American Government and Civics Tests

Our oldest two children just completed Sonlight’s 18-week American Government and Civics (Level 420). This course is designed for your high school students to read the texts and respond to daily questions, but there is no assessment of mastery included in the course work. So, I added one :). You can get it here.

There are four tests (with answers) in the download. You will administer the tests after your students have completed the assignments for Weeks 4, 8, 13 and 18.

All of the questions included were taken from the information discussed in your student’s reading response questions. They include a mixture of fill-in-the-blank, order the events, mapping, and short-answer questions. Each test has approximately 20 questions.

As a Final Exam, we used the Arizona Department of Education’s Civics Test. It is a 100 question test based on the US Immigraton and Naturalization test. You will need to modify the final questions to reflect the state in which you live (if it is not Arizona). Your students should score well above their required 60 of 100 correct answers.

This set of tests will be half-off until Saturday!

Favorite Reads of 2017 {Sonlight H}

Here is Anders’ favorite book from this school year (Murder for Her Majesty received his top-honors, too).

Anders, age 11

     If your friend was arrested and you knew that he was not guilty would you take on a scary magician to save him? The book Detectives in Togas, by Henry Winterfeld, is an exciting mystery story. It is filled with danger and peril as the boys from the prestigious Xanthos School in ancient Rome try to find a way to save their friend.

Mucius, Antonius and the rest of the boys didn’t believe it when they were told that their friend Rufus had desecrated the temple—a crime deserving death. They were sad that he had been arrested for what they thought was a false accusation. They decided that they where going to try to prove him innocent.

The schoolboys could have given up at many different times. When they found their teacher bound, gagged and stuffed in a wardrobe, they were scared. But they pushed through their fear. While they were looking around the desecrated temple for clues, they found a chain lying on the ground. They thought it might belong to the real criminal. They took the chain to a soothsayer to find out to whom it belonged. The man got really angry and threw snakes at them, which surprised and scared them. They ran away afraid. But, then the pieces started falling into place.

I think this book in an exciting mystery story. It is also a story of how friends never give up on each other. This is why it is my favorite book this school year.

Favorite Reads from 2017 {Sonlight Core E, Fourth Grade}

There are lots of great books in Core E. You can see what the kids liked last year here and here. This year Annelise, age 8, really enjoyed In Search of the Source. It is a pretty awesome book about missionaries to a tribal people in Papua New Guinea and the struggles they went through to not only share the gospel, but to give them the written Word of God.  Here is what Annelise had to say:

  Annelise, age 8

In his book, In Search of the Source, Neil Anderson and his family share the gospel with the Folopa tribe of Papua New Guinea. Along the way there are many difficulties, but the power of God’s word helps them find a way through. This is a story of true faith, bravery and lovingkindness.

Neil and his family went to Papua New Guinea to translate the Bible into the Folopa language. To do this, they had to learn the language and make it into a written language; be accepted by the people; and teach them how to read. God had called them to do a BIG JOB!

On the first day of translating, Neil had begun to write, but he was struggling to find a Folopa word for “created”. It was hard for him to describe it, and harder still for the Folopans to understand what he was asking. Two days later, on a hunting trip, he found the answer in a surprising way while eating a leaf-plateful of grubs!

This account is full of the amazing ways God reveals Himself to man, and helps someone like Neil to do the work He had called him to do. The faith that the Folopans had and the joy they found in knowing Christ encouraged me and I know you will enjoy it, too.

Favorite Reads from 2017 {Sonlight B, First Grade}

Another year has passed, and a lot of books have been read around here. I asked each of the kids to pick their Favorite Read from the 2016-2017 school year, and here is our first review. It is from Finn, age 6. He just completed Sonlight’s Core B (First Grade).  He really wanted to tell you his TOP 7 favorite books (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Homer Price, Missionary Stories with the Millers were rated high on his list, too), but here is the one (okay, two) he gave top honors to:

Finn, age 6

Would you pull out your best friend’s tooth in the middle of the night? Karl Erikson, D.D.S (extracts teeth under complete anesthesia, or a good night’s rest) did that for his friend, Olaf. He is one of the happy kids from Noisy Village.

Happy Times in Noisy Village was my favorite book this year because it is really funny. There are stories about the things kids do every day that will make you laugh. One time the boys took over the girls’ snow-fort and the girls had to make snowballs for them for the rest of the day. Another time the kids were trying to sell cherries along the side of the road. It was a busy road, and nobody would stop. Karl started getting angry about no one stopping, so he jumped out in the middle of the road (sort of) and a car stopped. The story about Olaf’s loose tooth is the funniest. You’ll just have to read that one!

A Fresh Approach to LA H {Seventh Grade}

Are you needing a little inspiration? Are you struggling to get your kids to write, or simply to complete their LA assignment independently?

I have been there! And with 7 kids to homeschool (and another in diapers) my children have to be able to complete work independently each day.  The past few years I have crafted LA worksheets/printables for each Sonlight core that I was teaching. This year, we are trying something a bit different…


I think you are going to LOVE IT! Take a look at how we approached the first week of LA H {Seventh Grade}:

Our approach to dictation hasn’t changed (we use this). But, we are working on grammar and literary analysis a whole different way. h1

Let’s start with Mechanics Practice (on the right I’m showing you the blurb from Sonlight’s Activity Sheet for Week 1). This week, the focus is nouns. Since it is week one, we have included a bit of a review.


And now we’ll discuss common and abstract nouns with a little cutting and pasting–just to make sure they understand the “abstract” category of nouns.


Then the difference between compound and collective. Your kids will write in the answers for this exercise (i.e. snowflake is a compound noun, a bushel (of apples) is a collective noun).


Now for the application.  They’ll identify the types of nouns in this week’s dictation passage–right in their notebook.h5

This week’s Creative Expression is a Character Sketch of a character in The King’s Fifth. Excerpts from Writer’s Edge along with the Character Sketch Interactive Bookmark will help your kids accomplish this task with only a little guidance from you!


The Character Sketch Interactive Bookmark will help your kids take notes as they read. They will note their character’s personality, physical characteristics and interactions with others on the front of the bookmark (tagging each reference with a page number).

Inside their Writer’s Edge your students will find a detailed description of the components of a Character Sketch and what to look for as they read this week. It also will help them decide an approach for writing about their character. They will work out their approach on the back of their Character Sketch Interactive Bookmark.


h8Finally, we they’ll jump into their writing notebook to organize/draft their paper. I’ll bet your kids are typing their papers at this point in their school career. But, it will help them be better writers if they organize their thoughts before they type :).


Here the assignment is laid out and they are given visual reminders of the components of the essay. No matter what approach they take to writing their sketch, they’ll want to incorporate the descriptions they noted on their Character Sketch Interactive Bookmark along with their own interpretation/explanation.

What do you think? Hopefully you LOVE it! We’ll be working in our notebooks this school year (for Cores B, E, F and H) and share the results with you this summer. Hope your year is off to a great start!


Sonlight’s Core D

Are your kids starting Sonlight’s Core D this year? You are going to LOVE this year of Sonlight. It is the first year that the readers and read-alones have a meaningful role in the Language Arts assignments.

This will be our fifth year using Core D. And I am excited to share with you some great supplements that will help your children accomplish their work independently.  In our home of eight children, independent seat-work is essential (to my sanity :)!



This year, your children will transition from copywork to dictation. I have found the three-step method of Dictation Done Right to work well for all of my children.  It helps them to get the most out of dictation–and to understand why and when they need to punctuate or capitalize a word.

Slide1Click on the Three-Step picture above to view the steps in detail.  After your children complete Dictation Done Right they will be ready to listen to you read the passage as they write it.



I know it is difficult to get your kids to write a paper each week— we have had our share of tears around here.

Writing should be FUN!

I have found that my kids needed a bit more structure to help them get their creative juices flowing.  That is what I have poured into every page of A YEAR of CREATIVE EXPRESSION for THIRD. Would you like to see the preview? You can here!  It is wonderful how, with the right tools, your children can think through their writing assignments independently!

Enjoy the last few days of summer and have fun this year in Core D–you’re going to LOVE it!

**There is no affiliation between Sonlight Curriculum and PreparilliPress.**


Last Week of School

I always like looking back over the school year during the last week of school. It amazes me what my kids have learned.  I enjoy filling their final notebook with all the highlights of the year–their creative writing; calendar worksheets; math fluency and scripture memory sheets.

CoreBScrip CoreBawa







And, of course, my kids LOVE getting their awards!

I also like having them recount their “favorites.”  The kids all have fun reading each others answers. I enjoy seeing what they consider to be their achievements. I also like getting a peak at the dreams (for their future and the summer) that they don’t always verbalize.



Independent Seatwork Activities with Sonlight’s Core C

One of the cores I taught last year was Sonlight’s Core C.  This was my third time through this particular core.  And though I love Sonlight’s Language Arts (especially the read-alouds and read-alones), I don’t find the activity sheets too helpful.  You can use them as recording sheets.  But, what I needed was something to put in my son’s workbox.  Something with directions (which are only found in the Instructor’s Guide) and inspiration…some independent seatwork.    So, instead of searching the web for hands-on activities to add to his daily Language Arts assignments, I made printables that he could use to complete the Language Arts 2 activities. Not extra busy-work…but independent seatwork you can use with Sonlight.

Here is a peek of the independent seatwork for Week 1:

Slide01Day One:  Compound Word Cards & Recording Sheet to help your child learn this week’s spelling words.

Day Two: Punctuation Rule Cards that your child will use to complete this week’s Copywork Application, Creative Expression, and Write a Sentence, or Two activities.  You will want to store these on a loose-leaf ring (because we will add to them throughout the year) and have them handy each week. Sentence Scramble is a hands-on print & go sheet.  Your child will cut out the color-coded word tiles at the bottom of the page, put then in and order that makes sense and then record the sentences.

Day Three:  Descriptive Words is a student planning sheet with prompts to help your child prepare to write their descriptive paragraph on Day Four.  You can give this to your child to fill in on their own; or use it when you meet with your child to help guide their creative writing preparations.

Day Four:  Animal Description Recording Sheet has room for your child to record (or dictate to you, and you record) their paragraph and draw a picture of the animal they are describing.

Day Five: Write a Sentence, or Two is a weekly sentence writing challenge.  This week’s challenge is to write sentences, using the spelling words presented on Day One, that begin with a capital letter and end with a period, question mark or exclamation point.  Be sure to have this week’s Punctuation Rule Cards handy!  I Spy Adjectives is a workbox-friendly I Spy activity.  Your child will write down descriptive words (adjectives) for the things they see in the picture. Download a free copy of this sheet by clicking the link below (all the artwork is by Melonheadz):


I Spy Adjectives!

Best yet, you can WIN the first 12 weeks of Write Each Day for Second: Indpendent Seatwork with Sonlight by entering my Teacher’s Notebook giveway this week (ends July 13, 2014).