If you’re a homeschooling parent or have ever looked for homeschool resources online, you’ve likely come across the popular brand, The Good and the Beautiful. As the company’s founder recently told us, though, The Good and the Beautiful is not just for homeschoolers.
Jenny Phillips, who enjoyed success as a songwriter and music producer, is a homeschooling mom who started The Good and the Beautiful in 2015. Her company provides educational tools for teaching subjects including language arts, math, history, and science. We asked Ms. Phillips about her homeschool experience and where she’s headed with her growing business.
The Epoch Times: Homeschooling seems to be an increasingly popular choice among today’s parents. What led you to decide to homeschool your children?
Jenny Phillips: It hit me quite suddenly one day that I was in charge of who taught my children, what they were taught, and how they were taught, but I had zero control over any of those things.
Homeschooling has allowed me the beautiful experience of choosing what is best for each of my unique children and to incorporate the things that matter most to us into education: God, family, nature, and high character.
The Epoch Times: As if homeschooling doesn’t keep you busy enough, you started a homeschool curriculum business: The Good and the Beautiful. How did that come to be?
Ms. Phillips: It was never my intention to start a company. My husband had an incredible job, and I had just left my record label after selling over a million CDs, in order to simplify my life.
I was excited to homeschool, but quickly discovered that no curriculum had the depth of meaning and beauty that I was looking for. I had a vision of my dream curriculum, and I created a language arts curriculum for my own children. It made homeschool much easier and more beautiful.
Some of my homeschool friends were overwhelmed and were about to quit homeschooling. I told them, “Wait! Try this curriculum I created first.” It worked! They loved it.
I realized that it could help so many more parents. With resources I had saved from my CD sales, I was able to put together a team of experts to help refine the curriculum, and then I gave it away as a download on my music website for free. All I wanted to do was help others.
I still had absolutely no desire to start a company. But people wanted the curriculum printed. And I had a vision of my dream science curriculum and history curriculum, and before I knew it, I had a business in my basement.
We had no marketing employees. We attended no homeschool conventions. We did not do much to push the curriculum, but it spread like wildfire through social media. Within four years of posting that first free curriculum (which is still free!), we had over a million downloads of the curriculum, hundreds of thousands of children using the curriculum, two warehouses, and over 100 people that help create the curriculum.
The Epoch Times: Your website, TheGoodandtheBeautiful.com, offers a rather extensive book list for parents looking for “good and beautiful” books for their children. What criteria do you use to determine what books you recommend?
Ms. Phillips: The books children read shape their minds and characters, and unfortunately, many children’s books today are packed with negativity and disrespect. The Good and the Beautiful booklist recommends books that contain only clean language, that have high literary value, and that never made appropriate behavior seem cool or acceptable.
The Epoch Times: What advice would you give parents who are considering whether or not to homeschool their children?
Ms. Phillips: Almost without fail, people’s first question or worry about homeschool is about social skills. When people ask me, “Aren’t you worried about your children’s social skills?” I reply, “Yes! That is one of the biggest reasons I am homeschooling.” The positive socialization developed through homeschooling is one of the best reasons to homeschool.
Some mothers shy away from homeschool because they don’t feel they could be with their children all day—especially children who are not well-behaved or whom they struggle to get along with. Some parents worry their children will not respect them, listen to them, or obey them. These are great reasons to homeschool!
Homeschooling will allow you and your child to face your challenges and discover how to work through them. Most likely in the process, you will develop deep traits of charity such as patience and long-suffering, your child’s behavior will improve, and your relationship with your child will strengthen.
The Epoch Times: What has been the most challenging part of running your business while homeschooling? What has been the most rewarding aspect?
Ms. Phillips: Running this business while homeschooling has proved to be unbelievably challenging. Everything we’ve released has done so well, and there are so many more products that people want. The sky seems to be our limit. I am a go-getter that loves to create, so the biggest challenge for me personally is to not go forward with the many ideas I have. I have a growing list of “some day projects” that I am learning to ignore so that I have time to focus on my children. Every day, every step, every moment is a decision of balance or me.
The Epoch Times: What motivates you to continue this work?
Ms. Phillips: I have two main motivations for continuing this work. First, my children. Everything I create is for them.
Second, how can you stop something that is improving the character and joy of children and families?
The Epoch Times: Do you think non-homeschooling families could also benefit from The Good and the Beautiful’s resources?
Ms. Phillips: We have been surprised at the way the curriculum has appealed to groups of people we did not even target. For example, our curriculum is non-denominational Christian, and yet, we have a following of secular homeschoolers who do not believe in God that use the curriculum. One secular homeschooler told me at a convention, “I’m not spiritual, but we feel so happy and uplifted every time we use the curriculum. It just so … ‘good and beautiful!’”
We also have a large number of non-homeschoolers that use the curriculum after school, on weekends, or in the summer. One parent told me they do my history program in the car each day on the way to and from school. Some use our language arts to catch up their public school children who struggle with reading. Others use our handwriting or typing programs to supplement. Our top-selling product, musical multiplication, is for all children–a way to learn multiplication facts quickly and joyfully through the power of music.
The Epoch Times: What are your future plans for The Good and the Beautiful?
Ms. Phillips: Whenever I say, “I have an idea!” my husband and development team braces themselves. I think big, and I have an incredible team that makes things happen.
One of the things I am most excited about is our plan to reach out on a much greater scale to non-homeschool families with campaigns about the impact books have on children’s lives. We want to flood the country with our free book list and our message that parents can literally change a child’s life by becoming more aware of and involved with what their children are reading and learning.