Bright Beginnings, A Complete Curriculum for Early Learning – Guest Post

May 21, 2009

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Thank you Jennifer from Homegrown Mommy for this guest post, a very complete and informative curriculum review:

This is the curriculum that I use for my two preschoolers – daughter, age 4 and son, age 3.  They love it and I love and you can’t get a better mix than that!

Here’s why I love it:

  • It is so complete.  Every subject is covered from top to bottom.  The lesson plan is completely laid out for each day including materials and tools you might need right down to snack ideas.
  • It is so simple to use.  As I said, the lesson plans are already laid out for you.  More than work already being done for you, the components the author uses are very basic and so easy to follow.  I pick up the book the night before or sometimes the morning of a lesson, pull the resources together, and sit down with my children.  Part of that simplicity is the age level that we’re talking about here, but the other part is the work that the author, Tammy A. Shaw, has already done.  And, she doesn’t use big crafts that take an hour to prepare or intricate lessons that cover too much detail.  It is very straight forward and age-appropriate.
  • There is room to breathe.  I don’t feel so constricted by the lesson plans that I can’t improvise on my own.  Some of the daily lessons are planned out, but some of it is *multiple choice*.  By that I mean you are given a spot to fill and lots of suggestions of what to fill it with.  There are days that I follow it to the letter and some days that I only take the math and language skills pointers.
  • My kids love it.  And, of course, isn’t that what it is really all about?  They really have fun when it’s time to *do* school.  I’m relaxed and feeling prepared and able which gives them confidence and a relaxed feeling as well.  They feel successful each day and look forward to the next day’s lesson.
  • It is not boring.  While the subjects are primarily the same each day, she attacks them differently so no one gets bored.  The hands-on activities are not always the same, the type of language skill and math activities are a little different each day.  It helps me to stay refreshed in my teaching!

When you order the curriculum, you receive two books; Book 1 is 190 pages and Book 2 is 217 pages.  Book 1 includes the daily lesson plans for 144 days, which can be broken up according to your needs during the week.  This book also includes a nice introduction which talks about the different ways you can use the books together.  Book 2 includes TONS of activities for God’s World (explained below), Phy Ed, Art, Snack time, and Music.  Even if you only bought the curriculum to use the ideas in Book 2, it would be well worth the money spent.  Phy Ed, Art and Music each have 72 different activities and there are 144 snack ideas.  At the end of Book 2 is over 60 pages of sheets that are to be copied for use with the daily lesson plans.  Everything you need is in these two books!

“God’s World” is a collection of 36 four-day-long unit studies of all different subjects from Birds to Zoo Animals.  For each daily lesson plan in Book 1, there is a “God’s World” heading and a blank spot where you get to fill in what unit study you are planning to do that week.  We really have fun with these!  The units are made up of topics that my children truly enjoy and each day they get more excited about what we’re doing.

The only thing I’ve had a struggle with isn’t necessarily a problem with the books – one author can only do so much and cover so many different areas.  I’m feeling like I don’t have enough visuals when telling the Bible stories to my children.  They aren’t necessarily saying or acting as if they are bored, but I really want this portion of the lesson to stick with them forever and I’m second guessing whether or not just words will accomplish that.  Initially, I considered buying a Betty Lukens Bible in Felt set to supplement what I thought was lacking, but the sets are between $150 and $200, plus you have to cut out all 600 pieces of felt!

Recently though, my husband and I converged to come up with a great idea to solve that issue.  I had been at a friends house so my oldest son could participate in a hands-on lesson about engines and I brought my Bright Beginnings and some other supplies to teach my two preschoolers and added my friend’s preschooler to the mix.  They have a big, beautiful home school room with a chalkboard!  I used the chalkboard to draw along with the Bible story.  My drawings are far from the best but it kept their attention a little better and I felt like I was using their ears and eyes for learning.  At home, we do not have a chalkboard, but we do have a large dry erase and there are lots of different colors for dry erase boards these days.  Voila!  Visual stimulation!

I was planning to take lots of photos of different indices and pages within the book, but the author’s website has several of those pieces already on her site, so I’ll just provide links to them here.

Overall, we are really enjoying our time with this curriculum!  The kids are having fun, it’s easy on me and they are learning about all the things that are very important to my husband and me.


“Thanks so much for reading my guest post about Bright Beginnings!  I’m Jennifer, owner of HomeGrownMommy, which is a site devoted to helping other families as they embark on this adventure called homeschooling.  Pertinent information that you need to make those important decisions is at your fingertips with book and curriculum reviews, how-to and what-for articles, tips and tricks, and so much more.  My site is a new one with fresh content coming nearly every day, so come along with me as we build it into an invaluable resource for homeschooling.
I started on my own homeschooling journey about four years ago when my oldest son started kindergarten and my second child was born.  We now have four children and transplanted from Wisconsin to sunny Florida, enjoying the sand and beach as much as possible.  My oldest is in fourth grade and is using the A.C.E. curriculum.  My preschoolers, ages 3 and 4, are using Bright Beginnings, Piano for Preschoolers, some of Considering God’s Creation along with other worksheets and “mommy ideas”!  My youngest is 10 months old and she is happily along for the ride, distracting the rest of us with her sweet smile.  I have really found my dream job in homeschooling and staying at home with my children while doing a little blogging on the side.”

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1 Comment so far

  1. Amanda Robbins September 12, 2009 11:45 pm

    I am about to start homeschooling my 5 yr old and 4 yr old son and daughter. i came across bright beginnings while looking at the top 100 picks of homeschooling cirriculum. After reading this i cant wait to start i am sooo excited about this!!!

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