Beautiful Feet - Early American and World

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

If you read my last post you know I have been making new plans for next year. Have you ever felt like Goldilocks when planning your school year? That's how I had been feeling. I got all prepared for the year using what we had used and loved for 3 years, but it just didn't feel quite right. One thing was too much, one thing was too little, but nothing felt fall asleep in the coziest-bed restful to me.

I wasn't looking for perfection. I was really just looking for peace.

 
Enter Beautiful Feet. I had looked at this curriculum provider many times. I adore their books and already had many of them on my shelf. A dear friend of mine and I had talked about the Early American Primary would be so perfect for her. I was so excited for her - all those lovely books. They run a full time foster and adoption ministry with 3 little ones under the age of 7 (while also making plans to build an orphanage and school in Africa.) Her life is full to say the least. I was so in love with this idea for her - A simple and beautiful curriculum for a mom who needs a breath of fresh air every now and again. It didn't dawn on me that I could use that same fresh breath too.

This year I needed to simplify our plans. Aedan really needs more time to focus on math, science and writing. I also wanted more time for a more in depth literature study. We absolutely adore history (like a whole lot!) I was finding, however, that we were spending so much time in history that his skills were lacking. Our skills needing improvement wasn't necessarily a fault of our curriculum before, but maybe on my lack of experience. Either way, I wanted to dial back how many history elements we would be using. And let's be honest...How many history majors do you know anyway? I'm pretty sure the engineers are the ones making the big bucks - just sayin'.

At first glance, Beautiful Feet's Early American and World set looks more simple than it really is. This program is written for 7th - 9th grade kids and is high school credit worthy for 1 credit of History and 1/2 credit of literature. While it is the more simple I'm looking for it is no cake walk. It for me was the perfect balance for the goals I had in mind for this year. We will employ a few of the HOD elements I already had from Rev to Rev, but not so many that it leaves us feeling overwhelmed. My goal is to have more time for spontaneous learning, but more importantly more time together. We will combine storytime this year, so we get more snuggle time together on the couch. I do plan to make a book basket of unrequired books for American history. Aedan loves to read. He read all of his little brother's MFW book basket books last year without me ever telling him to read them. I'll share that list if I get my act together!

This year our homeschool convention hosted Sonya from Simply Charlotte Mason. I learned so much from her sessions. I already knew what a living book was, but at her session on living books it made even more sense why one would choose a living book over a textbook. She read a living book and then read a dry text book. Of course the living book was far more engaging. I love the Genevieve Foster books. They are the real deal when it comes to living books. A text book would simply state the facts i.e. Abraham Lincoln was born in February of 1809. A living book would read "He was born on the twelfth day of the month. A lonely day it was. The cloud-swept sky was cold, and the forest trees spoke with strange voices in the wind. A one-room cabin was his birthplace, made of mud-plastered logs, standing stark and solitary on a clearing cut, not so long before, into the wilderness of western Kentucky." Yes, please <3

This is the TM for EA & W. I have to admit HOD had me very spoiled. We knew exactly what to do each day for each subject. It was all planned out for me. However, one of the greatest things I learned to love so much after our year in MFW was freedom. I grew in confidence to know how to add the things I knew would speak to my own child's heart and had so much fun doing so.

Some of the readings are rather long, so I scheduled them in half throughout the year. I love that there is mapping, drawing and essays to write throughout the year. I was starting to see that written narrations without direction weren't getting my Aedan very far. He was very good at finding the humor in history and making me laugh, but I'd like to see him stretch a little. The comprehension questions can be used as a guide for discussion or written narrations. I like the flexibility to choose either.

The one thing I loved so much about our years in HOD was the gorgeous notebook pages. There really is nothing out there like them. BF doesn't provide notebook pages and most people simply use a composition notebook. That is the more simple way and would still create a gorgeous notebook at the end of the year. I, however, can't help myself in wanting to create things to go along with our year (and you know I love to waste a little ink. Guilty.) I decided to make a simple notebook to go with our studies. Out of respect for BF they don't have any of the questions nor do they giveaway the lesson plans. I was also trying to give myself (and any of you who could perhaps use these pages) the freedom to pick and choose what assignments you would like your child to complete. 


Most of the pages are like this. They are simply lined pages just like you would have in a composition notebook. My son loves to draw. I can often tell more of what he learned by his illustrations than from his writing, so I added a box every other page for an illustration. I made pages for each lesson, but if you need more you can always just print more pages. I actually think we will use far less than I made. There are 220 total!

Every once in a while there are directions to draw something. There aren't as many pages like this. My son really hates drawing on lined paper, and I didn't want to fuss with cutting and pasting stuff.

There are also mapping assignments.  Rather than drawing them on separate pages and pasting it in, he can draw them right in the notebook.

There are vocabulary assignments in the literature books. I didn't make boxes for all the words assigned. I don't plan to have him do very many. I wish I had separated the vocabulary from the lessons, but I'm not crying over it. I'll just skip the ones we don't want to use.

One of the things I love about Beautiful Feet books is their gorgeous illustrations. There isn't any color in the Genevieve Foster books, but they don't need it. I love these vintage images! My son was very taken with them too :)

I think they will inspire my little artist as he studies these famous Americans again.

 Here I am wasting ink again. This particular guide doesn't have a timeline book. My son loved so much to draw the timeline figures last year. I wanted to give him a chance to do that this year, but at first I couldn't figure out how to do it.

The Foster books have about 4-5 timeline pages in each book. As we are reading the books I plan to have him add a few events and figures to the timeline. This book correlates to the timeline pages on the Foster books. I'm so looking forward to seeing how he interprets these events and people. He so tickles my funny bone. I love seeing his artistic abilities develop through our studies. I hope these creations of mine can help you have "smooth and easy days" as Charlotte Mason once said.  


I will share more of our plans later. This summer is going by far too quickly. I think I'm almost ready to let go of the lazy days of summer. When we round the bend to the last month of summer we all start craving routine. My kids wouldn't know it, but it really is the best thing for them. If you have any questions about BF or have any suggestions for me, please do comment. I love hearing from you <3

20 comments:

  1. Wow! Absolutely beautiful! While I haven't looked into Beautiful Feet, this makes me want to check it out. I love your additions, and I know what you mean by "freedom."

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  2. Thank you :) Freedom, rest and peace are really what I was going this year. I hope we can find the right balance.

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  3. I Love BF! We did some of the geography studies when MFW ECC wasn't working for us...but thanks to reading your posts on how to make it more fun, I picked MFW back up after "Paddle to the Sea" and finished most of it! Beautiful Feet does provide so much freedom that I am sure you will enjoy it immensely:) I am going into my fourth year with HOD and the two curricula that may make me stray is BF and Trail guide to Learning (which I may use after Beyond and Preparing this year to combine my two for a year and see how it works out)! Enjoy the rest of your summer and thanks for all your posts, I truly enjoy reading them.

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    1. So glad you learned to enjoy ECC. It took me a while to appreciate it, and then we loved it so much! I have always wanted to use BF's geography guide but couldn't quite figure out where to fit it in. I'm pretty certain we will be able to use it next year with Silas. I love the Holling C. Holling books. My kids really enjoyed Pagoo, so I know they would love the others. Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a note ❤️.

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  4. You are such a blessing to us mama's, Tara! Love your heart for your children and for sharing your gifts with us. ;-)

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    1. Thank you Jackie ❤️. That means the world to me :)

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  5. YAY!!! I am so glad you figured it out. We decided last minute, to go a different route as well. I have used HOD for years and LOVE it, but this last year I was feeling kind of like this wasn't the vision I had for my homeschool. And so a major book purge and starting from scratch this late in the game. Kinda scary, but I am very excited for our new year. Honestly I had never heard of BF, but am very interested in checking it out now!!!! Thank you!!!

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    1. Eeek! Oh how I know the fear of starting from scratch this late in the game! I tried to remind myself that many of my friends aren't crazy like me and planning in February. Many of them are working out everything right now. It took me a while. I'm not going to lie. There was major indecision angst, but once I finally decided there was peace. Prayers you find that too :)

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  6. Wow, love your blog. We were all set to do Rev to Rev with HOD and then a few weeks ago I switched my mindset to BF. We will be doing the same set as you. Small world! And thank you for the books you created!!

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    1. Really? How fun! We are curriculum twinkles ha! Hope you enjoy the pages :)

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  7. I'm thinking about using this BF program this year too. I love HOD, but between the price and the heavy emphasis on history, I have been thinking about trying something new. Thanks for the notebooking pages. Those look great!

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  8. Seems like a lot of people are looking for something to simplify a little. It gets harder as they get older. So much to cover and so little time. I hope you found something that can meet whatever needs your family has :)

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  9. This is absolutely wonderful. You and I have spoken about our mutual feelings concerning a more simplified schoolyear and I cannot believe it, but we have been looking at the same curriculum! :) We have already begun CTC and have RtR for the following year, but I am not sure what in what direction we are being pulled for our learning. I know we must switch our focus more to 3 R's, though.
    Great notebooking pages! Looks like a fantastic year ahead! God bless your beautiful journey! :)

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  10. I'm so glad you found peace in your decision process are all set to start. I'm sure that you will have a fantastic year ahead. I'm still not sure what our year will look like but I have a peace that I will know when I am supposed to know.

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  11. I'm sure that anything you do will be a labor of love. I am confident God will lead you in the right direction <3

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  12. Your notebooking pages are beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing them with us! :)

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    1. You are so welcome! So happy you can use them :)

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  13. Love, love, love the notebooking pages and just what I was looking for to help inspire creativity in my highschooler! Thank you so much for sharing these - such a blessing!!

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    1. You are so very welcome! I'm so glad you can use them :)

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  14. I'm wondering if you know of any resources like this for just the Early American Primary guide???! I also have NO idea how you made these. They are just fabulous though!!!

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