I am not like most homeschooling moms. My oldest attended preschool at our church and learned all of his numbers, letters and sounds before we started Kindergarten at home. He was reading chapter books by October of his Kindergarten year. Simple chapter books, but still chapter books. I was so impressed and thought, “Yeah…I can do this homeschooling thing!” With two other kids under the age of 2 and another on the way, I was actually feeling hopeful.
Then our second child reached kindergarten age and I quickly realized he was not ready – for any of it. We do not do “preschool” in our house. It is all play and learning through play, so I thought he was ready to sit and learn, even if for 15 minutes at a time.
Boy was I wrong.
He was no more ready to sit and learn than my 2 year old was to potty train. I was crushed. I had such high hopes that since we waited until he was a little over 5 (his birthday is in February), he would be ready by August when we started our school year again.
This followed suit with our oldest daughter as well. I was beginning to think we needed to be more strict with this “no preschool” attitude and actually make them start learning around 3 years old, like a traditional preschool would do.
Fast forward 3 years and here we are with my youngest daughter who is just now starting Kindergarten. We tried last year right after she turned 5, but it just wasn’t clicking.
We have tried several different options with her, because nothing was helping. And finally, I think we have found the answer! A couple of months ago I was introduced to The Good & the Beautiful through a blogger friend of mine, who has also struggled with her kids. She was so excited about it and how much her children had improved in just a few weeks. So, I thought, we’ll give it a try.
Note: I received this product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I was paid as compensation, but not paid for a positive review. You might wonder why I am saying “we” now. My husband being the primary homeschooling parent right now, as I work and we travel, he has worked through this curriculum with our children and we have talked at length about the plusses and minuses. So, you will see him in the pictures teaching instead of me. The opinions expressed are the conclusion of both of us.
When I saw my friends review and heard first hand from her how much they liked it, I knew we needed to check it out. I was also intrigued that they offered their levels 1-5 in PDF form, free of charge. I mean, what company does that?
We opted to receive the printed and bound products, because I knew my Kindergartner (and I) needed a consumable product. Not to mention that this curriculum is literally ready-to-go the minute it arrives. There is little to no-prep on most of it, save the cutting out of the flashcards and mini books.
What we like about this program
All Inclusive – This curriculum is all inclusive. It includes grammar, poetry & literature and spelling from the beginning. This is not just a reading program or a spelling curriculum, it truly is a Language Arts curricula.
Starts with Vowels – So many of the curriculums we have used with our other children have started with consonants. While I understand their philosophy, I also see the value in not leaving vowels til the end. They can’t begin to sound out words without vowels, which is essential to reading.
We also like the flashcards that come with the curricula. The same flashcards are used for K-2, but it is recommended to have a set for each child, so you can separate them in to “learning”, “mastered” and “not learned” per child. We appreciate that the flashcards are not just a letter on them, they include the dipthongs and different vowel sounds, so they are being introduced to them from the beginning.
Easily done in a Group – Don’t think just because you have multiple children you can’t do this together. We do many of the exercises with our three middle children all together.
Flashcards are done together, even though they aren’t on the same level, this helps the younger one(s) see what the older one(s) is/are doing.
Mini Books are done together. The older one reads his book aloud, so the younger ones can hear and so on down the line. This helps introduce them to words and sounds they may not be familiar with, which only increases their learning.
The poems and readings are also done together. Being a pastor, my husband loves to show how God is present in everything, because he made everything. Even though this is truly a no- to low-prep curricula, if you take a few extra minutes to read through the literature passage for the day, you will likely see a link to a passage of Scripture in the Bible, that you can then use to bring Bible in to the lesson. This, of course, doesn’t have to be done, but it is possible.
The Artwork – This might seem like a strange thing to appreciate, but it is so hard to find good, quality images in curriculum these days that abides by our somewhat strict family guidelines. We are very conservative Christians from our attire to our choice in television shows and movies to the music we listen to and the games we allow our children to play. The images are classic and timeless, almost like a Saturday Evening Post feel, which is refreshing.
As with every curriculum, it can’t be completely perfect. However, the drawbacks we found are more personal preference than anything “wrong” with the program. Since we take a laid back approach to preschool and do not force learning until they are ready for Kindergarten, we found the Kindergarten curriculum a little advanced for our daughter. That’s not to say we aren’t using it, we are just modifying it a bit to fit where she is right now and to keep pushing her forward.
The other drawback, if you will, is that it does take more time than most other Kindergarten programs. However, you are doing spelling, grammar, reading, literature, poetry and Bible if you add that, which is going to take you more time than just going through letters. This really isn’t a drawback for us, but it is worth noting, if you plan to be done with school quickly, this may not be the choice for you. However, if you want an all-inclusive, well thought out, easy-to-follow Language Arts Curriculum, I urge you to give The Good & the Beautiful a try.