How I Decided To Homeschool and How I Decided on a Curriculum

Sonlight is having a monthly blog linkup this year, in honor of their 25th anniversary. February’s topic is to share how you first decided to homeschool, and how you decided on a curriculum?.

I mentioned last month that I dreamed about homeschooling even before I had children to homeschool! It took us a long time to successfully become pregnant, so there were a lot of years of daydreaming about maybe-someday and what I’d like to do.

Homeschooling appealed to me for many reasons, but one of the biggest is because of the ability it offered to customize their educational experience. I was so bored for much of my schooling, and I wanted to be able to make sure that any children I was able to have would be stretched, but would also be able to pursue their own interests (to a degree at least; I’ll never be a complete interest-led schooler).

Why Sonlight?

Sonlight was what I wanted to do as soon as I came across it in my online searches pre-children. I loved the idea of it, and I loved all the books. Not just “all the books” as in they use a lot of them, but many of the specific titles. I’m a major bookworm and a former librarian, and I’ve read many to most of the titles in every core. I found myself nodding in agreement to the books listed – “oh, that’s a good book. Yeah, that one is great too. Love that one!”

Deciding on Curriculum
(Look at all those books we’ve read this year – of course I was interested in this curriculum!)

Almost from as soon as I knew I was pregnant with my first I was eyeing Sonlight’s catalog and website with new intensity. When exactly could I get started on this adventure? It’s been hard holding myself back, but I don’t want to rush my son (who is 5 1/2) into more than he’s ready for. As it is, I got the P 3/4 core when he was 3, and then took as long as I could with it before ordering P 4/5. I’ve also tried to go as slow as possible with that one, and we finished it last week!

While I don’t really know what the future will hold, or what we’ll do in later years, I still find myself looking ahead at their book lists and thinking “oh, that’s a great book. And I loved that one, and that one, and that one…”

On Friday I’ll be posting about our plans now that we’ve wrapped up P 4/5. Yes, we’re moving on to Core A, but in an effort to s-t-r-e-t-c-h it out more, I’m adding to it also. Plus, all the other things for homeschooling beyond what’s included in a Core.



  1. Ha! I know what you mean about trying to hold off – I was not as good as you. I ordered the P3/4 curriculum when Emma was 20 months. I looked at the list of books, and realized they were all books I would be getting to read to her anyways, so I figured I might as well just start out early. Of course we have modified the cores quite a bit as we have gone along, but I love them just the same. I mean, an education model based on reading to your kids? Yup, I’m in!

    • I was about ready to order when I saw the positive pregnancy test. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s been so hard holding myself back, but all those years of reading about it had me convinced that I’d be better off waiting as long as possible and getting my son to the older end of the core age range. I’m still going to have to work to slow us down to get there, as we’ve started A now and he’s not yet 6!

  2. We are just getting ready to “formally” beginning homeschooling this Fall {our oldest will be 6 November 1st}. I love Sonlight’s curriculum for all the reason you’ve said. Just trying to figure out what’s going to work the best for us and not cost a small fortune. ๐Ÿ™‚

    {I tried to read the post, but it’s not showing up correctly on your site; I had to copy and paste it into word to view it}.

  3. We looked into homeschooling when Dd was 2. Our friends were talking about school waiting lists and the only school we like was a Montessori school which was neither affordable or nearby. We were then invited to a HS camp. Here we watched a 17 year old boy teach my 2 year old daughter how to swing on a tire swing. I turned to hubby and said we need to HS. I had never seen a 17 year old boy give a young child the light of day so there must be something special.

    Forward 12 years we are still homeschooling my daughter and her 3 sisters. We have tried many different curriculum and nothing ever lasted very long. Last year the kids were unhappy and I was miserable. Something had to give. I knew about sonlight from friends but never tried it because of the expense. We are doing core F and language arts grade 4. And science. We are 3 months in and the girls love it. They have improved to no end and I am just so relaxed now. I am a converted sonlighter. I just wish I started years ago. Thankfully I still have that option with my 4 year old

  4. We started out with Sonlight’s P3/4 core as well and now my girls just started (last week) Core E…unbelievable how time flies!

    • It really does fly, and I know it’ll seem like I blinked and my new baby will be the one starting school. I mean, my first baby already is, and that doesn’t seem possible!

  5. How awesome that you knew even before you had children that you wanted to homeschool! Even better– to live it out! Looking forward to seeing more of your journey.

  6. It’s funny, but as much as I like to read, I would say I had only heard of/read about half of Sonlight’s books. That’s one thing that keeps me coming back! I know from experience now that I can trust Sonlight to lead me to some great books!

    • I’ve loved having extra great books to discover through them – since I have read so many of the books and loved them, I’m confident I’ll like the new-to-me ones!

  7. I didn’t hear about Sonlight as early in my parenting as you did, but I’m so glad I discovered it before my oldest started kindergarten. We’ve been all the way through it now, and have loved it every year! The books are wonderful!

  8. Such a heart-warming story, thank you for sharing!

    Currently I have children in Cores 300, 100, and F. This is our second year with Sonlight – though my fourteenth in homeschooling – I only wish I had found Sonlight sooner and regret that my two oldest missed out on it.

  9. You are going to love Core A! I stretched it easily into 18 months, just adding some sequels and reading more of the Little House books. So fun!

    • So far we’ve taken a week to get through the 1st week of the Core – without doing any of the science. That might work too – one week of Core, one week of Science. I add in so many extra picture books for my 3-year old, and everything else it seems like it’ll stretch itself fairly easily. ๐Ÿ™‚

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