I placed my first BookShark order over the weekend, the first day the company opened their site to web orders. The website is very basic right now, and not nearly as "pretty" as Sonlight's, but I imagine that will improve over time. It was still easy to navigate, find what I needed, and place my order. If you go to the BookShark website and create an account you can get a coupon for $10 off orders placed in June, which was a very nice plus. I was afraid I would have to pay shipping, but I found a note in the FAQ that orders of $300 + receive free delivery. So, even though I had only planned to order for Rose, I also got what I needed to update our Sonlight Core D. I have a thing about free shipping!
It isn't made terribly obvious on the BookShark website, but you can order separate items by clicking on the "See All BookShark Products" link on most of the site's pages. They do not yet have the separate items linked in each grade level package, so you need to click that "see all" link to add them to your cart if you aren't buying them as part of the package.
Luckily, I already own many of the books Rose needs for the "K" Level, so I did not need to order the whole package. I ordered instructor guide K with a binder, the timeline book and timeline figures, "Create a Calendar", and a new laminated map. We have an older Sonlight black and white map, but I think the color looks much more user-friendly. I also ordered the ten books I didn't already own from the reading list.
I do not like how BookShark (or Sonlight now, for that matter) has all their levels numbered by grade, because in most cases I am not using the "proper"
grade level- so I can't help but feel "behind" even though I know we are not. The whole idea behind Sonlight/BookShark is that a range of ages can share a level. However, if you look at the BookShark FAQ they state that this is
only to make it easier for new homeschoolers to choose their
curriculum and that the instructor guides themselves are labeled with the
range of ages they are intended for. So I can live with that.
For James, I decided to order the American History Part 1 instructor guide. I had initially planned on upgrading my current Core D American History IG with Sonlight, because it was a bit cheaper than buying from Bookshark. But since I will re-do this Core with Rose and I don't own Core E-American History Part 2- it made more sense to switch to BookShark now. I also don't need the SL language arts, which made the decision a bit easier. SL includes language arts in the instructor guide for this level, while BookShark sells theirs separately. I had to purchase just two new read-alouds- Secret of the Sealed Room and Winter Danger-along with the new Landmark History, Beginner's American History, and the Children's Encyclopedia of American History.
I am really looking forward to getting my order and checking everything out!
Till Next Time!