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April 2, 2013 at 3:37 PM
Who has used Sonlight? Specifically 1st and 3rd grade.
(Might be stupid question) but is it a full curriculum? Or will if need to be supplemented? Is it worth the cost?? (Almost $1700 for 1&3 grades)

What do you like/dislike about it?


  • hipmomto3
    April 2, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    We've been doing Sonlight for a couple of years. That price must be including everything because that'd be over $800 for each and I've never paid that much! But I've never bought a "full" curriculum from them - just Core. 

    We did Core K (which is now A or something, basically the kindergarten) then we skipped it a year and then this past year did Core D (4th grade-ish). My children are/were in K, 1st, and 4th this year. I only use the Core and Instructor's Guide (which includes Language Arts each week). However, even though I'll be sticking with Sonlight in general, I'm not buying full Cores anymore because we end up not using such a large part of it. 

    What I like about it: 

    -The IG is very specific - you can literally (if you wanted, not that I recommend this) do zero preparation beyond getting out the books you need for the day, assign reading and/or read aloud with the kids, and call it good. 
    -The core alone provides a vast selection of history, geography (I really recommend the Book of Time, timeline figures, and 2-sided large wall map - we use all three of those items a LOT), and culture. If your children like to read, it's a great fit. If they hate to read, it will be torture for them.
    -The children learn about things that are put off until middle or high school in most other curricula. My children are OBSESSED with all things Egyptian because of the kindergarten core (we have enrolled them in Egyptian art class and they've attended Egypt camp at a Native American historical site); we spent 2 weeks studying the Lewis & Clark journey. (just for examples)

    Now, what I don't like so much:

     -It can be very expensive. I've found that reading the description (and often, Amazon reviews) of individual books is a way to weed out those that I know we will NOT use (we are Christian, but some of the books are so overtly Christian that I just do not want to use them; some are demeaning to other religions and cultures - for example, the Native American Prayer Guide in Core D, sounds innocuous, but in reality was very demeaning to Native Americans in general and places Christians on a moral high ground and all other religions are painted as needing our pity). Also, you can search your local public library for which books you can get there, and you can find used books on Amazon or ebay for a lot less. You will lose the 'discount' Sonlight offers when you purchase a whole core, but for me last year, I got our $330 core for about $180 by going that route.
    -See above about not liking some of the book suggestions. In addition, I was appalled at some of the content of one of the readers (Lawnmower Boy) included in Core D - it was not up to Christian standards, certainly not standards for a 4th grade level. And many of the books include these lengthy explanations from the Sonlight people about which paragraphs or sentences to skim over or leave out entirely - makes me think, well why did they even choose to include this book?!
    -The extras, are extra. So math, science, art, music, foreign language...  you want those, you have to buy separately, whether from Sonlight or somewhere else. Then  you have to incorporate them into your instructor's guide yourself, because the IG will only include things like Bible reading, your readers and read-alouds, language, and vocabulary. There are spaces on the back for you to write in other subjects (but if you want to resell it, you don't want to write on it).

    It does have a high resale value. The whole kit I got for $180 last year I just sold on ebay for $201, so the time I spent searching for some of the books used paid off. I will probably spend around $150-$200 on it again for the next school year. 

  • MonkeyPeanut79
    April 2, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    I'm using Sonlight for first grade right now. I bought the complete curriculum. I won't be using it next year though. I pieced together my own curriculum that will hopefully fit us better. I do like Sonlight. I loved the history this year and my son really liked the science. My chief complaints about it are the price and I don't like the language arts portion. I'm bored with it so I can only imagine how bored my son is. I thought about just supplimenting with a different language arts program but with the cost I just couldn't.

  • lucsch
    by lucsch
    April 2, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    I used P4/5 and K for K and 1st grades. For the most part, we loved the books. In the end, it was just too much reading out loud for me. It was a good start, though, for my dd.

    I think it includes everything if you buy the whole package. Have you gone on their site and added everything to the cart?

    Honestly, it would be better to use one or the other grade level "cores" and  add individual  LA and math components. Two levels would be overwhelming for the read-alouds.

    We switched to Heart of Dakota after our two years. I like it much more. Sonlight often includes material which I think is too mature for the ages.

    Quoting CowgirlMama0508:

    Who has used Sonlight? Specifically 1st and 3rd grade.
    (Might be stupid question) but is it a full curriculum? Or will if need to be supplemented? Is it worth the cost?? (Almost $1700 for 1&3 grades)

    What do you like/dislike about it?

  • hipmomto3
    April 2, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    I totally agree with this. We do one core at a time - some of the material might be too 'easy' for my 4th grader or a little over my kindergartener's head, but overall, they all get something out of it. Maybe you could even split the difference and do the 2nd grade readers/read-alouds. My kids enjoy all learning about the same things, because then it carries over into their play ("I'm going to be Sacagawea! You be Patrick Gass!").

    Quoting lucsch:

    Honestly, it would be better to use one or the other grade level "cores" and  add individual  LA and math components. Two levels would be overwhelming for the read-alouds.

  • lifesadream83
    April 3, 2013 at 7:41 AM
    We are using SL. It includes just about everything you need depending on what you decide you like or dislike. Can I make a suggestion as mine is in third right now. If I were you I would get:
    Core B
    LA 1
    LA 3
    Science B
    Artistic Pursuits k-3 book 1& 2 art supply kits
    Then select which math you want to use.
  • celticdragon77
    April 3, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    We used sonlight k and 5 - a few years ago. 

    If you want a full curriculum with a lot of great books and a good mix of worksheets and activities - then sonlight is a good curriculum for you. My oldest who did the core 5 has favorable memories of the books - and even wants to keep some as a keepsake.

    I didn't have the same experience with the resale value as the above person mentioned. When I posted my k core on eBay, I lost a lot of money! I posted the entire core up plus A LOT of extras (English, history, science, math, art, a lot of manipulatives, and a some extras I had bought separate of sonlight to go with the k program - I had made copies of all the consumables, so I even had all those to sell). I had paid around $1000 for all of it and sold it for $200. 

    I posted my core 5 (English, science, history, 2 maths - Singapore and Saxon, a few extras like their art and critical thinking skills workbook, and a financial book set, plus some stuff I bought separate of sonlight, and all the consumables). Twice I posted this and never was able to sell it. Both curriculums were in great shape. I still have it and will likely have my younger kids use some of it this coming year, then donate it to the local homeschool store. 

    My kids are so-so about reading. They have tv, several game systems, a laptop, iPads, Nintendo 3ds, and more. I feel like the books can't compete sometimes now that they are older. I have always had a limit on their time for electronic devices (and already implimented kickbuttmamas idea), but it still takes some effort to keep them engaged in reading. 

    Also, my kids tend to gravitate towards books that are more like candy to the brain. Which is fun and fine some times. It is hard for me to get the kids to want to sit and read classics, or newberry awarded books, or just quality reading. I have read to them since they were young, and I myself read A LOT!! But, my kids didn't pick up my love for reading (but they are very gifted and love math - whereas I didnt as a child - that took time me to develop - as I suppose reading will for them).

    So sonlight was not the best fit for us. Not because it has a lot of books - I still have them read a lot. However, I feel the need to choose which books they use. Plus, I prefer creating the curriculum myself. Using an outline - but choosing our own books, websites, activities and other resources. 

    For the price of sonlight, to me, it isn't worth it. I was supplementing it and spending a lot of money! I had justified that, thinking I would get at least half back when reselling - and didn't mind investing financially in my kids education. However, I think I can find better ways to invest my money in their education than sonlight. 

    But with anything - this was just our personal experience with our set of variables. Your familys experience could be completely different.

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