2008 World Book Deluxe Encyclopedia (for the computer) is its recommended resource. My daughter did not enjoy researching the different questions and had a hard time finding some of the answers, but that could be because she doesn’t enjoy research in general. The Exploration Pages are a wonderful tool to explore the geography, cultures, religions, background, leaders, and more of the major countries in the Eastern Hemisphere. You can do as much or as little of them as you wish.

One of the best features of the Sonlight Core 5 program is that the lesson plans are already done—a real timesaver. It will take you several days to read through the information and to figure out how the program works, but it is worth it. Another feature I appreciated was the ability to choose between a four-day and a five-day schedule (you do have to choose for the whole year, not one week at a time). The extremely comprehensive Instructor’s Guide advises you through every step in the process from setting up your three-inch binder (a bit intimidating at first) to knowing which questions to ask when (and the answers!). Far more material is included than most people would use in a year, but think of it as an all-you-can-eat buffet: choose what fits best with your family and leave the rest.

Sonlight’s Web site offers newsletters, articles, and e-mails to help you teach more effectively. They also offer an exclusive forum designed to make available 24-hour contact with fellow parents and experts. If you purchase the complete Core curriculum (Instructor’s Guide, all the books and other resources—about $650), you will get ten percent off of all your purchases for a whole year, and enjoy other exclusive benefits. Not sure it’s for you? Sonlight offers a 100% money-back guarantee—for eighteen weeks! Sonlight is a complete curriculum experience. We especially enjoyed studying the Middle Eastern country where a family member is currently serving the Lord.

2 comments:

Chris Worthy said...

Hi Bethany!
I look forward to getting to know you. Thanks for this Sonlight review. We are going to dip our toes in the Sonlight pool (and probably need more bookshelves) for sixth grade next year.

Chris

Amanda said...

We are a SL family. I have (mostly) done Cores K, 1 and now 3 (skipped 2). We love SL!