I know it’s been a while, but I have something so exciting to share with you today. I just had to hop back on here and tell you all the exciting new curriculum we found this year and how it has blessed our homeschool beyond belief.
You all know I am a bit of a planner and spent so much time planning out our homeschool year in the hopes that I can put together the best year ever (each and every year). Well, that is exactly what happened at the end of last winter (the best time of year to plan the next school year…what else is there to do that time of year?). I spent weeks planning and scheduling every part of our school day and year, right down to every chapter and page number in every book we would read. I truly didn’t expect it all to fall apart two weeks into the year.
You see, I underestimated how much both the kids and I preferred to do most of their subjects together (minus language arts and math, or course). So there I was with a great plan for an individualized education for each of my children, and nothing to do with it.
Enter The Good and the Beautiful.
Through some online research, I found this new Christ-centered curriculum that was surprisingly affordable and looked quite rigorous and fun as well…how is that even possible?! At the time, the Creative Writing Notebook was a free download, so I downloaded it to check it out. It looked so amazing that I decided to buy the Nature Notebook.
Both the Nature Notebook and the Creative Writing Notebook proved to me that this curriculum was the real deal. Someone was putting a whole lot of time and effort into creating materials that seemed to be sent from God to our family.
As I continued to research and explore the website there really wasn’t a single subject that didn’t catch my eye. The Language Arts programs for levels 1-5 are completely free, so I immediately downloaded a level to check it out. Wow…just wow!
The lessons were impressive and included so many different aspects of language arts (and beyond!), and I didn’t have to do any of the planning. So I purchased each level that each of my children would need (all I had to buy were readers and flashcards that went with the various levels).
My two older children are doing a level below their grade level since this is new to them and I didn’t want to set them up to be overwhelmed. My two younger boys are both working in the same level as their grade.
Here is what is used in each level we have for this year. The free download includes pdfs of the course book, the course companion, flashcards, the mini books in level 1, and the shared reader in level 5 (which I am thoroughly enjoying reading with my daughter). I purchased the additional materials (and level 7), but they are still considerably cheaper than any other homeschool materials I have seen.
Level 1: The Course Book, Phonics Cards, Mini Books, and the Reader
Level 3: The Course Book, the Course Companion, Challenging Words Flashcards, and the Readers (this level has two readers)
Level 5: The Course Book, the Course Companion, Geography and Grammar Cards, Daily Checklists, a Shared Reader, and a Personal Reader
Level 7: The Course Book, the Course Companion, the Reader, Geography and Grammar Cards, and Daily Checklists
All of the levels include instruction in reading, spelling, grammar and punctuation, literature, art appreciation, and writing. The younger levels include phonics instruction and the older levels include vocabulary and geography instruction. Not every part is done every day, and each lesson is just different enough to keep us on our toes.
I am so impressed by the rigor of the teaching and most days I find myself learning just as much as my kids do! Most years I dread standardized testing at the end of the year because I have a few children that struggle with spelling, but since we started with The Good and the Beautiful in July, I have seen so much improvement that I can’t wait for them to take their tests to see how much they have improved!
That took care of a need in our homeschool that I didn’t even know we had. But there were still the subjects to do together…mainly history and science. As far as history goes, I feel like through our decade of homeschooling we have tried just about everything approach out there. We’ve done history cycles, multiple history strands simultaneously, and just focused on American history. None of them felt complete or kept our attention for long (the history cycle always seemed to fizzle after Ancient History and send us back to focusing just on American History).
But the Good and the Beautiful approaches history in such a unique way, and we are loving it! They do a sweeping view of world history from the beginning to the present each year focusing on different parts every time through. With Year 1, we have 4 units: Ancient History, the Middle Ages & the Renaissance, The French and Indian War through the Revolutionary War, and the Victorian Era, the History of Flight & The Cold War Era. We are about half way through Year 1, and are enjoying it just as much now as we did when we first received the new books!
The history course includes a course book, The Big Book of History Stories (a beautiful book filled with wonderful stories that tie in with the history lessons), Dramatized Audio Recordings (these are like listening to an amazing audio book), Student Explorer guides (so that each child can experience the history lesson in an age-appropriate way), and the Keys of History Board Game. This game is amazing. When I saw a game was included with the curriculum I thought it would be fun, but I never expected it to be the quality that it is. We played this game the first day we received our curriculum, and we haven’t stopped since! In fact, if you have a history buff in your life, I could see this game making a wonderful Christmas present.
Much like the language arts programs, each day of history is a little bit different. While there are a few projects included, they are not every day (which makes me very happy!). There is a list of suggested read alouds to help tie history together, and we have really enjoyed all of the books we have read so far. This is by far our best year in studying history, and just like I said before, I am learning just as much about history as the kids are!
So now that leaves science, the subject that has never been my strongest. But my kids love science! When we ordered our history from the Good and the Beautiful, I decided to try out a couple of the science units (Meteorology and Water and Our World). Just like the other subjects, these have some serious depth. There are even added research topics for my older children to do.
After completing the Meteorology unit, I now have four new weather forecasters in our home. We had so much fun completing the experiments and daily weather sheets! The materials are open-and-go with lists of supplies for each lesson at the beginning of the unit (most are simple household items) and also read aloud suggestions (which were easy to find in our library…no obscure and impossible to find books!).
Now that we have been through one unit and are starting our next, I truly appreciate all of the prep work that has been done for me. I can collect materials before we begin each unit and have nothing to do each day but present the lesson. We have loved science so much that just yesterday I ordered two more units to complete after Christmas break.
I can honestly say that this curriculum coming into our homeschool has been a game changer. I no longer spend countless hours planning and adjusting our days…we just open our books and do the next lesson. The last few years I feel like I have been treading water in our homeschool, but this year we have taken off and are having what I consider our best year ever! Everyone is happy…including me.
One of the most important aspects of choosing the Good and the Beautiful is that it opens up time in my schedule to take care of me, and in turn making me a stronger wife and mother. With the extra time I now have in my day my morning Bible time is longer, exercise is now a regular part of my morning routine, and my evenings can be spent un-distracted with my husband. I no longer have to spend time researching what other homeschooling method may work or searching for different books that my kids may enjoy more. We are content.
While the Good and the Beautiful may not be for everyone, I encourage you to check it out if you are struggling in any area. They also offer handwriting and typing in addition to the subjects I mentioned above. We have truly enjoyed the fresh airthe Good and the Beautiful has brought into our school with their Christ-centered, affordable, and rigorous curriculum, and I think you will too!
I know this was a lot of information to take in at one time, so if you have any specific questions on how we use this curriculum please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer. I would love to do more posts later down the road on the specifics of each subject, but for now a quick overview of them all will hopefully work for any of you struggling with your current curriculum. Plus, when you find something so exciting and so wonderful you just have to share it, right?! 😁
I pray this will be your best year ever too! ❤