Anyone ever used Sonlight homeschool curriculum? Thoughts?

We used Sonlight curriculum when my daughter was in 3rd grade. It is a wonderful program, but it can be a lot of work. I used it my first year homeschooling. I was afraid for my daughter to "miss" anything, so I supplemented a lot (even though you don't need to). I made things a lot harder for myself than I needed to.

Sonlight uses a "living book" approach (My Father's World, Beautiful Feet, etc.) rather than a "textbook" approach (Abeka, Bob Jones, Calvert, etc.). This means that instead of reading a textbook that has information about Abraham Lincoln, you might read a biography about him. There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction, and the literature they choose to use is great. A lot of people use the books from Sonlight as extra reading, even if they don't actually use the program.

There is a lot of parent involvement in Sonlight. There are a lot of books that you must read-aloud to your children, in addition to what they must read on their own. This can get very time-consuming if you have kids who are far apart in age. However, if you have kids who are closer together in age (say 3rd and 5th grade), you can actually use the same Core program for both, and just use age appropriate Math, reading, etc.

Sonlight has a list of "27 Reasons NOT to Buy Sonlight" as well as "13 Reasons Why Families Love Sonlight" on their website. They also have a great forum where a lot of actual Sonlight users spend time. I haven't visited in a long time, but if you have questions, including about anything negative, they're great about answering. Also, please order their catalog. It has quite a few articles that talk about how to best use Sonlight, and it's interesting reading.

Sonlight is a great program, but it isn't for everyone. If you decide to use it, however, your child will get everything and more that they need for a great education. We aren't homeschooling right now. While I wouldn't homeschool using the main Sonlight program again, I would definitely supplement with their History program.
We used CoreUltra this past year for my son's first grade, and while in the beginning it was difficult to get used to, we were working with it fine by the three month period, the problem was it just didn't work well for my son, though we did finish the year with it. (Not all curriculum's that are great will work for every child.) So we are changing curriculums this next year.

SonLight does give you a little time to decide if you like it and you can return it if you don't.
no, never used it, but wanted to recommend to you A Beka if you haven't tried it yet and are thinking of what to switch to.

i used A Beka Academy all my life. it's fun and you learn by DVDs, plus the curriculum is comprehensive. you just need to accredit the last 2-4 years of your homeschooling scores to get the American High School Diploma.
Sonlight was my #2 choice when I chose to homeschool. It really only works well for kids who are auditory and maybe a bit visual. It's not very good for kinesthetic or global learners. When looking at all the reading required, I realized it didn't fit *my* learning *or* teaching style, either. If I had to sit and read that much to my kids, I'd fall asleep after 20 minutes! (But that's me!)

At the time, their science seemed very weak, as did their art program. You have a choice of several math programs, and none of those would have worked for my son, either.

In the end we went with K12, which uses a LOT of the same books Sonlight uses. It's very deep in Science, Art & History and has a wonderful Music program. The math is incredible and the Language Arts program is like Sonlight "Plus". The biggest benefit for us was that DS could easily work at various speeds within courses and at different grade levels. Sonlight's static plan programs would have driven me nuts with this, as well as trying to mix and match the grade levels he needed. K12 works well for all learning styles and is much more engaging, IMO. Their dynamic, online, planning and progress tools combined with the content and delivery sealed the deal with me. We're in our fifth year of courses now and still loving it!

The other thing I like about K12 is that every lesson has an objective and it's a mastery based approach with spiral review. It works well for us!

As someone mentioned, go through the "reasons why and why not" on Sonlight's site. That may help with your decision.
It is a very good well rounded program that "graduates" students with very high SAT scores every year.

You as a parent must be involved. Very heavy reading - not for our family as we already read alot but some people have issues with it. History based. Can be pricey.

I know some people who use the catalog as a reading list rather than ordering.

Personally we really enjoyed it.... getting all the books at one time, etc. As someone else suggested check out their website and their reccomendations on who should and who shouldn't purchase (very thorough). The only drawback is I think sometimes it is to demanding for the little kids. But you are supposed to tailor it to your family and not do everything in thier list.

Big difference between Sonlight and Abeka is that you are supposed to read to learn and they include some books that Abeka finds questionable. Sonlight and K12 is the price and the fact that the ps isn't involved in your school, and most of my friends who have used k12 have been frustrated with the school at home approach.

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