*Update: after consideration and reflection and prayer, I have decided to not continue with The Good and the Beautiful for our family. There has been a lot of personal attacks directed at me over this decision and the reasons behind this decision. I will leave this post up to help give a review of the content but if you would like to know the reasons behind my decision, you can watch the recorded video on my YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/tyfeqJR7bD4
History is a subject that has a bad rep for a lot of us parents. The traditional way that history is taught in the school system *generally* makes it a collection of boring facts that we were forced to memorize so we could pass a test and promptly forget what we had learned. Now that I am teaching my own children this subject I am taking it as an opportunity to find a better way: for their sake, as well as mine (hey, you’re never too old to learn!). There are a lot of good curriculum options out there. Sometimes a lot of options is a bad thing, it can seem impossible to know where to start or what will work for your family!
After identifying the fact that I wanted something that was interesting, my next step was to identify something that fit our family. If you are new to my blog, I have 5 young children ages 10, 9, 8, 6, and 4. I teach 5 different LA levels and 5 different math levels (I know, pray for me). Like a ball in a game of tennis I am batted back and forth amongst my children helping them each one by one, dealing with constant interruptions, and trying not to lose my mind in the process. ANYTHING that can be combined into a “one room schoolhouse” approach is a lifesaver and I try to do this with Science, History, Literature and Bible.
Our Solution: The Good and the Beautiful History
Our solution for History this year is The Good and the Beautiful. This is a comprehensive, 4 year history program that is designed to be worked through in a cycle. We are starting with Year 1 which focuses primarily on Biblical, World History, and US History with a variety of materials (we’ll talk about Canada in a few paragraphs). It is Christian in it’s approach (more on this later) and very easy to do with the whole family. Let me take you on a journey with The Good and the Beautiful History (and make sure to check out my post on why we are using The Good and the Beautiful and what else they offer).
What comes with The Good and the Beautiful History?
We were sent the complete Physical Course set of Year 1 along with the read aloud book pack to review for your guys. The Physical course set comes with the course book, the big books of stories and the Keyes of History board game as well as PDF downloads of your student explorers notebooking pages. It also comes with a link to access your audio dramas, which are free with the course! Every few lessons you’ll be listening to a short audio drama that is SO well done! There are 2 different student explorers packs available, one for grades 1-3 that has a little bit less writing and one for older kids. This makes it super easy to print out what you need for your family so that you can all do it together. The sheets are all black and white and we just printed them off at home. They also work really well for kinesthetic learners to have something to color or do while they are listening to the read alouds or lesson.
Inside your course book, you will be given a whole list of read aloud for each unit that Jenny personally recommends as high character stories for each age group. You can grab these from the library or pick them up on Amazon OR purchase her optional read aloud set which has one set for each unit to read to the kids. This pack is incredibly affordable and the books are ones that we are really enjoying for the whole family.
The board game is a high quality game to help reinforce important places, people, and events in history that students are learning throughout the year. The course book prompts you periodically to play the game. You can choose to play this as much as you’d like and it can be played with up to 8 players which means that you can do it with the whole family. Whether you choose to play it cooperatively or competitively, this game is a great way to switch up the learning away from the books.
How to use the lessons
I put together a super detailed video to walk you through how the program is laid out, what to expect in the future years, an inside look at each of the materials, and who it will work for. Take a look at the video below to learn more.
Frequently asked questions
1. How much is the program?
The complete physical curse set is only $78USD. For a program that you will likely use for all your kids and possibly use more than once, this is a fantastic price! If you live in Canada or internationally, I recommend printing the PDF version to save on shipping.
2. Is there too much US content for Canadians?
I recommend checking out the 4 year history plan to get an idea of the units covered in each year. Year 1 covers mostly Biblical and World History, it has 1 unit that focuses more on US history in the year. For me, 1/4 of the content is not high enough to be considered “too US”. That being said, I will still be supplementing Canadian history, geography and government to make sure we are getting a rounded education. The farther you go in TGTB history, the more US content there is so I am not sure if we will do all four years. But at this point we love the structure of it and we are happy to just supplement with some other resources (blog post coming on that soon).
3. I am concerned about LDS content. As a Christian, do you feel this is a concern?
Let’s first clear up any misconceptions or confusion: I am a strong, Bible believing, Pentecostal Christian. I believe in God, the Trinity being God– 3 in 1. I believe in heaven and hell, that God existed before the beginning of time that He WAS and IS and always WILL BE.
There are some LDS quotes throughout all of The Good and the Beautiful content, my concern is less what is in the curriculum itself and more what is not in it. After looking at the LDS insights that optionally go along with the curriculum, I realized the vast differences between what I believe and what the author believes and how that might infiltrate the program and decided that I could no longer align myself or actively promote something that might confuse someone else in their faith. LDS and Christianity are very different, the concern I have is that the LDS community so strongly promotes that they are Christian and just a mere denomination and there are no real differences, which is a philosophy expressed strongly in TGTB groups and one that I am not comfortable being a part of. You can see more on my opinions in the original live video on my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/homeschoolon/videos/1707321362700573/
4. Is it culturally diverse enough?
I address this question in the video but I’ll do it again here in case my long-windedness made the skip button your friend 😉 There will be a TON of African-American and Native American history taught in years 3 and 4. This was always the plan with TGTB and because those years aren’t out yet, there has been some concern about this. Know that it is coming and the team also has plans to add some into year 1 in the fall to make sure that the entire program as a whole is both culturally diverse and well represented.
5. When should I start?
Another question I address in the video, but let’s do it here too 😉 Start no earlier than grade 1 UNLESS you have a large family with older kids who are ready for this and younger kids who aren’t. If you have younger kids, still teach it all together as a family, just have less expectation of your younger ones to be listening and participating because it’s a lot of reading. In the end, base it on your child and your family. If all else fails, go download the sample on the website and that will give you a pretty good indication of how it will work for you.
Where can I buy this?
You can go to my personal landing page to check out all the different products that The Good and the Beautiful has as well as take the LA placement test. If you go to History at the top, you can see the full 4 year scope and sequence as well as scroll down and see the various packages for sale.
I have also done 3 different YouTube video reviews to give you more insight:
A complete Science lesson with The Good and the Beautiful
A Day in the Life of a Homeschool Mom of 5 (see a complete History lesson including the audio AND LA in action)
A complete review of the Kindergarten LA
Check them out and subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss more curriculum reviews!
What Questions Should we Add to These?