Winners of the 2024 Sonlight Photo Contest

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Every year we host the Sonlight photo contest to give Sonlighters a chance to share a compelling story and photo about their experience with Sonlight. Not only is it a chance to showcase your #sonlightstories, but all contest entries have a shot at being on the Sonlight catalog cover!

Did you know we feature real photos and testimonials from our customers in all our marketing? That's right! Most of the photos you see in our catalog, emails, social media posts, and on our website and blog come from real Sonlight families! We love seeing how Sonlight shows up in your day-to-day life as you love learning with your kids, and we say thank you to all the families who participated in this year's photo contest.

Congratulations to the 2024 Sonlight Photo Contest winners featured below!


PHOTO CONTEST WINNER: E. Family, Sonlighters in Tennessee

Pictured: Grey (6) is designing a boat to see how the shape impacts how well it can do its job. He is testing his design by counting how many pennies the boat will hold before it sinks. He is doing experiment 30 in the Sonlight K Science's Discover and Do book. 

Sonlight has added value to our lives by giving me the confidence to home educate my child. Not only does home educating give our family more time together, but it gives us a commonality of interests that we would not have otherwise. We have thoroughly enjoyed the literature. We read the chapter books on our patio during teatime, and it has become such a special time for us to reset in the afternoon. I know I am making traditions and fond memories for my child by doing this. The scripture memory songs not only write scripture on my son’s heart, but mine as well. Through teaching him the Bible every day with this program, I am better equipped for character training, and my son loves the Bible. The program is open and go, and all subjects are cohesive and build on each other and are also very fun! Because I didn't know if it work for us, I was hesitant to purchase Sonlight because of the cost. As soon as I received the curriculum, I knew I had made the right decision. It is amazing!" — The E. Family, Sonlighters in Tennessee


PHOTO CONTEST WINNER: G. Family, Sonlighters in Maryland

Pictured: One of Alisa's (12) favorite books from Core E was The Seventeenth Swap.

I wasn’t sure about Sonlight at first which is why we “tried it before we bought it.” It was what convinced me we could do Sonlight as we began homeschooling for the first time four years ago. The sample Instructor’s Guide/Reader questions were truly a valuable asset to enjoying our first book from Sonlight. I wanted to become readers who appreciated reading great books. Sonlight was even more than I expected, and the learning through books hands down has created a love for learning. When our days are not so smooth, books help us through, and learning is still taking place. We’ve never looked back or considered anything else. Sonlight is amazing!" — The G. Family, Sonlighters in Maryland


PHOTO CONTEST WINNER: G. Family, Sonlighters in Ohio

Pictured: Carolyn (12, Level F), Nelia (9, Level F), Nicholas (7, Level A), and Eleanor (4, Level A) celebrate the end of their school year with their customary picture.

We love Sonlight, and this year was our best yet! Core F was so much fun, and all the wonderful stories really made the places we studied come to life. The only complaint I heard on a regular basis was: "Mom, can't you just read another chapter...?" — The G. Family, Sonlighters in Ohio


Thanks again for making this year's photo contest a success. But please don't need to wait for our next annual photo contest to encourage other families with your everyday homeschool stories. You can share your #sonlightstories year-round! You never know when something you share may appear in a catalog, on our homepage, or on the Sonlight blog.

We invite you to share your pictures directly on the Sonlight website or on your favorite social media platform all year long. If sharing on social media, tag us (@sonlightcurriculum and @sonlight) and be sure to include hashtags #sonlightstories, #sonlightstack, or #sonlightboxday.

Keep sharing your #sonlightstories!

Can't wait to tell someone how much you love Sonlight? Tell your #sonlightstory in the comments below!

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The Ultimate Summer Reading List For Elementary Students

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The Ultimate Summer Reading List For Elementary Students

Summer is here and we have the ultimate summer reading list for your elementary learners. This carefully curated list of books has been personally recommended by Sonlight families as the best of the best! Take a look at the titles and get some tips for keeping your kids reading all summer long.

The Ultimate Summer Reading List For Elementary Students

As part of our literature spotlight this year, we asked Sonlight families to share their very best recommendations for summer books. The following titles were crowdsourced directly from other like-minded parents. As always, please be sure to examine the books yourself to ensure they are appropriate for your family's individual needs.

Take a look at all the amazing books we have on our list and download a printable PDF copy below!

Titles that are part of a series are indicated with an asterik (*). See below for the complete list of series recommended by Sonlight families.

Sonlight Titles Recommended By Parents For Summer Reading

We were thrilled to see that many of the parent-sourced titles are books that we recommend and study as part of our literature-based curriculum. These 25 recommended titles are among the very best for elementary-aged readers and many are recommended in our curriculum packages.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh took our family by storm—we could not put it down! The heroism! Oh, we loved it. My children, 9,7, and 6, were all as absorbed as I was. Absolutely perfect for a summer read! B. Family Sonlighters

The Top Books Recommended By Parents Of Elementary Readers

In addition, these elementary-age books were repeatedly recommended by Sonlight parents.

I just absolutely love The Miraculous journey of Edward Tulane. It makes me cry every time. — M. Family Sonlighters

Top Book Series For Elementary Students 

It's wonderful when your child finds an author they love. This is a list of the top multi-book series recommended by parents for sensational summer reading.

And the #1 most recommended books/series...

Dream Keeper Saga (3 book series)
Dream Keeper Saga (3 book series)
Green Ember Series (4 book series)Green Ember Series (4 book series)
The Wingfeather Saga (4 book series)
The Wingfeather Saga (4 book series)
I Survived Series Complete Books Set (21 Books)I Survived Series Complete Books Set (21 Books)

(Looking for Summer Reading Lists for older readers? Check out our Middle School and High School Guides.)

Here is what we will be RE-reading this summer. The Dead Sea Squirrels is part of a 10-book series. In the book, Michael tags along with his dad on an archeological dig at the Dead Sea. He finds two squirrels that he thinks will make the perfect souvenir. It's a very funny, lighthearted, quick-reading kind of series. Lots of 5th grade type mischief and tons of giggles."

— K. Family Sonlighters

Keeping Your Children Interested In Reading Throughout The Summer

Here are some ideas to help keep your child engaged and reading all summer long:

  • Set a reading goal. This might be a specific number of books, a number of pages, or even just a target amount of time to read each day.
  • Make it fun. Make your family's approach to summer reading something enjoyable and fun. Going to the library, a special trip to the bookstore, or even reading aloud together can turn reading into a special event for your little one.
  • Create a habit of reading. One of best ways to keep your child reading is to make it automatic. Encourage your child to read every single day, even if it's just for a few minutes. Or, you may also set aside some time each day for family reading time.
  • Follow your child's interests. Finding books that correlate to your child's interests makes them that much more engaging.
  • Offer fun rewards. Small tokens of progress towards reading goals or special trips taken after finishing a book are a great way to encourage summer reading. For example, one Sonlight family went to visit the beach after reading a Who Would Win book about aquatic creatures.

By following these tips, you can help your child keep reading all summer long. Track your summer reading progress with Sonlight's FREE Summer Reading Challenge Kit too!

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The Top Summer Reading List For Middle Schoolers

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The Top Summer Reading List For Middle Schoolers

Summer is the perfect season to encourage reading in your home. If you are homeschooling a child in the middle years, this summer reading list for middle schoolers has everything you need for a wonderful summer of reading.

The Ultimate Summer Reading List For Middle School Students

This year, we asked Sonlight families to share all of their favorite books for summer reading. As always, please review any book recommendations yourself and confirm they are in-line with your family's beliefs and needs.

Take a look at all the amazing books we have on our list and download a printable PDF copy below!

Titles that are part of a series are indicated with an asterisk (*). See below for the complete list of series recommended by Sonlight families.

Sonlight Titles Recommended By Parents For Summer Reading

Many of the top book recommendations from homeschooling parents were the very same titles we use as part of Sonlight’s literature-based approach to learning. It’s no surprise that these highly recommended books are among the very best for middle school readers.

The Top Books Recommended By Parents Of Middle School Readers

These are just a few suggestions, of course. There are many great books out there to choose from, so find something that interests you and enjoy your summer reading!

This list of highly recommended titles has everything your middle schooler needs for a fabulous summer of reading. 

A Place to Hang the Moon

A Place to Hang the Moon is, by far, the best kids book I’ve read in a long time. — G. Family Sonlighters

Keeper of the Lost Cities is one of my favorite series of all time! It's action-packed with an incredible heroine, and full of heart amidst the epic cast of characters and jaw-dropping plot twists. It's 9 full books and a novella so far and still going, so it makes a great summer reading series for both boys and girls ages 10+ (but adults and teens can also enjoy it!) — M. Family Sonlighters

Book Series For Middle School Readers

Does your child have a favorite author? Summer is a great time to tackle an entire series. These multi-book series recommendations are perfect for your middle school reader.

And the #1 most recommended books/series for middle school students...

My boys are loving this series (Wingfeather Saga)! There are 4 total and we just ordered the last two for my 7-year-old’s birthday. They love listening to their daddy read them aloud. If any of you happen to be familiar with Slugs and Bugs (they have fantastic scripture songs for kids!), this author is on some albums and the show a fair amount. We highly recommend!"

— C. Family Sonlighters

Make The Most Of Your Middle Schooler's Summer Reading

Now that you've selected some amazing books, here are some tips for making the most of your child's summer reading:

  • Set aside some time each day to read. Even if it's just for 30 minutes, making a commitment to read every day is a wonderful way to keep summer reading on track.
  • Find new places to comfortably read. This could be your child's favorite chair with a cozy blanket, at the beach, or in your backyard. Encourage your middle schooler to find a place that is all their own.
  • Help your child try new things. For example, if they always read read fiction, try encouraging them to try reading a non-fiction book this summer, or vice versa.
  • Schedule a regular trip to your local library. Your child will find new books to read, have access to reading clubs for kids, and can borrow audiobooks and e-books for summer reading.
  • Free summer reading programs are available online and in many commuities. Both for kids and adults, free summer reading programs are a great way to stay motivated all summer long!

There are are best recommendations for middle school summer reading. Looking for other ages as well? Check out our complementary guides for elementary and high school readers.

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High School Summer Reading List: The Top Books For Your Teen

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High School Summer Reading List: The Top Books For Your Teen

Summer is a perfect season to encourage reading in your home. If you are looking for the best way to help your high school student develop a love of reading, this ultimate guide to summer reading is a great place to start!

The Ultimate Summer Reading List For High School School Students

In an effort to curate a list of the very best titles for teens, we asked Sonlight families to share their favorite summer book recommendations. The following list was crowd sourced from other like-minded parents, all passionate about finding the very best books for high school summer reading.

Take a look at all the amazing books we have on our list and download a printable PDF copy below!

Titles that are part of a series are indicated with an asterik (*). See below for the complete list of series recommended by Sonlight families.

Sonlight Titles Recommended By Parents For Summer Reading

We know that exposure to rich and engaging stories is one of the best ways to help high school learners expand their knowledge. That’s why it's no surprise that many of the titles parents recommended for summer reading are also a part of our literature based approach to high school learning. These wonderful books are woven into Sonlight's language arts programs, and are also available for summer reading options. 

The Top Books Recommended By Parents Of High School Learners

This list of books includes the most highly recommended titles from parents homeschooling high schoolers. 

Books Series For High School Summer Reading

The best way to encourage a reading practice in your home is to find an author or storyline that interests your child and encourage them to read more of it! These top books series were recommended by parents as well.

Summer Reading Matters!

There are many benefits to summer reading for all ages, especially high schoolers. Here are just a few:

  • Minimize summer learning loss. Studies show that there is a decline in academic skills when students don't read or participate in other learning activities during long breaks. Keeping your child engaged and active in well-written stories is a great way to help minimize summer learning loss.
  • Improve vocabulary. A regular reading practice exposes learners to new words and vocabulary. Reading throughout the summer creates a language rich environment, increasing vocabulary skills. This is helpful across all subjects, all year long.
  • Foster a love of reading. The lazy days of summer combined with an engrossing book are a perfect pairing for creating a love of reading.

Encouraging your high schooler to read throughout the summer is good for their academic achievement, to be sure. It is also a wonderful way to help them create their own lifelong passion for reading.

Looking for more than just high school books? Take a look at our complementary guides for elementary and middle school readers.

Track your summer reading progress with Sonlight's FREE Summer Reading Challenge Kit too!

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Do You Get Paid to Homeschool? A Guide to Grants for Homeschooling

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Get Paid To Homeschool With Sonlight

Is it possible to get paid to homeschool your children?

If you are a homeschool parent, or considering homeschooling, the cost of teaching your kids at home can feel intimidating.

I remember well the early days of clipping coupons and using cloth diapers so that we could afford to homeschool. The good news is, times have definitely changed, and now, there are so many more resources available! Families are finding ways to homeschool for free, and in some cases, homeschoolers can even receive funds for homeschooling.

So, do you get paid to homeschool? Essentially, the answer is yes, it is possible to get paid to homeschool, although there are restrictions and requirements you’ll need to keep in mind.

Let’s explore the details...

How much does it really cost to homeschool?

There’s no doubt about it, homeschooling can be expensive. Especially for big families, the costs of homeschooling can add up.

On average in the United States, homeschooling is estimated to cost between $500 and $2,500 per year, per student.

Of course, for so many of us, these costs are well worth it, even if we have to budget creatively. However, it is also possible to cut costs, invest wisely in reusable resources, and in some states, even receive grants for homeschooling or other tax-supported funding. 

Expenses you can expect while homeschooling

As a homeschool family, the main expense is typically the cost of your homeschool curriculum. But beyond that, your children will need some basic school supplies, like paper, writing utensils and some maybe some standard art supplies like glue and crayons. Think of the lists traditional schools provide before the start of the school year, and factor in that you probably already have plenty of tissues and hand sanitizer!

As a homeschool parent, you’ll also likely want to have some supplies to keep you organized like a binder or two, some file folders, and maybe some colorful pens for fun.  (Actually, if you are anything like me, add plenty of caffeine to the list!)

You definitely do not need to create a homeschool school room, or even purchase desks or a whiteboard. But, in time, you may want to invest in some extras such as more advanced art supplies, science tools like a microscope, maps or a globe, and possibly a sturdy bookcase.

Keep in mind that when you begin homeschooling, you really can keep it simple. One of the best ways to get started is by choosing an all-in-one curriculum. From there, you’ll only need basic supplies.

How to find funding for homeschoolers

Many states have programs in place designed to help homeschool families make homeschooling more affordable, and potentially free.

Funding for homeschooling can go by a lot of names. Most commonly, states that provide tax funds to homeschool families do so through programs called Educational Scholarship Account programs, Educational Savings Account programs or even Empowerment Scholarship Accounts programs - all commonly abbreviated ‘ESA.’ 

These types of programs may also be referred to as homeschool voucher programs or homeschool scholarships. Currently, seven U.S. states offer this type of program, including Arizona, Florida, Idaho, New Hampshire, Ohio, Utah, and West Virginia.

Learn more here about each of the programs in these states, and more details about ESA funding for homeschoolers.

What are homeschool vouchers?

As states have continued to develop programs that allow families to receive government funding for homeschooling, there have been many name changes.

The term homeschool voucher commonly refers to a state’s homeschool savings program, or ESA.

Voucher programs began in the 1990s as a way to offer parents choice in education. Early voucher programs allowed parents to use tax funds that would have otherwise been used toward a child’s public school education toward other educational options, typically private school tuition.

School vouchers are currently available in 30 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, but in most cases, they can only be used at approved schools that meet specific requirements. Right now, these types of vouchers cannot be used toward the cost of homeschooling.

What are homeschool scholarships?

The term “homeschool scholarship” typically doesn’t refer to scholarships that help with the cost of homeschooling. Instead, this refers to scholarships eligible to homeschoolers applying for college, such as Sonlight’s College Scholarships for Homeschoolers. 

Seven states currently offer ESA programs and in some of those states, ESA is an abbreviation of Educational or Empowerment Scholarship Account.  

Learn more about which states offer ESAs that help fund homeschooling expenses.  

Is homeschooling a tax write-off?

A small number of states offer tax credits for homeschooling, but a tax credit is not the same as a tax write-off. Currently Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, and Minnesota allow families to deduct some homeschooling-related expenses.

It’s always a good idea to check with an accountant about tax specifics in your state.

What states give you money to homeschool?

Currently, there are seven states that offer funding for homeschooling.

They are: 

Each state’s program is unique, and the names differ, as do the requirements.

To learn more about any of these programs, use the links above or contact the state’s department of education. Homeschool groups in your area may also be able to offer information.

(If you are brand new to homeschooling, it will also help to learn more about the homeschool requirements in your state.)

Using State Funds to Purchase Sonlight

Sonlight loves working with families who are eligible for homeschool funding through their state.

Head here to learn more about how ESAs work, and on how to partner with Sonlight to get all the curriculum you need to get started homeschooling.  

Take a look at an overview of how individual states provide funding for Sonlight curriculum (we add more states every month!):

Arizona

Arizona provides families money to use toward homeschooling, through its Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program.

To qualify for Arizona ESA funds, families must meet specific requirements, and then can apply for the Arizona ESA program here. If approved, qualifying families receive on average $7,000 per child for students in grades 1-12. The Arizona ESA Parent Handbook is available for Arizona families looking to learn more about the ESA program in Arizona.

Florida

Florida’s Family Empowerment Scholarship Account Program provides qualifying student families funds that may be used toward private school tuition and other educational resources. Families who choose “traditional” homeschooling (not enrolling in an umbrella school/ private, program-approved school) may be eligible for funding through the Unique Abilities branch. (FES UA). The Florida Family Empowerment Scholarship for Students with Unique Abilities provided an average of $10,000 per student in the 2023-2024 school year.

In addition, in 2023, The Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program began offering a “homeschool” option for up to 20,000 students. This program is termed the Personalized Education Program (PEP).

For more information about Florida's ESA programs, find the ESA parent handbook here.

Get Paid to Homeschool with Sonlight

In summary, it is possible to use state funds for your entire homeschool year, depending on your state’s programs. 

We want you to know that no matter how you choose to proceed with funding, Sonlight’s complete, all in one, literature-based curriculum supports you in all your homeschool planning and learning needs, so you can focus on what matters most in your homeschool - your family. 

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7 Reasons to Buy Your Homeschool Curriculum Early

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Although your new school year may be months away, now is the best time to order next year's homeschool curriculum. Here are seven reasons we think earlier is better when it comes to getting your new homeschool curriculum purchases squared away.

1. You Are Still in the Midst of Homeschooling

Because you are currently doing school, you know exactly what your children are working on and probably have some idea of what you’d like to do next. You know which subjects are really flowing, what your students are struggling with, and which brands you are really enjoying. You won’t have to scramble after a few months off to remember what you need —you’ll know precisely which things you would like to adjust while it’s fresh.

Buying your homeschool curriculum during the second semester is easy because you’re already thinking about school. So, end on a high note, and be ready for next year.

2. Your Children Might Have Stronger Opinions Now

While your children are in the midst of the school year, working hard, they might have clearer thoughts on what they would like to change for next year. After a summer at camp and after days at poolside, they might not remember in as much detail.

3. You Can Enjoy a Decision-free, Stress-free Summer

One of the quirks of the human brain is that it keeps returning to unclosed loops until you close them. Have you noticed this? You’re almost done checking off the boxes in your Sonlight IG, but that one unfinished assignment keeps popping up in your mind until you check it off.

Or when you’ve already purchased next season’s clothes for your children, you don’t have to keep thinking, “How many pairs of shorts do the kids need? What if the weather suddenly turns warm and they don't have shorts that fit?"

When you go ahead and mark those tasks off the to-do list (whether on paper or mental), you can move into your next season with confidence. You’ve got what you need, and you are ready to start the next phase of life. When you buy your curriculum early in the year, you have maximum flexibility for the summer ahead and a school start when you want.

When you buy your homeschool curriculum early in the year, your brain can move from wondering, “What are we going to do for school next year?” to more productive topics.

4. You Get Special Offers

The best way to know about Sonlight's special sales and offers are to:

While following on social media is great, it's not the most effective way to always know what's going on because algorithms control what appears in your feed. But if you are on the email list, you have an open line of communication with Sonlight and will absolutely get the messages.

5. You Have Time to Get Your Questions Answered Early

While you can contact a Sonlight Advisor at any point during the year, it makes sense to get it done sooner rather than later. When you have plenty of time before the next school year, you can work with your Advisor on your education plan and work out a system that works for you before the Advisors get crushed with frantic last-minute calls from other families.

6. You Have Your Materials Before You Need Them

With more and more people turning—and returning—to homeschooling every day, we recommended getting your new homeschool curriculum purchases squared away as early as possible.

Families who order early—in late winter and early spring—have their materials in hand the soonest. The early bird truly does get the worm when it comes to ordering online!

Avoid delays, bypass backorders, and get the upper hand with shipping delays by ordering as early as you can for your upcoming homeschool year.

When you order early, you have your materials already at hand when you need them. You can enjoy your upcoming break with the knowledge you’ve already taken care of business and can start school again when you're ready.

Additionally, you have ample time to do any prep you might like to do—setting up at your own pace, reading ahead, or cutting out timeline figures. If you go to garage sales or thrift stores over the summer, you can be on the lookout for the specific items you might need—like book bins, crates, or other cute storage tools. Or you can watch back-to-school sales for rolling carts or school supplies, with a good sense of what you might need.

7. You Can Do All Your Organizing in One Fell Swoop

With your school materials already in house, when you’re ready to organize, file, and close out your current year, your new materials are ready to take their place. This allows you to have one big in-with-the-new-out-with-the-old event, instead of an end-of-the-year event and a beginning-of-the-next-year event.

In a nutshell, earlier is definitely better when it comes to ordering your new homeschool curriculum. Enjoy clearer thinking, less stress, relaxed preparation . . . and, of course, Sonlight bonuses like a payment plan, Sonlight Cares, and the help of Advisors.

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2024 Sonlight Scholarship Winners Announced

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Yes...you can homeschool through high school! Meet this year's bright, accomplished, servant-hearted Sonlight Scholarship winners. These exceptional Sonlight-educated students are poised to make a difference in the world. As the winners of our annual Sonlight scholarship competition, they have each been awarded $20,000, $10,000, or $4,000 for college.

Many of these students have used Sonlight since they were young. They’re headed into promising careers in engineering, arts, medicine, missionary work, law, and more. Most are headed to their college of choice, and many have superb SAT or ACT scores.

But they are also kind, big-hearted young adults. Through ministry and volunteerism, they live life with Jesus in their hearts and long to share God’s kingdom with the world.

$20,000 Scholarship Winner: Sarah C. of Bombo, Uganda

Awarded $5,000 Per Year

Growing up as a missionary kid in Uganda, Sarah gave her life to the Lord at the age of four with the understanding that everything she does is completely for and directed by God.

A Sonlighter since preschool, if anything can take her back to her childhood, it’s the smell of a story treasured within the dusty pages of a well-loved Sonlight book. Sarah’s years in Sonlight not only sparked in her an eager love of learning and teaching, but it also enabled her to view the world through the eyes of people from various cultures and backgrounds, teaching her to step into the messiness of people’s stories with compassion and empathy.

Inspired by several biographies she read in Sonlight, at five years old, Sarah developed a passionate love for China. Beginning at age nine, she dedicated herself to learning Mandarin Chinese. She dreams of one day creating a space wherever she is where people can feel welcome and ultimately loved by the Father.

Passionate about discipleship, missions, and education, Sarah loves spending time with people, ministering alongside her parents, serving and hosting, reading historical fiction, spontaneously baking and cooking, worshipping the Lord through song, and working on various kinds of artistic projects.

Throughout high school, she has had the privilege of serving by participating in Bible trainings with her family, leading an online student chapel, assisting her older brother in creating Bible films for Bricktime Studios, designing graphics for various Bible and ministry resources, running a worship lyric YouTube channel, and coordinating worship sets for community devotions and ministry trainings.

Her love of teaching and languages drew her to English as a Second Language (ESL) education, a course of study that will equip her with practical skills she can use wherever the Lord leads. A National Merit Finalist, Sarah has been accepted into the honors program at Liberty University, where she will pursue a degree in ESL with minors in linguistics and Chinese.

Whatever the future holds, Sarah goes forward propelled by her love for Christ and her desire to share His story with the world.

Sarah C.

$10,000 Scholarship Winners: Aiden L. of Southeast Asia, Jasmine S. of Mechanicsburg, PA, and John J. of Santee, CA

Awarded $2,500 Per Year

Aiden L. lives in a remote area of Southeast Asia and absolutely loves it there. He feels so blessed to have been able to grow up in multiple different countries across the world. God has used the many different experiences and opportunities to shape Aiden into the person God wants him to be.

Having grown up traveling frequently, Aiden and his family are so thankful for Sonlight and have used Sonlight since kindergarten through high school. Aiden loves the flexibility that Sonlight provides and how that’s meant that he’s been able to dive deep into subjects he loves, particularly history. He has found that all the Sonlight books he has read have greatly deepened his knowledge and challenged his way of thinking.

Because of Sonlight’s flexibility, Aiden has had many opportunities to pursue non-academic interests, such as carpentry and soccer. From an early age, Aiden has always loved carpentry and is almost always working on one project or another. His family’s house is filled with his creations! Aiden is also passionate about soccer, and God has used this in amazing ways. It has been the main way that Aiden has connected with people in South-East Asia and through playing soccer he has become a loved member of the local community. Whether it’s playing on the local team, organizing his own team, or coaching young kids, soccer provides a multitude of ways to build relationships in the local community.

Aiden is going to attend Redeemer University in Hamilton, ON beginning in the fall of 2024 and plans to study psychology and sports coaching. Although Aiden does not yet know what God’s long-term plan is for him, he is determined to seek to serve and glorify God wherever and whatever he is doing. Aiden believes that all Christians should be seeking to serve others and to share the Gospel with those around them and his dream is to do great things for the Kingdom of God. Whatever plans God has for Aiden he will seek to humbly do God’s will and to strive in everything to glorify Him.

Aiden L.

Jasmine S. of Mechanicsburg, PA is the second child in her family to graduate using Sonlight’s homeschool curriculum. Following in her elder sister’s footsteps, Jasmine began her education with Sonlight’s preschool program. Not only has this educational experience increased her love for learning, but she has also grown in her relationship with Jesus and desire for missions. Through the years, Jasmine discovered her love for math and science, eventually leading her to the decision to become an engineer. In addition, the abundance of missionary stories offered through Sonlight inspired her from a young age, instilling a desire to serve the Lord in missions. Specifically, the story of Gladys Alward’s work in China motivated Jasmine to begin studying Mandarin at age 12.

Jasmine has always sought ways to serve others. At home she cheerfully helps with chores, taking care of the dog, and tutoring her younger siblings in math. At her church, Jasmine has volunteered with the nursery and served with her youth group on two mission trips, first in the city of Harrisburg and later in Guatemala. During this second trip, she learned that serving others is one of the most important ways of sharing God’s love. From this experience, Jasmine knew she wanted to somehow use her interest in math and science to serve others.

Last spring when she attended a Messiah University open house for engineering, Jasmine began to see that her hope to find a way to use math and science to serve others is possible. Messiah’s engineering program requires students to join teams working on projects with mission organizations for their capstone project. By attending Messiah University and majoring in electrical engineering, Jasmine is hoping to have the opportunity, not only to become an excellent engineer but also to provide solutions for human needs around the world—projects like installing solar panels for an orphanage in Zambia or designing inexpensive yet effective wheelchairs for a hospital in Nepal. Ultimately, Jasmine hopes that through her college education, she will find opportunities to follow Christ’s call to spread the gospel and to “wash each other’s feet” (John 13:14, NLT).

Jasmine S.

John J. of Santee, CA, has been homeschooled using Sonlight his whole life. Homeschooling has allowed him the flexibility to pursue and develop his many interests, talents, and passions, all for the glory of God.

John is a small group leader at his church and enjoys serving his fellow students and leading them in the study of God’s word. While challenging at times, this role has pushed John to better understand the Bible and show compassion to his peers. He also plays piano on his youth group’s worship team, allowing him to do something he loves while serving the church.

In addition to piano, John plays French Horn in Concert Ensemble and Trumpet in Jazz Band. He enjoys composing music, and has scored several student films, winning Best Film Score in the Christian Youth Film Festival.

John loves to critically analyze everything, be it philosophical ideas, policies, or his younger sister’s grammar when she uses him as her editor. An avid speaker and debater for six years, John has won Lincoln Douglas Value Debate and Parliamentary Debate at multiple tournaments in addition to numerous speech events, receiving the Tournament Champion award at the SoCal Classic. He is thankful for the opportunity that his speech and debate league Stoa has given him to grow in skill and knowledge and has enjoyed teaching younger students what he has learned.

In the fall, John will attend Patrick Henry College where he plans to study American Politics and Policy. After that, he plans to attend law school. He doesn’t know what all the Lord has in store for him, but he hopes to defend truth and justice wherever he is called.

John J.

$4,000 Scholarship Winners: Ava T., Avery A., Chelsea H., Ella H., Hana R., Henry F., Joshua H., Vivienne C.

Awarded $1,000 Per Year

Ava Thompson of Tacoma, Washington, has always been a reader. When she’s found with a book in her hand, which is always, it’s usually from Sonlight. Since Ava was in kindergarten, Sonlight has been the backbone of her study, providing a strong story-centered background in history, government, worldview, and more. As she has expanded her extracurriculars throughout high school, her strong education has enabled her to learn quickly and work determinedly at everything she attempts.

Ava has studied Latin for nine years, sparking a love of language and history that she holds to this day. She has been awarded two perfect papers and three gold medals for her results in the National Latin Exam. In college, Ava will be studying Advanced Latin before her sophomore trip to Rome.

Ava has been a hobby writer for as long as she could hold a pencil, trying to emulate the books she loves like friends, such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, David Copperfield, and Brideshead Revisited. She dabbles in poetry and describes writing as a way to process and expand on your own experiences, even when they’re cloaked in fiction.

During junior year, Ava joined a speech and debate club. Her natural gifts of argumentation (which her family may not have always called gifts) led to her speech on linguistics placing 19th nationally, and this season, she is already pre-qualified for Nationals in debate and has also met success with her speeches. Ava and her brother won first place as they performed a speech based on Don Quixote, another of Ava’s favorite books. Two of her other speeches have placed second and fifth.

Ava is attending the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in the fall to earn a degree in the liberal arts; beyond that, she is undecided between pursuing law or linguistics. Either way, she plans to make a difference in her world for Christ, starting with her baptism this Easter after being raised in a strong Christian household. Her motto, which she tries to represent in all her work, is per ipsum, pro ipsum–through Him, for Him.

Ava T.

Avery A. lives with her family in Jenks, Oklahoma where she and her two younger siblings have been homeschooled their whole lives. Avery is proud to say that she has used Sonlight from Pre-K through senior year, and she has loved every moment of it. Early on, Sonlight’s literature-based cores caused Avery to fall in love with books and turned her into an avid reader. She has discovered many new favorites through Sonlight, and she has also read hundreds of non-school books in her free time. Avery is so thankful for the life skills homeschooling has taught her, such as responsibility, discipline, time management, and excellence. Her faith has also been strengthened by the many faith stories she has read for school. Avery is sad to say goodbye to Sonlight when she graduates, but she is also eager for her future. She plans to attend John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, major in mechanical engineering, and minor in music.

Avery has always loved to learn new things about the world around her, and because of this, she has always had a love for science. Another one of Avery’s deep passions is serving other people, which she does constantly through her church. When she discovered that engineering means using science and math in practical ways to help make the world better and safer for others, she knew that being an engineer would be a great fit! Additionally, engineering is a perfect way for her to fulfill her dream of working for NASA one day.

Some of Avery’s hobbies include—besides reading—spending time with friends and family, going camping, listening to music, and playing the piano. She has played piano for over eleven years and has played with the student worship team at her church throughout high school. She loves using her talents to worship God in this way.

Avery believes that, ultimately, everyone is called to live a life that serves Jesus first and second others. She hopes and prays that her plans for the future will glorify God and help others experience Him.

Avery A.

Chelsea H. of Greer, SC, has been educated at home since Kindergarten and has used Sonlight curriculum since 2nd grade. From the age of two years old, Chelsea has loved various forms of artistic expression including dance, drama, music, photography, and especially drawing.

Chelsea’s study and practice of art have led her to illustrate two children’s books for author Susan Perry and complete 15 commissioned art pieces. Chelsea also worked as an art teacher’s assistant for two summers at the beloved art studio Creating Artists for Tomorrow, where she had previously been an art student for nine years. Chelsea now has the joy of sharing her love of art with two home-educated elementary students as their private art teacher. You can follow Chelsea’s art pursuits on Instagram @_sunshine_scribbles_

In February of 2023, Chelsea was chosen as the first-place high school winner of the Home School Legal Defense Association’s 2022-2023 National Art Contest. Her piece was chosen out of 60 other submissions. Chelsea was awarded $500, and her winning piece is on display at the HSLDA headquarters at Patrick Henry College.

Chelsea is honored to be a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and the National Home School Honor Society (Eta Sigma Alpha, Rho Gamma Chapter).

When Chelsea is not drawing or studying, she enjoys teaching preschoolers at her church, delivering food and smiles for Meals on Wheels, pet sitting, and spending time with friends and family.

Chelsea will attend North Greenville University in the fall, where she was recently awarded the Trustee Academic Merit Scholarship and the SC Palmetto Fellows Scholarship. Chelsea will be majoring in Art with a concentration in Drawing. She hopes to continue illustrating books and one day own an art studio where she can teach children, offer art therapy, and share the love of Jesus. Chelsea’s favorite Bible verse is Psalm 28:7. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart celebrates, and I give thanks to him with my song.”

Chelsea H.

Ella H., of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, has joyfully devoured inspiring and enlightening Sonlight materials from an early age, even as she spent 4 years attending a variety of local Spanish-language schools. Ella has given generously of herself on behalf of abandoned special needs children in myriad ways since her first adoptive sibling arrived when she was just 3, apart from volunteering as a helpful daughter with her missionary parents who founded and direct their children’s home, Judah Quy: Casa de los Preciosos. She has served as an outstanding substitute mom to children with a broad variety of health and neurological challenges, a curriculum and social adaptor for one blind student who mainstreamed into a sighted Bolivian school last year, and a volunteer in the home’s communication program helping the children overcome severe limitations to express themselves with pictograms and haptic signs. She is also a proud big sister to 12 younger siblings, most of whom have been adopted from that home.

Ella speaks English and Spanish and has moderate capabilities in American Sign Language, Bolivian Sign Language, and Braille. In her free time, you will find her reading (and rereading) her beloved Sonlight books! You will also find her spending time with her Labrador Cora (she has helped raise three generations of Labradors where the money from the sales of puppies goes to the home). She also loves to cook and bake as well as paint (she has painted murals of Bolivian wildlife at home with her best friend).

Ella believes that God is possibly leading her to study medicine to help meet the overwhelming need for charitable pediatric subspecialists in her community, and hopes you'll pray for her as she follows His lead.

Ella H.

Hana Ross of Rosamond, CA, is a military child who has used Sonlight since 2nd grade, which has helped grow her love of learning. She loves problem-solving, math, and science. This love of academics was developed by Sonlight’s amazing curriculum and by hands-on science labs at a homeschool co-op. At this co-op, Hana is the leader of the yearbook staff, which involves editing, designing, and taking photos for a 70-page yearbook.

Outside of academics, Hana is also a talented musician who seeks to serve Christ by playing piano and violin for her church. She is also heavily involved in a local orchestra and was selected to play in the High School Honors Chamber group. She plays guitar for her homeschool co-op and has started teaching violin lessons to young students.

Another passion of Hana’s is sports. She is happy to play anything with a ball and a score and is often found playing organized sports or just soccer or frisbee with her friends. She is captain of her official soccer team and organizes weekly matches with several other homeschool families as well. In her free time, she enjoys baking and preparing goodies for families she knows.

As she begins this next stage of life, Hana wants to solve problems and make the world a better place to live in. She seeks to be the kind of person who serves everyone around her and desires to love Christ with her whole heart and to glorify Him in everything she does. Her ultimate goal is to one day hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)

This fall, Hana is headed to Cedarville University in Ohio to pursue a degree in Civil Engineering.

Hana R.

Henry F. of Stanwood, WA is the oldest of six, all of whom have been using Sonlight since preschool. He supplemented this with dual enrollment courses in his junior and senior years, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. The Sonlight-assigned books read over the years have helped to shape and strengthen the way he views and interacts with the world around him.

He has an avid love for sports. He was able to compete in sports through the local high school, playing soccer and also running varsity cross country for three years, one as a captain.

Church and ministry have been a big part of Henry’s family life. His great-grandfather and namesake was a pastor. His grandparents taught in Christian schools. He has grown up with a front-row view of ministry life. When he was five years old, his dad, as the lead pastor, assisted in the planting of a church. Henry has had many different opportunities to serve in the church and has helped in Sunday school, coffee bar, leading in youth group, etc. He is always willing to jump in and lend a hand no matter the task. Henry also has a passion for music and has been drumming since the age of ten. This has allowed him to assist in leading worship, both on Sundays and at youth group as well as to help others improve their musical ability.

Sonlight’s College and Career Planning course was instrumental in helping him choose the course he is currently pursuing a career in counseling. Henry has always loved working with and being around people. He believes that the different worldview perspectives he has gained through the many books he read for school have prepared him for a job dealing with people experiencing all kinds of situations. He is considering a few different colleges right now but whichever one he decides on, he is looking to study psychology. He is aware that though this is the path that he is following right now, God’s plan may be different but he is excited to figure out where that path leads.

Henry F.

Scholarship Winner Bio Coming Soon!

Joshua H.

Vivienne C., of Monument, CO, has been homeschooled since she was in the second grade utilizing Sonlight’s curriculum from the beginning until her graduation. Sonlight’s unique combination of literature and history together was the highlight of her education. She has also enjoyed her dual enrollment college courses, in preparation for her future college education. Vivienne is excited to begin studying marketing/business this fall at a Christian college in the honors program.

Vivienne is enthusiastic in all her pursuits. Whether it is reading her favorite author, Jane Austen, or studying a historical event, she immerses herself in whatever she is learning. She has instituted family Regency-era dinner parties where her family dresses up, discusses the issues of that period, and dines together as if they are in the 19th century. She loves to have fun and has even led worship dressed as a Christmas tree (complete with lights!) for her youth Christmas party.

Vivienne, as a homeschool student, played JV and Varsity golf for her local high school. She has played the piano for 8 years and studied guitar for the last 4 years, focusing on worship and jazz guitar. She also loves working with horses at a historical ranch, learning groundwork and riding. She has also served on two church mission trips, reaching out to communities that are often overlooked.

Vivienne leads worship each week for her youth group on guitar and vocals. She has had a missional focus throughout her high school career, devoting her time and her heart to leading worship. She has felt called to facilitate worship for her peers knowing that for some, it may be their only opportunity to worship during the week. She looks forward to continuing her love for leading worship in college, whether serving in chapel or in a small group in her dorm. She loves using her talents for the glory of God.

Vivienne C.

Could Your Young Learner Win a Sonlight Scholarship?

From preschool through high school graduation, Sonlight prepares your students. We have the big picture in mind, and we help you raise students prepared to launch into any career God calls them to. We share your desire to help your children succeed, and we’ll walk alongside to help you create the long-term educational experience you envision.

Did you know we've awarded more than $1.8 million to Sonlight graduates to date?

Each year, our charitable foundation offers a number of college scholarships, ranging from $4,000 to $20,000, spread over four years. Each year, the Sonlight Foundation offers the following scholarships:

  • $5,000 per year
  • $2,500 per year
  • $1,000 per year

We offer scholarships on two tracks: one emphasizes academics, and the other creativity, mission-mindedness, and service. Got a perfect score on the SAT? Got average test scores, but served overseas during summer vacation for the last three years? In either case, you may qualify.

The Sonlight Foundation recognizes that academic giftedness is only one type of giftedness. If your student is gifted in academics, service, music, art, or has a heart for missions, we encourage you to submit an application.

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