This is my review of Beautiful Feet Books Early American History as we are closing out the school year (grade 2 and 3) – it is as exciting now as a homeschool mom as it ever was as a student. Maybe more so. Of course, the learning won’t stop just because the calendar is inked with SUMMER BREAK! In fact, not much changes for us. Excellent books will still be read and discussed. Writing will still be practiced daily. Good habits aimed towards. Math facts and problem solving talked about and worked out in daily life. We will work a little more fun and whimsy into our summer break. And hopefully some fun adventures! My wheels are turning for something similar to our Summer Suitcase of Fun that we did last summer.
The biggest marker for the end of the school year is the closing of books as we finish them out. Only, all of this year involved the closing of books through our study of Early American History. Lots and lots of beautiful stories were opened and then closed as we moved from one character to another following the guidebook and collection of books from Beautiful Feet Books. From Christopher Columbus to Pocahontas to Abraham Lincoln, men and women from history came to life through beautiful prose and picture. Though the books closed, the lives were not forgotten.
I wrote this in my conclusion of term 1 over my fear of the (what I felt) slow pace;
I dutifully followed the reading plan laid out in the guide, and while narration and conversations have always been a part of our family culture, I have been pleased with this slowing down and marinating of the characters. We have labored, adventured, and talked over these men for 6 weeks. I feel as if we know them more intimately.
“Having found the book which has a message for us, let us not be guilty of the folly of saying we have read it. We might as well say we have breakfasted, as if breakfasting on one day should last us for every day! The book that helps us deserves many readings, for assimilation comes by slow degrees.” -Charlotte Mason
There is something to the slower pace, the many readings, the coming back day after day. The boys talk often about the men and women we have read. They tend to recall and converse about notable characters from books we read regardless, so I am not trying to pretend this marinading of stories produced some new quality. It didn’t. But their appreciation of these characters is deeper than those from other stories.
I know quite a few friends who have tackled this set of books over two years of time and while that isn’t for us, I can totally see how that would be beneficial and I think it is wonderful when people know what works for them and their children. There is so much freedom in homeschooling, and while we keep our standards high, we need to embrace that freedom to achieve the educational goals we have set for our own families within our own unique makeup.
As we close out our year using Early American History from Beautiful Feet Books I wanted to share 5 reasons I have loved using it:
- The BFB Early American History books make for GREAT bedtime reading! A few of these books we had previously read as bedtime stories. And some we will be re-reading in the future as bedtime stories. They will be read through more promptly than we did as history books, but it will be like revisiting old friends. (If nothing else, pick up the D’Aulaire Biography set. The illustrations are brilliant and the stories engaging.) I think it is so fun that their history books double as bedtime stories – and not because they put you to sleep!! haha.
- Some of the main characters in one book are referenced as minor characters in other books in the literature pack. This was a big help in terms of making it a little bit more real as to what was going on in the world, and also made it more interesting to the boys.
- For some men and time periods (Pilgrims) there are multiple books devoted to the person or time, giving a broader perspective and, in the case of George Washington’s Breakfast, a fun perspective!
- The teacher’s guide is well organized and detailed – it leaves no questions as to how you should handle each days lesson.
- In the words of the boys “The books tell you things you want to learn about. They make it interesting and fun. Even if they might exaggerate a little bit. I learned more.”
I will leave you with the most quoted line from these books. It comes from Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin.
The boys quote/chant this little ditty often – it is so very random and so very silly;
I eat my peas with honey;I’ve done it all my life.It makes the peas taste funny,But it keeps them on the knife.
Grade 3 and grade 4 found us using Beautiful Feet Books History of Science course – check out my review on that here.