Monday, June 29, 2015

Homeschool Veterans: Meet Helen!

Today I'm excited to introduce you to another veteran homeschooling mom! I have actually known Helen since I was a little girl and she's one of BFB's very first customers. Helen has homeschooled eight of her own children and now those children are beginning to homeschool their kids. What a cool legacy. Helen brings a great perspective on how homeschooling. Enjoy reading her story!

BFB: What originally drew you to homeschooling?
Helen: Many of my friends were, and had been, homeschooling for a number of years–it was the beginning of the homeschool revival. I began first with just my oldest daughter when she was in 7th grade, just to see whether or not I could handle it, and what were the benefits and possible disadvantages. With three preschoolers and three others in public school I felt like I was testing the waters. My daughter Carolyn did fine but I mostly checked in to see if she was completing her assignments or needed help, not totally involved in what she was learning. It was a little frustrating to me but I could see benefit in the process despite my lack of total commitment. She decided she would rather go back to school when the next year rolled around. My next attempt was with my son Bobby in 5th grade. I knew he was struggling with school and soon discovered he has a form of dyslexia. Working with him really brought to light the benefits of homeschooling and after that I began pulling out some of my other children to homeschool.

BFB: How long have you been homeschooling? 
Helen: I have been homeschooling for 22 years. Now that my children have grown I am tutoring homeschool children–I just can't get enough! My son Stephen, and daughter-in-law, Faith, will begin homeschooling this fall, so I am very excited about that!

BFB: What is one thing you wish you had known when you began homeschooling? 
Helen:  I really wish I had known that I could teach my children - all eight of them - all the way through high school. I didn't have enough faith in myself, enough support, or encouragement back then. It has taken a lot of years and experience for me to realize that it is not only possible, but the best way to go.

BFB: What has been your greatest joy and greatest challenge of homeschooling? 
Helen: I think my greatest joy came first in finding a true love for learning. I grew up with textbook history lessons...boring! When I began teaching with the BFB program I discovered that history is really interesting! Who knew? This fueled my fire for learning and teaching. Now I can say that my greatest joy is to work with a child and see "the light go on" when he/she understands something and becomes excited about learning. One of my greatest challenges was to overcome curriculum confusion–there is so much to choose from! I think it's something you have to grow into, or out of, depending on how you look at it. Pay attention to the BFB philosophy! The next challenge would be in figuring out how to teach a child with a different style of learning and reach their understanding. It is a process and a goal to achieve. 

BFB: How did you discover BFB? How has the philosophy behind BFB influenced your teaching in other subjects? 
California History Through Literature
Helen: I discovered BFB upon it's inception. Russ and Rea were living here in our county, Tuolumne, and attending the same church as we were. Rea and I were involved in several groups together and so I naturally was drawn to her vision behind teaching history through literature. I first used the California History Pack, fell in love with it, and have just about all of the packs in my library. I feel that the philosophy of BFB has affected by teaching in giving me the insight and ability to pull subjects together and make a more cohesive structure to total learning. I use Spalding Language Arts (The Writing Road to Reading) which fits in really well with BFB; I love how one subject overlaps into another, how you can teach writing and reading structure with what you are learning in history, or history in reading, etc. Making math problems out of time periods, or really any information read, is another way to expand thought. There are so many ways to weave your lessons that it is amazing.

Thank you so much Helen! If you have any questions for Helen, just leave them below in the comments! We're going to be checking back in with our veterans over the next few weeks with your questions–this is such a great opportunity to glean wisdom from these women who have walked the path before us!

Our new 2015-2016 catalog is now available! If you want to view it right now it's available online here. And if you would like to request a hardcopy, click here.

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!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Wisdom and Fun Links

I have been reading through the biographies of some amazing people as I select books for our updated History of Science program and I loved this quote from George Washington Carver. Isn't that what we're all wanting for our children–generous hearts backed up by a diligent character?

As it's summer and summer is for fun and reading, I wanted to share some links I found interesting. They're all related to reading and fun and summer. Enjoy!

How the United States became a nation of readers.

Useful Employment: Summer Reading

Dear Children: Let Me Explain This Thing Called Summer

Prioritizing the Arts over Test Prep

Can Reading Make You Happier?

A Cure for Hyper-Parenting

Enjoy! And have a great weekend.

Our new 2015-2016 catalog is now available! If you want to view it right now it's available online here. And if you would like to request a hardcopy, click here.

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!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What parents are saying...

"I used your Ancient History, Medieval History and U.S. and World History courses for my son who homeschooled for 6-9th grade and daughter who homeschooled for 6-8th. They are now back in public high school, attending a supposedly a very academically challenging school. Not only have they aced their World History course (they would only allow the U.S. and World History to count as either US or World History in their transcripts) but on the California standardized test for History my son got 100% of the questions correct in 3 out of 4 sections. In the 4th section, he told me "Mom, I know I missed 2 and I know which ones. They were wrong. They were looking for the accepted answer which is incorrect if they really knew their history". What can I say? Your product is phenomenal. Your selection of quality literature and the vocabulary they garnered from it probably explains why they scored in the 98th percentile of the PSAT. Thank you. I am now starting my Kindergardener and 2nd grader on your Early American course." 

J. Lynch, WI

Our new 2015-2016 catalog is now available! If you want to view it right now it's available online here. And if you would like to request a hardcopy, click here.

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!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Meet Melissa!

Melissa with RyleyAnn and Ruben
Today we are going to be chatting with Melissa, an eight-year veteran of home schooling! She is going to be going through our new Modern American and World History study over the next months and will be sharing her experience at her blog, Reflections from Drywood Creek.

She has already reviewed our History of California and our History of the Horse. You can read those reviews here and here.  She also just reviewed our Western Expansion guide - read that review here. Melissa also writes about using the Charlotte Mason method and I know many of our readers will thoroughly enjoy her thought-provoking entries on the philosophy behind the educational philosophy. Check those entries out here.

BFB: What originally drew you to homeschooling?
Melissa: Right from the time RileyAnn was in my womb, our first birth child, I knew I didn't want to send her to public school. I felt fortunate to have a parochial school education through 8th grade in our rural farming community. I felt strongly about small class sizes and one on one instruction. I also felt strongly about parental involvement and less government control. We weren't sure we would send our kids to a parochial school, but I hoped for some other option aside from public school.

When our older girls, Jennifer and Angel, came to us as foster kids, they attended public school because that's the nature of the beast here in WI. You cannot homeschool foster kids. Theirs was not initially an adoptive placement so I had not thought a lot about other educational options for them. However, once the adoption was finalized, as time went on, I started to wonder if public school was the best place for them. Jennifer was in special education and Angel struggled socially right from day one. So much so, that by the time she reached 6th grade, it was unbearable. A month into the school year, I decided to pull Angel from public school. It felt like a rash decision at the time because I had no plan B. I was also a member of our public school board, which was more than a little awkward.

That week, I met with teachers at the parochial school and even borrowed their books to take home and study. I made some phone calls to teaching friends and homeschool acquaintances. After a week's worth of prayer, study, and networking, it was decided I would homeschool Angel for the rest of that year. Jennifer was just starting public high school. She was a gifted athlete who did OK academically and wasn't struggling socially so she stayed and eventually graduated from public school.

At this same time, RileyAnn was attending a Christian preschool two mornings per week. It felt like I had a foot in every door. Because Riley has a early September birthday, she was almost a whole year older than most kids at preschool giving her an edge in every area. At the semester change, with mixed feelings, it was decided to move her up to the 4K room, which was two full days per week. I will never forget the end of the first week, when I picked her up and asked the teacher how it went. She stated Riley did better than most of the kids that had been there all year. Part of me was flattered and part of me was saddened, seeing a huge red flag go up.

Many days I remember dropping her off and seeing wild chaos. Little boys running and wrestling. Kids crying in the corner. After a short time, Riley also began crying every morning that I dropped her off. She just wanted to stay home with me. Though it broke my heart, I've always been of the mind that you should finish what you start. I struggled greatly with this because I already had Angel home and technically Riley didn't belong in school yet anyway. The only thing she learned that year was bad behavior. We were both miserable. Long story short, by the end of the school year, we decided it was in Angel and Riley's best interest to proceed with homeschooling.

I have learned a great deal over the years of homeschooling and continue to learn daily. At this point, I LOVE homeschooling and can't imagine it any other way! I enjoy being with our kids on a regular basis. It's a gift to watch them grow and learn!

BFB: How long have you been homeschooling? What ages are you children?
Melissa: I am just finishing up our 8th year of homeschooling. Jennifer is now an adult public school graduate, Angel is an adult homeschool graduate, RileyAnn is an 11-year old 5th grader, Ruben is a 10-year old 4th grader, and Levi is soon to be 3 years old.

BFB: How did you discover Beautiful Feet Books? Has the philosophy behind BFB influenced how you teach other subjects?
Melissa: I've always been a huge educational junkie so as soon as the homeschool ball was in motion, I started researching curricula. During our second year, I stopped at a thrift sale in which a veteran homeschooling mom was selling her books. She had the complete set of D'Aulaire books and the BF Early American Primary guide for sale, which she told me was one of her favorite programs. I thought the picture books were absolutely beautiful so I bought them and set them on the shelf.

Meanwhile, as mentioned above, I networked with other homeschooling moms, one of which, mentioned Beautiful Feet. This led me to further research, particularly in our 3rd year, as it was decided Angel would continue homeschooling through high school. I had acquired a couple other BF guides and started asking questions on our local homeschool forum about the program. Of course, there were a couple of moms who thought it would be a great supplement, but not "rigorous" enough for high school. Initially, their comments overruled the one mom who used BF for high school and loved it, so we started homeschooling high school with another program. However, after Angel's 9th grade year, I started looking at BF more seriously and decided to give it a try as a supplement to her 10th grade world history study.

Angel actually really enjoyed BF, slightly better than the other program we initially started with. She felt the BF guide questions were more thought provoking than what she'd been using. From there, we continued her 11th and 12th grade years with BF and I've since been using other guides with our younger children. At this point, I'm utterly convinced that BF is more than a supplement and is definitely rigorous enough. Beautiful Feet's philosophy fits nicely with the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, which is our preferred method.

BFB: What has been the greatest joy of homeschooling? The greatest challenge?
Melissa: The greatest joy of homeschooling is seeing our kids learn and grow on a day to day basis. You know the euphoria you feel when your child takes their first step or says their first word, I'm blessed to experience that feeling with many more firsts on a regular basis. I also treasure my relationship with my children as well as their relationship with each other. The time we spend together has created an extra special bond.

My greatest challenge in homeschooling is modifying curricula to meet each child's need. Our children have dyslexia, so finding methods to help them learn and retain has taken extra effort on my part.

Thank you Melissa for letting us peak in to your homeschool world. We are looking forward to hearing about your family's experience in using our Modern American and World History program. For more info on our newest guide, click here.

Our new 2015-2016 catalog is now available! If you want to view it right now it's available
online here. And if you would like to request a hardcopy, click here.

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!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Homeschool Veterans: Meet Danielle!

I am really excited about this new blog series!! Over the next few weeks I am going to be introducing you to a group of amazing veteran home schooling moms. Beginning in March I have had the privilege of communicating with these women and picking their brains about education, childrearing, and homeschooling. Between them they have over 60 years of experience and as a young mother myself, I'm so encouraged by their examples. I love the reassurance they provide to moms like me who are just starting out. Just like Paul states in Titus, women like these can fulfill that role of teaching newbies like me "what is good so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children." So pour yourself a cup of tea and join in our conversation. If you have any questions for these wonderful women, please leave them in the comments below!

Danielle, mother to seven, is graduating her oldest this year! She and her husband have homeschooled from the beginning, like she says, "since I brought my firstborn home from the hospital!" Isn't that the truth? She brings a wealth of experience to our discussion and I know you'll be encouraged by the joy she communicates through her answers. 

BFB: What originally drew you to homeschooling?
Danielle: First, I must confess that before I had kids, I said “I would NEVER homeschool!” Nope not me!! Those people are ccraazzy! :) ­But, God had a different plan and brought a very special lady into my life by the name of Carolyn. My husband and I just loved how their family interacted together.
Carolyn was a Pioneer homeschool mom who had a love for homeschooling and an even greater love for her family. As I got to know her and as our friendship grew, she had me start reading on the topic of homeschooling and child training. During this time I had my first child, Christian. As he grew, I started to grow in my understanding of my role as a mom. Carolyn was a great example to me as well as a huge encouragement to me as I started this journey. Over the next few years, I started having strong convictions that homeschooling is what I desired for my kids. I was thoroughly enjoying my new role as mommy and quickly started adding more kiddos to our family! When my fourth child came, it was also time to get my oldest ready for Kindergarten. By this time my heart was set on
homeschooling my children. My passion was to be with my children as much as possible. I wanted to be the one to teach and train them, and my husband and I thought the best possible way for us to do that was to homeschool. Spiritually, I wanted to train them up in the way of the Lord. I wanted to have as much time as possible with them to teach them the Word of God and to train them. Additionally, I just LOVED being with my kids and the thought of them being gone all day at school was something that did not appeal to me AT ALL!! There were many things that drew me to homeschooling and I am very thankful and blessed to have taken the journey.

BFB: How long have you been homeschooling?
Danielle: I have officially homeschooled for 13 years. Although I do believe that I have been homeschooling since I brought my firstborn home from the hospital. I think I have actually been homeschooling for 18 years, but then who is counting! :)

BFB: What has been the greatest joy of homeschooling?
Danielle: This is hard to answer because there are so many aspects to homeschooling that bring me joy. I could go on and on about what I LOVE about homeschooling and the benefits I see that it has brought to my family. But honestly, my greatest joy is that I get to be with my kids! I don't mean to be so sappy, but my oldest is a senior and is graduating in two weeks. We made it through, and I see how quickly it goes. I am so thankful for all the memories that we have together. Thankful for the good times and the hard times. We grew in both! It has been such a joy to teach my kids and to have that time with them.

BFB: What was your greatest challenge?
Danielle: Well, this one is easy! I was not a real disciplined person who liked a lot of responsibility! I liked to play and have fun... I still do!! I struggled to get good grades in school. No, I struggled to get average grades in school, so I often wondered how was I going to teach my kids and give them a good education! I also had 7 kids in 10 years! It was IS hard! My greatest challenge was to get that voice out of my head that said, “I am not good enough.” The truth is, I am weak, but my God is strong!

BFB: What is the one thing you wish you had known when you began homeschooling?
Danielle: I wish that I knew that we would make it and be ok! Like I mentioned my first is graduating high school this year! What!!?!...We made it!! I wish I knew that all the hard work and tears were going to be followed with growth and blessings. I wish I knew that the trials I went through were designed to train me to be on my knees in prayer. I wish I knew that my mistakes were there to keep me humble so God would receive the glory when we did succeed! I wish I knew that all that time I was investing was going to build this beautiful relationship I now have with my kids. I have four teenagers right now and they love to hang out with me...seriously. Ok, sometimes they like it when I am gone!! But now at night, they come to my bed and sit by me to tell me about their day. I
love it! I gave them my time and now they are giving me their time. I wish I knew how fast that time would go, so that I would not have wasted it by comparing myself to others. So, I learned alongside of my children, and that is the beauty of homeschooling!

BFB: How did you discover Beautiful Feet Books?
Danielle: Carolyn had me reading books by Francis Schaffer and his family, Charlotte Mason, Dr. Rushdoony, and other good authors. I was starting to form a world view and approach to how I wanted to homeschool. I started to study learning styles and different approaches to teaching. I knew that I was not going to try to recreate school in my home. I wanted something different than the typical, traditional education. I attended Carol Joy Seid seminars and really started falling in love with the idea of a literature approach to schooling my kids. I tagged along with Carolyn to many used book sales and she was always there to direct me to the good authors and illustrators! Carolyn also introduced me to the D'Aulaire books. That was my first introduction to Beautiful Feet Books and my precious D'Aulaire books. My first purchase! I have been in love with these books and the many, many other books purchased through Beautiful Feet over the years.

BFB: How has Beautiful Feet influenced you in how you teach other subjects?
Danielle and her daughters with our History of the Horse!
Danielle: My philosophy is that as the mom I must give my kids a love of learning. I need to find ways to keep it interesting and fun. I love how Beautiful Feet offers not only great books, but the study guide gives busy (and let’s face it, exhausted) moms a list of websites, movies, other books, and activities to help enhance the subject. I LOVE that! We must think outside the textbook. We have made living books a part of our curriculum in almost every topic. If we study science, we find good literature to go with it and the topic we are studying. I have gone through the History of Science with five of my kids so far, through my homeschool support group, and this next year I will be teaching the class. If we are studying math, we go and learn something else about where that is used in real life. Sports are even something that we will read a good book about like the story of Eric Liddle or Tim Tebow. We have gone through the Teaching Character Through Literature packs and the History of Horses pack which also has wonderful teachings on character. When my kids read a book, even if it is just for fun, now they see the lessons and character traits from the people portrayed in the story. I truly feel blessed that I was shown Beautiful Feet curriculum so early on in my homeschooling experience. The literature approach to teaching has been a blessing to our family in many ways and has touched many areas of our lives.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Danielle! I absolutely love where you said that you gave your children your time and now they're giving you theirs. I know that that is an outcome that I so desire and it's such a great reminder that this time of intense (hard!) investment is brief but the relationships fostered in these moments will last a lifetime. If anyone has a question they'd like to ask Danielle, please email it to me at rebecca (@) bfbooks (.) com. We're going to do a follow up entry with all our moms where they answer your questions! 

Our new 2015-2016 catalog is now available! If you want to view it right now it's available online here. And if you would like to request a hardcopy, click here.

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!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thinking about using BFB?

Here's a peek into one family's experience of using our Medieval History program. 

Today, I'm reposting a review written by Audria Story on her blog, At The Well. She wrote about our Medieval History Through Literature for intermediate grades and I just had to share it here. She outlines how she and her son have progressed through the first six weeks of the study. Her review will really give you an idea of what doing BFB is like - how the lessons work, what the mapping assignments look like, what sort of books and topics are covered. And this quote basically sums it up: What more can a homeschooling mother ask for from a curriculum that a middle school boy begs to do while on summer break?!?" Here it is - and be sure to check out her blog!

Peek at the guide
We’ve completed our first six weeks of Beautiful Feet Books’ Medieval History: A Literature Approach for Advanced Intermediate and Junior High. Oldest loves history. It is his favorite subject to study. I think one of the reason’s he loves it so much is because I read many of the books to him. When we first started using Beautiful Feet Books a few years ago I thought reading books to my kids was kinda strange. I mean, they are old enough to read on their own now. Odd as it seemed to me at the time, I went along with the recommendation in the guide anyway. I (and my kiddos) am so happy I took the quirky counsel. Read-aloud time is one of our favorite parts of the homeschool day. I didn’t know it at the time but reading to our kids is not only beneficial to our children’s education but…oh my! I am getting off topic! For more information on why reading aloud is important check out the Read-Aloud Revival. I am currently listening to one podcast a week for my own time of summer refreshment.

This study dives the student right into a pretty good-sized workload the first week. Within the first three weeks of the study Oldest’s hand written glossary contained nearly one hundred words. We chose to break up the vocabulary words by doing only five to eight of the words each day. He wrote a small paper on Charlemagne, worked on a hand drawn map, completed an Anglo-Saxon rune art project, and copied and decorated King Arthur’s Code of Chivalry. The rune project was his own idea. The guide directed him to a website to learn about the runes and suggest he have fun making coded messages with someone. His rune page says, “Beowulf is cool!” and then he did some illustrations similar to those in the Beowulf book from the study. In the midst of this study Oldest was working on his final research paper (1000 words on the life of Julius Caesar) for his writing curriculum so I cut two of the writing assignments. An essay comparing the conflicting ideas of Christianity and Paganism and an essay on Judaism, Christianity or Islam. We simply discussed and explored these topics together. I think his
From The European World
favorite project so far is the map. He takes his time locating each place, marking routes, and adding a bit of color. Every week also includes internet sites to explore and Oldest has really enjoyed exploring these topics further. He spent a couple of hours on the recommended King Arthur webpages.

Oldest loves the spine book (The European World 400-1450) for this study. He strongly disliked Streams of Civilization used in the ancient history study and has suggested several times that every copy should have a proper Viking burial at sea. The European World is an excellent and informative text with photographs and maps. Our favorite part of the book is the little samples of primary sources of literature, biographies and other text usually dated from the time period covered in the chapter. Oldest found it fascinating that the tradition of decorating Easter eggs originated with feudalism.
Charlemagne report and peek at guide

Oldest’s favorite book for the first six weeks is Beowulf. The book is beautifully illustrated and even the younger children would listen to the story. As a mom, I just love when their imaginative play mixes with the books we are reading. Middle Boy even built Grendel with Legos. I read several stories from King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Through this book and One Thousand and One Arabian Nights we learned about literary elements and framed narratives. The guide suggested only a portion of each of the two books for reading. Oldest added the King Arthur book to his reading list and will do an additional report with it later in the school year.

We decided to finish The Arabian Nights as a read aloud. (I wish the book contained a pronunciation guide or the names and places…this Southern girl had no clue!) I had never read this book in the past and wasn’t looking forward to it honestly. I knew it was about an Islamic king who killed his new bride every day because he hated women. Much to my surprise we all enjoyed the book…yes, even me with my own admitted prejudice was charmed by Shahrazad’s stories. Now that I have read this book I also know where the writers’ of several episodes of Bugs Bunny received their inspiration. Ha! The book prompted some difficult conversations about how women are treated in other cultures…especially in Islamic regions. During this time I read about Ann Voskamp’s journey to Iraq
The whole book pack and guide
(you may want to skip this if you are very sensitive…it gave me horrible nightmares.) My sparkly girl is nine and so my emotions were a little high as I struggled with how much to share with my children. (And no, I did not share anything of Mrs. Voscamp’s report.) History and current events can be tough to talk about sometimes.

Oldest spent the last week learning about the differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We’ve studied this in the past so it was mostly a review for him. He did read the appropriate sections in The Usborne Book of World Religions by Susan Meredith. We found a few videos on YouTube to explain the basic practices of Judaism and Islam. I tried to arrange an interview at the Jewish Temple in Paducah but have not received a return call yet. As far as I know there are no Islamic practitioners that I feel comfortable exposing my children to in this area. This weekend I will take Oldest to a Catholic church and explain to him the Way of the Charlemagne Cross, Rosaries, scapulars, and transubstantiation. In fact, I will be taking him to the monastery chapel where I once lived and believed my vocation was to the religious life. We currently attend a Methodist church and I am looking forward to explaining to him the differences in practice between the two denominations. He’ll have some hard questions for me I am sure…

Extra books
We read two extra books that are not part of the study but are recommended for extra reading. The first book we read was Saint Augustine: Early Church Father by Rachel M. Phillips. This book covers the time period just before the fall of Rome. It is a nice bridge book between the ancient course we just finished and our current study. We pushed through the book as a read aloud but it was not easy. So much of the book is Augustine’s thoughts and that made it hard on Oldest to understand at times. The book also delves into sexual sin (not graphically) and womanizing. If you are not ready to discuss such things then skip the book. This is a book we will likely revisit in the high-school years. The other recommended book (but also not part of the study) we read was The Boy’s King Arthur by Sidney Lanier. The book I found was illustrated by N. C. Wyeth. The book is beautiful and after I got the rhythm of the older usage of the English language down we found the book delightful…it is one you have to give some time for it to become immersive. The illustrations alone are worth seeking for the book. Not all middle school boys are going to love the book…however if they are fans of Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail then they will love it. I guess it is the usage of the book’s prose…maybe…?

Oldest working on his maps
Oldest loves this course. He begs for history every day. This week we are currently on a one week summer break from school (Yes, that is all the summer break my kids get!). However, Oldest insisted that we read our next book in the study while on break this week. What more can a homeschooling mother ask for from a curriculum that a middle school boy begs to do while on summer break?!?

Thank you Audria for this great look into what using BFB looks like!

Our new 2015-2016 catalog is now available! If you want to view it right now it's available online here. And if you would like to request a hardcopy, click here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

5 Ways to Empower your Reluctant Reader

 The entries on this blog have focused on the importance of reading in education. Exposure to literature and the ideas contained therein is essential to the formation of a well-rounded individual. All of that is wonderful, but what if you have students who either dislike reading or have difficulty with it. ADHD, dyslexia, some forms of autism, and many other learning challenges can make reading a struggle. Others are simply not interested. What do you do in such cases? There are several practical ways to encourage and develop a love of reading.  

~Lead by Example~

Research backs up what any parent knows: children learn by example. Read in front of your children. Talk with others about the books you are reading. Parents who read for their own pleasure and communicate that experience by talking about the books they're reading are more likely to pique their children's interest.

~Build a Family Library~

Make books easily accessible. Begin building a family library. This will reinforce the value you place on reading. Make regular trips to the library so that there are new books in your home for your children to discover. Research shows that simply having books in the home predicts academic success.
~Prioritize Reading~

Make time for reading. Turning off the TV is one of the most important steps one can take in opening up space for reading. Limit time on the computer and playing video games. This may lead to boredom, not such a bad thing, and lead children to discovery reading for their own pleasure.

~Read Together~

Read aloud as a family. This is essential. While many children think of reading as "boring" everyone
loves a good story. Read aloud some of your childhood favorites. Once children are introduced to the joys of hearing good stories, it is often not long until they are wanting to discover good books for themselves. Reading aloud is also essential for developing good writing skills, even more so than reading silently to oneself!

~Follow Their Lead~

Follow your children's interests. If your son dislikes reading but loves horses, read Marguerite Henry's lovely stories with him. Encourage your child's overactive imagination by introducing her to the wonderfully fantastical worlds of C. S. Lewis, Tolkien, Francis Hodgson Burnett, and Madeleine L'Engle. Show your children that books are one of the best ways to explore their interests.

Investigate the link between musical education and reading ability.

These are just a few practical suggestions and many people have found success in implementing some or all of these changes. If your child is still struggling, remember that all children develop at different speeds. We know children who took to reading immediately and for others it was slow process that took years. It may also be worth having your child tested for a learning disability. There are many tools and resources now available to help children with these challenges. Families have found help in therapeutic methods, teaching tools, even dietary changes! For a child who struggles with things that come easily to his friends or siblings, diagnosis can be a relief if it is presented in a supportive and encouraging manner.

I would love to hear from parents of reluctant readers! What have you done to encourage reading? How have you been successful? What challenges did you face?

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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Monday, June 15, 2015


What a perfect reminder as we enter the easy-breezy summer months. Embrace nonsense, have fun and play!

Our new 2015-2016 catalog is now available! If you want to view it right now it's available online here. And if you would like to request a hardcopy, click here.

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!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to choose the best books for your family

Today Kathy shares a follow-up to her great post, How to Raise a Reader, with advice on choosing the best books for your children.

     After sharing with my friend how my husband and I had raised a reader the next questions my friend asked were, “How do you select books for your child to read? Are there certain guidelines you follow?” As I shared with my friend, selecting books for your child to read is a skill a parent develops through time and experience. When we first began selecting books for our daughter, my husband and I found it helpful to keep a few basic guidelines in the back of our minds to help keep ourselves on track and traveling in the right direction.

~ Do you find the book interesting? ~ 

Great children’s literature has the ability to captivate adults, too. As C.S. Lewis once said, “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”(1) Does the book contain a richness of literary language? Is the story compelling? Are there characters, actions, or lessons which will pierce the conscience and cleave to the soul?

~What will my child discover in this book? Can this book teach her about life? ~

As William Faulkner reminds us, a good book speaks to the reader about “the old verities and truths of the human heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed---love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.”

~ Has this book been read and enjoyed by generations of readers? ~ 

New books hit the bookstores and library shelves each year, and your child should have the opportunity to read them. However, your child should also spend time becoming acquainted with classic books. Time has a way of testing literature; weeding out the mediocre while preserving the best.

~ Is the book one you loved as a child? ~

As parents it is our responsibility to share our best loved books with our children. My husband’s Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat. Owls in the Family is the story of a boy named Billy and the adventures he shares with his two pet owls, Wol and Weeps. My husband loves this book because of its references to the natural world and the hilarious antics of Billy and his pet owls. My favorite book from childhood is Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods. I loved this book because it is a daily account of life in a by gone era of American history. As an aspiring eight year old writer, I was drawn to the author’s conversational tone directed towards the reader.

William Wordsworth once wrote, “What we have loved, others will love, but we must teach them how.”

Selecting books for your child is a responsibility, but it is also a gift. One of the greatest gifts a parent can give to their child is introducing them to the wonderful world of the written word. In closing, I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from author and illustrator, Howard Pyle which speaks on the importance of selecting good books for your child. “In one's mature years one forgets the books that one reads, but the stories of childhood leave an indelible impression, and their author always has a niche in the temple memory from which the image is never cast out to be thrown into the rubbish-heap of things that are outgrown and outlived."(2)

1. Bibliography: Bennett, William J. The Educated Child: A Parent’s Guide from Preschool through Eighth 
2. Grade, 1999, New York, New York, Simon and Schuster

Thank you for sharing such great guidelines Kathy! The summer is such a great time to explore new and old titles to give to your children. For some of our favorites check out our blog series on Read Aloud Favorites:

Books for Youngsters
Books for Middle Schoolers
Books for Jr. High Students
Books for High School Students

We are also offering some fun Summer Reading Packs on our website. Check them out!

This pack contains some of our favorite titles with stories of adventurous, strong girls! 

Share stories of courageous, generous, and loyal heroes to inspire your sons!

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!