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Sonlight Language Arts K Review by Lisa Tanner

Sonlight Curriculum
8042 South Grant Way
Littleton, CO 80122 USA

Do you have a kindergarten who is ready to learn their letters, and eventually learn to read? If you do, Sonlight Language Arts K might be a great fit. I’ve enjoyed trying out this curriculum with my five-year-old son.

The set contains several items that all work together to provide a complete language arts experience for your kindergartener. Included are the instructor’s guide and student activity sheets, a paperback picture dictionary, BINGO game markers, two different games.  The set is $66.46. I also received a set of grade K readers, which are available for $35.98.

It can be a bit overwhelming when you first receive this set and pull everything out of the box. But, the instructor’s guide explains everything very well. I recommend putting this directly into a three-ring binder, so it doesn’t get out of order. Then, start there. It’ll explain how all the pieces work together. There’s also an in-depth section with key information for the parents to help them implement this curriculum. Since I have never taught from Sonlight before, I appreciated the Quick Start Guide at the end of this section. It helped me get a big picture overview, and within a couple of days, I’d found the rhythm of the curriculum.

The version I reviewed is the five-day a week one. There is also a four-day a week version. In the instructor’s guide, each week is presented first as an overview. When you flip past that, each day is presented in detail. There are also notes warning you of any advanced preparation that is needed. I found it easy to use, and appreciated the details provided. This curriculum is definitely designed for homeschoolers, and really offers tips to help parents teach language arts.

Sonlight Language Arts K covers phonics/spelling, handwriting, and creative expression. It recommends using additional components, including Get Ready for the Code, and Handwriting Without Tears: Letters and Numbers for Me. If you do opt to use those materials, the Sonlight Instructor’s Guide lists page numbers to complete each week, making it easy to integrate them.

Part of the curriculum is scripted. It spells out exactly what to say to help teach your child. Other activities are explained in detail, but not scripted. Throughout the week, there are a variety of activities to help keep the learning from feeling boring. There are games built into the curriculum, along with recommendations of how to spend more time having conversations with your child.

The student activity sheets are a great length for kindergartener students. On a typical day, my son could finish this part in five minutes. The total time spent each day was about forty minutes, depending on the number of activities included and how motivated my little guy was to finish. Some days we had to break the lesson into several small chunks that we worked on throughout the day. It’s really a flexible program!

The student activity sheets are a great way to practice and review, and I appreciate that busy work doesn’t make up the bulk of this curriculum. There were plenty of hands-on activities, games, and discussion prompts to hold the interest of a busy young learner.

Some weeks, students use My First Picture Dictionary to look up words that begin with the letter they are focusing on. This helps them become familiar with the layout of a dictionary and provides a foundation for the concept of alphabetical order.

In Week 10, the Fun Tales readers are introduced. These are small books with black and white illustrations. Each book uses a combination of sight words and phonetics to provide an easy reader. There are 27 different books in the set, and students read approximately one a week from this point onward.

The games are a fun component to help students learn the alphabet. The BINGO markers are small colorful discs. The set includes 50 of them. Be sure to keep these up if your kindergartner has little siblings like mine does. They are tiny enough to go quickly in a mouth. The Alphabet Sound BINGO game helps your student learn to recognize letters by shape and sound. The GO A-Z! game helps students practice letters in a Go-Fish style of play. Game cards are similar in thickness to an index card and held up well to game play.

When used together, this curriculum provides an excellent foundation for early learners. It helps students learn the alphabet and put sounds together to begin reading. It gently guides students to see themselves as a writer and prepare for further learning in Grade 1.

All in all, I really enjoyed using this curriculum with my kindergartener. If you are looking for a solid, complete language arts program for your child, I definitely recommend Sonlight.

-Product review by Lisa Tanner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2018