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.
Science & Math
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.
The available math courses currently go up through Level 6, with levels 7 and 8 projected in 2023 and 2024. These are amazing for visual learners! See what we thought of Math 5 and Math 6. Sparks Academy provides three levels of science: General Science, Physical Science, and Chemistry. If you want to use what you already own, there’s also a printable plan for using TGTB sciences in high school. You can find more vetted online options for math and sciences here.
Record-Keeping & Grades
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 for Levels 6, 7, and High School (for those who only want essay feedback).
Visit Sparks Academy to Learn More!
A few Extra Notes
- Don’t forget about the Extensions Page, where you can find video playlists, elective options, reviews, homeschool helpers, and more!
- See what folks most frequently ask in Common Questions About TGTB for Upper Grades
- Snag the FREE Homeschooling the Upper Grades e-book, covering a wide variety of topics and issues facing the homeschooling parent of teens.