I get that’s it’s tempting especially once kids start reading to turn them loose with workbooks and individual lesson plans. Letting kids work more independently can save your sanity, but there are some huge advantages to using multi-faceted curriculum like Sonlight when it comes to family bonding. Homeschooling is the perfect set up for creating fast friends out of siblings and Sonlight makes it doable. Here are three reasons why.
- Shared Experiences
- Space and Time Together
- Space and Time Apart
The homeschool sibling experience is incredible. Sonlight enhances the focus on love and family by building connections through story and conversation. If you’ve been looking for that one curriculum that pulls your family together and gives everyone a chance to bond, Sonlight is a great choice!
1. Shared Experiences
We have a multitude of read aloud favorites from Sonlight. The Adventures of a South Pole Pig initially made it’s way into our library as a Sonlight Summer Reader. What a fantastic pick! Our whole family was overjoyed to see it added to the brand-new Kindergarten Curriculum focused on American History. Every time this book comes off the shelf every seat on the couch is booked with joyful shots of “I remember that book.” “Oh I love this part!” They are ecstatic to share the story with their younger siblings!
“Let’s Play Boxcar Children”
Children show what they learn from stories through play. My kids have headed outside to be “The Box Car Children” more than once. Pressing flowers, building pretend fires, and having tea are just some examples. Fortunately, author Gertrude Chandler Warner chose to make her box car siblings kind and supportive. The kids exhibit this kind of sibling support while acting out this book as well. This has even included showing the youngest a few letters of the alphabet, just as the characters Jessie and Violet showed Benny.
“Ooooh let’s try that!”
“The Apple & the Arrow” tells the legend of William Tell. Not only did this book get my kids excited to learn about history, but it also started a new family pastime. All of a sudden the kids were determined to learn more about archery. They asked for bows and arrows for Christmas and the eldest two earned the Archery badge for their respective clubs. Working together towards a common goal really helps my kids focus on being a team.
“Do you think you could be blind?”
The conversations generated through Sonlight books are some of the best learning experiences for all of us. “Out of Darkness” is a short biography of Louis Braille. This book has had a huge impact on our family. Conversations about our senses and losing our sight have resulted in
- learning more about how the eyes work
- finding out about other famous blind individuals, such as Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder
- and experimenting with reading and writing Braille
Read alouds like these that encourage empathy, kindness, and faith are the cornerstone of sibling bonding through Sonlight.
2. Space and Time Together
Sonlight is easy to use for large families. Work is divided between what can be accomplished as a group and what needs to be completed at an individual pace. Built into the curriculum are stories to share, experiments to complete, and games to play!
Hands on History
My kids love Hands-On History available for World Cultures and World History I and II. Although there is a schedule so kits can be used alongside the curriculum, we have found that it also makes a fantastic review/prequel. The kids vote on which of the projects they want to be primary creator. Secondary creators get to cut things out or hold together items that are glued and need some time to dry. This really gets my kids working and learning together!
Math Fun and Games
One of the best parts of using Right Start Math from Sonlight is that you instantly have access to tons of cool manipulatives and really fun games. The kids continue to enjoy these games even as their skill levels improve. This makes for fantastic review and practice for multiple kids at the same time. Mathtacular is another program that we have used with Sonlight and have found it to be a wonderful way to gently introduce concepts and reinforce understanding. The kids love watching the videos and completing the activities together.
My kids love digging into science with Sonlight. Learning by doing is especially important for my active learners. Science is playful and fun. Most experiments can be done by the children with me providing supervision and supplies. Now that I have a reader, they can explore their science kits even more independently, which they love! Science has really been a chance for them to play and learn together.
3. Space and Time Apart
While learning together can be a wonderful bonding experience, time apart is an absolute necessity for siblings! Time to pursue their own interests and learn within their own space allows for them to enjoy each other so much more when we come back together. Leveled readers, language arts materials, and math give the kids some needed time to work alone. Of course reading alone sometimes includes time spent reading to a beloved pet.
Doesn’t Take All Day
Read alouds and science experiments are a huge part of why we love Sonlight, but another less obvious reason stands out every time we look over Sonlight’s My Memory Book. Looking back over all that the kids have done during the year, there are so many wonderful opportunities that our kids engage in because they don’t spend every waking moment completing curriculum. Sonlight gives them just what they need and leaves lots of time and space for individual interests and passions.
Couch Time versus Table Time
Sonlight divides the curriculum into subjects that can be tackled on the couch as a group and subjects that are better completed table top. This creates a natural and easy divide for siblings to work together and apart.
Extracurriculars and electives including art and foreign language encourage our children to express their individuality. This time apart gives them fun experiences and stories to share with their siblings. Sometimes the interest of one will also inspire the interest of another and creates unique opportunities for one on one bonding.
Sonlight makes sibling bonding easy. Since they are used to sharing stories and experiences and conversations it’s second nature for them to do it both inside and outside the home. Here’s what that looks like.
- Sister grabs her brother and races to the capybara at the zoo, knowing he’ll be as excited as she is to see one of their favorite book characters in real life.
- Movie watching is peppered with siblings debating whether the movie adaptation has done the book justice.
- Book parties are held in the backyard, designed and carried out as siblings and friends.
- Siblings work together to host a backyard Olympics.
As a Mom, nothing beats walking into the kitchen to see your new reader voicing instructions while her brother assembles part of the hands on history kit!
While there’s no magic formula to guarantee that siblings become best friends, providing them time and space to do so is essential. Sonlight enhances moments of shared experience, story, connection, and conversation. Lots of experiences like read alouds and spontaneous thematic imaginative play are as wonderful as they sound.
Other moments are less enjoyable. There’s plenty of conflict over science experiments gone wrong and destroyed crafts. Those are the perfect moments to help them learn to choose words and actions that strengthen their relationship! The time you and your kids invest in sibling friendships and relationships now lays the groundwork for a lifetime bond. Take advantage of Sonlight! This curriculum is an amazing homeschool tool that makes it easy to provide opportunities for siblings to learn to become lifelong friends. For us Sonlight has been a huge blessing!
Wishing you joy, peace, and most of all faith in your homeschool!