The Good & the Beautiful is a breath of fresh air for your homeschool! The price is very affordable for families, there are morals included in every lesson, and it’s designed for the busy mom with its open-and-go format. While it is Christian-based, it offers up a neutral world-view, allowing parents to tailor it toward their family’s beliefs. The print quality is amazing, and the vintage reading material is a delightful change from what our children were gravitating toward before we switched to this curriculum. At the high school level, the curriculum is set up to reinforce time management skills and responsibility.
The courses combine subjects, using a cross-curricular approach to tie concepts together. It is faith-based, with a general Christian, non-denominational worldview with the goal of producing not only intelligent minds, but also high character and the ability to recognize and appreciate what is good and beautiful in life and in learning. The goal is not to teach specific doctrines, but to teach general principles of moral character such as honesty and kindness. Affordability is another aspect that separates this curriculum from others — namely, it is affordable! In fact, the company makes their math and language arts curriculum, from levels 1-8, completely FREE for anyone to download
The Good & the Beautiful’s language arts is one of my favorite program components, as it covers reading, spelling, writing, dictation, literature, grammar, vocabulary, geography, and art. By including geography and art, it takes a bit of a unit study approach. For example, in High School-1, unit five covers the Arctic areas. They read a book about the Arctic, and the geography, art, vocabulary, and writing assignments tie in with that region. You can cover quite a bit with just the one class! Each high school course is one credit of English, ½ credit of geography, and ½ credit of art. Pencil drawing is taught in each level. The other mediums taught are watercolor, charcoals, and acrylic paint.
The curriculum is set up to reinforce student responsibility and time management skills in addition to grammar, writing, and reading. Each year is divided into ten separate units. The student is able to take a unit and work on it for two to three weeks before turning it in for grading. However, some students need a little more guidance. In the online support group, there are course schedules free to download in the files section. Additionally, Sparks Academy offers live / blended classes for students using the Language Arts curriculum (level 7, and high school levels 1-3 are available). These classes meet with a flexible schedule on a weekly basis, as well as live meetings quarterly via video chat. Students have schoolwork assigned each week and work on group assignments throughout the year. These classes help not only the student, but the parent as well, as it puts the burden of teaching onto an outside source, provides a sense of accountability for the student, and allows for grading from a source other than the parent.
The current history includes read alouds, audio recordings, and accompanying worksheets. At the high school level, each quarter (each historical era), the student has a short list of research projects to complete before we move on to the next era. This goes back to student responsibility and time management. I use the term ‘current’ because TGTB is in the process of re-writing all of their history units, but we don’t know when they will re-release or what they will look like.
One of the things I like about history is that it takes the classical education approach – of four different eras of history – and teaches from all four of those each school year. Rather than doing an entire year of ancient history, we’re doing one quarter on ancient history each school year (with each year focusing on a different region, such as Egypt or Greece). It’s easy to get burnt out on a particular era when you’re knee-deep in it for an entire year, so we like that things get mixed up! The history curriculum has a minimum of four read-alouds each year, so if you don’t like reading together, it might not be a good fit for your family. However, for us, it’s given the kids the perfect excuse to still curl up with mom in their teen years.
For folks wanting something a bit different, or teacher-led, Sparks Academy offers live / blended classes for middle and high school students using The Good & the Beautiful’s Constitution course for Government and Economics and Notgrass for World and American History.
These subjects are topics that come up regularly in the TGTB with Middle and High School Students group. The short answer is that TGTB doesn’t currently offer these subjects specifically for high school and there is no one recommended program, but dozens of choices. You’ll need to choose the one that fits your family’s teaching style, and your student’s learning style, the best.
While you won’t need to keep everything from the courses for a portfolio, you’ll want to keep copies of any essays or research projects, as well as some of that beautiful artwork! Some states require more record-keeping than others, so always check into your state requirements. For our own family, we keep one complete language arts unit, in case there is a question of what type of work was completed, in addition to the above list. Also, you may want to add complete course descriptions (many of which can be found in the files of the high school support group). These, along with the aforementioned portfolio pieces, will usually satisfy any inquiries from colleges or other outside sources…include well-meaning family members.
If you’re thinking on college prep and being ready to submit all that information, we have created a low-cost program for parents homeschooling high schoolers that covers college-prep topics. Check out Through the Door: Homeschool to College Success!
Sparks Academy provides live / blended classes for high school students, using The Good & the Beautiful for language arts, Apologia / Berean Builders for science, and Notgrass for history. These classes meet weekly, allowing students the opportunity to discuss the literature, get additional instruction on concepts covered, and show off their art projects and recitations. Students receive a grade for these courses from a source outside of the home.
Sparks Academy is not affiliated with The Good & the Beautiful, but is run by parents who use and love their curriculum. They are providing support, accountability, and community for upper grades families who use this curriculum by creating an online homeschool co-op for high school students. Currently, students can register for High School Levels 1-3 in language arts. For families who just need a bit of extra help, there are writing consultation packages forLevels 6, 7, and High School(for those who only want essay feedback).
While WW1 did not directly cause WW2, many of its after-effects led to weakened European states who were weak, needed strong leadership, and opened the door for dictatorships. The consequences of the first world war indirectly led to the second.
End of World War I
On the morning of November 11, 1918, the French delegation witnessed the Germans signing the Armistice that would go into effect at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. It was exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the event that had set the ‘world’ part of the war into motion. The perceived humiliation and harsh terms of the subsequent Treaty of Versailles created a motive for Hitler and the leadership of the Third Reich to seek revenge. One of the terms of the treat was that Germany had to pay the equivalent of $124 million (in 2021 terms). Another term took sections of Germany and gave them to Czechoslovakia and Poland.
Dictators from the Depression
After the Treaty of Versailles was signed, the world plunged into a different kind of chaoes. Germany fell into economic troubles, but they weren’t the one country struggling. Russia and Italy also had difficulties recovering. History has shown us that, during times of chaos, people look to strong leaders who they hope will get the job of done so the country can recover. This was no exception. The political leaders who came to power during this period – Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini – were very powerful.
Though born in Austria, Hitler considered himself a German. He fought for Germany during WWI, being partially blinded and shot. After the war, he became a spy for the Social Democratic Party who spied on another German group, the German Workers Party. It was during this time that he became well known and began to get a following. Germans were struggling, financially, as they were required by the Treaty to pay back damages and reparations from WWI. Hitler began to speak out and lead protests. He was sentenced to jail at one point, where he wrote his autobiography, Mein Kampf. After release, he had even more followers and began his ascent to power.
Tsar Nikolas was overthrown in the Russian Revolution, at the end of WWI, by the Bolsheviks, a Communist party. In 1922, Russia and several other countries joined together to form the Soviet Union under Lenin’s leadership. In 1924, when Lenin passed, Stalin came to power. Stalin wanted to industrialize the Soviet Union to strengthen the economy. He introduced a plan called ‘collectivization,’ where the Soviets took land from individual owners, and gave it to the State (the government). The idea was to increase efficiency, store more food, use less labor (more machines), and send farmers to work in factories.
Mussolini is often seen as the founder of facsism, a fom of totalitarian government with a capitalist economy. Before he came to power, the Italian government was led by a king-appointed Prime Minister. Mussolini had a group of ‘blackshirts,’ people who went around stirring up trouble, beating up political opponents, and generally clearing the way for his rise to power. The king appointed Mussolini as PM in 1922 so that the blackshirts would stop the violence. (This is called ‘appeasement,’ and it’s not a good idea.) In 1925, Mussolini became a dictator, taking away freedoms and forcing loyalty.
Appeasement & the League of Nations
The precursor to the United Nations, the League of Nations was formed at the end of WWI to ensure world war never occurred again. Unfortunately, they were afraid to act against aggressive countries, for fear of starting another war. This was another form of appeasement (remember the king of Italy?). One of the earliest instances of appeasement was when Mussolini decided to invade and conquer Ethiopia in 1935…and the League of Nations did not act. Hitler then decided to try his hand at reconquering some lands.
Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was not to have a large army, but that was ignored as the German army swelled and the country also formed an Air Force and Navy. By the late 1930s, Hitler had begun to annex places like Austria and Sudetenland (part of Czechoslovakia that had been taken from Germany after WWI). The League of Nations did try to act at this point, and on September 30th, 1938 they created the Munich Pact, which allowed Germany to have Sudetenland, but would not allow them to go any further. This was another act of appeasement.
Post World War II
After World War II, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin created a new international security agency, the United Nations, with hope of preventing WWIII. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as new world super-powers at the end of WW2. They had been allies during the war, but mostly because they had a common enemy. These new super-powers had extremely different views about government and economics — one was capitalist and the other communist — and they had a lot of distrust of each other. This distrust led to nearly fifty years of a Cold War – a war without actual fighting, but with the continual threat of nuclear warfare. Both the Korean War and the Vietnam War were extensions of the Cold War.
Writing is an integral part of the language arts classes taught at Sparks Academy. We offer four levels of instruction, each building upon the last, until students are ready to write in any form requested of them – whether at a career or college! But maybe you don’t want a full class….how can you make writing fun at home?
Literature Studies & Living Books
What are living books, and how can you use them to make your homeschool shine? Get all the tips & tricks in Using Living Books to Homeschool. Scroll down to snag pre-made bundles of novel studies!
Another fun option for teaching writing is through the language arts classes Sparks Academy! There are four levels offered currently, including High School 1, High School 2, High School 3, and Level 7. (The last one is for 7th/8th/9th grade, depending on your student’s skills.) This is an online co-op, with weekly student interaction in the private classroom forum. Learn more here.
Trying to recreate public school at home, right down to the textbooks, is something new homeschoolers often do (especially those pulling students out of school). Literature studies, however, are so much more FUN! As an added bonus, because they incorporate knowledge through relating to a character and / or story, your students are apt to retain more once the year ends.
Novel studies can be used to cover concepts from language arts and history to science and math. It’s been our students’ preferred learning method for years, and we’ve created well over one hundred of them! If you’re looking to teach American History and Geography through literature, here are 45 units to try….and don’t discount audiobooks, too! They’re a great addition to a busy homeschooling day!
After polling several homeschooling families on what they thought was the one must-read book for high school girls, we’ve put together a list of thirty-two books that all girls should read in middle and high school. They include old classics and new favorites, and have lots of character-building lessons, too! Parents should always preview books first….many of these are only appropriate at the high school level.