Depending on your goals for homeschooling, Sonlight might fail your kids.
Sonlight won’t fail you if your goals are to
- instill a love of great books and reading
- develop empathy
- lay a broad foundation of cultural literacy
- expose children to multiple viewpoints and world cultures
- root children in an overarching Christian worldview
- train children who know how to reason, question, and dialogue about tough topics
If your goals don’t match those upon which Sonlight is based, yes, the curriculum might appear a colossal failure.
A Story of Mismatched Goals
For example, one mom said online that she regretted choosing Sonlight. She said that our literature-based approach failed her daughter miserably.
Why? Why did Sonlight fail in this case? Or, perhaps more telling, what did Sonlight fail to do?
This mom homeschooled with Sonlight A for Kindergarten and then chose to enroll her daughter in a Christian classical school for first grade. The results of the school's required placement test showed that this young child of the tender age of 5 or maybe 6 was “behind” because she didn’t have the phonics foundation this school expected.
The mother admitted that the school is advanced. For example, it uses Saxon Math 2 in first grade. But that admission didn’t curb her irritation that she now has to spend the summer getting her daughter “caught up” for this elite academy. She said, “I wish I would have skipped all of the fantasy stories and spent more time having her read to me and more effort on Phonics and Math.”
So the question here is whose goals did Sonlight fail to achieve?
Because of the emphasis on reading aloud to this Kindergarten child, Sonlight failed to get this girl ready for a first grade phonics test she needed to get into a private school.
Does that mean that Sonlight is a failure? We don’t think so! Passing that phonics test was not a goal for our History / Bible / Literature A program, so we wouldn’t measure our curriculum against that standard.
Does Sonlight Prepare Children for a Classroom Setting?
Sonlight may not prepare your child for a specialized classroom setting. And we’re okay with that!
First, Sonlight will not likely match a school's narrow requirements, not because Sonlight is somehow academically inferior, but because the emphasis is different. Every transition from one schooling approach to another requires a reassignment of priorities.
Second, Sonlight's Top 10 Goals could be (and probably are) different from the school you are considering. If excellence on phonics and math tests for young elementary students are the goals of a school, Sonlight's goals will not align.
If you are looking for a program that will cram testable standards into your child's mind in the first year or two of school, Sonlight may not be for you.
Sonlight Prepares Children and Teens for Life Beyond High School
To clarify, Sonlight is not a curriculum for slackers or dullards. Sonlight students excel at all levels—elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and beyond. If you want to see just a few examples of Sonlight students' success, see our Where Are They Now series. It’s both inspiring and reassuring to see where a Sonlight education has taken so many graduates: from missions to science careers and everything in between.
We can tell you boldly that Sonlight works. It has worked for over 30 years for tens of thousands of students to achieve the goals it sets out to accomplish.