Sonlight has been an integral part of our home education experience. After what I’ve seen of fundamentalism in my past, I knew I had to find a homeschool curriculum that actively taught discernment and critical thinking from real-world sources (not rewritten resources.) As someone born and raised abroad, I wanted a curriculum which taught about the world as a whole, not just from one country’s perspective. And I wanted my daughter to learn how to think, not just what to think. After all, that’s a mark not just of a great classical education, but of a Christian learning to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
After using Sonlight Levels A and B, Sonlight approached me to write for the Sonlight Curriculum blog during the 2017/2018 school year, in exchange for Level C. [Disclosure: As a Sonlight Ambassador, I’ve received curriculum in exchange for my guest posts.]
I’ve been so delighted to share my thoughts on homeschooling with a global perspective, why real books about real people matter, how geography isn’t just about maps, and more. (I’ve linked to many of my posts below.) Sonlight is literature-based, but it’s not twaddle or fluff. Since the approach is to develop, not just recite, a worldview, my daughter is constantly challenged to think independently, apply what she’s learned, make connections, and go as deeply into the topics as desired. And the rich nature of the material lend itself easily to a classical education framework.
Sonlight is such a great fit for our classical-leaning home, and works so, so well for this quirky, neurologically gifted daughter of mine. Is there’s a topic you want me to tackle in an upcoming article? Leave a note in the comments, or drop me a line at gina [dot] munsey [at] gmail [dot] com.
My Posts on the Sonlight Blog
“The more we learn about other cultures, the more our eyes are opened to the fact that our Americanized Western way, while more familiar to us, is not the only way. We needn’t fear that expanding our global worldview will cause us to promote moral relativism—a shift in absolute values of right and wrong. If we nurture a global perspective in light of the gospel, we can see many cultural differences for just what they are—cultural differences—and we can appreciate the diversity throughout our Father’s world.” [Read more about making a global perspective a priority in your homeschool ]
“Are you tired? I don’t mean the kind of tiredness which goes with the territory of being a full-time educator, full-time mom, and full-time renaissance woman. (Pass the coffee.) No, I’m talking about habitual, out-of-control, runaway tiredness, the kind of exhaustion born out of over-scheduling. I’m talking about the loop of endless chaos where there is no more room on the calendar, no more space on the countertop, and you’ve just said yes to a commitment which erased your last open weeknight. [Read practical tips on incorporating rest ]
“Culturally, we have a tendency to frame both mathematics (theory) and arithmetic (calculation) as difficult, and only meant to be truly understood by a select few. Can you imagine the damage we’d cause if we had this attitude toward reading and literacy? It would have a profoundly negative affect, not just on our individual students, but on our culture as a whole. Yet, we continue to perpetuate the “math is hard” idea, presenting it as something we just need to struggle through. …However we might feel about math, we must be careful not to pass on negativity to our children. Instead, we can encourage, we can empower, and we can employ little tricks to avoid abandoning our kids to hours of tears over an endless worksheet. The idea is to cultivate a positive math culture in our home.” [Read more about making math a positive priority in your homeschool]
“In Psalm 119, the psalmist prays, “[Lord,] order my steps.” When we read biographies, we get a glimpse into that glorious ordering. In the course of our own lifetime, we will encounter trials and suffering. We may even endure days and years which are so achingly painful, we might even feel as though they are a waste. But someday, when we no longer see through a glass dimly (I Corinthians 13:12), when the arc of our life is viewed in light of eternity, we will see how God has woven it all together—the agonizing twists and turns we didn’t understand, the seemingly unfulfilled prayers, the untidy ends, the tangled threads, the knotted mess—into a beautiful tapestry beyond compare.” [Read more about homeschooling with biographies]
” While it is admirable to wish to tell history from a Christian perspective, this attempt to smooth over the mess can be problematic. As our children get older, we must be careful to resist the temptation to paint rough patches of history in a purely positive light, or whitewash history to the point of inaccuracy.
If we take this paraphrasing too far, for too long, we do our children a disservice. The powerful triumph of victory over evil is lessened if we continually downplay the extent of evil. We need to be carefully not to accidentally narrow the gap between good and evil, between right and wrong, between light and darkness, or between truth and deception…” [Read more about why sheltering isn’t the answer]
“There is a welcomed familiarity in …expected pattern [s]. God created nature to run cyclically. It’s no wonder, then, that we’re drawn to the idea of an intentional habit at the advent of day, one which will settle our hearts, direct our eyes upwards, and set a positive and nurturing tone for the day. Even the most spontaneous and free-spirited among us partake in ritual, whether we realize it or not, through the necessary and life-sustaining patterns of sleeping, eating, and personal hygiene. Circle time—or symposium, if you will—constructs a sturdy scaffolding around which to train the wandering vines of our mornings.” [Read more about simplifying your homeschool morning]
“If you’re a city-dwelling homeschooler, it can sometimes feel like you’re the odd one out, especially as the rural homesteading movement continues to grow in popularity. But would it surprise you to know rural homeschoolers are actually the statistical minority in the United States? Recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) shows us that of the homeschooled students from which data was gleaned, only about 40% live in rural areas.
Forty percent! That means the rest—the majority—of homeschooled students in this country are based in cities, suburbs, and towns across America. While the reality of urban and suburban homeschoolers is a far cry from the folkloric ideals of prairies and pioneers, it’s no less valid—just perhaps much less represented…”[Read more homeschooling in urban areas]
“Books which deal with difficult topics are important because they cause us to look up and away from ourselves, and give us a little nudge out of any selfishness which might have settled down around us. When we read books in which the main characters combat grief, hunger, or other struggles, our gaze is lifted outward. It’s almost impossible to maintain a self-centered or entitled point of view if we are consistently being challenged by ideas and experiences—literary or real-world—which encourage us to look beyond ourselves…” [Read more about choosing to read difficult books]
“The six-foot map above my desk continually puts things in perspective for me. Somehow, the larger I see the world stretched out before me, the smaller the selfish world orbiting my own head becomes. (It’s remarkable how quickly first-world complaints evaporate when viewed in light of not only history’s timeline, but geography’s expanse as well.) And as I look at the map, I can’t help but notice what a narrow swath, both chronologically and geographically, United States history has carved out. And I think to myself, time didn’t start here. History didn’t start here. Geography doesn’t stop here — the ocean stretches out so much further. There’s so much more to know…” [Read more about why a global perspective matters in homeschooling]