Ooooh big box curriculum has gotten a really bad rap lately. Some folks seem to have gotten the impression that if you can’t engineer an entire curriculum yourself homeschool isn’t worth it. How unfortunate!
I’ve also been told that if you dare to rely on only one curricula or standard approach to homeschooling you are offering your children a curriculum that is no better, possibly worse than what they will get at school. What?!?
I disagree strongly with both these complaints against big box homeschool! Using a big box homeschool curriculum does not prohibit out of the box thinking. It does not hinder creativity or limit exposure to new ideas.
A big box curricula is simply a group of materials that can be used as you see fit. If it’s a complete curriculum that has been thoroughly researched as is the case for Sonlight, it is also a collection of integrated and high quality educational tools that can be used by every homeschool philosophy out there! It’s all in how you choose to use it!
Here, let me show you why I ultimately decided to include Sonlight in our homeschool journey.
Sonlight and Out of the Box Thinking
Yes, Sonlight comes in a box, but our children don’t. All of them bring unique challenges and perspectives to the table. Some of our kids are raring to go and try all the things, while others aren’t sure they want to try anything. Getting started and having a next move can be challenging for kids and for their parents. Here’s where Sonlight can really get you started and keep you going by helping you think outside of the box!
Do your kids’ interests seem sporadic?
One of the most recommended ways to start homeschooling is to do no school or “deschool” for a period of time. Then ask your kids what they want to learn.
Have you ever asked a kindergartner or elementary aged child what they want to study? The answers are diverse and absolutely worth consideration. Yet, when you also add in young attention spans and limited abilities it’s often hard to give them what they want before they are off and running on another hot topic.
More than one parent has spent hours setting up projects and experiences for their kids only to find that the kiddos are no longer interested. This gets frustrating and carries the potential to get expensive quickly.
Do your kids draw a blank when asked what they want to learn next?
Other children may not know what they want to study. Most young children haven’t had access to enough different experiences and topics yet to know what gets them most excited about learning! While you can spend hours in the backyard and at local museums, high quality books and carefully curated hands on activities bring so many things to life in our own living room everyday.
Imagine having a bountiful supply of beautifully illustrated books with descriptive and engaging descriptions at your fingertips topped off with engaging stories that excite your kids about learning. Imagine having a guidebook full of suggestions for how to approach those topics with extension activities and additional ideas already organized for you. That friend is the benefit of Sonlight.
Are your kids shouldering your decision fatigue?
We celebrate the right to let our children remain children in our homeschools and yet we are often quick to pigeonhole them based on one or two interests. It’s unfair to place the entire burden of what is studied in a homeschool solely upon a child’s shoulders. Rather than constantly quizzing our children about what they want to study next or trying to follow leads that go everywhere and nowhere all at once, imagine giving them a path to follow. Sure they can pause to smell the flowers. They can full stop and dive down loads of wonderful rabbit holes of deep learning. With Sonlight they never get completely off track, because they always have somewhere to go next.
How Not to Use Big Box Curricula
Now don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely possible to have a horrible non-child centered homeschool with any big box curricula. Like most big box curricula Sonlight does come with a schedule. There is a set collection of materials to be used within a 36 week time frame. This framework can be super helpful, but it is a suggested approach, not a timeline set in stone.
You are in charge of your homeschool, not Sonlight. Sonlight is a tool that enables you to bring a Christian view of the world into your homeschool on a myriad of subjects in a manner more interesting than any textbook or traditional classroom approach. The focus is on books and on empowering you to get your family hooked on learning.
Sonlight is a launching point to a successful homeschool, not a constraining force. You are still in charge of choosing how best to utilize this amazing tool to benefit your children and your family. After all this is your homeschool!
Sonlight Lets You Focus On Your Child
The hard truth is child centered homeschool is challenging regardless of what curricula you use. Our children may be interested in all kinds of things or appear to have no concrete interests at all. As parents we bear the responsibility of presenting them information that gets them fired up about learning. Here’s where Sonlight comes to the rescue. With a broad overview of lots of topics and a plentiful supply of literature the kids always have something to investigate.
Instead of spending time perusing book lists and making the world’s largest Pinterest board full of projects, you spend time reading, exploring, and learning with your child. When a topic from Sonlight ignites a spark you can pause and dig deeper into that subject together. When you encounter a topic that falls short you know exactly where to go next. You are never left without a new move.
Ready to Give Sonlight a Try?
Sonlight offers complete curriculum packages by grade and/or level. They include everything you need to start homeschooling right away. After you get past the idea that “big box” has to mean stiff and rigid you can get on with enjoying your homeschool and benefiting from Sonlight!
Interested in trying to inject a little order into a delight driven homeschool? Here are a few great options!
- Just Book Collections
- Hands on Homeschool Science
- STEM / STEAM resources
- History Project Kits
- Additional Electives & Enrichment
Read more about Sonlight!
Visit our Sonlight Curriculum Page.
Follow our Sonlight Adventures!
Wishing you joy, peace, and most of all faith in your homeschool!
Still not sure? Let me help! Here are five ways that I’ve homeschooled with success using Sonlight in our child led homeschool.