Each month the Sonlight team will choose a current family to highlight by sharing their #sonlightstories. If you’d like to shine a light on your family, apply here for a chance to be featured.
Meet the Martinez Family!
Sonlighters Gerard and Karen Martinez from Bellflower, California had planned to homeschool even before they had their two children: Joshua (15), Grace (13). When they found Sonlight, it was a perfect match! This year the kids are working through HBL 100 together, while Joshua is working on the College and Career Planning course.
Mom Karen is a former public school teacher, but the Lord put it on her heart that she could do so much more for her children if she homeschooled them. After creating their own preschool program, a friend recommended Sonlight. They began with Sonlight in 2014, and according to Karen, "Sonlight's curriculum is a huge blessing to our family. Having the Instructor’s Guides (IG) has helped me as a homeschooling mom by making everything easier and very accessible.”
"Rich in literature and Biblically based, Sonlight has been amazing during our homeschooling journey. We plan to use it all through our homeschooling years." Martinez Family
One of the beauties of homeschooling is that it can be tailored to a family’s individual needs. The Martinez children have excelled with homeschooling and love it because they have been able to go at their own pace. Dad Gerard adds that “Homeschooling sells itself to the kids. There are some topics that are harder but other areas where they excel. It’s nice not to be limited by the level of your classmates.”
“I think homeschool has brought out the best in our kids. When I look at how independent they are, they’re okay with being alone, totally cool with their own sense of style, and they’re not comparing themselves to anyone else. They’ve been able to find out and pursue their own passions.” - Karen Martinez
While Karen likes a good schedule, she has found they can be flexible with their days. This allows them an opportunity to explore new things and discover what they are passionate about learning. "Sonlight has helped tremendously with our family having the freedom to do what's necessary for each of our children to have the best education possible," she explains. The pandemic changed nothing for the Martinez family except that now Gerard works from home. They love being together as a family every day!
When you’re homeschooled you don’t have to rush anything. Joshua and Grace are very self-motivated, and they prefer to learn on their own. They are developing skills that will carry them successfully into adulthood with their parents acting as a guide.
The family shares, "Joshua loves to write, and he’s writing a book. He writes short stories. He loves to read and devours books. Grace is extremely creative and loves art. She loves to work with clay. Sonlight has given us so many great books, and a whole world has been opened up to them."
Homeschool with Teens
Karen mentions, "The foundation that Sonlight has given my kids has transitioned us to middle school just fine." As the kids have become more independent, they go straight to their classroom area and dive into their work. They both work steadily through the day taking a break to fix themselves lunch. They know exactly what they need to accomplish each day.
Another Sonlight benefit is that the literature matures along with your children. The history becomes more challenging, and the Bible curriculum reinforces their faith and helps them dive deeper with the Lord. There are even books about dating. Karen loves that she didn’t have to determine everything needing to be taught. She orders Sonlight and is prepared to have enriching conversations with her kids.
Homeschool Literature Review
One of the best parts of Sonlight for the Martinez Family is the literature. They often let their grandmother borrow books because she wants to read the books they are talking about. "We love the literature!!! We can't pick a favorite book from our years with Sonlight.” Some of their favorites are included below:
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond
- Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters
- Understood Betsy
- The Little Riders
- Every Soul A Star
- God's Smuggler
- The Silver Branch
“I make small tweaks sometimes, but it’s totally fine. I don’t regret homeschooling at all! I always tell people to go to sonlight.com. If there’s any gaps, Sonlight fills them in with multiple math options, language arts.” - Karen Martinez
You can learn more about the Martinez family’s Sonlight experience by listening to their full interview on the Sonlight Connections podcast.