So you’re wanting to get started with Lesson 1, but you’re still not quite sure how to go about it? Sonlight has a sample outline for Lesson 1 which will help you with structuring your teaching schedule and setting up your daily routine. This sample outline is also a great way to see how True Education principles have been put into practice. Even if you don’t use the Sonlight curriculum, it’s good to know these principles and how to use them so that you can apply them to which ever curriculum you happen to use.
If you are new here and have absolutely no idea what all of this is about … please catch up by reading the following posts:
- Introduction to Sonlight Education Ministries
- Sonlight Grades 2-8 Lessons: Getting Started
- Rainbow Covenant Day 1 (There are more Rainbow Covenant posts up till Day 8 – just follow the links on Day 1! This series of posts is our experience going through the Rainbow Covenant)
- Spelling from the Scriptures
Great! So now we should all be on the same page! 🙂 You will recall that the Grade 2-8 lessons are laid out as follows:
Where we are at right now, you would have already done the Rainbow Covenant, been through the Spelling from the Scriptures booklet … and you are itching to begin Lesson 1!
Outline for Lesson 1
Sonlight has provided us with two sample outlines to help you get Lesson 1 started. If you are browsing the Google drive you will find them in the folder “2-8 Grade Lessons“:
The main difference between the two is how they implement the rainbow covenant.
The first example spends a whole week going through the rainbow covenant and begins the Grade 2-8 lessons in week 2. It also contains a lot more detail and includes some tips to help you get started.
The second example spends only one day going through the rainbow covenant and assumes you will finish the rainbow covenant with your children in non-school time. It begins the Grade 2-8 lessons on day 2.
Even though I prefer the first example with all the extra info, it doesn’t really matter which Outline you refer to. The reason for this is because this outline is not intended to be followed time-wise (that is, getting through the same content as the example does in the same amount of time). Rather, it is more important to move at your family’s own pace. Instead we will use this outline to understand a few basic true education principles which we will go through below …
The Bible Lesson
You will notice in both the outline examples, that you will do your bible lesson every day during either morning or evening family worship. The Bible Lesson for Lesson 1 is chapter 1 from the book The Desire of Ages by Ellen White. Lesson 2’s Bible Lesson is chapter 2 and Lesson 3 is chapter 3 etc.
Do not move on to any of Lesson 2’s academic subjects until the Bible Lesson for Lesson 1 is complete. And vice versa – do not move on to the Bible Lesson for Lesson 2 until all the academic subjects for Lesson 1 are complete. The reason for this is because all the academic subjects reference the Bible Lesson. That specific chapter in the Desire of Ages is the theme that runs through all the subjects for that lesson.
Parents, if you would educate your children to serve God and do good in the world, make the Bible your textbook … Whatever else is taught in the home or at school, the Bible, as the great educator, should stand first. CG 510.2
Natural things were the medium for the spiritual; the things of nature and the life-experience of His hearers were connected with the truths of the written word. Leading thus from the natural to the spiritual kingdom… COL 17.2
… let all things seen become to them the interpreters of the unseen, and all the events of life be a means of divine teaching. Ed 102.3
So, this means that you will go through the Bible lesson very slowly. Little by little. Possibly meditating on one paragraph, bible verse or even one sentence at a time. Taking your time learning memory verses and singing the relevant hymns. Looking up words in the Websters 1828 Dictionary where the meaning is unclear. Discussing the character quality you are studying for the lesson (Lesson 1 happens to be Love).
But there is but little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the Scriptures. One may read the whole Bible through and yet fail to see its beauty or comprehend its deep and hidden meaning. One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained. Keep your Bible with you. As you have opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory. Even while you are walking the streets you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in the mind. SC 90.2
What happens if you finish the Bible Lesson before you are finished the other academic subjects for that lesson?
- You will find extra material in the Teacher section of the Language subject.
- If you finish the extra material, Sonlight suggests using your Nature lesson.
- Otherwise, simply start the chapter over again. Highlight and mark your bible. Review your memory verses.
- If you have further character building resources which fit in with the character trait for the lesson, they would also slot in nicely here.
Supplemental Language Curriculum
Something else you may notice in both the outline examples, is that every school day (Monday to Friday) you will do your language curriculum that you are supplementing with. This is your own first language curriculum of your choice. It is not to be confused with the Language subject in the Sonlight academic subjects.
When choosing your own language curriculum look for something that focuses on good, wholesome, meaningful and clean literature, poetry and writing topics. Below are listed a few examples, but there are many others you could choose from …
- Sonlight recommends The Writing & Spelling Road to Reading & Thinking (by the Riggs Institute)
- The Good and the Beautiful has a free Language Arts curriculum up till High School
- Rod and Staff also have great Language study subjects
If you go to the Sonlight Facebook group and do a search for “language curriculum” you will find many discussions and opinions on various language curriculums that others have tried in the past.
What would be the true education principals here? Well, firstly, a good reader, writer, speller, and speaker usually excels quickly in all other classes.
We may have knowledge, but unless we know how to use the voice correctly, our work will be a failure. Unless we can clothe our ideas in appropriate language, of what avail is our education? Knowledge will be of little advantage to us unless we cultivate the talent of speech; but it is a wonderful power when combined with the ability to speak wise, helpful words, and to speak them in a way that will command attention. 6T 380.1
Language is an expression of what’s going on inwardly. Beautiful in, beautiful out. 🙂 We need to learn how to express ourselves beautifully and honourably. Our speech must be truthful and we should speak encouraging wise words.
The chief requisite of language is that it be pure and kind and true—“the outward expression of an inward grace.” Ed 235.1
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8
Sonlight Academic Subjects
Back to the sample outlines! Every day (Monday to Thursday -> more about Friday down below) you will teach two other subjects from Sonlight and not start the next subject until either of those two are finished.
You will choose any two subjects to start with. In the Sample Outline, they have started with Health and Maths. You would continue with Health and Maths every day until you are finished the lesson book. When either of them is finished, you will choose any next subject to start with. In the Sample Outline, Maths was finished before Health (it’s a shorter lesson book). In it’s place, they began the next subject Music. So now the subjects being studied are Health and Music. Then the subject Music was finished (it’s also a short lesson book) and the next subject Nature began. Health and Nature were finished on the same day and two new subjects began: History/Geography/Prophecy and Language. This continues until all the academic subjects for Lesson 1 are complete.
So the idea is to only teach two subjects at a time and to study a specific subject deeply before moving on to the next subject. This is to prevent “mental indigestion”.
The mental faculties must be kept under the control of the will and the mind not allowed to wander or become distracted with a variety of subjects at a time, being thorough in none. 4T 414
In the Sample Outline, Fridays are for revision of all Sonlight academic subjects that you have studied so far. The Lord takes us over the same ground again and again until we understand and know fully the lesson He is trying to teach us. He cannot let us advance spiritually until He is assured we have learnt what He is trying to teach us. And so it is with teaching children. Ensure that your children understand what has been taught, and if not, go through it again patiently.
… you would be brought over the ground again and tested on the very points where you had failed before. Thus the Lord did for the children of Israel; thus He has done with His people in all ages. He will prove them where they have formerly failed; He will try them, and if they fail under the trial the second time, He will bring them around to the same test again. 5T 623.1
Revision can also be done by practical application. Spend time working on your projects or practical applications of your lessons (the remind/reinforce sections) or even the gardening sheet that is enclosed with each subject.
By putting into practice what he learns, he will obtain more than he will by mere study. As he uses his knowledge he will receive more. CT 234.2
The study of books will be of little benefit, unless the ideas gained can be carried out in practical life. CG 32.2
How long should it take to get through Lesson 1?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions by those starting Lesson 1 and unfortunately there is no real answer to this question. Remember, this curriculum is not a race with time, but rather an experience with God.
The Sample Outline, gives a suggestion of how many pages you should cover in one day, but in reality, you do whatever you can cover. The Sample Outline also suggests that the entire Lesson 1 is completed in 1 month. Unfortunately, this is actually unrealistic – especially for beginners who are still finding their feet! Also, bear in mind that each lesson varies in length – Lesson 2’s subject books are a bit longer than Lesson 1. So, what I’m trying to say is: move at your family’s own pace. Don’t expect to finish Lesson 1 in one month. Others who have done these lessons have suggested that they would cover 3 to 5 lessons in one year, depending on how deeply you study, the ages of your children, how many children you have etc.
Here’s a quick summary of all the true education principles we have been through. Sometimes it helps to see the big picture! 🙂
- True Education is bible-based.
- In everything we do and study, we look for spiritual lessons.
- Bible study cannot be rushed – it requires deep thinking, memorization, cross referencing etc.
- A good reader, writer, speller, and speaker is essential for being able to express the knowledge we have gained.
- Language study needs to be of good, wholesome and virtuous literature.
- Besides Language, teach two academic subjects at a time (so as to study them deeply, before moving on to the next subject)
- Do revision weekly of work covered.
- Revision can be done in a practical way!
Now it’s your turn! Have you started the lessons yet? What are your struggles? What are your joys? Share with us in the comments below!
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