Monday, February 11, 2013

Meet Lisa!

Good morning! I am excited to introduce you to another homeschooling mom who is going to be sharing her experience using Beautiful Feet Books. Lisa Sulewski, like Samantha and Vanessa, made a switch from a popular curriculum in the classical method to our literature based study guides. Here Lisa shares her experience and I think you will all find it encouraging and inspiring. Lisa has included a lot of photos of her children's notebooks and I am so glad that she did because I personally love seeing what people come up with for the notebooking assignments. Lisa does a great job of showing how these notebooks can be a creative outlet for your children. Be sure to click on the pictures of the notebook pages to enlarge so you don't miss out on any details. And now I'll turn it over to Lisa:

“I love history and literature!” my daughter said this for the FIRST TIME after this year with Beautiful Feet Books! I love love love Rea and Beautiful Feet Books. They have changed how and what we are reading this year­–beautiful books that will stay in the hearts of my children forever. She has taught me a philosophy of teaching that has grown in my heart and I am so grateful. She guided me on the path to good literature and I am never going back!

My name is Lisa Sulewski and I have the privilege and sometimes just plain hard labor of homeschooling my beautiful and artistic daughter, Chloe (11) and my energetic, singing, dancing, all around funny man Jack (7).  I have so much to share about what we are doing with BF Books and how we got to this amazing place but I don’t want to overwhelm you all so I will give you some now and some later! I have fallen in love with books and I love looking for them. Here I am on my birthday with some friends who, of course, took me to a used bookstore!

 I had pretty much been following a classical education method and had a desire to do more with literature. We had been going along and reading for three years, drawing pictures and putting them all in a binder. I know, I know, I will get to the journaling part but that is after I met Rea! Well, I had this thought that I needed to do more. Maybe journal? During a home school convention, I was invited to go to Rea’s class by some friends. Mind you, I have no idea who she is and I get in line afterwards (this should have been a clue) and ask her about taking my literature to another level. She kindly invites me to spend time with her at the Beautiful Feet Books booth. I get there and am captivated. After many questions, discussions, and laughs, I am sold. I buy a few curriculums and I go home and later on buy one more! I am so grateful for that time of transition into what I am teaching now. Rea has done extensive work in this field with her Masters Degree in Children’s Literature and it shows!

Fast forward six months and we have are being filled with knowledge from all our beautiful books. I want to share with you some of our journals that we have been working on to go with our books. This was a new concept for me and was hooked when Rea showed me her children’s journals at a Literature Soiree she hosted in her home.  At the end of the year to have these precious journals with my children's ideas is priceless to me. It is hard work with much more time invested since my children can spend quite a bit of time working on a picture for their journal but it's worth every moment.

Jack's notebook pages on Owl Moon, a book read in the Teaching Character Primary Study Guide
First, I want to show you a journal from Beautiful Feet's Teaching Character Primary Reading Pack that Jack has been working through. I have enjoyed reading all of these books and in curriculum gives so many more books than is pictured! She lists authors and other favorite books which is so helpful for me as I'm starting on this “only the best literature for my kids" journey. Thank you Rebecca! These are two of the almost 40 stories that Jack has worked so hard in putting together. These were below his reading level but I didn’t want him to miss out on anything and we are talking about character, something we can all relate too! I know I need to be reminded of “hope never fails you”.
Jack's notebook entry for The Pink Tulip by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, a story read in the Teaching Character Through Literature Study Guide
Chloe has read through the some of the books in the Early American History for Intermediate Grades and here are her journal pages on the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. Reading Abe Lincoln Grows Up by Carl Sandburg brought history alive. Spending that time listening to the details of his life, we learned so much more than we would have in a short text on the subject. I also added her pages on Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. Spending time reading, drawing/coloring, and writing has helped us to really absorb the subject. You get to know the person you spend time with.

Chloe's journal pages on Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman
Chloe's journal featuring a timeline of the Civil War and map of the United States
Chloe's journal entry on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Here is journal page from Jack’s Early American History books. We started with Leif the Lucky and are now learning about Benjamin Franklin. Here are two pages from Jack's work on The Matchlock Gun a story about a brave boy who obeys his mom. OK, so there's more than that but I like that part!

Jack's notebook pages for The Matchlock Gun
We love Beautiful Feet's Geography Through Literature study! I have a co-op of five kids and we spend our time reading, writing in our journals, and working on our maps. Here is Jack’s journal (below) from Seabird by Holling Clancy Holling. When we read the first book, Paddle to the Sea, I love that Jack noticed that the pictures were “amazing because they are very detailed. . . and look real and true.” I had him write that in his literature journal as well.

Jack's journal entry featuring the travels of Nate in Seabird from our Geography Through Literature Study Guide
Chloe is also part of an all girls book club where they are reading through the Teaching Character Intermediate books. The mom puts a spread of food and hot chocolate and the girls have a great time reading and learning together!

I have definitely put more hard work and thought into homeschooling this year but it is more rewarding! There is so much more I couldn’t share,  the best illustrators, timelines, summer reading lists, Christmas books, the influence is endless. Thank you for enriching us with good books and memories to last us a lifetime!

Thank you, Lisa for providing us with a window into your homeschooling experience and for letting us peek into your children's beautiful notebooks! I love the idea of your daughter's Teaching Character Through Literature book club. Does anyone else do that? Would people be interested in doing an online book club for their kids?

If anyone else is interested in their children's notebook pages being featured here, please send me a picture of them. I absolutely love seeing what sort of creative ideas you all come up with and know that other homeschooling families and educators would be inspired as well. Just email the pictures to and I'll let you know when they'll be posted. 

Thank you again, Lisa, for sharing your story with us. We look forward to hearing more in the future! 

You may also enjoy these other entries written by homeschooling moms:

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  1. Thanks for sharing. This is our first year homeschooling. It really helps me to see how it should look. I always wondering if I'm doing it right. I love how these notebooks look!

  2. Thanks for this post and all of the wonderful pictures and example of your children's work. I've been on the fence over this curriculum for the past few months. Now I can't wait to make my order and get soon as we get this semesters work over with.

  3. Lisa,
    This was such a joy to read! Thank you for all your enthusiasm, kind words, and inspiring anecdotes about Jack and Chloe! It all makes me wish I had little ones again! Rea

  4. Thanks Lisa!!! This makes me want to do even more with my boys!

  5. Wow! Thanks for sharing this with us my friend. You are so creative and inspiring to me. Thanks for writing this blog showing all the pics for the beautiful notebooks. I live this method and I love the way you talk about it and share your experiences.