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In which SWMBO tells a tall tale.  Or not.

Sonlight is a large, well-run business catering to the evangenical Christian homeschooler.  While we are Canadian and not religious, I order most of my homeschooling materials through Sonlight because it is a one-stop shop with great customer service.  If anyone from Sonlight is reading, please bring back the free shipping to Canada you used to offer!

Interesting watermelon cooling invention, Ohrid

Interesting watermelon cooling invention, Ohrid

The thing that is unique about Sonlight is that its curriculum is literature-based and has a global outlook.  It doesn’t shy away from books that are critical of Christianity, that contain bad language, or that deal with subjects like the occult.   The novels selected by Sonlight are beautiful and each could be considered a classic.  They have many Caldecott and Newbery medal winners in their line-up.

Sonlight uses existing novels and builds its subject lessons around them.  To buy a full curriculum package for one grade costs over $1000 US so it definitely isn’t cheap.  I get the free catalogue every year and look up which of the novels are available at my local library.  Most are, but those that aren’t and that interest me, I order from Sonlight when I am ordering our Singapore Math.

Two beauties from the Ohrid Old Timers Festival

Two beauties from the Ohrid Old Timers Festival

Sonlight is the curriculum of choice for a significant number of missionaries around the world.  My Spidey Senses are tingling and I believe at least one of them to be here in Macedonia.  Ohrid that is.

I was just innocently walking along the other day when I came to a flea market and saw a bookseller with a small selection of second hand books, some of which were in English.  It is very difficult to find English reading materials in the Balkans so I went to have a look: Smart Couples Finish Rich, South Beach Diet Cookbook, a couple of books by David Sedaris.  The hardcovers cost 400 dinars ($10 Cdn) and the soft covers were half that.  The prices were fair but too steep for me, particularly since nothing grabbed me.

Bookseller, Ohrid

Our new friend the bookseller, Ohrid

The young woman selling the books told me that she had more around the other side as well as four more boxes that she didn’t have room to put out.  These books ranged in price from 50-200 dinars ($1.20-$5).  I started rummaging around and couldn’t believe my eyes.  I found Silas Marner, Jude the Obscure, a beautifully illustrated version of King Lear, books by Kit Pearson and Jerry Spinelli and Katherine Paterson and M.E. Kerr.  I found many Newbery prize-winning books I had never heard of as well as books I had read as a child and hadn’t seen in years.  I also found a whole whack of books that I recognized from the Sonlight catalogue.

Boxes and boxes of great books

Boxes and boxes of great books

I tried to explain to the saleswoman that many of these books were hard to find at home and would have to be specially ordered.

Where did they come from?  I believe they came from the US to a missionary family posted in Macedonia.  I imagine that when each new box would arrive from the States, the children would open it excitedly and grab at novels and start reading or beg to start school right away.  I can picture it perfectly because that is what happens in our house when a box arrives from Sonlight.  Then I believe the kids grew up or moved back to America and the books ended up in a flea market in Ohrid where they made a non-Christian family very, very, very happy.

So happy that my kids insisted that I take them there the next day so they could browse the book boxes.  If the Mythbusters decide to investigate this tall tale, I think they will deem it “Plausible”.  That’s all she wrote.