Sonlight Curriculum Review for Homeschools

Many of my friends use the Sonlight curriculum for their homeschooling needs. I’ve had many friends around me who use this program. Some love it, but others aren’t so keen due to the reading and literature choices involved. Those who love it, appreciate the program for its high-quality books, which contain many old classics and promote a strong Christian worldview. Homeschooling parents find this aspect particularly appealing.

Rebbecca Devitt

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This program aims to teach children using fun storybooks more than dry textbooks.

This means a child’s interest will be retained longer than if they used dry textbooks.

But is it worth it?

We’ll look at the program below before sifting through some online Sonlight reviews (at the end of the article) to see what others say about it.

Let’s get further acquainted with this program below.

Affiliate links are used in this post. 

What is Sonlight?

Sonlight is a complete Christian, literature-based homeschool curriculum.

They have easy-to-use lesson plans, schedules, and materials from preschool to high school.

You don’t have to supplement any materials; the program has everything you need to teach your children.

They also offer parents a choice between four- or five-day-per-week teaching programs.

If you choose the four-day-per-week option, you can have a day off (who wouldn’t want that?).

Sonlight has been running for around 35 years, so they’ve ironed out many bugs and are producing a fairly neat program now.

Sonlight Features

Sonlight is the original literature-based homeschool curriculum.

This means the curriculum uses an array of useful and engaging books to hold children’s interest longer.

Instead of textbooks, the program prefers to use:

  • literary fiction,
  • nonfiction,
  • biographies,
  • illustrations, and
  • experiments.

In comparison, school programs often use more dry textbooks and rote memorization techniques.

Why People Use This Program?

First of all, this is a Christian curriculum.

So, Christian parents would like it because it aligns with their beliefs.

Secondly, it is a literature-based curriculum.

So, if you love reading and your kids do too, this could be a great program for you.

Thirdly, it’s all offline.

If you want something that limits screen time, everything is in this boxed homeschool curriculum.

Is Sonlight an online curriculum or a hard copy?

Sonlight is literature-based, so most of the curriculum is hard copy.

They do offer some materials in digital format.

Students can also use some manipulatives for Math, Science, and Electives.

Which homeschool method does the program most closely follow?

Sonlight uses literature-based learning, which is explained further on the page.

However, the article below (on the Sonlight website) hints at Charlotte Mason and classical homeschooling methods.

There is definitely influence from both of these time-tested methods. Sonlighters learn grammar and writing through weekly narrations and copywork. Sonlight without question gives a soothing Charlotte Mason vibe. The promise of simple, easy days of deep thoughts and connections lies between the pages of each and every living book. However, the program provides peace of mind for the mom who yearns for a clear, concise guide that she doesn’t have to spend time planning.

But, any curriculum that uses quality old books can be said to be somewhat CM and classical as these methods also have a focus on teaching through quality older books.

Does Sonlight Have All Subjects?

Yes, they offer all subjects.

You can look at their list of subjects here.

Do They Have All Grades?

Yes, they offer all grades.

Are There Tutors?


Sonlight gives parents detailed instructor guides so they know exactly what to do and teach.

How Long Does It Take to Complete?

Because you can choose either a four-day or five-day week, times vary.

It is also hard to nail down the time it takes daily as people complete the program at different times.

This is what one of the staff had to say on the issue:

There is no specific time frame. But, we offer an approximate time frame for each level of our program on our web site and in our catalog.

Because we are a literature-based program, it is very difficult to assign a specific amount of time. With so much reading and discussion, it fluctuates a great deal. – Judy

Another reason the timing is hard to nail down is that the program is self-paced, so children can do the work in their own time—either faster or slower than normal.

All this being said, an average child will be able to complete the curriculum in an average time for that school year.

Is Sonlight Good for Special Needs?

This program wasn’t created specifically for special needs homeschooled students.

But, many children with special needs use the program as it offers short lessons and engaging read-alouds.

Sonlight is especially useful if you have a child with Autism/Aspergers, as you can see in this linked article because it:

  • read-alouds and discussions don’t require motor skills
  • is self-paced and
  • encourages children to learn subjects (like history) through fiction.

Sonlight Curriculum for Homeschool in a Nutshell. In this article I go through some frequently asked questions and look at some Sonlight reviews from parents who have used this program.Review by Rebecca Devitt

Is the Sonlight Curriculum Accredited?

No, it isn’t, but it isn’t because it is an international company, not just a US-based company.

This article explained it a little more:

The core reason we are not accredited is because we are not only a US company, but an international one as well. Because of this, accreditation would not be an easy process for us. Requirements for accreditation not only vary from state to state, but also from country to country.

Thankfully, homeschooled students don’t need accreditation.

Homeschool graduates can easily enter college or tertiary studies by taking an SAT or college-entry exam.

Watch the video below to clear up the accreditation question:

Christian Science?

Some parents love the way Sonlight teaches science.

Others don’t.

That’s because Sonlight offers two different perspectives: the evolutionary and the creation perspectives.

This isn’t the curriculum for you if you want one that exclusively teaches the creation perspective.

One of my good friends felt frustrated because she wanted this in her program.

If this is you, go for something like:

Pros of Sonlight-Reviews

I reviewed around 30 Sonlight reviews to find common ground, and I have listed some of this program’s pros below.

  1. Planning – If you buy a Sonlight curriculum, you don’t have to worry about making your own curriculum, as all the planning has been done for you. It comes with two schedules (a five or four-day week), so you can have one day off.
  2. Great Selection of Books – As you would think with a literature-based curriculum, the Sonlight reviews talked a lot about the large selection of books. Books are of good quality and feature a great vocabulary and interesting storylines. These types of books are sometimes called ‘living books‘ which is a Charlotte Mason concept.
  3. Christian Worldview – Finding a Christian curriculum that inserts its worldview into all subjects is so important today. Sonlight does a great job of this.
  4. Math – Many Sonlight reviews mentioned how impressed they were with the math component.
  5. Mission-Focused – A few parents mentioned how glad they were the curriculum was mission-focused.

Cons of Sonlight-Reviews

I also went through Sonlight reviews to find some common points of agreement regarding the cons of this program and have listed them below.

  1. Cost – Every second Sonlight review I read said Sonlight was expensive. This can be a significant disadvantage if you don’t have much money to spend on this program. However, if you don’t want to look elsewhere for supplementary homeschooling material, Sonlight is a good option, as you get everything down to the last paperclip included in the package! If cost is a huge factor for you, check out these low-cost or free curricula.
  2. Shipping Fees – Because so much is included in the package, it can cost a lot to ship this curriculum.
  3. Time to do the work – Sonlight isn’t the briefest of curricula. Some parents won’t mind this…they might love it! Others won’t like it. This can be stressful for the parent who thinks they need to do absolutely everything in the curriculum they’ve been sent. Don’t worry, you don’t. It says many times on their website that you don’t have to do it all! But, a very full curriculum like Sonlight might cause stress if you don’t feel you want to judge what material to skip.
  4. Difficult if you have multiple children—A few mothers commented that this curriculum was difficult for multiple children. It is difficult to give the program as much attention as it deserves with little children in the mix. If you don’t have enough time to do this and have a big family, investigate these family-style homeschool curricula.

Another Points from Sonlight Reviews

The reviews also mentioned:

  • how interconnected the subjects were – This means you can’t easily separate a subject from the pack as they all rely on one another. I personally love it when a curriculum does this. After all, life isn’t disconnected.

However, some moms wanted to use only some parts of the program (thereby creating an eclectic curriculum).

Therefore, they found this aspect difficult.


The Sonlight curriculum is a great option if you want to get away from an education that uses dry textbooks and rote memorization. Instead, the program offers the original literature-based homeschool curriculum that uses great stories and the best materials available today to teach children. You can check them out on the above links.

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Rebecca Devitt

Most adults don't particularly want to relive their schooling experience on a daily basis. They would gladly move on to a new life devoid of homework and teachers. Very, very few adults will passionately blog about their schooling some 15 years after graduating. This makes Rebecca Devitt somewhat unique. As it happens, she was homeschooled. And she loved it. Still does. And she wishes every kid could get a taste of homeschooling at its very best. Her website How Do I Homeschool, is a springboard for parents to see what a life of homeschooling could be for both them & their children. When she's not blogging Rebecca is still homeschooling her-adult-self by learning Latin, growing weird vegetables and most importantly looking after her two children Luke & Penny. She has a husband Tristan and is a participant at Wollongong Baptist Church. She's also written a book about why parents should homeschool called 'Why on Earth Homeschool'.

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