Are you wondering if the new discounted Math 1 from The Good and The Beautiful is worth trying even for $23? Well as a newbie to this curriculum and a Dad homeschooling I think you might be surprised.
What to look for in a math curriculum?
- Cost-Math curriculums are usually the most expensive compared to the other subject because of the manipulatives and the thoroughness of the subject. Math is the basis for many other subjects and the cost can be prohibitive if it’s over $100.
- Parent intensive-at this lower level of instruction, you must teach the lessons. However, Level 1 Math from The Good and The Beautiful (TGTB) is scripted and they highlight what and how you need to approach the lesson. It is open and go, so no need to do any intensive preparation.
- Kids appeal-how do the text and workbook feel? Are they in color with nice graphics and photos? Or just black and white? The Good and The Beautiful (TGTB) is just like the name. The soft warm feeling of the graphics is in color and my son seems to enjoy it.
- Common Core?– Since math is an essential subject that will be needed many families are curious if the curriculum meets common core standards? TGTB claims they are not aligned, but they believe that they have many areas that go above and beyond.
- Resources-Having some extra enrichment activities or resources is always beneficial. There are a few things TGTB offer but it is rather limited compared to some other curriculums.
Why Do We Like The Good And The Beautiful Math Level 1?
As a Dad new to homeschooling, I like that they are spelling out many of the things I need to be doing. I am reading the script of what to say and read to them and how to teach the lesson. This is very important for me since I am very nervous as a new parent to this homeschool lifestyle. The curriculum was originally recommended to me by a friend so I have been looking around for a while and the sale is mainly what caught my attention. The cost was so low for the printed version and manipulatives that I jumped at the offer.
I also like the fact the math kit is paper-based and very simplified. We have some math manipulatives already from other families who just passed them on to us, but they all seem quite complicated and mainly plastic. TGTB did a good job to filter down the basics and make them in a way that they also don’t take up so much space. And the wooden 3D shapes are also pretty cool and appealing since my son loves playing with wooden blocks to build with.
Top Math Curriculum Highlights vs. The Good and The Beautiful
|TGTB||Math U See||Saxon Math||Singapore Math||Horizons Math||Abeka|
|Homeschool Style||Charlotte Mason, Mastery and Spiraling||Multiple learning styles||Hands-on, spiraling approach||Mastery and hands-on sequencing of concepts||Spiral approach||Spiral|
|Resources||Not found||Worksheet Drills, Online||Not really||Resources | Singapore Math||No||Not Many|
|Free Resources?||Yes, a few||Yes, some||No||Yes, a few||No||Yes, a few|
|Aligned with Common Core?||No||Yes||Yes||Some editions||No||Yes|
If you are new to Homeschooling, you might want to check out our helpful article about How to Prepare Your Child for Homeschooling.
My Son Was Impressed with the Math Activity Kit of Stuff
When I unboxed the package of Math Level 1 from The Good and The Beautiful, my son was pretty happy to see so many things he could have fun with. This was the first curriculum we bought online and maybe he was just easily impressed since he’s never had anything else to compare with. But I was also pleased to find everything well packaged and sorted. The contents were clearly labeled and organized in a neat way to make me feel I paid for something of value.
From first impressions, it was good so far, even from when I was exploring it online and it had a clear FAQ and information on how to select the right level for my child. There is a downloadable pdf file where you can sample and test your child to see where they fall within the levels. It was cut and dry to check and my son had fun trying out the course before we had bought anything. So he was excited before we even received the package.
Sorting and Arranging the Manipulatives Took Time!
I tried to just open up the book and start, but there were some things we needed to prepare first so we were delayed about a week. We had fun to sort, and pop out some of the manipulatives, and bag the pieces we would be using. This is also a good activity to familiarize your child and follow directions. Included was a clock, domino cards, 3D shapes, a ton of tangrams, a game package, measuring tape, fraction manipulatives, and a bunch of other materials for the lessons.
“Tangram experiences help children develop positive attitudes toward geometry, further their shape identification and classification skills, and foster an understanding of basic geometric concepts and relationships.”Using tangrams to teach geometry to young children
It took me some extra time to focus and to sort it out and also figure out what it was and how to use it. I wish they had a quick start guide like when you buy any kind of new item or electronics. There is always a guide to show you in a matter of moments what you need to do to get started! I’m a Dad, and I’m not familiar at all with Open and Start curriculums and I had to read up and hunt for what needed to be done first, and how to put together the place value mats and it was pretty confusing at first for my little brain to figure out!
I would suggest printing out the My Planner and read there first as well as the main course book, Part 1.
You can also see a nice video of what’s in the Math Activity box
Simplified and Environmentally Friendly Manipulatives
I had read that some curriculums have all kinds of plastic and cheap manipulatives in their costly Math kits, but The Good and The Beautiful (TGTB) has streamlined and simplified all of their math manipulatives. Most items are paper-based or heavy card-based and you simply pop them out like a puzzle. I thought that was pretty neat. And they do stress the fact that they try to make this kit as economical as possible which is very apparent.
If you are concerned about this, then this Math Level 1 kit is an environmentally and economically conscious decision. They also had a choice before offering an entirely PDF version and that means you have to print out yourself. You could choose that if you live in a remote place or you live abroad and just want the curriculum as fast as possible. You would just pay, download and then print out at your local print shop or on your color printer. We went with the normal version since we felt it was already so cheap and we have no time to print out this stuff and bind it.
Some Free Resources, but Hidden Away
I like the fact that TGTB makes an effort to make the course affordable and helpful. There are some free resources like downloadable flashcards and MP3 songs for learning months of the year and other stuff. But the free resources are hidden away and you can only find them if you read through each section where they will highlight the free resource. It would be preferable to have a list in the front or back that would direct us to this stuff first so we can prepare it and download it before we get into the lesson.
Of course, this is just my opinion and maybe other families would be fine with it. Certainly, once you know this you can read ahead and look for these resources and handle them in advance. But for me, I am used to having a nice little bullet list in the front telling me what I need to prepare, what we will be using, and then I can prepare quickly to make the lesson go smoothly. I found myself just on the first lesson scratching my head trying to figure out what I need to prepare.
Cost of The Good and The Beautiful Was Amazing!
If you look around for a Level 1 Math course, it’s hard to find an Open and Go curriculum for less than this kit! It was on sale for $23 until the end of last year, December 31st, 2020. However, I recently checked and it’s still only $56.37, click here to check the price now. But the price is so low mainly because they are going to upgrade the whole Math series to make it even better apparently and more streamlined! That’s super but we still wanted to take advantage of the offer and get started now.
If you check the other top math curriculums you probably can’t find anything under $63 just for the course books. If you add the manipulatives sets and that could cost you another $60-$100. You can see the Saxon Math curriculum listed here has kits more expensive than the whole course we purchased!
Math Level 1 Cost comparison table: $24 versus Top 5 Math Curriculums
|Saxon Math||Math U See||Singapore Math||Horizons Math||Abeka|
How does my Son Like it?
My son has taken the Level 1 math well and enjoys it so far. We have had a slow start since we had to figure out what things to prepare for first, but like another parent we know, they just skipped ahead anyway. I like to just follow the steps and process in the beginning, since I am a new father just getting into homeschooling. For me, I am OK to take a little more time to prepare since my son is also new to this and likes the tangrams from the Math Activity Kit. I never knew about tangrams but apparently, they are good for logic development, shape familiarity, and are very educational. Check out this helpful article all about tangrams and their benefits.
Now there are lots of text and reading in this math course so far. We have seen some resources online where people are not so happy because they find the content to be long-winded just to make a point. But so far, my son likes it and the colorful pictures and fun stories are well received. Maybe we are new to it and have nothing else to compare to? Well, we will find out as we go along but as a homeschooler, we are free to select another curriculum when we feel it to be necessary!
Can a Father Teach a Lesson From Math Level 1?
We have started and gone through some lessons and as a Dad new to homeschooling it was doable, but I would prefer if there was a little more instruction on how to prepare and get started quickly. However, there are many prompts and highlights where they ask you to do this or read to your child and get this thing ready. So I can see it as being very useful for someone and even for a newbie like myself. I would advise that you do need to sit down and read everything carefully and do a simulated trial of a lesson to see if you have everything ready.
More importantly, how to do the lessons and how to interact with your child is very important! At first, I was stumbling through a lesson and I’m sure my son felt weird like what was I doing? Did I know how to teach him this concept? So that was my fault for not reading through the entire lesson first to make sure I knew what was going on! The beginning lessons were elementary for sure, but you do want to make sure you understand the points the text is trying to convey, or you will make your student feel very confused. Overall, I was happy and loved it!
Also, I like things to be organized and well structured and this curriculum certainly feels like it was well planned out. Studies show that well-structured homeschooling curriculums can help students achieve better performance than students in public or traditional schools. You may check out this helpful and informative article about the research behind this topic.
Who is This Curriculum For?
After I researched the math programs and curriculums out there I did find that TGTB Math Level 1 was a good fit for us. It is perfect for someone just starting and needing all the details spelled out for them. And it could also be a good kit for someone who may not be sure which program to try since the cost is so inexpensive right now. It is less than $50 delivered to your doorstep and you could try it out relatively quickly.
It could also be a good fit for someone that is used to The Good and The Beautiful curriculums like Language Arts and their science programs as well. If you are used to the soft and colorful pictures and warm settings then this is for you. It might be considered wordy and long-winded to some. I did see how this could be considered that way because they do spend much time explaining and creating stories around an idea and concept. But this is trying to connect the material to something in life to make it more real. It’s certainly more like a Charlott Mason style of learning, living education style.
If you want to see a good comparison chart of Math Programs out there compared to The Good and The Beautiful then click here. It is compiled and extensive but I think the author put a lot of time into a comprehensive chart to explain more than I was expecting. It’s compared against 6 other curriculums and the National Math Standards for a good overall picture of what you will get with their program.
We Recommend it For Any New Family to Homeschooling
We do recommend the curriculum to any new family getting started since it is very affordable, well thought out and organized, and thorough. And at the same time, we don’t feel it’s overly complicated or advanced beyond our son’s capabilities. We found the curriculum to be moderate and not advanced as some of the other offerings. However, this is only an assessment by us of Level 1 math. WE HAVE NOT looked at any other levels so far.