Are you one of the many mothers who feel overwhelmed by the Sonlight curriculum and don’t know where or even how to start? As we begin the Grades 2-8 lessons, I thought I would share with you how we go about it. I’ve tried my best to keep it simple and I’ve broken it up into manageable bite-size chunks. But please please do note: obviously we are not perfect and obviously we are not the pattern! All that we hope is that somehow we can be an encouragement to others and inspire them to begin this beautiful curriculum and to also share their stories!
Before We Begin
Let’s just make sure we are all on the same page. If you are not familiar with the Sonlight Education Ministries curriculum, please take a look at this post which introduces the curriculum, gives an outline of how the curriculum fits together and also introduces the Family Bible Lessons. The post that you are reading right now is the first of many which will walk you through getting started with the Grades 2 – Grades 8 Lessons (ie. ages 9 – 14 years). No matter what the age of your child is (between 9-14 years), Sonlight recommends beginning with Lesson 1 and working through the Lessons sequentially, step by step. The Lessons are designed to accommodate all ages (ie. one can go into more advanced detail with older children, or keep the lesson simple for younger children). Also, please don’t forget to refer to Sonlight’s Roadmap. This booklet gives an outline of the entire curriculum, sample schedules, teaching tips and an overview of all the lessons and how they fit together.
Great – now that that’s all out of the way …
Lets Get Started!
The Grades 2-8 Lessons incorporate the following subjects: Bible, Health, Nature, Maths, Music, Language, Speech and History/Geography/Prophecy. Sonlight recommends supplementing with a first language curriculum. Even though Maths is included as a subject, many families supplement with a maths curriculum as well.
The lessons are laid out as follows:
- Rainbow Covenant (introduction)
- Spelling from the Scriptures (teacher read through or go through with students)
- Lesson 1
- Bible (1), Health (1), Nature(1), Maths(1), Music(1), Language(1), Speech(1) and History/Geography/Prophecy(1)
- Lesson 2
- Bible(2), Health(2), Nature(2), Maths(2), Music(2), Language(2), Speech(2) and History/Geography/Prophecy(2)
- Lesson 3 … -> Lesson 13
To understand how the Grades 2-8 academic lessons work and should be used, there are three files that are absolutely essential:
The first two are found in the Sonlight Google Drive 2-8 Grade Lessons folder. We will take a more in depth look at this folder and what’s in it at a later stage. Spelling from the Scriptures is found in the main Sonlight Education Ministry Curriculum folder. Let’s take a look at what each file is all about…
Outline for Lesson 1
This is simply a sample outline or schedule suggesting how you should begin the Grade 2-8 lessons. Download this file, print it or read it online, and familiarize yourself with it’s contents.
The Rainbow Covenant
In a nutshell, this is an introduction for the parent and for the student to the various subjects that you will be studying in the Grades 2-8 Lessons. Basically it encourages the student to make a covenant or commitment to God to try to be more like Him every day – something we all should be doing! It is a short booklet of about 20 pages. You would go through this Rainbow Covenant booklet with your child(ren) before beginning Lesson 1’s various subjects.
Spelling from the Scriptures
Before beginning Lesson 1, it is important to take a look at the Sonlight booklet Spelling from the Scriptures. Lessons 1 -> 13 contain spelling lists that are used to make spelling cards and the instructions for making these spelling cards are in this booklet. As the teacher, you can go through it by yourself or, if you choose, much of this booklet can be done with your children. This booklet continues with the rainbow theme, so it is great to use after doing the ‘Rainbow Covenant’ and before starting Lesson 1. To learn more about this booklet, you can also take a look at this post which gives more detail and even takes you through making a spelling card step-by-step.
We went through the Rainbow Covenant slowly and thoroughly. You may have noticed in the Outline for Lesson 1 that Sonlight recommends going through the first 3 pages of the Rainbow Covenant in one day – we only did one page a day. I felt that it was foundational and I didn’t want to rush through it. I wanted my children to fully understand the concept of making a covenant with the Lord and the reasons why we would be studying each subject. I also wanted to make it a little bit more memorable with some fun ‘rainbow making’ activities added in. 🙂
Sonlight also suggests starting the academic subjects on Day 2 (and working through the rest of the Rainbow Covenant in parallel with the academic subjects.) Because we went through the Rainbow Covenant slowly, we only began the academic subjects once we were completely finished. Remember that these lessons are not a race with time, but rather an experience with God.
I will be sharing in the days to come, some of the highlights of our Rainbow Covenant lessons. As I have said before, we are not the pattern and I encourage other families who want to use this curriculum, to find a way that works for you and your family.
Tips and Suggestions for Getting Started:
- Work through the Rainbow Covenant at your family’s own pace. The first 3 pages can even be done during Morning Worship.
- Do not start any of your academic subjects until you have reached page 3 (page 3 explains each academic subject).
- After page 10 in the Rainbow Covenant, come the individual colours. Starting with white, once a week (perhaps on a Monday), go through one of the colour pages. Find pictures of that specific colour (eg. White) in nature to stick in your book and go for a nature walk looking for things of that colour. The following week do the next colour ‘Red’, then the next week ‘Orange’ etc. until you have been through all the colours.
That’s it! Now you know everything you need to know to get you started with the Rainbow Covenant!
Other Helps To Get You Started
Because this curriculum is based upon True Education principles, it’s pretty important to know what True Education is all about and how to implement these principles. Consider setting aside a portion of your day for your own education and as you learn new things, you can begin to implement them in your child’s education. Here are some great resources to get you started:
What is True Education? (our own personal study of the book Education by Ellen White)
Ten Principles of True Education Training Course (Sonlight’s pdf book)
Ten Principals of True Education Course (2018) (youtube videos by Yolanda Pugh)
Uchee Pines Education Seminar (2017) (Teresa & Kimberly Kodimer, Joshua White youtube)
Teaching (Sonlight Lessons) from the Bible (audio)
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