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Sonlight Language Arts D Review by Kelly LaFollette

Sonlight Curriculum

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D Regular Readers set: (

Om-kas-tow Blackfeet Twin Captures an Elkdog

Robert Fulton Boy Craftsman

The Courage of Sarah Noble

Pocahontas and the Strangers

Squanto Friend of the Pilgrims

Sarah, Plain and Tall

The Skippack School

Timmy O'Dowd and the Big Ditch

Sarah Whitcher's Story

Phoebe the Spy

The Thanksgiving Story

Third grade can be an enormous, scary adventure to not only a child but also a parent. It seems this is the year that many new responsibilities get added to a child, including more independent learning. It is a bittersweet moment for me as a Mama, seeing my oldest start third grade this year, but knowing it is ultimately making my son a stronger and more independent learner, I know it is for the best. For this reason, I knew that incorporating Sonlight Language Arts D curriculum would be good for both him and me.

Sonlight Language Arts D is designed for third grade, and for children ages 8 to 11 years old. This curriculum embraces the “natural learning” approach, compared to the traditional workbook methods used to teach Language Arts. It allows children to analyze and discover what they are learning, and at this level, does require some help from parents. The curriculum is designed to follow a 36-week schedule (5 days a week), and stresses the importance of spelling, phonics, vocabulary development, and handwriting.

For spelling, the curriculum suggests using Spelling You See. Handwriting Without Tears is recommended by Sonlight to be used for handwriting, but a blank line is given on each weekly schedule if you prefer to use something else for handwriting. There is also scheduling help that can be found on the Sonlight website. Vocabulary can be found in the Read-Aloud study guide and in the Reader Study Guides. We used the dictation and dictation application in the weekly lesson plans for phonics. My oldest is an auditory learner, so having him hear things first always helps him to read the words later.

The Instructor’s Guide to Sonlight Language Arts D is incredibly valuable. It is filled with application for student and instructor, and also includes suggestions, examples, a schedule, rubric, helpful resources and a weekly activity sheet. The focus of the curriculum is not only learning the Language Arts, but teaching the importance of writing through dictation, application, and creative expression.

There is also Reader’s Study Guide in the Instructor’s Guide, included for each of the books listed above. There is a Reader’s Program, where there is an Overview of the book given, followed by good discussion questions to ask the reader once they are finished that chapter. An Advanced Reader’s Program is also available, that offers more in-depth questions and vocabulary. The books range from short, chapter books that are colorful and illustrated (such as Phoebe the Spy and The Thanksgiving Story) to Om-kas-Toe Blackfeet Twin Captures an Elkdog, which is 14 chapters and over 200 pages, with light illustrations.

The books were wonderfully chosen to be included in this curriculum. They help to incorporate History and Biblical elements, such as the setting and time of the story, and also an area called Cultural Literacy. The Cultural Literacy describes what may have been normal at the time of the story or during the time the author wrote the story but may not be known today. Many of these stories are classics, and some I remember reading in elementary levels. It’s been a delightful journey down memory lane reading these books with both my sons now.

My oldest son is doing well with the weekly lesson plans. I enjoy the ease of having the lesson plans and activities planned out already. The only items required in addition to this curriculum are things you most likely have around your home, such as lined paper, pencils, art supplies, and index cards. My favorite aspect of this curriculum is the natural learning approach and that my son is discovering the solutions for the questions that are asked. He is able to express what he has read and learned. It also helps with learning about history, which is fascinating for everyone in our family. We are very pleased with this curriculum and are excited to finish reading the rest of the books this year.

-Product review by Kelly LaFollette, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2018