Sonlight Review: Exploring American History One Book at a Time

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We absolutely love history in our homeschool, and it is a close second behind our favorite subject math. Over the years we have studied the Middle Ages, and we have studied lots of English history, but now is the time for us to focus on American history. Carry on reading for our Sonlight review.

We are from the UK and have only been in America for the last 4 years, so learning about American history is a new subject for all of us.

Sonlight is a literature-based curriculum and this is our first time using them. The reason we had not used Sonlight previously is that it is a Christian curriculum and we are secular homeschoolers.

Carry on reading to find out what we love about the Sonlight curriculum, and why as secular homeschoolers we highly recommend Sonlight American History.

This is one of the best homeschooling resources for homeschooling history.

sonlight review

**Disclosure: I was compensated for my time to write this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only share resources that I would use with my own family and those that I believe other homeschool families will enjoy. There may be affiliate links in this post.**

We love to play board games in our homeschool too, and these best history board games are our absolute favorites.

If you are looking for even more homeschool curriculum reviews check out all of the others we have reviewed over the years.

Should a Secular Homeschooler Consider Sonlight?

Sonlight is a literature-based curriculum, which is absolutely perfect for us, as we LOVE books.

We had of course heard about Sonlight previously, I mean you can’t get away from it living in America. But we had always dismissed it. It is an openly Christian curriculum, and we are secular homeschoolers. Everyone raves about it, but is it really ok for us?

As we started to look for an American history curriculum though, I soon realized that my options were very limited. Freddie loves to read, and the Sonlight American History curriculum ticked all of the boxes, so why was I so hesitant?

I believed, and I feel ashamed to say it now, that any Christian homeschool curriculum would just not be for us. That it would only talk about the Bible and all the readings would be from a Biblical standpoint.

Sonlight does talk about the Bible, in fact, in every lesson, there are recommended Bible readings. But do you know what? You can just ignore that section.

Carry on reading for our review of Sonlight American history, and see why even as secular homeschoolers we still highly recommend Sonlight.

Sonlight American History

We are using History / Bible / Literature D: Intro to American History, Year 1 of 2 which is aimed at children aged 9-12 (grades 4-7). It is based on a 4 day week over the course of 36 weeks.

sonlight american history curriculum

The curriculum needs absolutely no preparation, which is an absolute win for us. Everything you need is included, even including the marker pens for the maps.

With other programs, we have used it just says read book, XYZ, which can take a week to read before you can go on to the next lesson. Sonlight breaks it down absolutely perfectly, telling you what pages or chapters to read each day.

I also love the Timeline book, we have tried recreating our own in the past which has been great but it never survives longer than 3 months of us using it. So this book is absolutely perfect. It also comes with stickers to add to the book as and when required. I mean, who doesn’t love stickers!

sonlight timeline

What’s Included?

I am totally blown away, we have been homeschooling for 4 years now, and I promise you this is the most concise, well thought out curriculum we have ever used.

The box arrived and Freddie who LOVES books and wants to create a library in our home, nearly cried with the number of books included. I currently have them all around me while writing this review, and my table is completely full.

If your kids love books and love to read this hands down is the curriculum for you.

This is what material was in the box:

  • Ring-binder with tabs already added (there are 40 tabs!)
  • The timeline book (with stickers to add to it)
  • World/USA markable map (they have even included 4 colored marker pens!)
  • Sonlight tote bag (this is really sturdy so you can easily carry a few of the books and study in the park, or in your co-op.)
  • Detailed instructor guide which is then added week by week into your binder.

Books included:

sonlight books

I am not going to list them all as there are so many, but this is the breakdown:

  • 6 history books
  • 13 read-aloud books
  • 16 reader books
  • 2 bible books + 1 CD

Sonlight has made this super easy for you too. You can order a FREE 3-week sample of any of their curriculums so you can try before you buy.

What do we think of Sonlight Literature Curriculum?

I was a little skeptical at first about choosing a Christian curriculum (carry on reading to see why). But hands down, this is the best homeschool curriculum we have used.

Yes, it’s expensive, but it comes with everything you need. We always purchase books needed for any new curriculum and when you take this into account, you will see the value. The books alone would cost the same as the entire curriculum. So for us, it is a no-brainer.

We have started now we are in middle school to give Freddie more independence with his learning. It is working out so well, he feels more grown-up and feels that I trust him to do his work. Now when I say independent learning, he is still sitting in the same room as me as I work, but he is doing the curriculum on his own.

This Sonlight homeschool curriculum is absolutely perfect for this. It breaks it down into so much detail for him that he can do this.

sonlight us history

What about the read-alouds though? Great, he will come to me with the book and the chapter that needs to be read and I read it, or he will read it himself. At the end of the day’s readings, I will go through the questions with him to check his understanding.

I love that he can navigate through the books on his own, and it is so well organized.

It is honestly, so much better than I was expecting.

Take a look for yourself, you can even get a free 3-week try before you buy sample.

Sonlight Review from a Secular Homeschool Family

OK, I know you are thinking this, but what about the religious aspect? Out of the 37 books, there are actually only 2 religious books. The reading books are just that, classic reading books. The history books are not religiously focused. The reason it is a Christian homeschool curriculum is in the daily planner. There are readings from the bible before every class, both parent-read and student readings.

We didn’t own a bible before receiving this Sonlight homeschool curriculum, we are not religious. However, it is a book. Freddie loves to read, so he has been following the daily planner including the Bible readings.

This in no way offends us, in fact, he talks more about the Bible reading than the other books. Will this mean he will still be an atheist? Yes, I can’t imagine that ever changing, but if it does, that’s ok with me too. I love the fact that he is finally showing an interest in learning about religion.

Actually, it has encouraged me to buy this book on the 12 major religions so he gets a fully rounded understanding of the religions of the world.

For us, even if we never opened the 2 religious books, and didn’t follow the bible readings, this is a FANTASTIC curriculum.

sonlight literature

Would I use Sonlight again? Absolutely, without hesitation.

In fact, I feel a little silly that only a couple of months ago I would have immediately dismissed it due to it being religious. I have never considered myself to be small-minded, and I thank Sonlight for opening my eyes to something that I thought would be somehow wrong or not for us.

Feel free to message me with any questions about Sonlight, and I am happy to talk more about it. But please do not miss out on this amazing curriculum because you are secular homeschoolers.

Order your Sonlight American History curriculum today, I promise your only regret will be not trying it sooner.

Sonlight for the Secular Homeschooler

Homeschool of One is a secular blog, I am openly agnostic, and my husband and son are atheists. So why am I reviewing this clearly Christian curriculum?

Simple answer, it is the best. History is our second favorite subject, and if you are also secular homeschoolers you will know finding the best homeschool history curriculum is hard!

  • Yes, there are lots of Bible references in the curriculum.
  • Yes, there are lots of Bible readings.

But do you know what? You can ignore that section (in fact we chose to read the Bible, he’s never read it before, so why not). It didn’t offend me. It didn’t interfere with the curriculum, and it certainly didn’t interfere with the amazing books that were included in the bundle.

Yes, it is aimed at Christian homeschoolers, if that is you, you are going to LOVE this. If you are secular like us though, you are STILL GOING TO LOVE IT.

Additional history resources

Our top 10 best history books for kids that every child should read.

History lap book from Sonlight

Best homeschool world history curriculum from Sonlight

Last Updated on 29 February 2024 by Clare Brown

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