Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

High School Curriculum, Tenth Grade: Switching from MFW to Sonlight


We have finally switched away from the curriculum we have used from K-9th grade!  
I still highly recommend it for K-8th, but our experience with My Father's World 9th grade curriculum pushed me to finally move to Sonlight for High School!

I have always wanted to try Sonlight, but the cost was prohibitive. Thankfully we were able to utilize the tips for homeschooling on a tight budget and rent most of it from a friend! A few items that I wasn't able to borrow or rent, we bought used on ThriftBooks



Figuring out the sequences of what to buy from Sonlight was a little confusing at first. Sonlight offers a Mix and Match Program, which is more complicated, but also much more flexible.  You pick the order your need for your student. 

Our old curriculum,  MFW high school, was much more simple: you bought 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade depending on your child. This was great when ordering, but it limited you to one level and one learning sequence. The history and literature wwere scheduled to be chronological, from Creation to Modern Times.  While this seems in theory like a great way to not have any historical gaps, you fly through reading a textbook with no time to digest what you are reading. Ninth Grade's history study was only Creation to the Greeks, so I assumed 10th grade would follow the family cycle and do Rome to Reformation, but I bought the 10th grade World History and Literature (which I sold without using) and it CRAMS all the history from Rome to Modern Times into one year.  The 11th and 12th were two long years of American History from a textbook alone.


My Father's World pricing has changed a lot since we began, a using it in Kindergarten.

I still believe when you are homeschooling a large group of multi-age students, MFW is still a a very good cost per student because of the large one classroom approach, I just can no longer say it is the most budget friendly.

My Father's World no longer has basic packages, which was extremely disappointing.  For about two years during the pandemic they had also removed the ability to order a la carte, which was extremely frustrating when I would just need one or two books from MFW, but I just checked and they finally brought it back.  Enough people must have complained. 

I had originally went with MFW over Sonlight because it was way cheaper, but for High School it didn't make sense to pay so much for items we were not going to use. Most high school homeschoolers have to buy their math, science, and electives separately anyways, so Sonlight's ability to mix and match and buy a la carte History and Literature items made it so I didn't have books we would not use, like we did with MFW 9th grade.

To make Sonlight cheaper you really do have to work at it, we used all my homeschooling on a budget tips to do it. 


The boys each have their own basket from the Dollar Tree that store their calculators, math student sheets, pencils, and any other school supplies.

The only con I have seen so far for Sonlight is the manual isn't just one simple open and go with ALL your subjects, like MFW.  Even though we didn't have the greatest 9th grade experience, I will say that NO ONE beats the simple organization of MFW teacher's manuals!  I ended up typing up our own agendas for each boy based on the open and go manual we were used to with MFW, all the subjects in one place. 

By typing our own agendas I was able to combine all their syllabus into one place. They can check off History, Literature, Math, Spanish, Electives, P.E., Co-Op Homework, and Chores all in one place.  The even have a blank spot for any other items they wanted to add. It took way too long, but I am hoping it is worth it in the long run so the boys can still just open and go each morning.  
Next year I will probably still do this, but probably won't include as many details in History and Lit Subjects.  

Classic Literature, Root Words, and American History.

The Sonlight curriculum comes with the History/Bible and Literature in one big binder, but with twins I needed to divide them so it was easier to share.  We also have a magazine file holder for them to store the living history or literature book they are currently reading next to the manuals.

American History 120
Because we are switching from MFW to Sonlight, I had to start with 120-American History to make sure we got in a solid year of American History.  While I appreciate studying history in chronological order of the MFW Family Cycle, one of my biggest criticism of MFW High School was it began with heavy archaic reading in 9th grade. 

I like that Sonlight begins with American History, a more accessible touch point for younger students than ancient contexts and cultures.  The living books provided are perfect for their age 

The manual gives insightful and specific discussion questions for them to discuss their History Spine  (A History of the US by Joy Hakim) with me daily as their teacher. This curriculum is way to teach critical thinking skills in regards to History, and I am really looking forward to the discussion we will have! 

Bible is also included in the History Binder.  

Next year we will be skipping Sonlight's 220 History of the Christian Church and proceeding to 320- 20th Century/World History.

History Books to be read

Classic Literature 230
"Stories set mostly chronologically through history, mostly by British authors, you’ll travel from first-century Israel to World War II and beyond in this 36-week program."

Sonlight's ability to mix and match really came in handy because we are skipping History 220-History of the Christian Church, but we we didn't want miss 230-Classic Literature . We will be revisiting American Literature again in 430 so I am ok skipping it for ninth and focusing on some of my favorite pieces of literature, like Dickens, Shakespeare, and Austen. 

I am really thankful for the discussion questions in the student guides so we can talk about what they are reading in a more meaningful way.  In MFW I was suppose to meet with them just once a week and just ask them about what stood out to them, but Sonlight really engages the student and parent daily to discuss what is being read.  The parent guide is helpful because it also provides answers. While I am looking forward to discussing some of the my favorites, I haven't ALL the books on the syllabus and need those answers!

Literature Books to be read


Sonlight recommends adding Worldly Wise for vocabulary practice, but we already own English from the Roots Up from when we did Creation the Greeks.  Although we did cover this book in fourth grade my boys really needed a refresher course as older and more mature students.  This books is great for life in general, but also a great opportunity to reviews etymology before PSATs at the end of sophomore year.

Math , Science, Spanish, and the Parent Binder

We have used Math U See since Kindergarten and we still love it. To see more detailed review, click on picture below.  This year we are finally into Algebra 2!

Review of Math U See

We had planned to do Chemistry after Friendly Biology , but many people recommended waiting on Chemistry until we have gotten through Algebra 2.  My husband works in Dual Enrollment in local Community College and he suggested Integrated Physics and Chemistry, a course many local highs school use before Chemistry.

"IPC consists of twelve chapters of text and twelve companion student activities. This course introduces students to the people, places and principles of physics and chemistry." 

The ordering is a little confusing because twelve chapters is actually TWO YEARS of curriculum. Once I figured that out I was able to order: Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC) 1st Year Full Course Kit – Digital Download.

I bought the digital download of Lessons 1-6 because with the twins because I needed to be able to print more than one copy of each activity pages.


Because we homeschool on a tight budget, we bought an old edition of BJU Spanish 1 used from a friend.

Personal Finance
I am planning to organize a Financial Reality Fair for our local co-op. Financial Reality Fair is an immersive budgeting experience that gives students a glimpse into what it costs to live independently, and how take responsibility for personal financial decisions with the use of a Monthly Budget Tracker.
Junior high and high school students will have the opportunity to encounter some of the financial challenges they will face as an adult, such as cost of housing, entertainment, and transportation. This toolkit is flexible and can be used in a variety of educational settings, such as a homeschool cooperative or public school.

We attend a homeschool cooperative where the boys take drama, gym, and other great classes. 

They will also spend time experimenting with Graphic Design on Canva and coding on Hour of Code.


  1. Thanks for the peek into your school year!

    1. Thank you for all your help this year finding this wonderful curriculum! We are already loving it!

  2. Interesting seeing you switched. Thanks for your perspective of high school MFW. We, too, have used MFW from the beginning and are entering 7th grade. I will need to start my research…Have a great school year.

    1. Good luck! MFW High School worked for several of my friends, it just didn't fit my book worm children and this mama who needed the living books and several perspectives we so dearly loved in the family cycle. For more specifics of why 9th grade didn't work for us, see this my review

  3. Hello, I enjoyed your post. I have used Sonlight with four teens, two now in college, two others are 14 and 16. I use the Homeschool Planet website to do my girls' weekly lesson plans, integrating them on one page per child, probably like you are used to. I pay $7.95 a month for the online scheduling service (yearly plans are cheaper) but it saves time because they have Apologia Science plans and math plans available for most curriculums that you can purchase from their store, and it plugs the plans into the calendar for the whole year. You can easily move assignments around if you take a sick day, vacation, etc. There are yearly lesson plans available for purchase for usually about $4 to $7 per curriculum company, ranging from math, language arts, music, grammar, PE, etc. Sonlight is not on there so I input those plans manually. It keeps me very organized and counts school days and keeps records for each child for each year. Have a blessed year. bookworms3us(at)gmaildotcom

  4. I have used Sonlight many years with four children, two now in college, and two girls left ages 14 and 16. Things got much easier when I began using Homeschool Planet to make daily plans for each of them. I pay $7.95 a month for this online scheduling program but the yearly price is cheaper. You can use their store to purchase daily plans from your math company, science company, grammar company, music, PE, etc. It then inputs the plans into the calendar for the whole year. Sonlight is not one of their store choices, so I input those assignments manually. You can easily move assignments around, and it keeps track of school records, school days, etc. Very helpful. I print out separate weekly schedules Sunday night for each daughter. They took Apologia Biology together and I only had to pay I think $6.95 for that yearly plan, to be inputed into both girls' schedules for the year. As I said, if there is a sick day/vacation, you can easily adjust the schedule.
    Blessings on a great year!

  5. How did your year end up going? I am considering a switch from MFW to Sonlight also, for 11th. Trying to figure out what to do for American history.

    1. We really enjoyed the year, except the Writing portion of Sonlight. We chose to add 7 Sisters Writing because Sonlight didn't have a lot of clear instructions.