It should be obvious by now that we are pretty big Sonlight fans, and it would take a lot to get us to switch to a different curriculum.  But, one thing I've discovered over the past few years is that I love interacting with parents who need help determining whether or not homeschooling is for them, and if so what direction is best for their family.  As shocking as it is, Sonlight is not for everyone!  My heart's desire is to be able to truly encourage other homeschoolers to find what is best for their family rather than just being an unofficial Sonlight representative. 

I realize that by jumping right into Sonlight as our homeschool choice, I missed the experimentation process that a lot of families go through.  So, beyond the experiences I had growing up as a homeschooled child, my curriculum familiarity resource list is rather narrow.  I've been praying that the Lord would give me a wider knowledge base, helping me to better understand other homeschooling options and how they might benefit certain homeschooling families.

A couple of the big catch phrases for homeschooling these days are unit studies and lapbooking and I honestly don't know much about either one.  So, when an opportunity came up to do a blog review on two one-week unit studies that incorporate lapbooking, I was thrilled!  God had recently led Doug and I to evaluate some scheduling changes with our homeschooling.  Those changes have opened up the flexibility we need to take two weeks away from our Sonlight curriculum to work through these unit studies. 

So, this week we are working through the first study - Davy Crockett.  Next week we will be working through a unit study on whales.  Stay tuned for reviews coming in the next two weeks! 


Luke Holzmann said…
I'm always thrilled to have unofficial Sonlight representatives--but, honestly, who better to show off Sonlight than those who use it day in and day out [smile]--but I'm glad to hear that you are able to "kick the tires" of other methods/approaches so you can better help new homeschoolers. Keep up the great work and may many families be blessed through you because of this opportunity.

Beth said…
I hear those terms a lot too, and wonder if we're missing out on something because we're not doing them. I don't see us leaving sonlight anytime soon (or ever), but I'm really interested in hearing your feedback on these. Lapbooking in particular.
Thanks, Luke! After getting mostly through Day 1, I can guarantee you haven't lost this unofficial rep!

Beth, I'll definitely give you the run-down when we're done! I'll probably email you with more specifics than I'll blog.
Stephanie Kay said…
As someone who tried Sonlight for a few weeks (a month?) and just couldn't do it, let me caution you not to judge all lapbooks and unit studies by the ones your are reviewing now. There are literally THOUSANDS of them out there! And they are not all created equal.

We are very eclectic in our curriculum. A little of this and a little of that. I would love to do lapbooks but there's a lot of cutting and pasting and detail work that would make me crazy with my other little guys in the room. I REALLY like the idea of unit studies and plan to use them in the future when I'm teaching 4 different grades at once (heaven help me!).

Have you checked out Mostly lapbooks and unit studies that you download.

Happy Homeschooling!
Stephanie, I really laughed while I was reading your comment because with all of the things we have in common, we are complete opposites on homeschooling! I tried the eclectic approach for Olivia's KG year and flopped immediately. It stressed me to no end! With first grade, I had some hand-me-down Sonlight resources, and the rest continued to be a compilation of whatever I could find. The Sonlight part of it went incredibly well and the rest of it exhausted me. I could not wait to be done with that year. I'd learned enough shortly into that year to already be a Sonlight enthusiast. When we went Sonlight all the way, I knew on "Box Day" (the day it all was delivered and we opened the boxes) that I'd found the perfect curriculum for me. These past two years of doing solely Sonlight have been so much fun for all of us!!

I'm definitely going to check out that website you mentioned to have familiarity with the resources. But, I'm even more excited to have YOU as a resource. It might be a while, but at some point I would love to send you an email with specific questions, if that's okay, so that I'll know better how to spot families who would definitely not do well with Sonlight - and how to point them in the right direction.
Stephanie Kay said…
The variety of curriculum and family approaches is one of the things I love about home schooling! I bought the teacher's manual for 1st grade at a used curriculum sale last year. Then I found some of the books that went with it. We also participated in a co-op so that took care of science and history.

I was really surprised that I didn't like Sonlight. I'm so organized and scheduled that I thought I'd love it. But that was exactly why I didn't! Someone else had already done the organizing and I love that part.

I also found it confusing because we never accomplished everything on their schedules which meant I'd be on 2-3 different pages at the same time. It was too much pressure for me. :)

We ended up using Mystery of History (didn't care for it), Apologia (LOVED it!!!), Saxon Math (it's ok), and a language arts workbook (getting the job done).

Sign up with currclick and they'll send you weekly emails about their latests products. They also have freebies - which is what I get. ;)

Rainbow Resources is another great catalog to get. All their products have excellent reviews in the catalog (it's several hundred pages thick!).

Feel free to email me any questions. I'll answer as best I can.
Choate Family said…
If Sonlight ever loses you as a free rep (yeah, right!), I'll gladly fill your shoes! We supplement Sonlight with lots of picture books for the little ones, and for those of us who still love to read picture books :-)

Looking forward to seeing the results of your unit studies!
Some of our friends are lap-book enthusiasts, so we tried making one. My youngest (7 at the time) enjoyed it, but it felt like a lot of busy-work to the other boys.

While I don't use the whole Sonlight package we definitely use their reading list to supplement our history studies.

Stephanie - thanks so much! I'm excited to check out these resources and really take notes on what it all looks liked!

Joanna - haha - you're the reason Sonlight was in front of me as a reminder when I was ready to get started with my kids. I'm with you - we love the picture book supplements more than anything!

Julie - I think it would end up feeling like busywork to us, too. And, I figured you were using the Sonlight book list considering how often we are reading the same books! My kids love knowing someone else who is reading the same books at the same time!
Actually, Story of the World has many similar titles, but I'm always hunting for more - especially that appeal to boys.


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