Disclosure: Sonlight provided me with a Hands-on History box, and compensated me financially for this post. I have used many Sonlight products in our homeschool prior to reviewing this product. All opinions — and photographs! ;) — are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.]
Sonlight is synonymous with literature-based learning. Think Sonlight, and you immediately think excellent books. (The phrase “no more boring textbooks” leads Sonlight’s educational philosophy.) But over the past several years, Sonlight has added more and more hands-on homeschool options to complement the treasure trove of literature.
Sonlight’s growing selection of homeschool electives and enrichment now includes products like
- lapbook kits,
- history project kits (you are here!)
- art supplies, and
- so much more.
I love this! I’m not a homeschool method purist, so I don’t hesitate to mix and match methods. I love how Sonlight extends this permission, too. After all, most of us homeschool for flexibility, and for the freedom to customize and tailor an educational experience to meet the needs of an individual student. (My goal is to educate my child, not to replicate a method.)
So hands-on history projects alongside literature-based learning? I’m here for it!
Wondering what the homeschool laws are in your state? Here’s how to get started homeschooling!)
What’s included in a Sonlight Hands-on History kit
The Hands-on History: World Cultures I history project kit from Sonlight contains
- an archaeology set,
- a Chinese dragon puppet,
- a clay cylinder seal,
- an ancient Grecian vase,
- a laurel leaf wreath,
- a miniature yurt,
- a Roman chariot,
- a Senet board game,
- a wooden Trojan horse model,
- a step-by-step instruction book, and
- all the supplies you need to create these projects.
Using Sonlight’s Hands-on History Kits
I absolutely love how Sonlight included an entire softcover book of instructions. The full-color pages show kids exactly what to do.
The guide even breaks down which tasks kids can complete on their own, and which steps are best handled with parental help. (Each project also has a rating indicating the overall level of parental involvement expected. I appreciate this, because, let’s admit it; hands-on craft time is not always one-on-one time.)
Before you start an activity, Sonlight lets you know what you’ll be expected to provide from home. These items truly are basic: scissors, ruler, pencil, pen, marker, and at times, larger pieces of tin foil (smaller pieces are included). Everything else you need is provided, and pre-portioned and packaged together with the correct project. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that.
This isn’t our first history project box from Sonlight.
We also crafted our way through the Hands-on History: World Cultures projects a few years ago. In fact, you might remember this picture:
Can you believe how much Aveline has grown since I last reviewed Hands-on History?! I know people like to say time is a thief, but really, I believe time is such a gift.
Why I love Sonlight’s Hands-on History Kits
Sonlight’s Hands-on History boxes are no stress, and contain everything you need to complete the crafts. Plus, each project stands alone. You don’t need to be a current Sonlight user to enjoy the kit.
While this particular Hands-on History: World History I history project kit does align with content taught in Sonlight’s History / Bible / Literature Level B age– that’s the first half of world history, from the beginning of time through the fall of Rome — it doesn’t rely on the curriculum. If you’re using Level B and choose to enjoy the hands-on-projects out of sequence with the assigned readings, the curriculum won’t break. (Hurrah for flexibility!)
Right now there are Hands-on History boxes available to complement Sonlight’s
- Level A (World Cultures),
- Level B (World History I), and
- Level C (World History II) history programs.
Each of these boxes has 9 different history projects. If you craft through all three, you’ll have completed twenty-seven amazing history activities.
But if you’re not doing Sonlight history — or not even homeschooling — you can still enjoy these projects. No matter how you integrate these activities into your homeschool, they still just work.
In our case, Aveline finished Level B several years ago, but we’re working through the hands-on crafts now. (History never goes out of date.)
The unrealistic expectation to fully integrate projects and bookwork, actually, is where a lot of other hands-on learning curriculums fail for me. Other programs expect the hands-on portion to be done right then, when assigned, and if you don’t happen to have the supplies or the time to complete it right then, you’re not getting a full lesson. Not so with Sonlight.
Sonlight Hands-on History projects give you the freedom to work through the craft projects at your own pace, and the supplies you need to do it. Hallelujah!
And another reason I love the flexibility of Sonlight Hands-on History project kits? The crafts are such a good match for asynchronous kids, those twice-exceptional kids who are several ages at once. Aveline is 12 and a couple of grades ahead, but she’s just as eager to sit down with a craft kit designed for ages 7-9. (I love how homeschooling doesn’t force square pegs into round holes, and doesn’t put a big emphasis on age segregation.)
Curious about twice-exceptionalities and asynchrony? Listen to this episode of the Sonlight Connections podcast, where I chat about meeting the challenge of a gifted learner.
Talking prices: How much does a history project kit cost?
In my previous review of Sonlight’s Hands-on History, I mentioned how cost-effective each box is. That review was written in 2019 — or in what I like to call The Before Times — but even with inflation and the seven horsemen of the apocalypse all looming, these craft boxes are still cost-effective.
At $64.97 for a box of 9 projects, this works out to $7.22 per craft. (I can’t even drive to Michaels or Hobby Lobby and back for $7.22 any more, much less build a working model of a Roman chariot.)
You could complete one project per month of the school year, or, you could even save this kit for 9 weeks of hands-on-summer fun.
This isn’t the only history project box Sonlight has available. See all the different history project options on the Sonlight website, plus easy history lapbooks too!
I love how Sonlight has been integrating so many more hands-on electives and homeschool enrichment options in recent years. You really can mix and match, and add fun Sonlight options into your homeschool no matter what curriculum you’re currently using.
Here are 10 reasons you might want to try a hands-on history project kit from Sonlight
Hands-on history projects…
- …are a fun break in routine!
- …provide a tangible reminder of what kids have studied.
- …can be used to mark milestones in the learning process or in the academic year.
- …come with almost everything you need to complete the project. (Well, you need to provide your own scissors, ruler, permanent marker, pen and pencil, and sometimes, tin foil.)
- …are small-space friendly. Each project contains pre-portioned craft materials for a no waste experience.
- …are just as fun to create as they are to complete.
- …encourage independence through detailed instructions written directly to kids.
- …provide opportunities to experiment with craft supplies you might not typically purchase.
- …are a great talking point for relatives (kids love to show grandma what they’ve been learning!)
- …are appealing to a wider range of ages than the package suggests!
Our homeschool experience is as unique as Aveline is. It’s what I love about homeschooling. No one can tell us that spending our days in stacks of books studying Chinese and Greek with a splash of extra math and extra LEGO is weird — because it’s perfect. And pausing for a history craft session from our favorite purveyor of books in the midst of it all is just the thing.
You can homeschool — yes, you!