Inside: A full review of Pre-K curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful
As you may already know, I began homeschooling our daughter, Arwyn, when she was 2 years old. It started out simply enough with some letter basics (singing ABC’s and recognizing a good bit), colors, shapes, etc. But it quickly became apparent that she was ready for more.
So when my daughter was about 2 1/2, I started using The Good and the Beautiful Pre-K with her. It was a curriculum I had researched (mainly through YouTube videos) and that came highly recommended.
Arwyn finished that curriculum back in July 2019 (just 6 months after starting), so I want to share our experience with you!
My Full Curriculum Review
Before we get started, know that at the time when I’m writing this, I am not affiliated with The Good and the Beautiful in any way. No one is paying me to do this review. But in the spirit of transparency, I will say that I would love to work with them some day, ONLY because of the positive experience I’ve had with their company and their products.
Below I’ll include my full review of the Pre-K curriculum from The Good & the Beautiful. Hopefully it will help to answer any of the questions you may have. If I’ve forgotten something or you have any other questions, drop a comment at the bottom, and I’ll answer to the best of my ability!
What is the Good & the Beautiful?
The Good & the Beautiful is a company created by Jenny Phillips, a fellow homeschooling mother. And like the title of the company implies, their curriculum emphasizes what’s good and beautiful in life. Children who use this curriculum learn to study art from a young age and also listen to music (recorded by Jenny Phillips herself) to remember and solidify concepts. There’s also a strong emphasis on good literature.
The curriculum does have the Christian worldview, which we personally love and were looking for.
What does the Pre-K curriculum cover?
The Good and the Beautiful Pre-K is 53 lessons (112 pages) long and focuses mainly on the alphabet but also covers other pre-k related topics.
Concepts covered include:
letter recognition (including if the letter is uppercase or lowercase)
basic handwriting & fine motor skills
order of events
As I mentioned, the primary focus is the letters. There’s also handwriting practice in each lesson to start learning how the letters are formed. All other things covered are very much secondary.
The Good and the Beautiful is a more literature-heavy curriculum, so it makes sense that even at a young age, language would be the primary focus.
What age group is it for?
According to The Good and the Beautiful, the Pre-K course is for kids between the ages of 3 and 5.
With that being said, Arwyn had nearly completed the course before she turned 3. So if you have a child who is in love with learning and ready to soak it up, they could definitely start this curriculum before 3 and excel.
How will I know if my child is ready?
There is a placement assessment available on the website. To see what level of curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful fits your child best (or if they’re not quite ready to start yet), go here.
How’s the ordering process?
Ordering from the website for The Good and the Beautiful is very simple. You can follow these steps:
Shipping was fairly quick, and I was able to track our order while (impatiently!) awaiting its arrival.
What’s included when you purchase the curriculum?
The course set comes with:
the Pre-K course book
4 letter flip books
an activity packet with:
a number slider
a letter cube
Feed the Elephant
Hide and Seek Pets
Swat the Fly
We can think of each of these three things (the course book, the flip books, and the activity packet) as a different layer in the learning process. Read more about each one below.
The course book
The course book is the framework for this curriculum. It’s the “bones” and structure. It’s where the concepts for the Pre-K course are introduced and lightly practiced.
It’s also super parent-friendly and easy to use. All of your instructions for what to do with your child in each lesson are found in the pages of the course book. AND it prompts you to use the flip books and materials found in the activity packet (though we did all of them more often than what the curriculum suggested).
The flip books
Each flip book covers 6-7 letters.
Uppercase letters are on the left, lowercase letters are in the middle, and a picture with the beginning sound of each letter is on the right.
You and your child then flip through the book until you have a match all the way across. Very simple, and great practice!
This is the “repetition” layer of learning for our children. Seeing something over and over and over until it’s second nature and not something they have to think too hard about.
I will say that things like this may get “boring” to some children depending on their interest level, so try to find ways to keep it exciting. Even if it’s just being silly and playful as you do the activity together.
The activity Packet
Arwyn adored these activities and still occasionally asks for them even though she’s done with the Pre-K curriculum. They’re very simple games, but we always had fun with them!
It’s said that children learn best through play. So these activities are that hands-on ingredient that our kids need. (And of course, you don’t have to ONLY do the games included in the curriculum! We found other ways to play and learn too.)
Does the curriculum require any additional materials?
There are a few other things that you’ll use throughout your child’s time in the Pre-K course. At the beginning of the curriculum, there are 2 lists: one for things to always have on hand and the other for extra items needed during certain lessons.
You can gather all the materials at the same time before beginning the Pre-K curriculum with your child OR you could get them as you need them. For example, before each week begins, you could make a checklist of the items you need for that week. It’s probably easiest to gather them before starting the course, though, to make sure nothing is forgotten.
Thankfully, you may be able to find most of it around your house. We did!
How do you use it?
The real beauty of homeschooling is that the curriculum isn’t a holy grail. It’s a tool that you can use to best fit the needs of your child. So there’s not really a right or wrong way to use it.
We usually covered each lesson in a day, though there were some that required 2 days to complete. And we worked out of the course book 2-4 days a week, just depending on what other things I had planned and her personal interest.
The curriculum prompts you when to use the extras such as a flip book or a game from the activity packet. However, we often played the games more often than suggested. And you can totally do that (or modify the curriculum in any other way) if that’s what your child needs!
To watch us using this curriculum, check out this video over on our channel:
Is it effective?
Here’s the million-dollar question.
It was incredibly effective for Arwyn. She went into it with a fairly good grasp of letter recognition but not many sounds. This curriculum really helped her to solidify those sounds in her mind.
Between the lessons, the flip books, and the games, she was able to learn her sounds and get them down confidently (a skill she is now using to read short words in the K Primer curriculum).
She also had fun with it, which made it that much easier for her to absorb.
Is it enough on its own?
Clearly, I love this curriculum. But is it thorough enough to stand on its own? I’m truly not sure.
Does it need supplementation from other curriculum? No, I don’t think so.
But should you supplement with other learning toys, games, tools, and creative activities (arts & crafts)? I did. Mainly because I wanted to present these foundational concepts to her as richly as possible, meaning I layered the way I taught it to her. I didn’t want to use just one source but come at it from different angles to really make sure the information got through in a meaningful way.
Plus, as I mentioned before, the curriculum is more focused on language foundations than anything else. While it has your child practice other skills, extra practice with counting, shapes, colors, etc. is likely needed for full understanding. But those things don’t require a curriculum.
Will I personally use it again?
Absolutely! Our youngest son isn’t 2 years old yet, but when he’s ready, I plan to use The Good and the Beautiful Pre-K curriculum with him as well.
Any other questions I could answer about our experience with The Good and theBeautiful Pre-K? Drop a comment below!
Until next time,
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Inside: How my 2-year-old learned the distinction between uppercase and lowercase letters
Psst… DISCLOSURE: Some of the links in this post are through Amazon affiliates. That just means, at NO additional cost to you, Amazon gives me a small portion of the sale if you decide to click a link and make a purchase.
Letter recognition is the foundation for all future language arts endeavors with our little ones. So why not start building and reinforcing that foundation early on? It’s actually easier than we may think for our kiddos to make that mental leap.
Rather watch a video? Check out this one:
5 Ways to Teach Uppercase & Lowercase Letters
We started teaching Arwyn in a more structured format when she was just 2 years old. But even before that, she was introduced to letters. Here are 5 tried and tested methods for teaching uppercase and lowercase letter recognition and differentiation to small children.
1. Dave & Ava
Before I ever started teaching Arwyn at home, we loved Dave & Ava’s YouTube channel. Their tagline is “rediscover nursery rhymes,” but they also have a lot of learning songs and even some fun apps for letters, numbers, etc. The bright colors and fun designs really bring their videos to life.
We stumbled upon their alphabet song one day, and Arwyn was hooked. We watched it EVERY. DAY. along with their phonics song.
So before we began anything else, Arwyn could sing her ABC’s, recognized some of the letters, and also knew a few random letter sounds.
Not big on screens? I get it! Even just introducing a few of the songs and then singing them with your child on a regular basis while pointing to the letters in a book or on a poster will be beneficial!
2. Letter Crafts
Early on in our homeschool year, we began working on little letter crafts. We started with “A is for alligator” and kept rolling from there!
Check back soon for a post with letter craft ideas and templates!
3. Letter Tree
I’ve found that simple homemade activities that are fun and game-like work super well for teaching letter recognition. Arwyn loves to use this letter tree! We pretend that our letters are fruit and match our lowercase fruit (bottle lids that I’ve written lowercase letters on with a Sharpie) with our uppercase fruit on the tree.
If you’d like to use our tree, you can get it for free by subscribing below!
These sweet letter acorns were a Christmas gift from one of Arwyn’s pappaws, and we love them!
The uppercase letter is written on the front of the acorn, and the lowercase is printed inside the lid. She has fun finding matches.
Plus they each also have a fun plastic/rubber figure that starts with the letter’s sound and can hide inside the acorn.
You can find them on Amazon here:
5. The Good & the Beautiful Pre-K
Finally, in January we started the Good & the Beautiful PreK program, and I COULD NOT be more pleased with it. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting her to be this far along already, but this curriculum is amazing.
I AM NOT being paid to say this. I bought the curriculum myself. I have no reason to recommend this course other than pure results. Arwyn is excited to do her schoolwork every day, and it has helped her come so far!
Not only does she recognize both uppercase and lowercase variations of each letter but she also knows which one is which AND the sounds for about 90% of her letters. Plus she’s tracing them–something I really didn’t expect her to be doing this early.
The Good & the Beautiful is really language intensive. Because of that, they really focus on laying these early foundations well. I definitely recommend it when your child is ready.
For more on our first year of homeschool with Arwyn and my thoughts on early preschool at home, check out this video:
How do you plan to teach your child letter recognition? Seasoned moms: what are some of your tips? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
New here? Learn more about our family and this blog here.
Inside: Is your child having trouble with counting objects? This is how I taught my 2-year-old one-to-one correspondence.
Psst.. just a DISCLOSURE: Some of the links in this post are through Amazon Affiliates. That just means that Amazon gives me a small piece of the sale if you click one of the links and make a purchase. At NO ADDITIONAL COST to you!
We don’t always think about the building blocks that need to be in place for early learning. All the little cogs within the machine of our children’s brains.
Enter one-to-one correspondence. “One-to-one correspondence” is just a fancy term for the ability to keep track of what objects have been counted and what objects haven’t. It was one of those things that I hadn’t really thought about but that plays a role in the way our children process early math information.
When kids are little, they sometimes count objects twice or skip over counting some of them altogether. It’s because their brains haven’t begun to realize that each object needs to be counted and counted only once.
As kids grow and learn, one-to-one correspondence is normally picked up. But we can actually help our kids learn it faster by giving a concrete way for their brains to recognize what’s happening while counting.
And while it may seem like something difficult (it often seems hard to teach things that we don’t even think about!), it’s actually really simple.
How to Teach One-to-One Correspondence
So how do we go about teaching one-to-one correspondence?
Since recording the video, I created a few free printable options you can use for counting with your little one. Input your name and email below, and I’ll drop the download into your inbox! (By subscribing, you’ll also get our weekly email newsletter)
The simplest way to teach one-to-one correspondence is by showing the objects moving from one concrete area to another.
First, you need a group of objects. You can try counting cubes, counting bears, the glass stones that I use in the video, cotton balls, Cheerios… almost ANYTHING! It just needs to be small enough to fit on the spaces provided on the printable.
Of course, be careful of choking hazards (I know you already know this).
Next, pick which printable you actually want to use. You could pick the flower or bee hive printables and act like you’re moving buzzing bumble bees. Or use the lily pad printable and act like they’re hopping frogs. Or use the barnyard printable, and let your child pretend to be a farmer moving horses.
Whichever one you choose, make a game out of it! Kids learn best through play.
Next put all of your objects into the first space (flower, hive, lily pad, or fence). Then you’ll have your child slide the objects from the first space to the second, counting the objects out loud while moving them.
The first few times, you’ll likely want to put your hand on top of theirs while they move their manipulatives (just so they get the hang of it) and count out loud with them. As they begin to understand, hang back and see how many they can count on their own.
How Does This Work?
Like I said above, it’s easier to show one-to-one correspondence when moving things from one concrete area to another. Why is that?
Excuse me while I nerd out for a moment…
We can actually think of these two separate areas as groups. So one group consists of things that haven’t been counted while the other is made up of the things that have been counted. As your child moves the objects from one group to the next, it begins to solidify pathways in their brain.
Our understanding works best when we can see and interact with something in a concrete form first. Our brains can then begin to process how that concept works. Then we’re able to process that same information in more abstract ways.
Of course, all of that isn’t something we explain to our kids, but I love understanding what is happening in their minds.
This is a simple activity, but it’s extremely effective in helping our little ones to understand how to count objects correctly.
If you haven’t subscribed to get your printables yet, don’t forget to do so before you go by plugging in your name & email here: (I promise not to SPAM you or share your info)