Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How Our Family Discovered Beautiful Feet Books

I am so excited about this blog posting. Kathy is continuing to relate the story of her family's educational journey and today she tells us about how she discovered BFB! I'm sure many of you will find some correlations between your story of learning about BFB and Kathy's experience. It usually begins with a book and that's how Kathy found us. Enjoy!

During the past few weeks, I have shared with you our family’s story and my light bulb
moment. Today, I will be sharing with you how our family discovered Beautiful Feet Books. It all began with a book. Yes, you heard me right. Our family’s discovery of Beautiful Feet Books began while I was searching for a book to add to our family library. The book was Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire’s Benjamin Franklin. As a second grader in the early 1970’s I had read through the D’Aulaire’s books, Leif the Lucky, Columbus, Pocahontas, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Buffalo Bill with abandoned rapture. Now as a parent, I had rediscovered these books via Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. I procured a tattered copy of Benjamin Franklin from our local public library system. After our six year old daughter read through it, she asked, “Are there any more like this?” Another library search yielded a few more of the D’Aulaire books in this series. However, when our child began to carry the books around with her and even take them to bed, I knew it was time to seriously consider purchasing a set.

While doing an internet search on the D’Aulaire books, the name “Beautiful Feet Books” popped up
into my search engine, so I clicked on it. I eagerly scanned through the website and bingo! I had located the entire set of D’Aulaire books I had adored as a second grader. After perusing the company’s website for over an hour, I requested a catalog. Within a week, the catalog arrived. I placed it on our coffee table to look at later in the evening. That evening, after dinner, my husband saw the catalog along with an insert sitting on the coffee table and picked it up to read. I peeked in the living room on my way to another room, and found him “studying” the catalog and insert. I could see the cogs and gears working in his engineer’s brain. He was looking at the data and analyzing the results. After an hour, he finally spoke, “We should seriously consider using Beautiful Feet Books as our primary history curriculum.” Together we perused the catalog for a few days, and then placed our order for the Early American History Primary Jumbo Pack.

When our Beautiful Feet Box arrived, it was like Christmas Day! Eagerly, our daughter began to dig into the box exclaiming, “Books! Books! Look at all of the wonderful books!” Eager to begin, she selected one of the D’Aulaire books, headed for the sofa announcing to our family, “It’s time to read!” Every evening since “box day,’ my daughter and husband gathered together on the couch for Beautiful Feet Books read aloud time. As they read, I sat in my chair, curled up with a blanket and a cup of cocoa. Our family was transported via literature to the founding of our nation. 

On our journey we met the Leif the Lucky, Columbus, the Pilgrims, and our founding fathers. We experienced the hardship of Valley Forge, the thrill of Edward defending his family from Indians with his matchlock gun, the courage of young Sarah as she traveled with her father through the wilderness to build a new home for their family, and even had breakfast with George Washington!

A while back, I was asked “Why do you love Beautiful Feet Books?” First and foremost, I love the Beautiful Feet history curriculum because it incorporates the use of “living books” into the study of history. “Living Books” are defined as “Books written by authors who have a particular fondness for their subject. Books which make the subject come alive.” The books Beautiful Feet chooses enable the reader “to get in touch with great ideas from great men and form relations with great minds of the past and present.” The literary selections are written with “literary power,” words which are “fitly spoken, worthy thoughts, and inspiring tales.”

Secondly, I love the fact the curriculum is rigorous, yet flexible. Our child has developed a love and working knowledge of history, not just memorizing facts and dates. She understands the why and how of historical events and how it all fits together in the “big picture.” The curriculum is flexible, serving the parent and child in a gentle manner.

Thirdly, I love that Beautiful Feet Books is preserving our “literary heritage” by publishing out of
print books for future generations to enjoy. The latest release is The Child’s First Book of American History by Earl Schenck Miers with illustrations by James Daugherty. In closing, I would like to leave you with a favorite quote by Ruth Sawyer. It is my heart felt desire that as your family reads through the selection of “living books” featured in the Beautiful Feet Books curriculum, you will experience the following: “…stories that make for wonder. Stories that make for laughter. Stories that stir within, with an understanding of the true nature of courage, of love, of beauty. Stories that make one tingle with high adventure, with daring, with grim determination, with the capacity of seeing danger through to the end. Stories that bring out minds to kneel in reverence; stories that show the tenderness of true mercy, the strength of loyalty, the unmawkish respect for what is good.”

~Karen Andreola, A Pocketful of Pinecones, Union, Maine; Charlotte Mason Research & Supply, 2002.
~Simply Charlotte “Choosing Books like a Connoisseur.”
~Ruth Sawyer, “The Way of the Storyteller,” New York; Viking Press, 1962, page 157.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Kathy! I love the Ruth Sawyer quote at the end - what a blessing an education steeped in such books and stories is. I am so glad that BFB has been able to be a part of that for your family. 

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