From Luke's Inbox: Sonlight and Sex and Swearing

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I just read the blog post Appalled that I bought utter filth & gave it to my children. She has daughters who are more sensitive than my high school/middle school boys, but this is still disconcerting. I ditch several books a year, but do miss some. Perhaps "questionable content" should be added to the book descriptions online? I give my boys the manual and they take off with it -- I need to be able to trust Sonlight!

I had not yet seen that blog post. Thanks for passing it along. Unfortunately, this blogger and I simply disagree as to what is acceptable and what is not. Sonlight is clearly NOT a good fit for this family. I regularly urge people to read the 27 Reasons NOT to Buy Sonlight article; if you want to avoid offensive content at all costs, Sonlight is not for you. Sonlight carries books that some homeschoolers won't touch. I think we have completely valid and beneficial reasons for doing so. But if you disagree, please find your curriculum elsewhere! As I often say, I'm far more concerned with you loving your homeschool experience than I am with selling you curriculum packages.

We've had a number of requests that we give greater detail as to what "questionable content" means for each title we carry. And some day we may figure out how to do just that. We absolutely want to better serve homeschool families. The difficulty arises when people have such wildly different tolerances. For example, anyone who has attended the high school up the street from my house has already been exposed to even filthier "forms of foul language and sexual content" ...and those words typically came from the mouths of Freshmen trying to prove their "maturity." If we can't be around such things, how can we bring these kids God's grace? Christ was a friend of sinners; may we be the same.

Frankly, the sexual content in Sonlight's titles is hardly shocking if you've read your Bible. What if all the men in a city--young and old--surrounded a house demanding to have sex with the male travelers within? That happens. Twice. Incest? Yep. Not to mention rape, public sexuality, and other despicable things. And these are passages in Scripture! Clearly there is benefit to reading such accounts. So I'm open to there being benefit to reading such things in your homeschool materials as well.

But you know your children better than I do. If they are not yet prepared to handle this kind of thing, please do what is best for them! Sonlight is committed to helping you raise enthusiastic, life-long learners who are motivated to follow God wherever He leads them. But depending on what you mean by the word, you may not be able to "trust" Sonlight. I'm reminded of an oft-quoted passage from Narnia:

"Is he--quite safe?"
"Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good."

If I could be so bold as to draw a comparison: Sonlight's curriculum isn't safe, but I believe it is good.

As always, I'm open to more discussion. Please feel free to share your thoughts! And, remember: You know your children, so do what is best for them. The world is a disconcerting place, full of evil and desperate need. May we be those who, guided by the Holy Spirit, bring Christ's redemption to even the darkest places of the world.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

P.S. I have written similar responses to questions about socialism and the occult which you may also be interested to read. Sonlight does things differently, and I believe we are better for it.

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