This curriculum has truly changed our lives. No other curriculum has reached our hearts and impacted our lifestyle and even our thinking as much as this curriculum has. When you experience something like that, you can’t help but want to share it with the rest of the world. So here we are. Sharing it 🙂
We pray that this curriculum will be as much as a blessing to you, as it has been to us.
Let’s get started.
Firstly, Sonlight Education Ministries is currently a free curriculum which is available for download (links for downloading given at the end of this post). You print what you need, as you go.
The Sonlight Curriculum is broken up as follows:
So for us as a family, we have been through the entire Family Bible Lessons and are going through them now for the second time. We have also supplemented with a language curriculum, a second-language curriculum and a maths curriculum. In 2018, we plan to begin the Grades 2-8 lessons.
OK, let’s take a more detailed look at the Family Bible Lessons now …
Family Bible Lessons
The Sonlight Family Bible Lessons focus on Bible, Nature and Character development.
The lessons are spread over three years, that is, you go through the entire Bible (from Genesis to Revelation) in three years. When you are finished you start over again, progressing in more detail. Because there is also a simplified lesson book for Little Children, you can actually begin these lessons from birth! This means that by the time the child is 9 years old, he/she could have been through the entire bible three times!
Each quarter, you focus on a different nature theme (eg, trees, insects, rocks, birds etc). Below is a breakdown of each year (remember, the lessons run over a three year period) and the nature theme for each quarter…
OK, now stay with me, every week you focus on a different character trait (eg. self-control, kindness, perseverance, helpfulness etc). So, for example, in Year 1 Quarter 1 the Bible lessons will be starting in Genesis, the Nature lessons will be on Plants & Trees and each week you will have a different character trait which ties the bible and nature lessons together. Throughout the weekly lesson there are numerous ideas and suggestions for applying the lessons to everyday life. See a sample of Year 1 Quarter 1 below…
Now, here is the real beauty of the Sonlight curriculum. Here is what sets this curriculum apart from any other curriculum: the Family Bible Lessons teach us how to use nature as the lens to understand the Bible lesson better. This is the highest method in teaching, learning and remembering. This is KEY. Remember, the first seven years are the most impressionable years of our lives. Learning how to read God’s handwriting in creation is the highest education.
OK, lets quickly go through the lesson books you will find available for download. For each quarter, you will find the following files:
- Children’s Activity Book.pdf
- Family Bible Lessons.pdf
- Little Children’s Bible Lessons.pdf
Let’s start at the bottom and go up. The Little Children’s Bible Lesson is for Birth – 3 years of age. It is a very simple lesson focused on daily repetition. It contains the memory verse, poems, hymns and practical ideas on how to teach the lesson. The Family Bible Lesson is the main parent/teacher lesson book. Please, don’t be overwhelmed when you look at the lesson book. Only do what your children are able to. The Family Bible Lessons are designed with the whole family in mind and so more is given, instead of less. Pick and choose what you know your child will be able to understand and keep it simple. Lastly the Children’s Activity Book contains activities, puzzles, poems, pictures to colour, stories and much, much more to supplement with your lesson. I found this book to be most beneficial once your children have started reading and writing.
Ok, so how?
Find a way to implement it. When we started these lessons, I had a four year old and a busy two year old. The only way I could see this working was by doing the Bible lesson while they ate their breakfast at the table and the Nature lesson while they ate their lunch. Because they were eating, they were quiet and stayed in one place. I would ask questions all the time (in between mouthfuls!) and keep it very simple. If it got too much, I would leave it for the next day.
When I first started using this curriculum, I would go through the entire week’s lesson at the beginning of the week and highlight what I thought I would be able to teach to my children, things they would be able to understand and things they would find interesting. As the mother and teacher we need to be able to turn the meat into milk for our children. Don’t try to go through everything as this may be too much for the child. Do what you can, keep the lesson simple, easy and enjoyable. You will be amazed how quickly your child will be able to take on more and more information and how they remember everything like a sponge.
Keep a routine.
During the day we had a structured routine which was stuck on the wall with pictures (for those who couldn’t read!) so that everyone knew what was coming next. We did many chores and as we did our chores we practiced our character trait that we were learning about that week. Also, whenever we were out in nature, we would always look for spiritual lessons that would teach us or remind us about God, our Bible Lesson, or our character trait for the week. In our routine, we also allocated time for reading many character building stories. When it was Play Time, we listened to scripture songs while we played. Every week I would do a google/pinterest search for a suitable craft/activity/colouring page that we could do in the morning. Sonlight has started Pinterest groups for the Family Bible Lessons (see the link for the Pinterest pages below) so you will never be short of ideas!
If you’re not enjoying it, you’re doing something wrong. Make it memorable, make it fun, make it special. Go slow. Make it into an experience your children will remember fondly. Let the lessons be simple, but let them make beautiful impression upon their minds. Each of my girls had an A4 notebook where we stuck in all our memorabilia of the lessons we had learnt. If they had made a craft or had done an experiment (something that couldn’t be stuck into the book!), I would take a photo of it. All the photos would then get printed and stuck into the notebook as well! My girls love looking back on all the fun we had. As we go through the Family Bible Lessons for the second time now, they often eagerly refer back to their original notebooks with “I remember doing this!”.
Below is a listing of all of the Sonlight Resources currently available.
Sonlight Education Ministry Website
Sonlight Google Drive for downloading the entire free collection. Start in the ’00 Start Here’ folder and begin by reading the Roadmap to get an overview of the curriculum.
Sonlight Facebook Group (public group)
Sonlight Facebook Group (closed group)
Sonlight Pinterest (ideas for Family Bible Lessons)
Are you currently using the Sonlight curriculum? How did you get started? What were your struggles? What were your joys? Share with us in the comments below… 🙂
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