Thursday, December 10, 2015

Free Book Offer!

For a limited time, you can receive a beautiful hardback edition of O. Henry's The Gift of the Magi
with the purchase of any complete literature pack! That's a $17.99 value on top of our already discounted packs. This classic makes a great Christmas gift as this story captures the message of selfless giving and is filled with gorgeous illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger. It's a Berg family favorite and one we read together every year so we're thrilled to be able to share it with you. Check out our packs here.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Using our Medieval History Through Literature Study

Today Audria continues to share with us her family's adventure through Medieval history using our program for advanced intermediate and junior high level students. Even in the midst of sickness and an out-of-state move, Audria's lovely family had rich discussions on justice and injustice, heroes, law, order, and much more! Such a dynamic time period to study. Here's Audria:

Before I get into this section of the study I’d like to mention one little thing about the previous post. We had not yet read the Epilogue to Robin Hood when I wrote our report. During our move I had left the book in our apartment in Lexington while overseeing our move from Benton to Frankfort. Life got just a tiny bit crazy! I’ve watched many Robin Hood movies over the years. Not a single one of the films prepared me for the ending to the book!!! We were so devastated (and a tiny bit angry) by the manner of our hero’s death that I had to cancel school the rest of the day. Sparkles and Middle Boy just cried their hearts out. Oldest refused to concentrate on math or grammar until we discussed the injustice and greed that led to Robin’s death. Life is unfair sometimes and especially so for heroes (real or literary). I made some popcorn and we buried our sorrows watching Walt Disney’s Robin Hood. Roger Miller and Robin Hood always go together in my mind and his song ran through my head the entire time I read the book aloud.
You are welcome for the earworm!
all of our resources for this session
All our resources for this session.
The first three weeks of this session are devoted to the study of the Magna Charta through James Daughtery’s book The Magna ChartaThe first part of the book was a review of previous books on the Plantagenets. We found the review helpful since we had paused our studies for the move. Oldest became so fascinated with Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Plantagenets that he purchased a book on them with his birthday money. He was fairly proud of himself for purchasing his first history text. Weeks twelve through fourteen have several words to define from the book. Usually Oldest looked the words up in a dictionary. Sadly, our dictionary was packed away in a box in storage. Oldest thought he had a free pass on the vocabulary words until I reminded him of the glossary’s existence in the guide! ;)
Oldest studied several websites to learn about the life of England’s common people and wrote a silly tale about a stable boy named Jack. We discussed the life and legacy of King Richard, King John, Stephen Langton the Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Innocent III, and William Marshal. We studied the art of Albert Herter during our picture studies and discussed the symbolism of representative government in his work. We also read Marguerite De Angeli’s
Oldest with his birthday books
Oldest with his birthday books!
delightful book A Door in the Wall (a suggested read). We just adored this book and even the younger children listened in on this read aloud. We also discussed the importance of the Magna Charta to our own American history.
I was relieved that the guide had us take a look at the lives of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic since faith and religion took a hard hit with the death of Robin Hood and the politics of the Church during the Medieval period. I added a short study on the life of St. Hildegard von Bingen. She was a German Benedictine abbess and composer of beautiful music. I learned about her during my time in the monastery and the chant she composed for her communities returns my heart to the cloister. O Frondens Virga
illumination project
Illumination project
which I linked for you is my favorite of her compositions. I also adore her because she was a bit of a rebel. We read Life in a Medieval Monastery by Marc Cels and Places of Worship in the Middle Ages by Kay Eastwood. To round out our medieval religious studies we also read Magic in the Margins: A Medieval Tale of Bookmaking by W. Nicola-Lisa and Oldest worked on a small illuminated manuscript project. He chose to illuminate the Preamble to the Constitution.
Our next couple of weeks were spent learning about Cathedrals and Castles with David Macaulay’s books. Oldest and the younger siblings enjoyed making stained glass windows with tissue paper for art projects and watching YouTube videos about Guedelon in France. Oldest also watched a documentary about the Cathedral of Santa Maria in Florence and then explored the
some of Oldest's papers and projects
Some of Oldest's papers and projects.
subject further on Kahn Academy. I didn’t realize how much he had learned about architecture until he started pointing out features of buildings in downtown Frankfort. Currently he is working on building a Medieval city on Minecraft. His castle is designed after Visegrad the Citadel. He chose this castle primarily because my husband had visited there and brought home an informative booklet with diagrams of the topography and building plans.
The next two weeks of the guide (17 and 18) bring us to Medieval China and Marco Polo. Sadly, Oldest completed all of the reading for these sessions on his own. I love reading aloud these history books and it made me sad to miss out on The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean. I fell rather ill a few weeks ago with a chest infection. Oldest did read aloud a few chapters to me during my feverish days but as the fever subsided I developed a terrible cough and could barely breathe let alone read aloud.
architectural designs Oldest pointed out during downtown walk
Architectural designs Oldest now points out on our walks
Fortunately, even without reading the book I was able to intelligently discuss the book and questions in the guide thanks to the answer key! We depended heavily on the Resources part of the study guide for the course this time around. I did notice this evening while checking over his map that he forgot to add the map work for China though he did mark Marco Polo’s route. Guess what his first assignment will be Monday morning!?!
Oldest with book
Oldest with book!
One of the projects was to build a paper model of The Temple of Heaven. We didn’t get to that project because the color printer is still packed away in a box. It looks like a fun craft so we plan to work on it at some point. Oldest did build a mini version of the temple with his legos. We read about the life of Confucius and reviewed Buddhism, Taoism, and Confusism. Just as he started reading The Samurai’s Tale by Erik C. Haugaard (another suggested book) he got my chest infection. The book must be really good because he kept reading while he was feverish. I just love this picture of him asleep by the Christmas tree with book in hand.
Legal note: The kind (and totally awesome!) folks at Beautiful Feet Books provided me with the literature pack and guide in exchange for this review series. I offered them no guarantee on what I would write here.
Thank you Audria! I love these little peeks into your home school. History is so valuable in teaching character lessons, as you've deftly pointed out in all your posts. Creating compassion, empathy, a passion for justice–these are all important aspects of historical study. You can read more at Audria's blog, At the Well

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, December 07, 2015

We need you!

Do you love Beautiful Feet Books? Has it changed the way you think about teaching history? If so, we'd love it if you voted in the 2016 Practical Homeschooling® Reader Awards™ Ballot. Beautiful Feet Books appears in several categories and you can also vote for your favorites in categories like math, science, grammar, and much more. Plus, Practical Homeschooling is offering a very cool prize to one lucky participant. Check it all out here. We really appreciate your support! The Reader Awards not only let us know if we're on the right track in terms of developing our curriculum but they're also very helpful to new homeschoolers looking for direction as they embark on this amazing, and sometimes overwhelming, journey. Entries close on December 10, so vote while you can!

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, December 03, 2015

BFB Reissues d'Aulaire's Abraham Lincoln!

For the past year, Rea has been working on a re-issue of the d'Aulaire's classic, Abraham Lincoln. She's been coordinating the restoration of the original artwork, adding historical notes and background and much more. Check out this article in Publisher's Weekly featuring her work and the new 75th anniversary edition of Abraham Lincoln along with background on Ingri and Edgar d'Aulaire!

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.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Modern American and World History

Melissa is back with an update on their school year. She's working through our Modern American and World History for Intermediate grades. You can read parts I and II of her series. Within the post below, you can click on links to some of the literature she's been reading with her children for more detailed reviews! So helpful when planning out your study. Melissa has taken the flexibility built in to our studies and really made this work for her family. They're stretching it out, switching out titles where necessary and adapting lessons and we love to see this! This is one of the things we work hard at when we're writing out guides: making them structured enough to give guidance but flexible enough to allow for customization!

Here's Melissa: 

After finishing our first term of the 2015-2016 school year, I thought I'd give an update on the Beautiful Feet Modern American and World History study we're using. Part way through the term, I gave an introduction/overview of the program. Since, we finished up the term on lesson twenty-seven. I originally scheduled history three days per week, hoping to finish the term with lesson thirty-six. However, the assigned readings are very long so I had to split some of the lessons over two days. At this point, it looks as though the study may take more than one school year to complete unless we add history a fourth day per week.

So far, the books have been wonderful! We've read five books in their entirety, including: Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt, The Perilous Road by William O. Steele, a Frederick Douglass substitution, Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson, and Theodore Roosevelt by Genevieve Foster. We've also read assigned chapters of A Child's First Book of American History by Earl Schenck Miers.

As noted, I did substitute one book. The BF study uses Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass. However, after reading aloud the Preface and a Letter, I could see the kids were not ready for it. After a bit of research, I opted to substitute Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom by Margaret Davidson. I think Douglass' original Narrative... is fabulous, but I felt it was more suited for upper middle school or high school. The kids will definitely be reading it at some point down the road. For now, Davidson's book was a good fit!

Here is a narration Riley wrote after we read Frederick Douglass Fights for Freedom...

Frederick Bailey was born in February 1818, no one knows the exact date, he was a slave. Frederick wanted to be free. He decided to run away to the north. Frederick disguised himself as a sailor and got aboard a train. He rode the train to New York. He found a safe house there. While in New York, Frederick got married. He and his new wife moved to Massachusetts. Frederick changed his last name to Douglass to be safe from slave catchers. He was an abolitionist. He fought for freedom for the millions of slaves that were not free yet. He and his wife Anna, and their five children, ran a safe house on the Underground Railroad. Frederick gave many speeches against slave owners and even talked to President Lincoln. He died February 20, 1895. He was seventy-seven years old. The kids are not loving A Child's First Book of American History. However, I think it does a great job of filling in the gaps. It's sort of a spine book and Daugherty's illustration are a treat. Across Five Aprils is still my favorite with Foster's Theodore Roosevelt falling second. We learned a great deal about Roosevelt from this Initial Biography. I highly recommend it and am thrilled to see Beautiful Feet bring it back in print!

Overall, the study is going well. History is still the kids favorite subject. Below are a few more samples of their notebook pages....

Today, we are back from break, starting term two with The Wright Brothers, Pioneers of American Aviation by Quentin Reynolds. I haven't done much reading on the Wright brothers and am looking forward to learning more about them :)

Thank you Melissa! Check out her blog, Reflections from Drywood Creek for great information on the Charlotte Mason method, book reviews, and much more! 

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, November 23, 2015

Black Friday Special!

All Albert Marrin Titles only $9.00 each!

Save over 35%

Or get all six for $49.95 and save over 40%

Great Christmas gifts for those history buffs in your family!

These books are so engaging, readable and informative, we know you're going to love them and this a a price that cannot be beat! 

Dr. Albert Marrin was born in New York City in 1936. As a junior high social studies teacher he learned about the power of stories, the ability of a well-told tale to draw youngsters attention and light up that spark of curiosity. That story-telling ability has propelled him into a career as a prolific writer. He's written over 40 books for young adults as well as four academic titles and has won many awards including Washington Post Childrens' Book Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the James Madison Award for Lifetime Achievement, several Horn Book awards by the Boston Globe. He consistently appears on the best book of the year lists of the American Library Association, and receives frequent recognition by Book Lists, and the Western Heritage Award for best juvenile nonfiction book presented at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame among others. Winner of the 2008 National Endowment for Humanities Medal for his work, which was presented at the White House, was given "for opening young minds to the glorious pageant of history. His books have made the lessons of the past come alive with rich detail and energy for a new generation."

We couldn't agree more! Marrin also served as professor of history and chairman of the history department at Yeshiva University until he retired to become a full time writer. It was at this point that he was able to devote his energies to making history come alive for millions of young people. 

Here at Beautiful Feet Books, we have been able to reprint six of his titles on American history. 

Fought in a small Asian country unfamiliar to most Americans at the time, the Vietnam War became a cause that divided the nation and defined a counter-culture. The first televised war, newscasters became a force creating the greatest anti-war movement in history, while American boys suffered and died in jungles and rice paddies against guerilla soldiers they rarely saw face to face. As Marrin does so well, he brings an objective look at the complex issues that brought America into this war, that compelled her to stay there, and that prevented her from pursuing a definitive conclusion. Beginning with a history of Vietnam from ancient times, readers will understand the cultural, religious, and geo-political forces that made Vietnam a desirable territory conquered again and again by rival nations. They will learn how America's initial efforts to support anti-communist forces led to greater and greater involvement eventually spanning the administrations of Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ, and Nixon. Through photographs, perceptive epigraphs and first-person accounts, Marrin puts a human face on a multifaceted war. As Everett Alvarez, the longest-held POW in Vietnam, says of this book, "One of the book's strong points is that it portrays the war the way the men who fought remember it."

"Marrin writes insightfully about the life of Adolf Hitler and attempts to ascertain the reasons for his fanaticism, as well as the motives of those who blindly followed him. The author forgoes sensationalism, and his matter-of-fact writing style and recitation of events are more than adequate to chronicle the horror. Step-by-step, he describes how Hitler, a seemingly shy, insecure young man was able to inspire a defeated nation that saw the extermination of many of its citizens as it salvation." - Booklist
School Library Journal: Best Book of the Year

Adolf Hitler—der Fuehrer—rose from a childhood of obscurity to wield more power than probably any person in history. His control over his subjects was so complete that he literally shaped every aspect of their lives—the slightest defiance of his authority meant torture and death. Marrin carefully traces the forces that framed Hitler's fanaticism; readers will learn of his hardhearted and abusive father and his doting and indulgent mother who continually schooled Adolf in his superiority over other children. When he is twice rejected at a prestigious art school in Vienna, Hitler's delusional thoughts of himself seek a scapegoat for his seething anger. This was the genesis of Hitler's raging anti-Semitism that would play out in the deaths of over six million. Hitler's path to power included a heroic career as an infantryman in World War I where he earned six medals for bravery, including the Iron Cross. But Germany's surrender plunged him into a dark depression. In this state he began to believe he was called by God to "right Germany's wrongs, rebuild her armies, and punish the traitors." The rest is history, and Marrin brings the tragedy of Hitler's dark reign to the young adult reader in a manner that is honest, forthright and sobering. Illustrated with maps and photographs.

School Library Journal "Best Books of the Year"

When Joseph Djugashvili was born the son of a poor shoemaker, few suspected he would rise to become one of the twentieth century's most ruthless and powerful dictators. Enamored as a young man with the revolutionary politics of Lenin, he joined the underground Marxist Party and began his pursuit of power by leading strikes and demonstrations. Six times he was exiled to Siberia for his illicit activities, escaping many times despite below freezing temperatures and on one occasion an attack by a pack of wolves. His instinctive ability to command authority and divide the opposition through lies and deceit set him on a path he would follow to become Russia's most absolute dictator. He was never reticent to shed innocent blood in the pursuit of his own ends, and he carefully orchestrated demonstrations that brought about massacres that he then used to his own revolutionary ends. His vision was far reaching, and while his initial purpose was to establish a Soviet socialist state his larger goal was world domination. Ultimately responsible for the deaths of over 30 million—13 million alone in the Ukrainian famine he caused—Stalin's life is a sober and heartbreaking account of the reign of terror suffered by countless millions at the hands of one man. Illustrated with photographs.

Victory in the Pacific covers events from the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor through the battles of Midway, Guadalcanal, the Solomon Islands, Savo Island, the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, Corregidor Island, Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima , and Okinawa. In each case, readers see the battles through the eyes of the men who were there, landing on the beaches, running raids in PT boats, dodging kamikaze bombers, and flying missions over Japan. In an easily accessible style, Marrin relates not only the important details of these conquests but also explains the military strategies of both the Allied forces and the Japanese. Readers get an overarching view of the war that helps to bring understanding especially as American forces drew increasingly closer to Japan and the Japanese grew ever more determined to fight to the bitter end. Marrin helps readers to understand the Japanese mindset that made surrender impossible and ultimately led to the decision to drop the atomic bomb in the interests of saving millions of lives. For the young adult reader, or even an adult unfamiliar with this period of WWII history, this book provides a sobering but inspiring look and the men and women , the nations and ideologies, that battled over half a century ago in the Pacific theater. Illustrated with diagrams, maps and photographs.

Portraying the sterling character of this admired hero, Marrin paints a complete picture of this complex man. Divided between his dislike of slavery and his loyalty to his beloved Virginia, Lee rose from an impoverished and tragic childhood to become one of the greatest military minds America has ever known even while being lauded for his kind, generous leadership. Marrin writes of Lee while including the stories of the ordinary soldiers, the Johnny Rebs and Billy Yanks. The victories, defeats, successes and failures of each side are portrayed in vivid and personal detail. Used in the Literature Approach to U.S. and World History, from the Civil War to Vietnam study guide.

Marrin relates the gripping story of how the Yanks "came over" to aid the European Allies and turn the tide in the first Great War. How the United States mobilized industry, trained doughboy soldiers, and promoted the war at home makes for fascinating reading in one of the few books on this topic for young adults. The human cost of the war is poignantly related in tales of the action at Chateau Thierry and Belleau Woods, in the air with the daring men of the Army Air Corps, and with the Lost Battalion at the Battle of Meuse-Argonne. From the sinking of the Lusitania to Armistice Day, Marrin tells the heartrending and inspiring story of the "war to end all wars." Illustrated with maps and photographs.

All of the above titles are available on our website and we're offering a discount when you purchase more than one! Save over $35.00 when you purchase all six in our Albert Marrin Collection, a Cathy Duffy Top 100 Pick for Homeschool award winner! 

You can read reviews from other parents and readers at the links below:

And as a little bonus, you can watch Albert Marrin read from his book Flesh & Blood So Cheap, a finalist for the National Book Foundation Young Person's award. 

To learn more about Albert Marrin, visit his website

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, November 19, 2015

History of Science Notebooking

Today, Melissa from Reflections from Drywood Creek writes about our History of Science. Although she's using last year's version (it's since been updated), everything she shares is still relevant! She put together a spiral notebook with much of the assignment work for her children. For those of you who like this approach, check out all the photos she shared! Here's a sneak peak, for the entire entry, visit Melissa's blog here! Thank you Melissa!

As you may know, we are using Beautiful Feet History of Science this year (5th & 6th grade).  The guide was recently revised, but I have the older edition.  We are about twenty lessons in and it's going well.  We complete two lessons per week.

The study uses a mix of living books, experiments, and notebooking.  There are also discussion questions, vocabulary words, and timeline figures.  So far, we've read Archimedes and the Door of Science and Along Came Galileo, both by Jeanne Bendick.   I love the living book approach of these books!  They are truly a mix of history and science...continued here.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Books for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we love this holiday! Today I'm going to post our favorite Thanksgiving stories so you can share them with your families this year. If you have others that you've discovered, please post them in the comments.

This sweet book is perfect for introducing the history of Thanksgiving to your youngest children. Dalgliesh's Caldecott Honor title combines lucid text with folksly Americana illustrations by Helen Sewell. Beginning in England the book follows the Pilgrims on their quest for religious freedom to Holland and then to Massachusetts Bay Colony. Their devastating first winter and the help they received from the Natives all pave the way for a day set aside to celebrate God's faithfulness to this little band of brave seekers.

Pilgrim Stories by Margaret Pumphrey
This treasury has long been one of our favorites so when we had the opportunity to expand it and add illustrations from our beloved Christen Blechschmid, we jumped at the chance. Follow the Pilgrims as they seek the freedom to worship as they choose and move from England to Holland and, finally, to the New World. You'll love these endearing stories and they will add a whole level of understanding to the sacrifices these brave souls made in order to be able to follow their consciences. 

Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness

Gorgeous illustrations accompany this story of Bartholomew, Mary and Remember Allerton. These young siblings relate their adventures aboard the Mayflower, a journey that took sixty daysand learn how difficult it is to carve out a new life in a wild and foreign land. Squanto and Samoset play a starring role in helping the Pilgrims grow their own food. Harness's illustrations and maps provide detailed information on geography, ships, farming and more. 

The Pilgrims of Plimoth by Marcia Sewall

A long-time favorite, The Pilgrims of Plimoth is a bit more advanced than the previous two titles but just as lovely and rich with detail. Sewall's illustrations are sumptuous and her text is expertly research while being very approachable. Sewell includes quotes from journals kept by some of the Pilgrims, adding a first-person feel to the text.

Relating the remarkable story of Squanto's life, this book is a whirlwind of adventure. Eric Metaxas is one of our favorite contemporary writers and he does not disappoint with this children's account of Squanto. Many people do not know that when Squanto first approached the Pilgrims he addressed them in English! How did a Massachusetts Native come to learn to speak the Pilgrim's language? Learn about it and in the next title.

Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
This account is among the best we've seen it tells the amazing story of Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe, who went to London with some of the first English explorers, was sold into slavery in Spain, and finally returned to America where he befriended the Pilgrims when they landed.

The Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daugherty
The perfect family read-aloud this book tells in detail the story of the Pilgrim's quest to find a place where they could worship God according to their consciences. The Pilgrim's love of freedom played a significant role in the establishment of religious freedom in the States. Their willingness to give up the comforts they enjoyed in England, leaving behind family, friends, and possessions behind is a reminder of what so many have to sacrifice for their faith. 

William Bradford, Pilgrim Boy by Bradford Smith
This lovely book relates the childhood of the famous Pilgrim leader. Learn about his life in rural England and how he came to his strong convictions. Circumstances in his life prepared him for his essential role in the band of Pilgrims and children will enjoy hearing about his adventures as a child.

If you are interested in adding these titles to your library, give us a call at 800.889.1978 and we'll give you free shipping when you order all seven titles! 

All of these books will prepare your family for a Thanksgiving that's truly established on gratitude. One more way to prepare children is to make a Thanks Giving Tree. Ann Voskamp provides a beautiful free printable on her website here. Throughout the month of November, children record things they are thankful for on leaves and attach them to a tree. By the time Thanksgiving comes along you and your family will have cultivated an atmosphere of thankfulness that will be a wonderful blessing. 

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