Thursday, June 10, 2010

Children's Literature and Why I'm Not a Huge Sonlight Fan

So, today's topic is literature. I'm getting excited already! Can you tell? (smile)

I just LOVE children's literature. I love how it connects a parent and child. I love how it informs through non-fiction books. I love the stories that are told through fictional tales. I love how pictures are illustrated oh, so carefully and how each illustrator has his/her own style. I love books! Now, with that said, I think there are some really lowsy books out there and it's up to us as parents to pre-read these books before we give them to our children. No, they may not contain a mass murder story or use inappropriate language. I don't know any children's literature that does, personally. However, there are books out there that portray "if it feels good, do it", or "any mix of family is okay and should be accepted". There are books out there that give reference to the age of our world and assume it is fact that our world is millions of years old (gotta check out Ken Ham and his dinosaur books if you haven't already...wonderful author and takes teaches creation through is stories!).


I know I could talk for hours about them and I could sit here for hours sharing every book that I adore, but I won't. I want to share today why I'm not a huge Sonlight (curriculum that is literature-based) fan. Before I get started, I in no way mean to offend anyone in particular. I just want to put some information out there for parents. Information to contimplate and sit on before you purchase a curriculum for your kiddos.

First of all, Sonlight is a good program and I do love the fact that they ARE literature-based. I think that a teacher can stand up and lecture until he/she's blue in the face, but a student may not retain a thing. Books are a wonderful thing because they engage the child. They present an opportunity to use a 'funny voice'. There are pictures. You can read a story over and over (and over) again to retain knowledge. However, I want parents to think for a second. Sonlight is a curriculum that CHOOSES the literature FOR YOU! There are some wonderful stories and non-fiction books through Sonlight. I've used their book lists to check out books for my own kiddos, but I have personally found that researching (yes, go to the bookstore, 'pop a squat' on the floor and READ through books) the literature I'm going to be reading and teaching through has given ME, the parent/educator the choice to choose my children's books. Now, I realize that you can't purchase every book your child will read. There will be trips to the library where you're not pre-reading a story before your child 'pops their own squat' on the floor and reads it (Don't you love that phrase...'pop a squat'? I always have and use it frequently!). I have really enjoyed researching books on my OWN and finding literature that fits our learning styles as a family.

I've really enjoyed reading up on others' blogs and seeing how they're implementing books into their lessons. I used to have time for making a list of every book we've read that ties into our lessons, but I haven't for a long time. Maybe this year, we'll get back into the swing of things. (smile)

Know that I'm not against Sonlight. I think that Sonlight can be a wonderful way for parents who might not have an education background or who might feel intimidated at beginning home education. To them I say...go for it! Sonlight has been a blessing to many families that we personally know. I just know that for us, we have been truly blessed with doing our own research on literature and have found some real treasures when it comes to books. I'll share a few today, but these are just a couple of books that we love reading over and over again.

These books (A Picture Book of...) are by David A. Adler and I think they're so straight forward and very educational. There are many of these books on different people and what's so great is that they are informative, but at a young level.

This book is one of my favorites. It's great to read right before Independance Day as well. It talks the reader through the story of how America came to be. I would rate this book good for ages 4-adult. (really) Obviously, if your 4-year-old can't read all the words, you'll have to help him/her, but Avonlea and I love sitting down and reading this historical story together. This year, for the 4th of July, we're planning on making a birthday cake for America.

This is a non-fiction book believe it or not! There really was a little boy named Samuel Eaton and this book tries to recreate his life as a seven-year-old boy coming over from England to America in 1627. The photos are not cartoon and the book is full of interesting facts. Love this one!

This book is just as the title says, "When to Say 'Yes' and When to Say 'No' ". It's a great book on teaching Biblical boundaries. Jill over at Reflections on Becoming shared this book awhile back and I ordered it that day. So far, the kids adore it!

These "My Favorite Verses" books are fantastic and they use common scriptures to tell a story, along with great illustrations. There are many of them. These are the ones we have...

In a Nutshell:

Am I against Sonlight? NO. There are some wonderful things about this particular curriculum. However, I feel that you can be blessed even more by finding specific literature that fits your family's needs, particuarly each individual child's needs.

I could sit here for hours sharing pictures of my favorite literature, but I won't bore you! :) As our new school year begins in the fall, my goal is to get better at posting what we're covering, along with matching literature. There are so many good books out there, but as parents, we don't always have hours upon hours (uninterrupted!) to sit down on the floor of a library or bookstore and thumb through books. So, if you have great book you've been reading to your little ones, let's see it!

Do share. :)

1 comment:

Luke said...

Thanks for posting this, Kelli. I'm glad you love pouring over materials and have the time to do so. May you continue in that, and I hope many families are encouraged and assisted by the work you've done and shared here. I think you have expressed Reason #10 why Sonlight isn't right for many families very well. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience and insights.