Why We Organize Sonlight's Programs Around History

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Have you ever wondered what you're doing here on the earth? Ever wondered how our country got to the state that it's in? Ever wondered why people in other countries live differently than you do?

Well, I think the answers lie in understanding history. To put it simply ...

Studying history helps children make sense of their world and their lives. That's why Sonlight centers on history. Our curriculum chronicles the past in order to prepare children to understand and influence their world in the future.

As they learn the story of the world (people, places, and events tied together to tell an historical story), children start to understand the wonder, tensions, and troubles in today's world. They build a framework in which to understand new information about their globe. It's like they develop an internal timeline with anchor points on it, such as the rise of the Greeks, the Chinese dynasties, the Industrial Revolution, and the era of Colonization. (And Sonlight provides a tangible timeline to help this along!)

As children develop this internal timeline, they have places to hang new knowledge. When they learn something new about the Renaissance in Europe, they have context in which to place that nugget of information. When they read about a country in the news, they at least have a vague sense of what that country's story is. And so the new information means something to them because they have places to hang it. The new knowledge is more than unconnected tidbits of information.

Of course, children who learn history the Sonlight way also get to learn it in an enjoyable way that they actually remember. And so they really get to reap the benefits of learning history. They truly understand how the world's peoples and places came to their present state.

But that's not all.

Understanding the flow of history helps children understand the meaning of their own lives. They learn where they are in the story of the world.

For us as Christians, we know that we are living in the time between Christ's first coming and His return. It's huge that we understand that. It helps us make sense of what we're doing here. As I've written before:

The incarnate Christ returned to heaven, and we are His representatives on earth now. He has given us the Holy Spirit to work through us and guide us as we labor to bring God's Kingdom to earth. We are part of God's big plan; we have a role to play, a purpose for living, and a call to serve. We can partner with God, or not. He will work His plan out, with or without us. May we and our children be people who help God's Kingdom advance.

And the story is moving forward! Though we don't know the exact timeline, we do know we are moving to an end point where Christ returns and ultimately redeems His people. He will establish His kingdom in full and we will live forever in perfect communion with Him in the new heaven and new earth. How can this not affect how we live today?

So that's why Sonlight centers on history instead of social studies, unit studies, or any number of other ways to organize your study of the world. It helps our students understand the world and their place in it. This is intentional, and we have seen that it truly works.

Blessings to you as you live out your family's story!

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