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onlight grew out of the reading, study, and a learner’s heart in Most children can’t imagine that anyone lives th
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hands-on experience of John and Sarita students. differently than they do. They have no idea there ho
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Holzmann as they educated their four children. What good does it do to fill children’s minds with is a big world around them filled with people who C
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Sonlight continues to grow from the feedback have completely different experiences from their ex
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all manner of information if they never learn how
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and input we receive from our customers— ho- to learn, or if they never acquire a heartfelt desire own.
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meschoolers like you! for education? So, as I have just noted, we expose students
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We know you care about more than just what We want our kids to grow up with the same at- to world cultures and world history in Preschool M
information your children absorb. You are very titude and conviction Solomon had: “[Wisdom] and Kindergarten. And even when we study se
concerned about what kind of people they will is more profitable than silver and yields better American history, we focus not only on standard w
become. We share that concern. And in this ar- returns than gold. She is more precious than ru- history—the political heroes, the battles and w
ticle, we discuss the top goals we’ve had in mind bies; nothing you desire can compare with her.” large social movements. We focus, too, on the fa
as we developed—and continue to develop— (Proverbs 3:13-15) smaller, more personal-scale social and cultural
Sonlight Curriculum ... so you can evaluate Son- issues as well.
When students want to learn, nothing will by
light in light of your values and your goals. We also do what we can to help students un-
stop them from achieving their goal. But if our of

1 Teach students to seek God’s


Kingdom above all else.
We believe this is the primary goal Jesus set be-
sole work is to simply pass on information to our
children: will they continue to educate them-
selves after “school” is done? We want them not
derstand history as it looks from the perspective
of people who are outside the halls of power and
who, for social or cultural reasons, just see things
ar
$2
og
fore all of us who claim to be His disciples: “Seek only to acquire knowledge, but to love to learn. differently than we ourselves and “our own” peo-
first His [God’s] kingdom and His righteousness.” ple have always been taught to view them.
Consider the standard “social studies” ap-
(Matthew 6:33) proach to culture in which students learn first Sonlight seeks to achieve this goal by offering “a
a We want to keep that goal in front of ourselves
and our students—at all times.
about things with which they are already familiar
(my “community”), before they learn about topics
children compelling historical fiction and intrigu-
ing biographies . . . so they can “experience”
ag
do
with which they are less familiar (“my state,” “my life as these “others” experience it. Through the an
Not only does Sonlight challenge students to
country,” etc.). Sonlight takes almost the exact power of a story, they get to walk with a young id
think from God’s perspective in the solid Bible
opposite approach. Incan llama keeper, or a meet a young man who m
and apologetics curriculum we offer, we also pro-
faces the daily challenges of life during America’s w
mote purposeful parent/child dialogue with this We begin by introducing students to what is
Revolutionary War.
aim. different and unfamiliar. Rather than just becom-
ing acquainted with the roles of policemen and We believe that when students enjoy this kind m
Our Instructor’s Guides aid this goal through
firemen, your primary-age children could read of up-close view of ordinary people, they remem- T
Discussion Questions designed to spark “teach-
books like Granny Han’s Breakfast with you to ber lessons in history and understand culture in kn
able moments” and meaningful conversations
learn about a Christian ambassador to China. a deeper way. va
between you and your children related to the
books they are reading. We’ve designed these They could discover how people have learned
4 Inspire students to honor Christ au
Articles

questions to help children filter all they learn to grow food in desert climates, even catch a boldly—in speech and conduct. fe
through the lens of putting God’s honor above glimpse of ancient Egypt and medieval Europe— We believe the Christian faith is not merely in-
all. all to give them a broad taste for the excitement tended to grant us eternal personal comfort; it is fo
of learning and the diversity of God’s world. meant to change the way we live and, through us, th
That way, you and your students to alter the world around us. d
enjoy the surprise factor, the de- of
That’s why, from the earliest years, we include
light factor, and the ability to see, u
materials to help children memorize Scripture
hear, and experience things you th
and understand what the Bible is all about.
wouldn’t expect. That’s part of the am
adventure of education. But the legacy of God’s people extends far be-
yond the Scriptures. It continues to the present be
After they become familiar with
day. And we realize that, in order to emphasize
the unfamiliar, we reintroduce stu- lu
this amazing legacy of God’s people through the
dents to their own culture. Now
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ages, we must provide children an historical and
they can compare, contrast, and
biographical view of the world.
see it all in a bigger light.
We want children to find true heroes—people T
Besides our desire to create this
whose lives they can emulate, and people whose tw
sense of perspective, and to instill
lives they want to emulate. tw
enthusiasm and interest, we focus
on the unfamiliar and “foreign” We want them to read biographies that not u
because we want to... only tell them about the good deeds of others C
and the wise habits these people demonstrated,
3 Raise children with
a godly heart for the
world.
but also stories that help them see these people
as they really were: people whom God has used
n
ca
despite their shortcomings. fo
“This picture of my son Samuel (7), laying in the grass reading to my God’s plans are for all peoples. We want children to sense the excitement so
daughter Teigan (3), captures so much of the relational side that I love And we want never to forget what and challenge of following Jesus in big and little sa
about homeschooling with Sonlight. My children love the time that they is foremost on God’s heart. Thus things—not only at home, at church, and in fam- or
spend together learning with Sonlight and are very close,” writes Karyn we are unwilling to focus solely,
H of Summerland, British Columbia. “Thank you, Sonlight, for adding ily relations, but also in the worlds of work and of sp
to the joy of our close-knit family.”
or even primarily, on the West cultural development. de
and western history.
te
re
156 7 EASY PAYMENTS! Buy now, pay for your Sonlight order over 6 months! It’s easy, fast, and affordable! Call 303-730-6292 for details.

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We want children, through their reading, to Studies have shown, and we have seen it the value of quality scholarship. We believe it

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see, know, understand, and be willing to make proven time and again: children whose parents has a direct and valuable impact on a person’s

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the sacrifices needed to fulfill God’s purposes in read to them regularly and at length are far more ambassadorship. The person who has “done

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their lives. capable of listening and understanding what his homework” is in a far better position than

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they hear than are children whose parents read he who has not to communicate effectively and

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We believe students are most likely to catch

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to them but little. winsomely with people who hold different per-

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es the vision and strive for these goals when we

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hold up godly examples of self-sacrifice and a Sonlight Read-Aloud Classics will entice you spectives.

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ho Christ-centered life and when we push them to and your children to read together—often, and Create within students a love for

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ir examine their faith in light of the world. at great length. And your children will learn to great literature—and prepare

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5 Train children to become winsome listen. them for action on important issues.

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ts ambassadors for Christ. A second means by which we teach students to We who continue to develop Sonlight Curricu-

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ol Most curricula (especially Christian curricula) listen has a slightly different purpose. We seek to lum can’t imagine a quicker, easier, more enjoy-
dy seem to focus entirely on “message” content— convey different sides to an argument. We want able way to gain wisdom and knowledge than to
rd what students need to know and believe so they students to learn to respond appropriately and read great books. We believe quality literature,
nd will quickly recognize and reject whatever is confidently to ideas different from their own. whether written by Christians or non-Christians,
he false. Many people—both children and adults—are should cause us to search the Scriptures to find
al afraid of what “the opposition” may say. Our out how Jesus would respond in certain circum-
Christians often justify this educational focus
minds become so filled with worry about our stances.
by referring to the U.S. Secret Service’s method
n- of preparing anti-counterfeit agents. New agents possible inability to reply appropriately that we As students seek these answers and think
ve are made so familiar with honest-to-goodness never hear what the other person has to say. carefully about these subjects, they prepare
nd $20, $50, and $100 bills that they are able to rec- So most of us are far more comfortable to re- themselves for the future when they will find
gs ognize counterfeit bills immediately. main ignorant of other people’s claims than to themselves in situations similar to those they’ve
o- first become familiar with what they have to say, read about.
We believe this analogy is good ... to a point.

ng
Interestingly, however, Scripture uses more
“active” language than that of anti-counterfeit
and then to find quality answers or, possibly, to
admit they have a point we had never thought 10 Raise “culturally literate”
students.
u-
e”
agents. The Apostle Paul speaks of ambassa-
dors and soldiers for Christ. And ambassadors
about before.
Sonlight refuses to bow to this fear or laziness.
In his bestselling work, Cultural Literacy, E.D.
Hirsch, Jr. shows there is a certain basic set of
a
he and soldiers don’t merely identify the enemy or This fits well with our next goal: background information every person must
ng
ho
’s
identify what is alien and then run away. They
must engage the enemy; they must interact with
whatever is not part of “their own.”
7 Teach students, through
experience, that God is faithful;
listening to other views won’t destroy
know in order to get along in a culture—let alone
to influence that culture.
A person must be aware of the key historical
And so, ambassadors must not only be inti- their faith. events, significant persons, movements, groups,
nd mately familiar with their authorized message. In other words, in the supportive environment and ideas that have shaped the culture.
m- They must also know their audience. They must of their parents’ home—with the help of their Sonlight seeks to help its students move far
n know what their audience thinks, believes, and parents—Sonlight teaches students the tools, beyond the basics. We want to raise world-
values. They must know the places where their techniques, knowledge, and skills of godly intel- changers: people who will make a difference—
audience’s mental, emotional, and spiritual de- lectual warfare. for good.

Articles
fenses are strong—and where they are weak. We want students to be convinced, through And we are seeing these world-changers step
n- Using the Biblical military analogy: soldiers experience, that there are legitimate answers to up to the plate already.
is for Christ must be taught not only to recognize questions coming from “the other side”. Even One Sonlighter published a novel at the age of
s, the enemy (what is false); they must be taught to when they don’t happen to know the answers, 15. Another family has two boys who expressed a
discover the peculiar strengths and weaknesses they need not run in fear. call to the mission field. One student is preparing
de of the enemy, what strategies the enemy will There is no need to fear because the truth— to influence the world of medicine, while another
re use, and what strategies they may use against God’s truth—will prevail. He who is in us truly served as a page for the U.S. Senate and plans
the enemy. Soldiers must also acquire a minimal is greater than he who is in the world (cf. 1 John to enter the field of law. All around us, students
e- amount of (at least simulated) combat experience 4:4). And He who is by our side really will give us are discovering their gifts and channeling them
nt before entering the fray. the right words to say when the time comes (cf. to further God’s kingdom in relevant ways.
ze All of these goals are ours in Sonlight Curricu- Matthew 10:18-20). Students come to know this And so we place a premium upon cultural lit-
he lum. Therefore, Sonlight is designed to ... not just in their heads, as an article of faith, but eracy.

6 Teach
nd students how to listen well in their hearts, through experience.
That’s why you’ll find so many famous books
to others. This is intimately tied to another goal Sonlight (some of which, especially in the older years, are
le The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “We have pursues: un-Christian) in our curriculum.

8 Inspire
se two ears and one mouth so that we can listen students to fulfill the work We believe our children must be made aware
twice as much as we speak.” Especially those of of true scholars. of these books and their content so that they
ot us who wish to be effective communicators for Through the books we have chosen and through have a foundational base of knowledge and,
rs Christ should listen more than we talk. our Instructor’s Guides, Sonlight Curriculum more importantly, so that they will be prepared
d, It makes sense. The act of listening commu- seeks to “walk our talk” and demonstrate true to respond to these cultural influences in a strong
le nicates powerfully to another person that you scholarship. and godly fashion.
ed care. After all, who would you believe truly cared Sonlight’s president, Sarita Holzmann, goes to So the question remains: What are your
for you and to whom would you give attention: great lengths to find books that capture beauty, goals? Do they match ours? If so: why not buy a
nt someone who listens intently to what you have to engage important ideas, grow students’ under- Sonlight Core program and enjoy the benefits? ■
le say before giving a gracious and thoughtful reply, standing of the world around them, and exhibit
m- or someone who—before you’ve even finished the highest standards of excellence. Sonlight’s
of speaking—launches into a prepared monologue Instructor’s Guides, too, draw students along in
designed to “set you straight”? the scholarly process, by asking key questions
We use two vehicles to teach students to lis- and presenting opposing arguments to encour-
ten. First, we have them listen while Mom or Dad age students to dig deeper. Some may question
reads.
ails. Help: www.sonlight-forums.com/choosing/ • Orders: www.sonlight.com/order/ • Phone: (303) 730-6292 • Fax: (303) 795-8668 157

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