How I Set Up Our Sonlight Instructor Guides | No Flipping Required

How I Set Up Our Sonlight Instructor Guides | No Flipping Required!

Sonlight has changed their IG format over the years, but how they have it now is my favorite. In fact, I was so surprised to see people complain about it on the Sonlight Mom's group that I had to comment on how much I liked it the current way. Sonlight picked up on my comment and asked if they could share it in on the Sonlight blog in The Everything Guide to Your Sonlight Instructor’s Guide, which is a must read for anyone wondering how to make the IG work for you

You can also read how I am making the IG work for me when are ahead in read alouds but not history. 

I also like it this way because I'm familiar with it. This is how it was when I started Sonlight 12 years ago, and I'm happy to see them come back to it because it is much easier to use. 

Basically, behind each weekly schedule, you have notes for History and Bible, but the Read Aloud and Reader guides are in the back of the IG. If you are following along week by week, faithfully checking off each box as you go, this could pose a "flipping" problem because you'd have to flip to the back of the IG to use the study guides. This is a wonderful problem that can be solved by simply pulling the study guide out of the IG to use on a daily basis. Problem solved - no more flipping frustrations! 

These amazing study guides are unique to Sonlight and are one of the reasons we chose Sonlight for our literature based curriculum. 

"With Sonlight, I can pick up the study guides and have a discussion with him on ANY book he reads." My 10th Grader... and Next Year

It is difficult to discuss the books your children are reading if you have not read them, and I am not able to pre-read all the books my children read - there are far too many! And what if you have a sneaky kid who doesn't like to read? How do you know he actually read the book? The study guide is your answer!  

In the past, I have simply pulled the study guides out, stapled them, and stuck them with my working binder. 

This year, I put everything in binders initially, and while they are great for storing your IG, they can be bulky to handle on a daily basis because they don't lay flat and take up a lot of room. So, I spiral bound everything, and I love it! 

I even spiral bound 6 weeks of the Level F IG for ease of use - I just left myself a little extra on the end for cutting and removing the spiral, which is really easy to do. I hand twist the spirals on and off easily and then re-crimp the ends. 

However, the spirals are cheap enough to use a new one if I need to (like 29 cents cheap). 

After four weeks of using this "no flipping" system, I am happy to say that it is working quite well. Everything I need for the week fits into one tote bag and is easily accessible - no matter what week I'm on without all the flipping! 

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I ended up buying the TruBind Spiral Binder when my local shop raised their binding prices, and I had $70 worth of binding to be done for only 16 books. I opted to buy my own, and I love it! The only reason I bought the electric is because it was cheaper than the non - but I've never used it, so I can't speak to that. It's so easy to twist the spirals on that I do it that way. The machine punches the holes and you insert the spiral and cut and crimp the ends with special cutters that come with it. You just have to purchase the spirals. My favorite spirals are the 1/2" and 3/4", but I also use the 1 1/2" for big books. I have plenty of spirals to last me the rest of my career as a homeschool teacher... and then some! 


  1. I'm interested to hear how you separated the big IG...did you leave the worksheets out? Did you put the all of the IG schedules together or in separate binders? What did you do with the read-aloud discussion question section?

    This looks like a wonderful idea!

    Thanks :)

  2. I initially bound 6 weeks of the IG with the pull out maps in one spiral and the read aloud guide and reader guide each in their own spirals. And yes, I bound the student worksheets into their own spiral bound notebook.

    It has been wonderful!!

    Next time I will put the whole IG schedule in one spiral (with the guides that have the reader/read aloud guide in the back of the guide).

    You can see pictures of the IG, Read Aloud Guide and Reader Guides here:

    And you can see one of the notebook here:


  3. P.S. I spiral binded HBL A Science Guide and worksheets separately too! My son loves having his book to work through!