Sonlight History

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  • Reviewed on Monday, February 8, 2016
  • Grades Used: Pre-K - 4th
  • Dates used: 2011-present
Our family loves Sonlight books! We've used Sonlight Cores P 4/5, A, B, & C. Cores P 4/5 & A are more like daily reading guides for some great children's books. History really kicks in with Core B. My kids much prefer the "living books" Sonlight has to offer over other texts we've tried. I like having our curriculum already laid out for us each day. And you just can't beat snuggling up together on the couch to read.

My oldest daughters are 2 yrs apart, and I've been able to teach them together using the same history materials so far, though I've invested effort in obtaining additional books relating to the weekly content to keep my older daughter challenged. Starting in 3rd grade, I've also assigned her extra map work & short writing assignments to go along with what we're studying.


  • Reviewed on Saturday, January 12, 2013
  • Grades Used: 4th - 6th
  • Dates used: 2012-2013
This is our first year using Sonlight History. We are using Core D - American History Year 1. We LOVE this program! I do most of the reading to the kids before bed, so this has replaced our old bedtime stories, which they were outgrowing. The kids are always asking me to read "one more chapter!" They are retaining it too, and will talk about the stories of Chakoh and Esteban (native travelers) or Pedro (a ship mate on Columbus' ship) all the time, because these are great stories!

My kids have had some trouble with the readers, especially my 4th grader. I either have to have her read it to me, or I need to read it too, because she's had some trouble with the comprehension. Some of the books are written in old english and when you are not used to that, it is a little tough.

We were not fond of the Language Arts portion, as it didn't go in depth enough. We are using another Language Arts program.

Pros: The kids are engaged and thus, they retain what they are learning. No text books, quizzes or tests. I'm learning along with them! Very mobile, you can bring your book with you anywhere. Multiple age groups can share a curriculum.

Cons: I'm one who likes to keep grades so I know where we need improvement, so while no tests are a pro, it's also a con. Reading multiple books at one time sometimes gets overwhelming, so we sometimes change the schedule up a little.

I am hoping to stay with this curriculum for ever! I absolutely love it!


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, July 25, 2012
  • Grades Used: K-1
  • Dates used: 2011-2012
Sonlight History is EXCELLENT! I enjoyed having thourough lesson plans and Sonlight is very organized. I love how their read alongs and readers even go along with their history. All the work is already done for you!
In the whole year we covered creation to the fall of rome and my boys retained SO much. I found trivia cards that asked about most of the history we learned and they were able to remember all kinds of great facts. Sonlight makes learning fun and manageable. As the parent you must be interactive with Sonlight, it won't do the work for you. We do love it!


  • Reviewed on Wednesday, January 25, 2012
  • Grades Used: Cores P4, A, D, E, G, H, 100
  • Dates used: 2011-2014
We have used several SL history cores, but decided to go a different direction this year. While I am happy with our decision, I do miss SL's books. My kids, however, are the ones who really miss the books.

See, last year my 12yo son complained that he had to read ANOTHER book...of course by the time the book ended, he telling me how much he enjoyed the book. So, we decided to give our reading eyes a break this year. Just the other day my son says, "Mom, I think we made a mistake by not doing SL again this year. I miss listening to you read to us."


Now, to be fair, what he enjoyed was the literature-based history. What made that history good were the books that SL chosen. We will be going back to SL this coming fall (2016).

I wasn't a fan of the P4/5 or the level A. It seemed that I much preferred to do something like FIve in a Row for those ages. I've never used Cores B or C, but in looking at the books, I again chose to use FIAR or something a little more theme intensive like Tapestry of Grace.
HOWEVER, I am excited to go through Cores D and E with my younger kids. Hands down, those were our favorite years. The books are well-chosen and we had a sweet spirit in our home during that time. I miss it.

Core G and H were fascinating! I loved the books and gained such an appreciation for life during that time.

Core 100 was a little ... different because there weren't read-alouds. I felt quite removed from my son during that year. I tried to keep up with what he was reading, but I just couldn't. I think that when I go through 100 again with another child, I will look for an extensive summary of each book so that I can talk to him about the books - not just read the questions from SL.
We didn't do the map work that came with 100, but I really wish we had done it. It would have rounded that program off nicely. Next time I will.

Now, this was my review as written in 2012 when we first started SL:
We are in the middle of our first year with Sonlight, and I just can't wait until the end of the year to review this.

MAN ALIVE, this is good stuff! :-D

We are a family of avid readers, so you need to know that this is right up our ally. I imagine that even if a family isn't full of readers, this will still be a program that makes reading as much as SL plans just HAS to be good for a student, right? :)

We have tried other textbook histories. They didn't work...meaning, we didn't retain the all.

At first, I had a hard time understanding how SL worked...after all, all I KNEW was textbook history. After doing my "homework" and really studying this, I realized...THIS is what we needed and I couldn't wait to get started.


Because we DON'T use a textbook.

Because we read "real/living" books.

Because as we read these living books, we grow attached to the characters. We grow to love the stories. We become part of the books ourselves and we live the story right alongside the characters.

Because when we finish the books, we sigh because we want the story to continue.

Because my children aren't just reading excerpts from great literature, they are reading the whole thing!

Because my children have an UNDERSTANDING of life in the past...and UNDERSTANDING of WHY events in history took place...and UNDERSTANDING of how history has shaped us NOW.

Because it's just plain fun!

Our "history book" can easily be slipped into my purse and taken with us anywhere we's rides, etc.

I have learned more about early American History than I did in high school or college, and I was a history buff.

We plan to use SL all the way through the high school level!!

I hope this helps!

**Update on Core E**
Again...WOW! I have been absolutely blown away by what we have learned together as a family. For sure, these two cores should be mandatory for all students of American History.

There have only been a few books that we could have skipped (A Kitchen Madonna is one). Most books have been well-chosen, though one son grew a tad tired of the many civil war-related books. :)

SL's website allows users to review the books that they've read. It is helpful to look through those reviews (SL no longer allows reviews).