Monday, April 09, 2012

Back to the Beginning: How we got started

I hope each of you had a very blessed Easter. It has occurred to me that many of you may not be familiar with the history of Beautiful Feet Books, so I thought I would spend some time sharing that with you this week. Today I want to share the inspiration behind Beautiful Feet Books. 

In 1984 my parents, Russ and Rea Berg, began looking into homeschooling. They had three young children at the time and had been reading For the Children's Sake, Foundations of Education for Home and School by Susan Shaeffer Macaulay. It was a revelation! Macaulay championed a return to traditional forms of education centering around curiosity and creativity, and surrounding your child with an environment that nurtured those traits. In contrast to the one-size-fits-all classrooms and post-industrial educational models, Macaulay, championing the ideas of Charlotte Mason, advocated the development of each child's unique giftings. The role of literature in this mission was foundational. Children should be reared on the best books available. They should have easy access to inspiring biographies of historical heroes, they should be able to enter the imaginative worlds of fantasy, know what it was like to live long ago by reading great literature set in other times. This approach would encourage a child's natural curiosity and foster a life-long love of learning. It would also encourage the development of empathy and compassion as children learned about their place in history and the courage and struggles of those who came before them. To read more about Rea's discoveries, you can read this article

Once Rea was sold on this unique and inspiring educational method, she set about to find the very best children's literature for her young children. Books like Honey for a Child's Heart, The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life by Gladys Hunt and Books Children Love, a Guide to the Best Children's Literature by Elizabeth Wilson proved invaluable. Hunt and and Wilson combed through the available literature, listed Newbury and Caldecott award winners, provided direction in creating an inspiring family library. As a child, I devoured the books that surrounded me. In these stories I found inspiration, purpose, and identity. Family read-aloud time was a priority and I have many fond memories of countless nights spent reading wonderful stories. I learned to love E. B. White, Ralph Moody, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Brinton Turkle, Robert McCloskey, Alice Dalgliesh, Carol Brink, Ingri and Edgar d'Aulaire, Marguerite De Angeli, Eleanor Estes, Elizabeth George Speare, and many more. We never had television and this allowed us the freedom of time; time to spend reading alone and together, time to explore, and time to partake of imaginative play. Once formal education began in our home, Rea continued to emphasize the role of literature. We did not use history textbooks, we read biographies, original source documents, great books by authors like Jean Fritz who have a gift for making history come alive.

On Wednesday, I'll write more about how this all led to the founding of Beautiful Feet Books. If you're intrigued, we would highly recommend For the Children's Sake. It is now a classic of the home schooling movement and is a wonderful resource. You can purchase it here. The other resources can also be purchased through the links above.

If you're looking to expand your library, I put together a couple of packages with my personal childhood favorites in our Teaching Character Through Literature curriculum. There are two packages available, one for younger students, and one for older intermediate level students. These are great "starter packs" for building your family's library. 

And, don't forget our promotion of a free study guide download (value $15.95) with a $75.00 purchase. Simply use this code at checkout: blogpro

For those of you who have read For The Children's Sake, what did you find most inspiring or world-changing? How have you applied aspects of Macaulay and Mason's approaches to your own educational journey? 

1 comment:

  1. I've never read For the Children's sake, thank you for the suggestion. I will buy it next payday!