Inside: A review of the newest version of The Good and the Beautiful Pre-K homeschool curriculum
Full Disclosure: At this time, I make no income from reviewing this product and promoting it to you. Everything I say here is said because I mean it. There is a drawback to this curriculum, as I will talk about later. But any positive things I say are not said to persuade you to buy this product.
Our family has loved The Good and the Beautiful since we first began homeschool several years ago. Admittedly, there are certain subjects that have worked well for us and others that haven’t, but I’ve found that they are a curriculum company that truly listens to their customers. Any time I’ve had some qualms with a certain product (and see that other homeschooling families do too), they inevitably update it and fill the needs we were experiencing.
Their new pre-k curriculum has done exactly that. I’ve written a review before on the old version of their pre-k. I enjoyed it for our daughter, Arwyn. But if you read my post from when I first began homeschooling her, you’ll notice that I supplemented their curriculum with lots of other activities. A lot of that was to keep things interesting, but looking back, that was because the curriculum was a little flat. (Especially after using the new version with our son, Aspen, and comparing it to the old.)
This new curriculum needs no supplementation. It’s robust and engaging for young children, making it a joy to review and pass along to you.
The Good and the Beautiful Pre-K review
You can find this curriculum here.
A quick course description from the site says:
Introduce your littlest learner to letters, sounds, numbers, counting, fine motor skills, and much more using the completely new Preschool course. Interactive activities and games included in every open-and-go lesson provide a strong learning foundation for children ages 3 and older. This course allows you to feel the joy of teaching your child as you help him or her connect learning to God, high character, beautiful artwork, and parent/child interaction right from the start of your child’s educational foundation.
I’ll be reviewing it based on several points:
- What’s included
- Intended age group
- Content (including ease of use and effectiveness)
- The Good and the Beautiful as a company
What is The Good and the beautiful?
The Good & the Beautiful is a curriculum company created by Jenny Phillips, a fellow homeschooling mother. And like the title of the company implies, their curriculum fosters a love of those things that are good and beautiful in the life of the child.
Children who use this curriculum learn to study art and love poetry from a young age. Music (some of which is recorded by Jenny Phillips herself) is used to help children remember and solidify concepts. There’s also a strong emphasis on good literature.
We’ll take a closer look at the company toward the end of this post.
What’s Included in the Pre-K Curriculum?
In your order, you’ll receive:
- A full-color course book
- A clear accordion-folder full of games, flash cards, and other activities
- A separate book for letter crafts and extra practice activities
- Access to interactive letter sound and letter movement videos
This is much more than what came with the previous pre-k course. And as usual with this curriculum, everything has a beautiful, bright, and engaging design.
Intended Age Group
The Good and the Beautiful website states that this course is intended for children ages 3 and up. Of course, you know your child best. There are some 2-year-olds who may be ready. Other children may need to wait until they’re 5 or older. That’s okay. I recommend paying closer attention to the scope and sequence of the course than the age group.
Their website also advises:
If your child can count to five and recognize pictures of and say the words for apple, monkey, alligator, garbage can, elephant, and dinosaur, he or she is ready for the course. However, we strongly recommend not moving the child through the course too quickly. Some children, especially younger children, will need to move slower than others.
Our son, Aspen, is 3 years old. We’ve been using this curriculum since August 2021. As I’m writing this, we’re 5 months into this course, and he is on lesson 33. We do 2-3 new lessons per week and do all of the extra practice activities (on days when we aren’t doing normally scheduled lessons).
This is one of the most phenomenal things about not only the Pre-K curriculum but all subjects and grade levels available from The Good and the Beautiful. They are always very budget-friendly, and the company works to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
At the time when I’m writing this, the pre-k curriculum is only $45 plus tax and shipping.
To put it in perspective: Before they released this new version of the pre-k curriculum, I had been looking around at other options. While I enjoyed using the old version with Arwyn, I wasn’t so attached to it that I wasn’t willing to look around. When I did, I found a great curriculum that I was nearly sold on. I decided to wait until The Good and the Beautiful released their new version before making any purchasing decisions.
That other curriculum? It was $134 for the printed version. I’m very glad that I waited for The Good and the Beautiful release. And they didn’t skimp on quality in order to supply a product that’s also kind to your bank account.
Ordering from the website for The Good and the Beautiful is very simple. You can follow these steps:
- Go to goodandbeautiful.com
- Hover your mouse over the tab that says “Homeschool Curriculum”
- Under the green “Language Arts” menu, click “View Levels”
- From the drop-down menu, select Preschool
- Add it to your cart & check out!
There’s also a helpful FAQ section for any other questions you may have.
Shipping hasn’t taken too long for us in the past (usually a couple weeks), and you’ll be able to track your order while awaiting its arrival.
Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Who cares if it’s cost-effective and easy to order if the content doesn’t deliver? Thankfully it does.
As I mentioned previously, this new release is much more robust than the previous preschool course. While supplementation was a good idea with the old version, the new one works well all on its own. The lesson pacing is great, and if your child needs extra practice, there are plenty of worksheets for each unit. As previously stated, I do all of the practice sheets with Aspen. They help to make sure we’re taking our time and solidifying letter recognitions and sounds before moving on to the next set. Plus, when he’s already mastered the letters covered, they give him an extra confidence boost.
Preschool Course Book
Each of the 90 lessons of the course book is packed with letter and number practice. Art appreciation, pencil grip practice, scissor work, and more are also sprinkled throughout the lessons.
Throughout this book, your child will learn:
Preschool Folder Activities
The clear accordion folder if full of activities that go along with the lessons of the course. Activities include:
- Mouse House
- Otter Pond
- Letter Boats
- Feed the Elephant
- Hide and Seek Pets
- Moon Match
- Front Doors
- and Letter Flashcards
All of these activities help reinforce concepts that they are learning throughout the course by using play–the most effective way for children to learn.
In the old course set, extras came in a large zip-lock bag. It was fine for storage, but this is much more organized.
Preschool Practice Sheets
Each of the first 26 pages of the practice sheet book are dedicated to a different letter of the alphabet. They are blank in the middle and can be used to practice that letter in whatever way makes sense for your child. For us, this has been one way to keep things interesting.
Aspen has enjoyed painting and coloring his letters as well as filling them with washi tape, construction paper, tissue paper, glitter (yes, I was crazy that day), and other items.
He’s gotten lots of practice with glue as well as fine motor skills used to pick up small objects and stick them onto his letter masterpieces.
After the letter portion of the book, there are extra practice sheets for each unit. If your child is having trouble with certain letter sounds, telling the difference between b and d, counting, etc. you can take a day to review and practice with these worksheets. If your child doesn’t do well with worksheets, that’s fine. You don’t have to do them as part of the course. But they’ve been very useful in slowing down my little one who devours his lessons.
Songs and Videos
The songs and other videos are what really drive the concepts home. If you’ve read about how I taught Arwyn when she was little, you’ll remember that I often made up little songs to help her remember concepts. Music is one of the best ways to help information stick with our children. The songs and letter movement videos have been incredibly helpful for Aspen.
Is it easy to use?
This course is simple and truly an “open and go” curriculum. There is no prep work required for any of the lessons. The directions are simple and easy to follow.
It really doesn’t get much easier than that.
Is it effective?
When it comes to learning, the bottom line is whether or not the methods you use are effective for helping your child learn or not. From our personal experience, I would give The Good and the Beautiful Pre-K an A+. My son has easily picked up on all the letter sounds he’s learned so far. School work is also a joy for him instead of a chore, which is another important marker of success for me. He’s learning to enjoy our time learning together.
Of course, every child is different. What works well with my children may not click for yours. You know your child best. Does he or she pick up on things quickly with hands-on activities like the craft pages included? What about with games? Songs and hand motions? If so, this curriculum will likely be a good fit.
The Good and the Beautiful as a Company
Lastly, I do want to address a topic that can sometimes become the elephant in the room or a volatile battle when speaking about The Good and the Beautiful, particularly in Christian circles. Jenny Philips, the creator of this curriculum, is a member of the LDS church. For many, this can be a cause for concern.
First, I want to say that from studying the LDS belief system, I reject their views on Jesus as well as the teaching passed down to them from their founder, Joseph Smith. Their views on Christ and several other issues are unorthodox and even heretical. If you are considering this curriculum, I do recommend that you understand LDS beliefs first. Not because I’ve found any in the curriculum (I haven’t), but because 1) you need to know what to look for to give yourself peace of mind and 2) if and when you get pushback for your curriculum choice, you should be informed. For a thorough analysis, I recommend Mike Winger. The link will take you to a full playlist specifically on why LDS beliefs are not Biblical and the many issues with the claims of Joseph Smith. Yet, Mike Winger is always gracious. He teaches truth without being malicious.
Second, as I mentioned, there is NO doctrine specific to the LDS church found in this curriculum. Jenny doesn’t write it on her own but has staff and editors from all faiths who claim the Christian title. In fact, a friend from our church is an editor for the Good and the Beautiful. We’ve used many of their products and have found nothing alarming. There is an emphasis on good moral character, but it is never attached to earning salvation, as far as I have seen.
Finally, if you don’t want to support this company with your wallet because of the beliefs of the founder, I do understand. Follow your convictions.
The new pre-k curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful is thorough, simple, and wonderfully designed. It gets high marks from me!
Has this Good and Beautiful Pre-K review been helpful? Are you thinking of using this curriculum? If you have any questions, you can drop them in the comments below or shoot me an email. I love to hear from you!
Until next time,
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