If you walked into my house half a year ago, you would have seen me reading loads of blog posts and reviews on kindergarten math curriculums. While we had a wonderful relaxed preschool experience at home, I felt responsible to make sure I did a bit more formal teaching for kindergarten, especially math. I wanted a complete program that would tell me what to do each day.
The problem is that there are a lot of great math curriculums to sift through, and I really didn’t know my son’s “learning style” yet. We ended up choosing The Good And The Beautiful Level K Math, and it’s made math the highlight of our homeschool.
My 6 year old son looks forward to it, and it’s filled with hands on activities that feel like we are “playing math” most days. After starting in August, we just finished the 1st of 2 books by December doing 20 minutes/day about 3-4 days a week. (60 total lessons in the 1st book).
Read on to see what’s inside the level k math, pros, cons, and reasons you may or may not want to use this math curriculum!
Does The Good And The Beautiful Math Align With Common Core?
This curriculum is not considered common core. I am completely ok with that! I felt safe to choose this math curriculum because it is considered to be consistent with what they are teaching in public school grade by grade.
So, if I panicked and this homeschool thing didn’t work out, at least I knew my son could be at the same level as his peers in public school.
My second choice for kindergarten math
I almost chose Math U See since many homeschoolers love it, have used it K-12, and it’s been around for ages. I liked that the program had a short video teacher each day. It uses a “mastery approach”, meaning he would learn addition and subtraction ALL YEAR really well in kindergarten…but other topics may not get taught till later years.
From my understanding, it’s not the best program for putting your kids back into public school should you choose, because the math principles taught for each grade are different than public school.
Basically, homeschoolers who use this all the way through learn everything they need to, but it will not be spread out the same as public school. So I opted out of that.
How much does TGATB kindergarten math curriculum cost?
Cost as of December 2019: $108.97 plus tax and US shipping. (My total was $117.40). I’m not sure if they ship internationally or the cost increase with that.
Also, since I don’t have to repurchase the math activity kit if I continue this with my other kids, it will be jus $53.98 plus tax and shipping to buy the kindergarten workbooks in the future, per kid.
What is included in the math activity box?
You can order most of these separately through the good and the beautiful, or search for similar things on amazon. But, you won’t find a better deal than buying the whole math activity box that comes with the k math books.
In addition to 2 kindergarten workbooks, part 1 & part 2 (no teacher’s manual needed with this curriculum), you get:
- laminated number tracing sheet
- 6 & 10 sided dice
- 10 frame cards + block shape cards
- place value chart
- colored math cubes
- part-part-whole mat
- daily calendar (you will need 1 for each kid in level k, but can order this separately)
- shape, number, ten frame flashcards
- cardboard manipulative pieces (bees, inchworms, garden plants, shapes)
Do you have to buy anything extra?
I chose to buy a white board and dry erase markers from the dollar store which I use all the time when writing addition and subtraction problems. You could also just use white paper though.
This really is an amazing all inclusive curriculum though, and so affordable compared to other options!
Pros & Cons of The Good And The Beautiful level k math
As a brand new homeschool mom I was intimidated looking for a real “curriculum” for the first time ever, ya know?! There were a lot of good options. Many homeschool moms assured me that all the curriculums out there are pretty darn good but not all kids will respond to all curriculums well due to the way they learn best.
It’s on track with the school system.
I feel relieved knowing my kids are learning what other kids are for math. I know homeschool gives you the freedom to go ahead, fall behind, or do your own thing, but when it comes down to it I want my kids to be equal to or ahead of the public schools with core subjects like math.
Full of hands on activities, games, and visuals
This is filled with games, “living math” (story problems), colorful pages, and projects to cut out. For instance instead of just a page of subtraction problems, there may be a gum ball machine and you have to cross and how many gum balls that come out, and then write the answer to the equation.
I also like the use of natural materials, such as using sticks collected outside to use for tally marks. It’s all very hands on!
Kids learn to spell the numbers
I love that my kids now can spell 1-10 using these fun chants below! They practice one of these a day starting around the middle of the 1st book.
Numbers are taught several ways
The Good And The Beautiful practices addition and subtraction using numbers, number lines, tally marks, ten frames, and often kids must use more than in a lesson. My son is learning place value too.
And just so you know, there is no “memorizing” addition or subtraction problems (as in no flashcards). Kids are learning math concepts in kindergarten, like what happens when you add 5 beads onto a necklace with 10 already there?
No teacher’s manual
All directions and what to say are right in the book. This simplifies teaching for me. Some of the other math curriculums have 2 workbooks and 2 teacher’s manuals for K year…which cost more money and means flipping back and forth.
I’m sure there will be a day coming soon where I’ll need a teacher’s manual for harder math, but I’m grateful TGATB does not for kindergarten.
Cons of The Good And The Beautiful Level K Math
There is some degree of busy work. With so many hands on activities and visuals, I’ve just had to use my best judgement when we need to skip something. If your kid prefers pages of worksheets this is not the ideal curriculum for you, for each lesson only has 1-2 pages of worksheets. The rest is taught through games, visuals, and stories.
I worry if it will continue to be rigorous “enough” if we continue to use this, since its not be as advanced as other programs like Singapore Math. But, I could care less about that at kindergarten level. The Good And The Beautiful Q&A page states this exact quote:
“Though our math curriculum is extremely thorough and academically strong, it is not considered advanced (Math K is kindergarten level, Math 1 is first grade level, and so on).”
It’s new. Which doesn’t make it bad, but no one has yet graduated high school with this and gone on to become an engineer. So I feel like there is slight risk involved, possibly.
Speaking of new, it only goes up to level 2 (second grade math) as of 2019. Level 3 & 4 are expected in 2020, and level 5 in 2021.
There is some prep involved. Yes, it’s “grab and go” (as in you don’t have to plan what to do). But, if you don’t at least do a quick 5 minute read of “the lesson” and gather the pieces needed from the box, your kindergartener will be long gone, attention span gone before you start.
It’s tricky to quickly find everything in the box. They come with handy little bags for most things, but it’s a good idea to use some rubber bands to separate shape cards, number cards, and ten frame cards. This will save a lot of time in the long run!
What does a day of kindergarten math look like?
Each day takes us about 20 minutes which includes a “daily dose” of routine things we do every day, and then a short lesson where I teach with hands on materials provided. After that my son does 1 worksheet daily, and there’s always the option of a bonus activity.
We usually skip that because his attention span is gone. However, I’ll probably go back through and make a week where we just do the bonus lessons because they look fun! There’s often coloring and cutting involved in them. Sometimes I’ll let my 4.5 year old do them for fun which she loves!
What’s in the “daily dose” that we start with every day
- Clapping or hopping on one foot while counting to the number of the lesson (we are on lesson 57, so 57 hops gets out energy!)
- Make a checkmark on the provided calendar for each math day.
- Coloring in one more box on the place value chart. Love this for introducing place value visually…it’s the first time my son saw that 10 ones make 10, and 10 tens make 100!
Is it very religious?
If you want a curriculum without ANY religious content, this is not for you. We are not LDS, though we are Christians. I have been keeping my eye on what types of religious references come up. To be honest, in the K level math part 1, there have been only a handful.
The Good And The Beautiful claims there is no LDS doctrine added, and if I found anything questionable I would not use this curriculum. So far I’ve seen references to God, creation, things being a “blessing”, etc. But those words are so ambiguous any religion could really use it.
Personally, I don’t have an issue with what I’ve seen so far, but if that changes we will not hesitate to switch.
While it doesn’t conflict with my Christian beliefs thus far, I don’t consider this to be a Christian education either. It is too watered down, and it’s that way on purpose.
How to determine your child’s grade level for math using The Good And The Beautiful Math curriculum
If you are wanting to give this a try but don’t know if your child is ready for level k or level 1, use this math placement assessment.
In order to begin level k your child needs to be able to know basic shapes and colors, recognize numbers 1-5, count 1-10, and use scissors.
It was way too easy for my son in the beginning who knew his numbers to 20 and could already count to 100, but we began with level k and I’m glad. He didn’t know how to write numbers, add or subtract, and much more.
He flew through the first 10 lessons or so, but everything else was new to him after that. Plus, he really enjoyed the fun games and crafts in those lessons.
In order to be ready for level 1, your child will need to be able to count to 100, count by 2’s to 20, count by 5 & 10’s to 100, know right from left, name coins and their worth, write the time looking at a clock, complete patterns, and add and subtract numbers 1 to 10.
Will we continue to use TGATB math next year for 1st grade?
So far, I have no plans to switch because my son has learned so much, so we will try out level 1 next year! I will use level k for my daughter as well.
I love the Charolette Mason style of hands on math combined with stories that lead into the math problems (perfect for this age)! I’m also a fan of the bright colors, and the arts and crafts aspect of this book.
In the future I’ll be doing more research on possibly trying out Singapore Math or Saxon Math, since I know that they are thorough and established and strong programs.
Please let me know in the comments what your looking for in a math curriculum, or what you are loving right now in your homeschool and why!
More kindergarten math curriculum resources
- Top 10 math curriculum choices (not TGATB) on YouTube by Homeschool On
- TGATB level k math book flip through on YouTube by MonsonSchoolhouse (the video that got me excited about how hands on this is!)
- A great list of what kindergarteners should be learning for math