Sonlight, Mystery of History and Notgrass History, Our Favorite History, Geography and Reading Curriculums
Posted by Michelle Osborn on
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Why do I love all three of these history curriculums? I love each of them because each one has been the best for our four children, depending on their ages, learning abilities or struggles. Each of these excellent history courses has been taught throughout different times of our homeschool journey, depending on the needs of my children.
If you have a child who loves to read or if you are a homeschool parent who wants to teach two or more children together, Sonlight Core curriculum is for you. We used Sonlight as a History/Geography study together as a family.
I have two daughters who love reading. In fact, I am one of those moms that used to threaten to away their book if they didn't put it down and get their chores done. Books have been a part of their lives since they could sit on our laps and look at a book. Even when our children were toddlers, we, my husband or I, would read to them before naptime, before bedtime and all the in between times! So when I learned about Sonlight, I knew it would fit perfectly into our lives.Part of Sonlight's curriculum includes read alouds. These are books that the parent reads to the child.
There is an eight-year span between my oldest and youngest, with two children in between. I started using Sonlight when our oldest was in second grade.We began with Core B. My daughter would read the books assigned for literature/readers and history. (At that time, I was very much a part of her reading time). I would have the younger three sit with us while I read the read alouds to all of them. It didn't take me long to figure out that my children listened best when their hands were busy. I allowed the older ones to draw or color while I read. The younger two usually played with play-doh, colored or worked on tracing and learning how to write the alphabet. Sometimes they would fall asleep next to me on the couch. I am still amazed at what the younger ones remember from those read alouds. Many times I thought they were not even paying attention. One winter day a friend of mine was riding up the ski lift with one of my younger children. She later told me that the slow ride up the mountain was spent talking about the Kings and Queens of England with my 8-year-old daughter. She was surprised how much she knew. And I thought she had just been coloring!
One winter day a friend of mine was riding up the ski lift with one of my younger children. She later told me that the slow ride up the mountain was spent talking about the kings and queens of England. She was surprised how much my daughter knew. And I thought she had just been coloring!
We took our time enjoying our Sonlight books, taking nine years to complete five cores: B, C, D+E, F, and G. Yes, that was not a typo. One of my mottos for homeschooling is, "We take our time to learn from our books. It is not a race to finish them by the end of the year." I strongly suggest taking time to enjoy and learn from these award-winning titles. I didn't realize how much I loved history until Sonlight became part of our lives.
Our second child did not enjoy reading near as much as his big sister. As his reading improved I would assign some of the readers in the Core to him, but not all. Making him read all of the books would have made "school" a chore, undesirable. I adjusted the assigned reading to fit his learning style and struggles.
Core 300 was assigned to our children when they each reached their junior year in high school. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting with them, individually to go through the discussion questions that are included in the student and instructor's manual. I learned a great deal as well. Our last child will be doing a mixture of Core 300 and Mystery of History Vol 4
All Sonlight Core teacher's guides have 5 day (some include a four day) lesson plans for 36 weeks. Bible, history, readers, and read alouds are included in the core curriculum. The instructors manual includes teaching helps, book lists, and resources. It is an essential part of Sonlight's Core curriculum.
I stumbled upon Mystery of History after I began Yellow House Book Rental. Wanting to know more about it, I incorporated it into our Sonlight curriculum and we loved it. Linda Hobar, the author of this world history series, states, “I believe history is the story of God revealing Himself to mankind and that He did it most perfectly through the person of Jesus Christ…the “mystery” is the gospel of Jesus Christ.” What a different view from most world history curriculums!
Vol 1, 2 and 3 are excellent for multi-age teaching. Each supplemental activity book provides activities for younger, middle school and older/students. They have done the work. YOu don't need to revise it to meet your childs learning level.
Our youngest daughter was very much like her brother, learning to read took longer and she did not enjoy it. The Mystery of History was a better match for her. The units are divided into short interesting, daily, readings, all in one textbook. Optional activities accompany each unit. These activities are an excellent addition to your child's learning, especially for the hands on learner.
(Someday I might make lesson plans that incorporate these two excellent curriculums into one. Then you, the homeschool teacher, can use both and adjust them to meet the needs of each of your children.)
Notgrass was also a company that I became aware of after starting Yellow House Book Rental. Not wanting to endorse curriculum that we had not used ourselves in our homeschool, I decided to try Exploring Government and Exploring Economics with our two teenagers, one a senior and one a sophomore. It was a perfect fit. Our older two had already graduated and they nor I cared for the curriculum I had given them for government or economics.
Both Exploring Government and Exploring Economics are written from a perspective of faith in God and trust in His Word. Each is a semester course. Exploring Government has a literature course that compliments the lessons with four biographies that include review questions and literary analysis for each title. We did one the fall semester and one the spring semester. Each day, my girls would read the assigned chapter then we would discuss the 10 questions. They would take a quiz, included, at the end of every unit. My daughters and I enjoyed the fact that is was informative, yet easy to read and discuss within a half hour.
What is your favorite history or government program? how have you adjusted it to meet your children's needs?
Enjoying the journey,
Michelle Osborn the founder and owner Yellow House Book Rental, a service to homeschool families. She is a 20-year homeschool veteran of four, two married, one in college, and one teenager at home.
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- Tags: Children, Curriculum, Highschool, History, Homeschool, Rent, Teens, US Government
Thanks for this post! Have you ever blended your ideas for MoH and Sonlight? We are in HBL B and I would LOOOVEEE to blend them together. If you already have ideas, that would be amazing!
Thank you so much for sharing this! We love Sonlight and are also adding in some Notgrass and Mystery of History. We still need to figure out the right balance to not overdo it! The Notgrass books have so many pictures, and the one with famous quotes and writings will be invaluable to us. Right now we are planning to use those as extra resources and the MOH audio books to see if we want to add those in somewhere.