Friday, April 24, 2015

Charlotte Mason Wisdom

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

How to raise a reader

Today, Kathy shares some practical tips on how to foster a love of learning in your children!

Recently, while I conversing with a friend, the topic of reading entered our conversation. My friend was curious as to how my husband and I had raised a reader. Is there a scientific formula she needed to follow? Is there a special reading curriculum? Are there a set of guidelines she needed to follow? In all earnest, my friend was desperate to be let in on the secret of our success. I had to chuckle, because the steps to raising a reader are quite simple. Please allow me to share with you how you too can raise a child who loves to read. 

Fifteen years ago, I reacquainted myself with a book which had impacted my elementary school years in a significant way. The book was Honey for a Child’s Heart, authored by journalist Gladys Hunt. As I progressed from kindergarten through fifth grade this book was on every teacher's desk and recognized as the "gold standard" for promoting literacy and selecting the books which would serve as the class read alouds throughout the school year. After obtaining the original 1969 edition from our local public library, I began to read voraciously. Within forty-eight hours I had finished the book and for the next week I took notes which would become our formula for raising a reader. “A good book is a magic gateway into a wider world of wonder, beauty, delight, and adventure. Books are experiences that make us grow, that add something to our inner stature.” 

As a young parent, I began to look for books through the public library system and local thrift shop which fit this description, using Hunt’s book as a reading resource list. Books which utilized words and art to create a visual feast but also provide genuine substance for intellectual and spiritual development were carefully sought after and obtained. At this time, my husband and I began to set aside a portion of the early evening as family read aloud time. In the early years, picture books classics such as The Snowy Day, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, Corduroy, and Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop were the nightly fare. As our daughter moved into the primary years, the selection grew to classic children’s books such as Winnie the Pooh, Strawberry Girl, Caddie “Woodlawn, The Twenty-One Balloons and the D’Aulaire’s Benjamin Franklin  The adolescent years have broadened and refined her literary palate. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hobbit and The Help are among her favorites. 

Reading aloud as a family has allowed us to meet new literary friends. It has provided the opportunity for us to discuss real life situations and to appreciate good writing while becoming closer because of the shared experience. Reading together with your child as they grow and mature will help to strengthen the bonds within the parent child relationship. 
As far as guidelines go, my husband and I have used good old fashioned common sense and implemented these principles:
  1. Provide inviting reading spaces
    We have made it a priority for our child to see her parents reading.
  2. Television viewing and computer time in our home are monitored and limited.
  3. Books and other good reading materials are kept within easy reach. The rooms within our home are comfortable and well-lit, inviting family members to pick up a book and read.
  4. Reading time must be balanced with other activities such as outdoor time.
  5. Reading in bed with a flashlight is encouraged.
  6. A weekly trip to the public library has helped to foster book love.
  7. The tradition of giving books as gifts for birthdays and holidays has helped to create an atmosphere of “bibliomania.” 
If you’re looking for guidance on how to make reading a part of your children’s lives, these principles will help. And remember you’re giving a great gift to your children! In closing, I would like to leave you with a piece of poetry from S. Gilland that has served as our parental compass throughout the years:

"You may have tangible wealth untold, 
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold
Richer than I can you never can be
I had a mother who read to me."

Thank you Kathy! Readers, what have you done to encourage reading in your family? Share your practical tips in the comments section! 
We would love to hear what you think! Chime in below in the comments section and share your thoughts. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages.  To learn more about Beautiful Feet Books, click here.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Encouragement to finish strong!

We love this quote from Charlotte Mason because it encompasses qualities that are not necessarily in vogue these days but are things we all want to see in our children. As the school year winds down for many of you, it can be so difficult to stay motivated, but be encouraged that the end is in sight! Throughout the year you and your children have all put in great efforts and have increased in understanding! Keep it up!

image: ©Rebecca Manor

We would love to hear what you think! Chime in below in the comments section and share your thoughts. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages.  To learn more about Beautiful Feet Books, click here.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Over the past few weeks I've come across so many amazing stories, inspiring tales, and great blog posts. Here's a sampling for your reading pleasure!

Davide Monteleone for The New York Times

Great story today in the NYTimes about an Italian family who discovered amazing medieval and ancient worlds beneath their floor! History is everywhere - and sometimes it takes tying a rope around your 12 year old's waist and lowering him down a dark hole to discover it! Ha!

Interview with Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life and professor of psychology at Boston College. My favorite quote from this interview was when Gray states that if our society is one where it is not safe for our children to run freely and unattended, then we need to fix that society. We cannot just accept it and force our children to grow up inside and constantly under supervision.

Audria from At The Well shares her experience of working at our Beautiful Feet Books booth at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

GHC Cincinnati!

We can't wait to see everyone attending GHC Cincinnati this weekend!!! Here's Rea Berg's speaking schedule: 

Classic Literature for Little Folks
Friday, April 10, 8:30-9:30 am
Room: Duke 250
Introducing classic literature to preschool and primary grade children is one of life's most rewarding, engaging, and enjoyable endeavors! There is quite possibly nothing more essential to the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of our children than the affirmation and security fostered while holding a little one on our lap for story time. The power of the spoken word in these moments builds bonds of security, creates the capacity for empathy, and forms the imaginative powers of the mind. In this seminar, we will explore the power of story, and look at the authors who have polished the touchstone of truly great literature for children.

Reviving History Through the Power of Literature
Friday, April 10, 4:00-5:00 pm
Room: Duke 233
"The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature."–– Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian novelist and historian reminds us of the critical part literature plays in carrying historical knowledge from one generation to the next. This presentation will explore ways in which literature can be incorporated into all areas of historical study, from primary grades through high school, in the interests of bringing the beauty, pathos, and inspiration of the world's great books to readers of all ages.

Charlotte Mason Meets Plato: Restoring the Joy of Education in Your Home
Saturday, April 11, 10-11am
Room: Duke 252
In Plato's Republic, the ancient philosopher advocated educational methods that would best suit the individual to serve as political creatures. When Susan Schaeffer Macaulay popularized the Charlotte Mason method of education with her book, For the Children's Sake, she promoted the notion that Christian educators are preparing students to serve as citizens of a heavenly kingdom. As parents intent on knowing our children and providing an education suitable for their individual needs, the Charlotte Mason approach can liberate us to discover once again the joy that can be found in the adventure of learning.

Monday, April 06, 2015

New Products!

We are so excited to announce that we are now offering several products that we feel make wonderful additions to the BFB collection! Check them out here:

Our Geography Through Literature program is one of our most beloved studies. Year after year families share their experiences of traveling the world with Minn, Paddle-to-the-Sea and Seabird and that stalwart Tree on the Santa Fe Trail. Now, you can add even more value to this award-winning program! Beautiful Feet Books and Institute for Excellence in Writing have teamed up to provide a course of instruction that incorporates geography, science, history, and writing instruction, all using the classic works of Holling C. Holling—Paddle-to-the-Sea, Tree in the Trail, Seabird, and Minn of the Mississippi*.  While students learn history and geography from these Caldecott and Newbery award-winning works, they will also enjoy discovering the principles of writing with structure and style developedby Andrew Pudewa. You and your students will discover and discuss the panorama of American wildlife, the opening of new frontiers, transportation systems and industry, heroic struggles with natural forces, and native American peoples and their ways. Then be your students’ writing coach and editor as they learn to take notes, summarize references, write from pictures, compose a story and a personal letter, and put together a research report! Check it out here.

A Noble Experiment
Over the years we have been asked many, many times what we recommend for Civics. In this self-directed program we think we have found the answer. Your student will embark on an exciting one-semester (16 week) study of government. BFB is glad to offer you a new product: A Noble Experiment - The History and Nature of the American Government. Designed around the national civics standards, this high school government course utilizes primary source documents to teach the history and principles of our democratic republic. From our research, there is nothing quite like this on the market.

Course materials include a consumable student workbook, a teacher resource CD, and twenty-four video lessons on DVD. The student workbook contains all primary source readings, required and optional student activities, and unit assessments to accompany the DVD lessons.

The Teacher Resource CD contains printable copies of the course outline, the course syllabus, answer keys for all graded student assignments, a grad book to record individual assignment scores, and optional activities for use by the motivated student or home school co-op groups. It also contains the entire transcript of the video lessons, with highlighted key concepts. This format enables the teacher quickly to look up pertinent information without the need to watch the video lessons. Students may also use the transcript to review for assessments. The CD concludes with a course description for use on the student's high school transcript.Each video session is a self-contained instructional module. More like a conversation than a lecture, the videos cover all the major topics in the National Standards for Civics and Government at the high school level.

Why the title A Noble Experiment? We think the following excerpt from the student workbook says it quite well:
On September 17.1787, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention signed the completed Constitution of the United States. Patterned after the ancient Roman Republic, with elements of Greek democracy and Enlightenment political philosophy, the Constitution set in motion a form of government based on the premise that people can successfully rule themselves. What a radical concept in an eighteenth-century world dominated by monarchs and tyrants!Like the "holy experiment" of its Puritan predecessor, this "noble experiment" altered the course of history for oppressed peoples everywhere. Its ideals have been exported to the four corners of the earth. Millions live in freedom under its principles. Yet it remains an experiment because each succeeding generation must prove the hypothesis of successful self-government.
Zeezok Publishing's high school government course explores the creation, implementation, and evolution of this experiment.

Practical & Foundational Economics
Economics is the science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, or the material welfare of humankind. Although relatively few men and women make a living from studying, explaining, or teaching its principles, economics affects every human being on a daily basis. Why do some people struggle just to survive, while others live in luxury? Is a free-market economy really better than a command economy? What makes certain items more valuable than others? You’ll discover the answers to these questions and more in Practical & Foundational Economics.

Designed around the national economics standards, Zeezok Publishing’s Practical & Foundational Economics provides a solid foundation for life and future economic studies. The carefully crafted text and “hands-on” approach to economic principles makes the subject matter interesting and applicable to the student. Every lesson provides real-life situations and opportunities for the student to use the knowledge they are acquiring in unique and memorable ways. Practical & Foundational Economics emphasizes critical-thinking skills and evaluation of historical and contemporary economic events. It strikes a balance between success in this life and the wisdom of investing in things of eternal value.

We would love to hear what you think! Chime in below in the comments section and share your thoughts. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages.  To learn more about Beautiful Feet Books, click here.
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Double edged sword of technology

I have a very angsty relationship with technology. On one hand, technology allows me to do work I love from home, maintain friendships with people around the world, and access limitless information with a few clicks. Both my husband and I are completely dependent upon technology for our livelihoods. I also live thousands of miles from my family and without smartphones, I wouldn't know that my nephew just started crawling or see a picture of my little sister in her costume for her latest ballet performance. These are obviously ways that technology adds to my life in positive ways. But–and we all know what's coming here–technology also has the distinct ability to magnify the negative and selfish traits we all bear. We've all read articles about dealing with jealousy fostered by the picture perfect lives of others, the pressure to be pinterest-worthy, or the insidious creep of materialism fostered by the fact that we can order what we want instantly and have it delivered in 48 hours (with free shipping!). All those subjects are worth considering and have been written of extensively. What I personally find more challenging is that ways that technology allows me to constantly be intellectually stimulated, letting me slip from the more mundane moments of life.

Kara Powell in her lecture entitled Numb Generations calls us to think a bit about what this escapism is costing us in our real lives. How do we allow technology to rob us of being completely present? As a mother who works from home, I can easily justify reading an article on education instead of stacking blocks with my son. Ironic, I know. Powell takes the warning to another level that we don't often read about in articles on technology and mindfulness. Powell asks us to consider if the absence of silence and space effects us spiritually. Could our addiction to technology and the constant stimulation it provides hinder our ability to seek God's direction, to tune in to His leading in our lives?

Check out Powell's talk here. After watching it, come back and share your thoughts. Have you ever gone on a media fast? Have you given up Facebook for Lent? Do you limit your screen time? How are you trying to model mindfulness to your children? Let us know!

We would love to hear what you think! Chime in below in the comments section and share your thoughts. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages.  To learn more about Beautiful Feet Books, click here.
And if you've enjoyed this, please feel free to share using the buttons below!