My love for Sonlight is two-sided, I’ve discovered. First of all, and most obviously, I love their curriculum because I don’t have to worry about writing lesson plans. Back in my early childhood ed. days at CURF (am I still allowed to call it that? Or do I have to go with the somewhat irritating, and, in my opinion, horribly inaccurate, CUC?), and even into my DCE studies (you’d be surprised how many lesson plans DCEs in training have to write!) I hated writing lesson plans, unless it was a topic that I was really interested in or passionate about. I just dreaded sitting down and putting in the time and effort (but mostly the time!) it took to make a good lesson. Now, if I taught full-time, or even if I was still working as a DCE, and writing my own Bible studies, I’m sure I would have gotten better, or at least more efficient at it, but still…
As it is, though, I’m glad I don’t have that task to worry about! Sonlight has provided me with fantastic (in my opinion, at least) lesson plans for all my subjects. I just review what we’re going to be doing the week before we do it, and I’m ready to go! Such a burden lifted…I doubt I’d make it as a homeschooling mom if I had to write all my own lessons (or at least I wouldn’t be doing a very good job of it!).
But, the flip-side of that is this–because I’m not bogged down with daily lesson plans for things like history, math, and language arts, I can use my time to create lessons for the extra stuff I actually want to do. Like my Olympics unit, which I basically put together by myself, that we did before school started. Fun holidays, extra topics we want to study, more in-depth religion (and doctrine, if you will–gotta raise those little Lutherans right!), those things I actually enjoy planning lessons for. Yeah, they’re probably not formatted “correctly,” and I’m sure I’m not covering all the things I’m supposed to. But I don’t have to worry about that, because I have 36 weeks of good, solid lesson plans for all the subjects prepared for me, and anything else I add to that is just icing on the cake (good thing we’re inclined toward year-round schooling, because I have a feeling I’m going to be tacking on a month or more of my own lessons!).
Between now and the end of the year, I have a special one-day unit on the Reformation planned (another fantastic thing about Sonlight–because of the way the curriculum is organized, it’s super easy to compress five days worth of lessons into four if you want to or need to–as a matter of fact, if I understand it correctly, I’ll have the option of having four or five days worth of curriculum starting next year. Still planning on using the full five, but it’s nice to have the option…), a three-day Thanksgiving unit (along with an extra five days of Thanksgiving readers in place of our normal Little House readers the week before Thanksgiving), and a five to ten day Christmas unit. (What can I say? I love Christmas, and I have a ton of ideas involving the history of Christmas celebrations, world cultures, and, of course, the birth of Christ. And no Santa! Another plus to homeschooling!)
So, I can love Sonlight both because I don’t have to plan lessons, and because, since they have prepared the lessons for me, I have extra time and I get to plan the fun stuff. The best of both worlds–I love it!