Monday, March 22

The Good & the Beautiful for High School

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.

What makes the curriculum unique?

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 of The Good and the Beautiful curriculum is not to teach doctrines specific to a particular Christian sect, but to teach general principles of moral character such as honesty and kindness. The King James Version of the Bible is used when quoting Bible verses.

Affordability is another aspect that separates this curriculum from others -- namely, it is affordable!  You can choose to order printed or downloadable curriculum.  Our family has selected primarily print format because it's such high quality and economical.  We do, however, print some from digital files....and large families might find it more cost-effective to purchase curriculum once and just pay to have it printed.  We recommend the Homeschool Printing Company.  Here's a video of our experience, as well as a coupon code to use there!

The TGTB community is extremely supportive as well.  There is a Facebook group for using TGTB with Middle and High School Students.  If you're already in it, you can access the Files Section here.  This section includes rubrics and grading scales, additional reading lists, and course schedules.  All of these files were created by parents using the program and have been approved by the company for distribution.  Additionally, there is an Extensions Page, where moms have worked together to put videos, quizlets, and extra homeschool helpers all in the same place!

Beginning Fall 2021, Sparks Academy will be providing live / blended classes for high school students, using The Good & the Beautiful for language arts and Notgrass for history.  They are also in negotiations to include advanced math and science classes, as well, to provide for all basic core classes!  Currently, test groups are tweaking the program.  These classes will 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 are also able to receive a grade for these courses from a source outside of the home.

Language Arts

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!  See course samples here.  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 for each level 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.  If more instruction is needed, he can come and ask (and I do check in occasionally), but it’s his responsibility to progress at a pace that finishes the unit on time.

That said, some students need a little more guidance.  In the Middle / High School Facebook group, there are course schedules free to download in the files section.  Additionally, starting fall semester of the 21-22 school year, Sparks Academy will be offering live / blended classes for students using the Language Arts curriculum (levels 1-3 are available).  These classes will meet once weekly, and then students will have schoolwork assigned for the rest of the week.  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.  Learn more about Sparks Academy here.


Our family has always loved to read aloud books together….from the Little Golden Books to entire series (such as A to Z Mysteries and Magic Treehouse) and now we’re reading big chapter books together.  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.

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 includes read alouds, audio recordings, and accompanying worksheets.  At the high school level, these worksheets include timelines, extra readings, quarter-semester projects, and research assignments.  Each quarter (each historical era), the high school student has a short list of projects to complete before we move on to the next era.  Going back to student responsibility and time management -- he can do them little by little throughout the quarter, or save them for an all-nighter on the last day of the quarter, but it’s his responsibility to do a good job within the time constraint.

The student explorers for grades 10-12 include research projects and extra readings, helping to flesh out the course for the upper grades. For the non-college-bound student, or the college-bound student who does not plan to major in history or liberal arts, this is a good basic course.

Click the pic below to see some of the literature included with the history and language arts!

What’s Not Included?

When looking at this curriculum for upper grades, bear in mind that you’ll need to go outside it to choose a math program, as they are still writing the early elementary levels.  Personally, we use Saxon and have been very happy with it.  

SchoolhouseTeachers has many excellent options for science, foreign languages, and electives, which are currently not offered for upper grades students by TGTB.  We have used their website for several years and love it!  They also have courses for parents, a print magazine, and extra goodies and giveaways just for their subscribers.  Two good places to start are High School Courses and High School Help.

If you have a college-bound student, you may also want to check out Through the Door: Homeschool to College Success!

What is Sparks Academy?

As mentioned above, 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.  There are also writing consultation packages for Level 6, Level 7, and High School (for those who only want essay feedback).
Visit Sparks Academy to Learn More!

book listAn integral part of any well-rounded high school curriculum is literature!  Though not part of the TGTB curriculum, this book list is designed for 8th – 12th grade college-bound students, and includes many classic pieces of literature as well as more modern day stories. The books represent a range of historic eras, and include elements from both American and World Literature courses. Parents should read the book description ahead of time and choose books based on their personal standards. It is not expected that every child will read every book on this list, but should be used as a guide for what colleges will expect to see on a well-rounded reading list.

Access the TGTB Extensions page - with peeks, video playlists, printables, and more.

Learn more about using The Good & the Beautiful curriculum with upper grades.


~~ View Sparks Academy sample classes here. ~~

You might like Beautiful Book Studies!

Each unit addresses a new topic, including science, history, and geography.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the topic to life.

Table of Contents

  • The King’s Fifth
  • Red Falcons of Tremoine
  • Golden Hawks of Genghis Khan
  • Red Hugh of Ireland
  • Calico Captive
  • The Story of Eli Whitney
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • The Lost Kingdom
  • The Secret Garden
  • Heidi
  • Girl of the Limberlost
  • The Winged Watchman
  • When the Dikes Broke
  • Using the Good & the Beautiful in High School

The books selected for these unit studies can be found in the upper grades areas of The Good and the Beautiful Book List.  However, Homeschool On the Range and Sparks Academy are not employed by or affiliated with, nor do they receive any compensation from, The Good and the Beautiful.  It has simply been their curriculum of choice for many years.  These unit studies are not endorsed by The Good and the Beautiful or Jenny Phillips.

Download a free guide to using The Good & the Beautiful curriculum in the high school years!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.