1989
The Holzmanns start homeschooling
Fall
John and Sarita face a dilemma about their children's education. The public schools in their area are unacceptable. The Christian school tuition for their oldest is just too expensive for their meager stateside missionary support income. So Sarita reluctantly begins to homeschool. As you can imagine, the Holzmann family soon discovers that they love the freedom and family closeness that homeschooling facilitates.
The Holzmanns start homeschooling
Holzmann Family
1990
The idea for Sonlight
February
Sarita and her backyard neighbor Becky Lewis enjoy a conversation over the fence about homeschooling. While they both sincerely enjoy their homeschools, they realize that many other moms find it quite overwhelming. Becky notes that missionaries overseas have a particularly difficult time finding comprehensive materials for their children. Sarita and Becky wonder if they could support missionaries by providing them with a complete curriculum based on the effective, fun, literature-based model they were already using in their own homes. They begin to work on this new idea right away.
The idea for Sonlight
Lewis Family
Sonlight adds K-3
May
The brand-new Sonlight Curriculum sets up shop in a garage rented for $25 a month in Pasadena, California. A friend builds shelves to hold all the books Sarita chose for the new curriculum, along with the first Instructor's Guides she and Becky wrote.
Sonlight adds K-3
Rented Garage
First Sonlight customer
June 1
In starting Sonlight, John, Sarita and Becky offer a completely different option for homeschool families. Nearly everything else on the market at the time was textbook-based. Sonlight instead provides complete packages that walk parents through each day of learning based on engaging literature, not the typical boring textbooks. Their goal is to help missionaries stay on the field for one more year by helping them provide a quality education at home for their children.
First Sonlight customer
An old order
1991
Sonlight moves to Colorado
The Holzmanns move to their current home in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. They use a bedroom for the Sonlight office and the garage for the warehouse.
Sonlight moves to Colorado
Continued development
Sarita and Becky plow ahead as the curriculum development team. Everyone works together to get orders out the garage door.
Continued development
Sarita picking an order.
First tagline
Sonlight's catalog hits the streets with the tagline: Sonlight Curriculum, International Home Schoolers Curriculum
First tagline
1992
Sonlight adds Pre-K and Grades 4-6
John and Sarita believe the research that says that instead of worksheets and rote learning, young children really need quality time with their parents, plenty of good stories and lots of play. Sonlight produces a pre-Kindergarten program designed to help kids find delight in learning while enjoying quality time with mom and dad.
Sonlight adds Pre-K and Grades 4-6
John Holzmann
First package discount
To encourage Sonlighters to make their lives easier, "Complete Curriculum Packages" come with a significant discount.
First package discount
First Sonlight hire
Needing a bit more help, John and Sarita hire their first employee part-time.
First Sonlight hire
1993
First homeschool convention
Sonlight sends the first Sonlight Curriculum Consultant (a trained Sonlight mom) to represent Sonlight at a homeschool convention.
First homeschool convention
Sonlight adds Grade 7
American History in Depth, now called American History, Core 100
Sonlight adds Grade 7
Business continues to grow
As families discover the joy of literature-based homeschooling, John and Sarita are amazed how much customers share Sonlight with their friends.
Business continues to grow
First office and warehouse
The Holzmanns move Sonlight from their home and garage.
First office and warehouse
New Overstock room
1994
First full-time employee
Summer
John and Sarita hire their first full-time employee, plus six seasonal warehouse staff, to get orders out the door. The second full-time employee, who switched to full-time in August 1994, is still with the company today.
First full-time employee
Sonlight in 1994
Sonlight adds Grade 8
God's Kingdom History, now called History of the Christian Church, Core 200
Sonlight adds Grade 8
1995
Data entry
Sonlight hires a data entry clerk to keep up with new orders.
Data entry
Linda D. - Sonlight's 1st Full-Time Employee
1996
Forums
The Sonlight Forums launch.
Forums
Guarantee
Sonlight starts offering an 8-week risk-free trial. Ten years later, this expands to let customers try 12 weeks of their full curriculum package within a year, and still return it if they didn't love it. A year later, in 2007, it increases again to the current 18-week "Love to Learn, Love to Teach Guarantee." When you buy a Full-Grade Package, a Core Package or an Instructor's Guide, you get a full year to try 18 weeks of your curriculum. If you don't love it you can return it for a full refund.
Guarantee
Expansion
May
Operations move across the parking lot to a larger office and warehouse in the same building.
Expansion
1997
First award for Literature
Practical Homeschooling Magazine readers award Sonlight with 1st Place in Literature for the first time.
First award for Literature
Sonlight adds warehouse and office space
Sonlight adds warehouse and office space
New tagline
International Home Schoolers Curriculum. "Great for your kids and great for you. Guaranteed."
New tagline
Sonlight adds Grade 9
20th Century World History, currently Core 300
Sonlight adds Grade 9
UPS Strike
August
The warehouse staff manages to get orders to customers in spite of a 16-day UPS strike.
UPS Strike
General Manager joins Sonlight
Wayne's family wanted to use Sonlight but their order had not shown up. With a bit of research, Wayne read a post from John about how the UPS Strike had stranded many orders and Sonlight was looking for some good help. He started work as part IT, part management in November. He has been with Sonlight ever since.
General Manager joins Sonlight
Wayne Griess
Sonlight's first website
John has a hunch that the Internet is the way of the future. Sonlight takes a chance on sonlight-curriculum.com.
Sonlight\'s first website
1998
Sharing your stories
The catalog features 46 Sonlighters as they share their stories about Loving to Learn with Sonlight.
Sharing your stories
First homeschool Advisors
To counsel and assist moms as they determine the best curriculum for their family, Sonlight offers free curriculum Advisors (veteran Sonlight moms).
First homeschool Advisors
First online order
June
First online order
Construction begins
In response to continued need for more office and warehouse space, Sonlight purchases land in Littleton, Colorado and strategically designs and builds its own building.
Construction begins
Ground breaking for the new 8042 Sonlight building.
1999
First award for History
Practical Homeschooling Magazine Readers award Sonlight with 1st Place in History, Primers, Elementary and Middle School Curriculum for the first time.
First award for History
Sonlight moves in
April
Sonlight moves into the building where Sonlight still operates today.
Sonlight moves in
Y2K—What We're Doing About It
The catalog and website reassures homeschoolers that Sonlight is prepared for Y2K.
<em>Y2K—What We\'re Doing About It</em>
Sonlight purchases sonlight.com
Convinced quick access to our website would be useful in the future, Sonlight purchases sonlight.com.
Sonlight purchases sonlight.com
2000
Celebrating 10 years of service to parents and students
Celebrating 10 years of service to parents and students
First Sonlight scholarship winner
Sarita knows that Sonlight works for families across the globe, but she wants to see hard evidence. So Sonlight launches a scholarship competition for Sonlight grads. The scholarship committee is amazed at the caliber of achievement, the Christ-centered passion and the diversity of interests they see in the young college-bound applicants. The Sonlight Scholarship Foundation awards one scholarship for a total of $20,000 ($5,000 per year).
First Sonlight scholarship winner
Sonlight adds Grade 10
American Government, now called American Government and Economics, Core 400
Sonlight adds Grade 10
A Beam of Sonlight
Sonlight launches a new email newsletter for Sonlighters. You can still subscribe to the Beam today and receive homeschool tips, an encouraging word from Sarita and an occasional recipe from time to time...
A Beam of Sonlight
2001
Forethought pays off
Sonlight takes advantage of a pre-planned expansion option for the warehouse. Popping out the back wall, a new section goes up and triples the total warehouse space.
Forethought pays off
Bonnie J. in the warehouse.
First award for Kindergarten
Practical Homeschooling Magazine Readers award Sonlight with 1st Place in Preschool, Kindergarten and High School Curriculum for the first time.
First award for Kindergarten
Eight Sonlight graduates receive Sonlight scholarships for a total of $60,000.
Eight Sonlight graduates receive Sonlight scholarships for a total of $60,000.
First customer photos
Sonlight begins sharing Sonlighter's photos and stories in the catalog. To date, over 2000 of your stories have been featured in Sonlight's catalogs.
First customer photos
First consultants' training conference
October
All 25 Sonlight Curriculum Consultants convene at the Littleton office for brainstorming and training before the new Homeschool Convention season. Each year, these moms get together to prepare for the coming convention season.
First consultants\' training conference
2002
Sonlight adds I Can Read It!
These phonetically written, engaging stories help First Graders learn to read.
Sonlight adds <em>I Can Read It!</em>
2003
Sonlight adds British Literature 530
A new college-prep course.
Sonlight adds <em>British Literature 530</em>
2004
First award for Homeschool Company
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Awards of Excellence in Education recognizes Sonlight as the Best Overall Homeschool Company for the first time.
First award for Homeschool Company
Sonlight adds Eastern Hemisphere Explorer
Core F offers a unique opportunity to learn about the Eastern Hemisphere — an important part of the world often overlooked in education. These engaging, interactive activities appeal to a variety of learning styles. Now part of your Notebook Pages.
Sonlight adds <em>Eastern Hemisphere Explorer</em>
2006
Sonlight adds Fun Tales
These phonetic readers help kids get the thrill of reading a whole book.
Sonlight adds <em>Fun Tales</em>
Fun Tales
Sonlight adds mix-n-match readers
Based on your feedback, families can now teach multiple children with one package and tailor reading instruction to the student's ability level for the Cores in grades K - 2.
Sonlight adds mix-n-match readers
Sonlight adds Discover & Do
Students follow along with these fun and helpful demonstrations of the experiments in Sonlight's K through 4th Grade Science programs.
Sonlight adds <em>Discover & Do</em>
2007
Sonlight adds MathTacular
In an ongoing quest to make learning effective and fun, Sonlight creates its ever-popular MathTacular video series. Children since have laughed along with "Professor" Justin as they easily grasp the math concepts he presents in real-life scenarios.
Sonlight adds <em>MathTacular</em>
New tagline
The way you wish you'd been taught. Guaranteed.
New tagline
Sonlight adds Grammar Ace
A self-paced grammar program.
Sonlight adds <em>Grammar Ace</em>
Missionary subsidy
In an effort to support International Christian missionaries, an anonymous donor agrees to help us provide a 25% subsidy to all such missionaries who are affiliated with recognized 501(c)(3) agencies. Learn more.
Missionary subsidy
Sonlight adds College and Career Planning
Sonlight adds <em>College and Career Planning</em>
The number of scholarships increases to 12, for a total of $88,000.
The number of scholarships increases to 12, for a total of $88,000.
2007 Scholarship Winners
2008
Sonlight adds Preschool
A new program for 3 to 4 year old Preschoolers provides a gentle introduction to the joy of reading together.
Sonlight adds Preschool
Sonlight adds Economics
Sonlight adds <em>Economics</em>
Mission India fundraiser: Rice Bag Project
November
Inspired by their early work at the U.S. Center for World Mission led by Dr. Ralph Winter, the Holzmanns have a driving desire to support those sharing the Gospel with unreached people groups. Clinging to the promise in Revelation 7:9, they have long donated as much profit as possible to strategic mission work.

With this fundraiser, they invite Sonlight families to join the work by offering a giving/learning adventure through Mission India. Sonlighters raise $115,000 in loose change, which turned into over $230,000 after a matching gift from John and Sarita. This was enough to help 7,682 Indian women learn to read through Mission India's programs.
Mission India fundraiser: Rice Bag Project
2009
First award for Best Curriculum
Homeschooling Parent Magazine awards Sonlight with Best Curriculum for the first time.
First award for Best Curriculum
Sonlight adds Psychology
Another College Prep program.
Sonlight adds Psychology
Sonlight Psychology
The Seed Company Fundraiser: The OneVerse Project
November
Together with John and Sarita, Sonlight families raise over a quarter of a million dollars to translate the New Testament for a Bibleless people group in Mozambique.
The Seed Company Fundraiser: The OneVerse Project
Seed Company
2010
New solar panels
Hundreds of solar panels now adorn the roof of the Sonlight office.
New solar panels
Thirteen Sonlight graduates receive a Sonlight scholarship, for a total of $92,000.
Thirteen Sonlight graduates receive a Sonlight scholarship, for a total of $92,000.
2010 Scholarship Winners
Sonlight celebrates 20 years of serving homeschool families
With an online event, a picnic, and building tours, Sonlight invites everyone to celebrate 20 years. Watch recordings of the live event here.
Sonlight celebrates 20 years of serving homeschool families
20th Anniversary
Sonlight Rewards
We launch Sonlight Rewards as a way to thank you for sharing Sonlight. Your friends save money and you earn points toward your next purchase.
Sonlight Rewards
Mission India fundraiser: Passport to India
November
On a thrilling video journey around India, Sonlighters get a glimpse of Indian culture and discover the work of Mission India's Children's Bible Clubs. Combined with a matching gift, they raise over $317,000, which will allow over 317,000 children to attend these life-changing clubs.
Mission India fundraiser: Passport to India
My Passport to India
2011
Sonlight adds What Good Is Christianity?
In response to contemporary criticisms, this course educates and equips students to show the positive role and influence of Christianity throughout history.
Sonlight adds <em>What Good Is Christianity?</em>
Sonlight adds Grammar 5 & 6
Sonlight adds <em>Grammar 5 & 6</em>
Sonlight adds Core Tips
These hands-on activities for Grades K through 4 provide optional enhancements to your Sonlight year.
Sonlight adds Core Tips
2012
First award for Complete Curriculum
Homeschool-Curriculum.org gives Sonlight the 5 Star Award in Complete Curriculum for the first time.
First award for Complete Curriculum
Improved IGs
Months of work pay off in a breakthrough for the Core A-G Instructor's Guides (for Grades K through 6). The new look is redesigned, streamlined and enhanced to be easier to use, intuitive and more effective. Everything you need for the week right behind the weekly schedule.
Improved IGs
Far East Broadcasting fundraiser: Phoenix Phaxx
November
In this global video adventure, Sonlighters team up with John and Sarita to raise over $300,000 to buy radios that allow people in hard-to-reach places hear the Gospel for the first time.
Far East Broadcasting fundraiser: Phoenix Phaxx
Phoenix Phaxx
2013
Mix-n-match high school programs
Customizable high school Cores offer flexibility for a robust transcript. Choose a high school History and Bible program with the Literature and Language Arts of your choice.
Mix-n-match high school programs
Mission India fundraiser: Lost in India
November
Heading back to India, Sonlighters raise enough for 360,000 children to attend Children’s Bible Clubs.
Mission India fundraiser: Lost in India
2014
Sonlight adds World History and Worldview Studies
A new College Prep course.
Sonlight adds <em>World History and Worldview Studies</em>
Updated Landmark History of the American People
John and Sarita work with the family of former Librarian of Congress and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Boorstin to revise The Landmark History of the American People — now more readable than ever — an enticing new full-color presentation on the social history of America and covers key events that offer your children a fresh view of the U.S.
Updated <em>Landmark History of the American People</em>
Frontiers fundraiser: Off-Road Encounters
November
Through a video tour of four Muslim nations, Sonlighters learn about the daily life of average Muslims and raised over $64,000 to help Frontiers reach them with the Gospel and the true story of Jesus.
Frontiers fundraiser: Off-Road Encounters
Off-Road Encounters
2015
Celebrate 25 Years with Us!
X Close
25 Years of Inspiring a Love to Learn Back to Sonlight