This is a long review! So if all you want is my overall opinion here is the short version:
If you are looking for a well thought out, thorough step by step, beautiful math curriculum that fills you with confidence to pull out and go...
The Good and The Beautiful Math Curriculum is for you.
When I saw that The Good and The Beautiful were putting out a math curriculum I poured through the sneak peak photos and really liked what I saw. I've been ask before which full math curriculum I would recommend (as the home made math units are a supplement), so I wrote and asked for a copy to review. I was sent a full set of the curriculum in return for an honest review to you.
This is the first blow by blow curriculum we have used in our homeschool, being predominantly unschoolers (with the occasional morning time thrown in). My kids LOVED it. Each day I would put the baby to sleep and invite them to do some "activities" with me. They would rush down to join in. Occasionally we took one aspect further or missed something else out, following the kids lead and time limitations, but for the main we are going step by step through each lesson.
This is the first math curriculum The Good and The Beautiful have put out and it is called Level K. They have plans to put out Level One on May 1st 2019, and each consecutive level one per year in the following years.
I have a 6 year old daughter, half way through her first year of primary school (Kindergarten) and a 4 year old son. I found that this curriculum lay somewhere between the two of them.
For example: The first lessons are counting to 5, but also introduce ordinance (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.). The counting was easy for my daughter but the ordinance was perfect. The counting was great practice for my son but the ordinance moved a bit quickly for him.
This actually worked really well for us, I would go over things with my son while giving my daughter an independent activity, INCLUDED in the curriculum. I was glad to be going through the curriculum with the 6 year old as there were some concepts that we hadn't done that were caught up, which made me appreciate how thorough and well thought out the curriculum was. She also enjoyed the activities even when easy for her, I occasionally really simply altered them to make it more challenging (for example including sums instead of just counting).
There are simple placement tests to help you choose an appropriate level.
Each lesson includes a "Daily Dose" section which I LOVE. In the Daily Dose you look at date, reinforce place value idea, and add to a data collection/display. I just can't state enough how great I thought these little routines were a great way to practice these ideas in small consistent doses.
Then you move on to the lesson, each word and action you need to say or do is written there for you. The manipulatives and worksheets are supplied along with occasional tips for different learning styles. There are Bonus Independent Activities included in each lesson as well.
I found it took us about 30 mins to complete a lesson, and let me tell you the time flew! We could have shortened this by not doing the bonus activities (and not spending so long on the data in the daily dose, which my kids always wanted more of!) but we also could take longer playing games over etc. The book suggests 20-30 minutes for each lesson, and more time if teaching multiple children.
The course books are absolutely open and go. If using with one child they can write straight into the course book that the parent uses for the instructions. I would recommend spending the extra $15 bucks to get the pdf downloads if you have more than one child. I was photo copying and drawing some of the worksheets, because in our family it wouldn't go down well if one child had the pretty colour version and the other greyscale! This added to the workload prep, which the designers have really made extremely minimal. A colour printer and the pdfs would have been worthwhile for our family to really enjoy the beautiful design work.
"Good" and "Beautiful" really are perfect descriptors for this curriculum.
My kids were playing across the room when I first downloaded the songs provided to learn days and months, my daughter stopped playing and said to her brother, "Listen, what is that beeeeautiful sound?" and we continue to enjoy listening to the songs each lesson, and singing them throughout the day. This exemplifies the whole course really.
I already breifly mentioned the beautiful design work in the course book and worksheets, and this extends to the manipulatives design as well. Not only that, the content of the lessons is a delight. There are stories, poems and art work incorporated into the lessons - learn ordinance through story and rhyme, explore zero through a Van Gogh painting, or adding with Claude Monet and subtraction with garden boxes.
There is lots of concrete hands on work, perfect for this age group. That big box of manipulatives gets used throughout.
Level K covers
- Number Recognition up to 20 (identifying and writing numbers)
- Number Sense and Operations (counting and skip counting, adding- to an answer of 20, subtracting from 10)
- Geometry (2D and 3D shape names, sorting and classification, positional words)
- Measurement in Time (calendar days, time to hour, length of second and minute)
- Measurement in Length (inches, how to measure)
- Money (Penny and Dime, adding)
- Data (bar graphs, pictographs, Venn diagrams, tally marks)
Some of this content is covered daily, or through bonus activities. So far I have found the lessons build well onto each other and the activities link from the previous lesson in a form of review. There are also review and practice lessons every 15 or so lessons. These cover a little from each topic previously learnt, giving opportunity to practice and reinforce, and assess anything that might need going over.
What about the Cons?
Yes I have gushed on about this curriculum, but surely there must be some cons?
Now this con won't apply to the majority of you, but I'll still bring it up incase the Aussies, Poms etc. don't think about it.... ah it is North American. So the money, measurement and date need tweaking for us. I used it as an opportunity to talk about how people do things differently in other countries and why.
The only other minor con I could come up with is that the materials that you need from the box aren't listed each lesson. For example in Lesson 5 from the Activity Box you need: The Calendar, Place Value Chart, Shape Cards, Bee Manipulatives, Cards 1-10, and the handwriting cards. In your lesson outline it simply says: "Standard Supplies". Don't get me wrong all those things are provided for you in the handy box, but I liked to get just the things I needed out each day. There is A LOT of stuff in that box and I don't want to sort through it mid lesson. I solved this by reading through the lesson the night before and getting what we needed and putting on the table, it also got me familiarised with the lesson - so it was an easy solve.
I feel like The Good and The Beautiful have done great job at appealing to lots of learning styles in a beautiful and enjoyable way. Using this curriculum felt good. It felt like a big safety net sitting under us, yet giving us the freedom to spend longer here or move faster there. And that is what I liked the most about this curriculum, I could see how it would give parents the confidence to teach math well.
If you have ANY questions at all about the curriculum please feel free to ask below and I'll do my best to answer you.