Wanted to Like Sonlight Curriculum

By Jennifer

Visitor Review:
I heard such great things about this program, and my kids love reading.

We used this curriculum in second grade, and though there are some wonderful books, I quickly discovered that some of the books are inappropriate for the age they are used for.

One of the second grade books had nude photos. In doing research in other grades I have discovered it is a common problem with this curriculum. Our kids could both do the same core, but each core takes a long time, so if your kids are not close in age expect long school days as the teacher.

If you have enough time to properly research each book in every core you buy before teaching, then you might not have an issue with this curriculum, but we simply did not have that kind of time.

Some positives of this curriculum are that the kids did retain what they learned for the most part, and there are some great books in the program. I like some of the books, but not the program as a whole.

Have You Used This Homeschool Curriculum?

Help other homeschool parents! Submit a review now!

  • A long-time Sonlight user Aug 6, 2015, 1:38 pm

    I have used Sonlight for years, and I have used most of Sonlight’s early elementary programs at least twice. I write from that background.

    1. FACT: The program Jennifer is referring to includes no nude photos!

    I know the books she is referring to. They are Usborne history books that have a few colored ILLUSTRATIONS with naked figures within them.

    Go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clothing_in_the_ancient_world and you will see examples of the KIND of illustrations you will see in the Usborne books. Usborne’s artists obviously use source materials like these to draw their illustrations.

    2. FACT: The few illustrations that include depictions of naked bodies are designed in no way to titillate. They communicate no s*xual or er*tic content. They are there, obviously, to represent the customs and cultures of historically significant people groups within larger series of illustrations that present historically significant people groups.

    3. FACT: You need not “pre-read” all the books as Jennifer suggests.

    Sonlight includes warnings about potentially difficult materials within their Instructors Guides.

    Obviously, if you ignore the Instructors Guide or–as many of us do–if you simply hand books to your children before reading the Instructors Guide, your children may come across things such as what Jennifer mentions.

    4. FACT: If you buy the curriculum, obviously, you own the books and can do with them what you will. That means you can alter the pictures. For example, some people use a White-Out kind of product or a black marking pen to cover the offending pieces of anatomy.

    OPINION: I never covered the illustrations, and my children, now young adults, don’t seem to have been hurt by the experience of seeing them!

    6. FACT: Sonlight’s owners came out of a missionary background, and the curriculum is oriented to raising children with a heart for the world. They say that’s why they include emotionally gripping books whose stories get the reader involved in issues related to the spiritual and physical needs of the world.

    OPINION: Many people respond to books like these as Jennifer has to the Usborne books. They say they prefer that their children–especially elementary age–think about “happier, gentler” subject matter. And so, similar to Jennifer, they say they believe Sonlight includes books that are “inappropriate for the age they are used for.”

    I think of the Kindergarten book (The Hundred Dresses) about a poor girl who is mocked by her classmates. No one will stand up for her. This failure to stand against the crowd and for the oppressed is a major (and emotionally challenging) element within the book.

    OPINION: I am GLAD my children and I read books like The Hundred Dresses when we did. I am glad my children saw pictures of people from other cultures who dress(ed) differently than we do. I think the books made them better people.

    FACT: These books (and pictures) led to good discussions.

    • Newbie Aug 6, 2015, 1:39 pm

      wow, had to comment on the REPLY above to jennifer that we are all on the same team here, right? just parents trying to do what we think is beat for our kids, with lots of different ideas of what that looks like. it didnt really merit the hateful, condescending response when she very respectfully stated her opinion.

      i too found sonlight’s history curriculum to be more secular than i was hoping for, after all the glowing reviews, and ended up not using it for my family. i’m sure there are many others for whom it will be perfect. big world with plenty of opinions, too bad we can’t respect all of them more.


Leave a Comment