A couple weeks ago, I was challenged by Jennifer to look into the negative stereotypes of Native Americans presented in some of Sonlight's titles. I promised to back to her and hope to continue the conversation here. But this post applies to many other aspects of questionable content, so please keep reading.
Part of what makes Sonlight's curriculum so amazing are the Instructor's Guides (or IGs). Every IG is full of notes and questions to help round out the texts; primarily because every author is writing from a particular bias or viewpoint, and those could easily be wrong or hurt someone. Sonlight, thus, includes a lot of background information so students (and their parents) can get a clearer picture of what is really going on.
And while I couldn't find a particular article on stereotypes of Native Americans in my brief search of one of the IGs, I saw many notes about what was happening at that point in history that shows false negative stereotypes as errant.
One customer said just yesterday:
Sonlight carries a lot of books that cover sensitive topics. They have been especially careful to alert parents anytime their children will come into contact with such material. This gives parents a chance to proactively have a conversation with their children about the issue presented to make sure the child understands the topic and looks at it through the lens of a Biblical worldview. (full post here)
So Sonlight tries to balance out negative/incorrect ideas in our IGs. If you are not using the IG with your books, you're not getting the full Sonlight experience.
On the other hand, we know there is always room for improvement. If you come across a section of a book that you think should be dealt with more fully, please let us know. We are always welcome your input and insights. Jennifer, I would be very interested in your thoughts especially.
Consider Your Perspective
Another post I came across today warned people that Sonlight's science program "is extremely creationist/young earth based." I find that moderately amusing because there are many others who feel that Sonlight promotes Evolution and Old Earth thinking far too much.
In many ways, it all depends on your perspective.
I think, objectively--especially when you consider the titles we carry along with the notes in our IGs--it's fairly clear that Sonlight does promote a creationist/Young Earth view... with some notes about the other topics to round things out.
Granted, we can all get so myopically focused that we don't see where we have gone wrong. That's why it's so great to be surrounded by a large community that can help set us right. And that's why your feedback is so valuable to us. We never want to hurt people, but when we do please help us set it right.
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father