Friday, April 1, 2016

The Good and the Beautiful





Today I would like to give you an update on my experience using Jenny Phillips's free curriculum The Good and the Beautiful.  I am doing the second grade program with the Rabbit, and it encompasses language, spelling, art, appreciation, poetry, and geography. Jenny Phillips is a well-known LDS musician and I was kind of surprised to find out she was also a homeschooling mom.  Then I was super excited to find out that she had developed this awesome curriculum and made it available as a free download.  All I had to do was print it.


When we started last fall, I wasn't sure how much of it I was going to use.  So as far as having it printed,  I decided to go cheap-o.   I printed the small handful of art pages and other pages that needed to be color at the local print shop and then just printed off the pages I wanted to use on my black and white laser printer.   
This worked, and it certainly was cheap.  But it was kind of a pain, and all those black and white pages just didn't have much sparkle to them.  

Mid-year I decided to splurge a little and have Grade 2 Book 2 printed and bound.  I went with the online printer (Best Value Copy) and specifications the author recommends.  The book was about $24 to print, but it was $16 to ship (sheesh!)  But I figured that last year I had spent $40 for the Rabbit's language workbook alone, and that was just language, not Geography and et cetera.  $40 wasn't unreasonable (my local print shop wanted $60-- that was definitely unreasonable!) and it was an experiment. 

I was so pleased with the print job.  What a beautiful book!  

It really has made such a difference having the book.  It worked to have the Rabbit's language papers in her school binder, but it's been so great for her to have a language book.  It's all there in one place.  The pages are glossy and colorful.  They sparkle.  That makes her more engaged.   She has been doing so well with this curriculum, especially since we printed the book.

We use the curriculum more since we have the printed book, and the more I use it the more I like it.  I love the happy and innocent art, poems, and stories.  It really is good and beautiful.  I love the geography.  Right now the Rabbit and I are working together on the assignment to make a short Power Point presentation about France.   (This is the first time the curriculum has asked us to use technology; everything else has been just writing in the workbook and maybe checking out certain books from the library.)  We've been having a blast learning more about France online and learning how to make Power Point slides.
 
I still skip some of the spelling stuff because I already own the All About Spelling books and I still like them better, but sometimes we just use those pages as a quick review.  

To get nitpicky,  I think Susan Wise Bauer's grammar books are more thorough and a little more clear, but these books are definitely not as dry and repetitious as sometimes SWB's were.  I like it that The Good and the Beautiful has them diagramming sentences and identifying parts of speech, but there's not a ton of that so it's not overkill.  

These books remind me a lot of Sandi Queen's Language Lessons for Little Ones, a Charlotte Mason-based language program that I have used on and off for years.  But I would say The Good and the Beautiful is more thorough and definitely more comprehensive.   

I had been planning to write this post anyway, and then just today I got an email from the Jenny Phillips website saying that they have started selling printed copies of their books, since they were able to get quite a discount for bulk printing.   I am excited about that.  I plan to use the Kindergarten book with Peanut this fall, and maybe other things from Jenny Phillips as well.  With the bulk printing discount, the printed curriculum goes from costing about the same as what you'd pay for workbooks elsewhere to quite a bit less, which is a good thing considering the fact that she's making the content available for free.  If it's free, it would be nice if we weren't paying as much to print it as we would to buy another curriculum that isn't free, you know?

Another thing you could do to save some money is have the book printed but then don't let your student write in it: when there is a page that needs to be written on you can print a black and white one from the PDF.  They still get the benefit of the pretty color pages to look at, but you save money down the road when it's the next kid's turn.  I do this with books often-- I have always done it with the Sandi Queen books mentioned above. 

Thank you, Jenny Phillips, for the time you spent putting together such an amazing resource and for making it all available to everyone.  

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Oh, and by the way, this blog doesn't have any kind of an affiliation with any business or company.  I write honest reviews about whatever I feel like writing about, and no one gives me anything for it. 

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