Monday, April 05, 2010

Homeschool Plans or Why, Sonlight, Why?

Just when I had everything figured out. Well, at least mostly everything, I get this in the mail:

The Sonlight Catalog.
A.K.A. - That which makes me doubt everything I have ever decided about curriculum.

And why does such a small catalog make me doubt my well researched choices? One word: Books. Books, books, books. Sonlight has the absolute best collection of readers and read aloud books in their curriculum ever. See, whenever I start planning I can easily dismiss Sonlight because of the cost - it is much more expensive than other programs. And I can flick my hand at the literature based approach - "My kids need workbooks".

But then the catalog arrives.

And because it's what I do, I sit down immediately and curl up on the couch with the catalog and a DDP and I absolutely pour over every single page. And I'm lost. Lost in the read alouds, lost in the readers, lost in the sheer quantity of quality books. Because, you see, Sonlight does not offer crappy books. Each and every one of them are awesome. The stuff we got for Tot's PreK year? We look at those books almost every single day over a year and a half later. As the kids have gotten older, in fact, we seem to use them even more. The books we maybe didn't like as much at the start of that year we are now in love with.

And as I'm pouring over the book lists, my eye keeps seeing this:

Do you see how many books there are?? Tons. Millions. Billions. Maybe not millions and billions, but just seriously lots of fantastically great books. All quality, all good, good books. Books, books, glorious books. I someday will write an ode to the Sonlight Book Selectors (speaking of which, I also promised to write an ode to my anesthesiologist from Tot's birth...I need to get on that....). And just so you know, reading the book list won't make you swoon if you haven't held those delicious books in your hands. And honestly, it might not even then. But years later (or more accurately "year and a half later"), you'll realize that while left to your own devices you consistently picked out only history books or rhyming read alouds (cough...unsinkable...cough), but when you let Sonlight do the picking you exposed your child to stories from all over the world, missionary tales to excite them about Christ, well crafted literature, and amazing science books that they read and re-read time and time again. And that those were the books you "caught" them reading past their bedtime, under the covers with their flashlight, when they had previously told you that reading was "borin' ".

I am such a sucker for a good catalog.



A Fancher said...

I do the same thing. I get the catalog and the song "If I was a rich girl" comes into my head. If I could get their stuff, I'd pull my kids out of school in the blink of an eye. I love the books and would love it if school curriculum hinged on reading instead of testing. I did think about getting the book list and checking Half Price for the ones I definitely wanted and then maybe checking the library for the others.

Unsinkable Kristen said...

That's what I did this year, Ashley. I checked most of the Core K list out from the library and most of the P3/4 list, as well. I had a hard time finding some of them, but most of the time as long as I was willing to wait (there was ALWAYS a wait), then the library had them. After reading them, I will definitely be buying most of them.

Anonymous said...

i'll trade you our house improvement plans for sonlight and a jeep for me. ;)


Unsinkable Kristen said...

Well played, friend. Well played.

Lori said...

We love Sonlight so much, I have threatened to have another kiddo so I have a reason to go through the cores again! :) And I have frequently been "in trouble" with my boys for sneaking their books away and reading ahead.

Luke said...

[smile] [nods] Yep. That's one of Sonlight's goals: To get you great books that your family will love to read.

Good, good stuff.