If you have been following along on our homeschool journey, then you know that we used The Good and the Beautiful Math K and absolutely loved it. I loved that it was hands-on and FUN for my young ones. I loved that I could group my two children together to do the lessons, even though they are 18 months apart. When we finished the kinder level I naturally purchased The Good and The Beautiful 1 and planned on using it for both of my children moving forward. I quickly learned that, while the curriculum is set up very similarly to level K, it wasn’t working for us anymore.
The main reason we needed to find something new was because it became time for my children to have individualized math lessons. Unfortunately, that seemed impossible while using The Good and The Beautiful. As much as I love the hands-on approach, the lessons at the 1st Grade level are very teacher-involved and quite lengthy. With having a baby and a toddler in the mix, I needed to find something that the children could do a little more independently that didn’t require so many materials and games. While I absolutely see the value in a hands-on approach, I wanted the foundation of the lessons not to require it. Instead, I wanted the flexibility to supplement on my own with simple manipulatives and games on occasion. After much research, I have decided to use Math Lessons for A Living Education. Here is a look into this curriculum and why I chose it.
Math Lessons for a Living Education is an elementary math curriculum for homeschoolers. It is faith-based, and there are 6 books in the series so far. I love that they are called “levels” and not grades, so children can work at their own pace and not feel boxed in by a grade level. This curriculum uses the approaches of the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy which I love! In the math lessons, you will find a big storyline weaved through the lessons, copywork, and oral and written narration.
Here are the main reasons I chose this curriculum for my 1st and 2nd graders.
The lessons are taught through one big storyline.
My children LOVE stories and will engage with almost anything if it’s centered around a good story. This was the main reason I went with this curriculum. Rather than snippets of stories in each lesson, the entire curriculum is one continual story of the adventures of twins, Charlie & Charlotte. The stories follow them throughout all of the levels. As your children grow, so do the characters. Good stories invite children to make connections between a concept and real-life, and that is exactly what happens in these lessons! Charlie and Charlotte’s adventures make math applicable and memorable. The stories are written at a level that my children can read, so during lessons I have had them read aloud to me. Eventually, they will transition to reading the stories and completing the work independently.
It is simple to open and teach.
There is no separate teacher’s guide or required manipulatives to be purchased. The book is written for both the parent and the child to sit together and work through the lessons. Occasionally there are notes to give the parent some assistance on how to explain an activity. The higher-level books are written less to the teacher and more to the child so that they can do it more and more independently. There are hands-on lessons but the materials needed are things you would have around the house. All you need to purchase to get started is the book! I plan to keep manipulatives around for my children to reach for if needed, but we could easily take our math books to the park or to the doctor’s office and complete lessons without missing a beat.
The lessons weave in God, science, and relationships.
The stories include seeing math in all of life, including interesting non-fiction information about the world around them. I love this because it really helps children make connections between math and the real world. The main premise of Level 1 is Charlie and Charlotte learning all about farming as they spend the summer at their grandparent’s farm.
The lessons are as long as you want them to be.
I purchased Level 1 for both of my children (ages 6&7), even though my older son is likely ready for Level 2. I wanted him to get to know the characters and feel confident in the way our new curriculum is set up before moving on to skills that challenge him every day. When it is time for math, I sit them at opposite ends of the table and they both work at their own pace as I hop back and forth between them. For my daughter, she may work through 2 or 3 pages in 20 minutes where my son may get through an entire “week’s worth” of lessons in one sitting. Both children are making progress and feeling accomplished, even though they are working at different paces.
We are only a few weeks into using Math Lessons for a Living Education, but I am fairly certain we will be sticking with this program for a while. My kids beg to do math lessons, and I see them being challenged and making connections to real life, so I call that a win!