I never thought we would switch elementary math curriculums. The last few years we transitioned over to using The Good and the Beautiful Math curriculum and we love it!
Previously we used Horizons for the younger years. It’s an easy to use but intense math program that is open and go; but the downside of that curriculum is that it often overwhelmed my girls and led to tears. Even though I liked how repetitive it was, it just burnt them out.
When it came time to homeschool Deborah, her personality didn’t fit well with Horizons so we had to find something else.
A few years ago I was thrilled when I heard The Good and the Beautiful was coming out with a math program. Now that we’ve used it for awhile, I can confidently say it’s been a great fit for Deborah and Sophia.
Let me say, though, that I don’t think there is a one size fits all math program. Everyone has a different personality and every family is different. Let me share with you some reasons why The Good and the Beautiful math has worked well for us.
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Why We Love The Good and the Beautiful Math
The first thing I’ll mention is how engaging it is. It’s not a standard worksheet of 30 problems to do on a black and white piece of paper. Every lesson is completely different with manipulatives used as needed to help the child understand the lesson.
I love the stories included in many of the lessons. They are engaging to the child and many of them work so beautifully alongside the manipulative’s that come with the math program. About every 2-3 lessons there is a story to read.
This math is set in real life. In other words, the child can easily relate to the math problems given. For instance one lesson talks about cutting flowers to give to mother and the number of flowers she cut.
Another lesson has them count animals in the zoo; and another has them shopping at the market as they learn how to use their change correctly for the vegetables they want to buy. It’s so practical, useful and relatable!
It Really Is Beautiful!
The name The Good and The Beautiful holds true in the math program. All of the books are thoughtfully designed and the illustrations are just lovely! The images of the children are so sweet while the animals, gardens and barns are realistic and inviting.
One big complaint I have about other homeschool materials are the graphics often found in them. They can be so poor that I can hardly bring myself to use them. Blame it on the fact that I’m married to a graphic designer but how a curriculum looks is important to me! From a design perspective, using The Good and the Beautiful is like a breath of fresh air.
It’s Easy To Use
I’ve read about some moms being worried that The Good and the Beautiful math will take a lot of time. I will say it does require a little bit more out of the mom versus something like Horizons where they can more easily do the worksheet on their own.
In The Good and the Beautiful math you do need to sit next to your child for most of the lesson, but the lessons are on the shorter side! So far only grades K through 2nd are out, but I imagine that as the older grades are released they will allow the student to be a little more independent.
Another way to look at it is that the time you spend on math will be significantly reduced if you can skip the the tears and arguing. I’ve read so many stories of children falling in love with The Good and the Beautiful math. It can greatly lessen the daily math struggles that so many homeschool moms are used to.
Since I always try to be honest in my blog post reviews I must admit that my 2nd grader will still groan at times. She has always wrestled with math and seems to be following in the footsteps of her older siblings. 😉 However, we don’t have tears and the lessons don’t go on and on like Horizon’s did. I’m so thankful for that.
As for me, I personally love that it tells me exactly what to say right in the math book. There isn’t a separate teacher’s book and for me that’s a huge plus!
The Manipulatives are Amazing!
The box of manipulatives that comes with this curriculum is truly amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it in any other math program.
In the 1st and 2nd grade curriculum your children share one math box which really helps on the cost. Also, the quality is outstanding and everything has held up really well.
Included are chipboard pieces that include shells, eggs, tangrams, marbles, base ten bricks and marbles.
Wooden 3D blocks are also included, as well as counting chips, dice, domino cards, game pawns, a mini tape measure and numbered game cards.
10 double sided game and work mats also come in the box. I love these! One day you might use a town page and learn directions as you move your game piece throughout the town. Another day you might add up pizza slices. It’s all so fun for the child. Deborah never grumbles when we pull these game mats out to use!
All of this might sound overwhelming but it’s not. Everything is easily contained in the box it comes in and I just pull the box out along with the workbook each day.
I’ve heard of some moms getting these organizers to hold the manipulative in and it’s on my to-do list, just to make it even easier to pull out and use.
How Expensive Is The Good and the Beautiful Math?
Admittedly, The Good and the Beautiful math is a little more expensive than some, but less than others. The workbooks are around the same price as Horizons. Each year you have 2 workbooks (one for each semester) and they’re $26.99 each. Then you need the math activity box which is $49.99. It works for grades 1st and 2nd though, so if you already invested in it for first grade it really lowers your price for 2nd grade. You can use all those activities over and over again so it continues to lower your price if you have a large family.
Starting out, the whole package for kindergarten is $108.97 and stays right around that price for 1st and 2nd grade. I personally feel it’s worth it.
3rd grade math is coming out in June with 4th grade being anticipated to come out late 2020. That’s very exciting!
How Does It Compare To Other Math Programs?
I commonly hear The Good and The Beautiful math being compared to MasterBooks math program. We used MasterBooks math several years ago but we didn’t continue in it for long. The younger levels were almost too easy while my 4th and 6th graders thought it was confusing and didn’t explain things well enough. I know it works well for some families but it wasn’t a good fit for us.
Compared to Horizons, Saxon and Christian Light The Good and the Beautiful math has a slightly easier feel simply because the child is not writing as much. There’s more verbal communication going on which I feel strengthens math skills more than the child simply writing down the problems themselves.
Wait, Isn’t This Curriculum LDS?
If you want to drum up controversy on Facebook, mention The Good and the Beautiful in a Christian homeschool group. I’m just going to address this head on. 😉
The author is a member of the LDS church, but she has all different faiths involved in the development of the curriculum. From what I understand everything that is released goes through a screening process with lots of different faiths (Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, etc) to make sure it has the approval of everyone involved.
I’ve personally never seen anything that has LDS teachings in it. There are a few quotes on nature or character from some LDS leaders, but otherwise it’s just a beautiful curriculum that is focused on teaching good character and helping children enjoy school more; nothing more, nothing less.
If you want to check out the math curriculum there are lots of sample pages available to look through. The scope and sequence is also very helpful to look through as well as the math placement test.
The Bottom Line About The Good and the Beautiful Math
Like I said above, there isn’t a perfect math program for every single child out there. If your child likes an open-and-go math program they might prefer something else; but if you want something that is gentle in its approach, thorough in it’s teaching and beautiful to look at, you’ll definitely want to check out The Good and the Beautiful math!
We also really love the Preschool curriculum, Kindergarten Curriculum, the Handwriting books, and we are using the Language Arts for 4th and 6th grade this year!
*Thanks to The Good and The Beautiful for sending me some math curriculum to review! All thoughts are strictly my own.