Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Medieval History Through Literature

Yesterday Audria shared her family's experience with using our Medieval History Through Literature study guide and books with her son! You can read the full account here and I highly recommend that you do! Check out her son's beautiful map work!

If you're interested in studying this fascinating period of history, you can learn more 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, April 28, 2015

Meet Audria!

Audria helping a customer at the GHC Convention
Over the next several months, Audria from At the Well is going to be sharing her experience using our Medieval History Through Literature study! You may have seen her review of our Geography Through Literature study here. We're really excited to be going along on this journey with her family and will be sharing her weekly posts. In order to give you some background on her homeschooling history, we asked her a few questions and she graciously provided lovely answers, which I'm sure many of you will be able to find very relatable! Some of you may have already met Audria at GHC Cincinnati - which she blogged about here. Here's our little interview:

BFB: What originally drew you to homeschooling?
Audria: That question is never easy for me to answer. My husband and I were very frustrated by some situations in the school system our two oldest children were enduring. By the time our oldest was in second grade we felt his education was being largely ignored. We felt the he (and all bright children) should be pushed academically instead of left to flounder until the rest of the class caught up with them. He also suffered terribly from a bully but we did not know just how badly until after we began homeschooling. Our daughter entered Kindergarten a very happy and self-confident young girl and by the end of the school year she believed she was "too stupid to do math". During that year I began to look into sending the kids to a private school. A friend suggested that I should homeschool. I thought she was crazy and immediately rejected the idea. However, on the way home I realized she spoke the truth. I felt the Lord pulling my heart toward homeschooling and began researching my options that evening. I did tell Jesus that He would have to break the news to my husband. Within a couple of months my husband believed homeschooling was the best option for our family too. 

BFB: How long have you been homeschooling?
Audria: We are just beginning our fourth year. 

BFB: How did you discover Beautiful Feet Books? Has the philosophy behind BFB influenced how you teach other subjects?
Audria: I first heard of BFB in the comments section on Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers blog. Here is the link to that thread:   I wanted an American History curriculum we could all do together. I researched every curriculum mentioned on that post before finally choosing Primary Early American History from BFB. At that point I had never heard of Charlotte Mason or even understood what literature based education meant. All of the homeschoolers I knew used the current classical model or textbook based schooling methods. Learning about and applying BFB's philosophy changed everything about how we homeschool. We fell in love with homeschooling during our time with Primary Early American History. I had fun finding projects and art to combine with our study. We looked forward to schooling together and snuggling together with great books. All of my kids cried when we finished the last book because the study was over. They immediately begged me to get another study from BFB. I now look for good "living" books on every subject we study...even math and science.  I make sure the kids have good quality books to read during their free time. We have started spending more time outdoors exploring nature. I also carefully guard their commitments and make sure they have plenty of free time to spend in imaginative play. I never understood the value of imaginative play and unstructured time before exploring a Charlotte Mason style of education...honestly it is more of a life style than an academic method to education. I am a better home educator after applying all I've learned from Beautiful Feet Books but I am also a much better parent. 

BFB: What has been the greatest joy of homeschooling? The greatest challenge?
Audria: The greatest joy of homeschooling for me is learning alongside my children. I enjoy watching them learn and get excited about their new discoveries. I love watching them discover talents and new interests. I rejoice with them when they finally understand something difficult. The greatest challenge is adjusting to their changing needs. I have four children (James in 6th, Katie and Jesse in 4th and Samuel in Kindergarten) and I am constantly adjusting schedules and tweaking curriculum to fit each child. Just when I get things all figured out they grow and change.

I have loved reading about Audria's home education adventures over at her blog. Her authenticity is refreshing and her deep love for her children shines through. Thank you Audria for opening up your experience to us! 

Calling long-term BFB users!

Are you a BFB veteran?
Have you been using our study guides for years, maybe even a decade or so?
Do you know someone who has?
We would love to talk with you! Please email us at rebecca @ or leave a comment below with your email address.

We are looking for partners who share our vision for education and a passion for good books. We will be providing curriculum and discounts to the people we end up working with, so please let us know if you are interested.


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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Friday, April 24, 2015

Charlotte Mason Wisdom

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, April 23, 2015

How to raise a reader

Today, Kathy shares some practical tips on how to foster a love of learning in your children!

Recently, while I conversing with a friend, the topic of reading entered our conversation. My friend was curious as to how my husband and I had raised a reader. Is there a scientific formula she needed to follow? Is there a special reading curriculum? Are there a set of guidelines she needed to follow? In all earnest, my friend was desperate to be let in on the secret of our success. I had to chuckle, because the steps to raising a reader are quite simple. Please allow me to share with you how you too can raise a child who loves to read. 

Fifteen years ago, I reacquainted myself with a book which had impacted my elementary school years in a significant way. The book was Honey for a Child’s Heart, authored by journalist Gladys Hunt. As I progressed from kindergarten through fifth grade this book was on every teacher's desk and recognized as the "gold standard" for promoting literacy and selecting the books which would serve as the class read alouds throughout the school year. After obtaining the original 1969 edition from our local public library, I began to read voraciously. Within forty-eight hours I had finished the book and for the next week I took notes which would become our formula for raising a reader. “A good book is a magic gateway into a wider world of wonder, beauty, delight, and adventure. Books are experiences that make us grow, that add something to our inner stature.” 

As a young parent, I began to look for books through the public library system and local thrift shop which fit this description, using Hunt’s book as a reading resource list. Books which utilized words and art to create a visual feast but also provide genuine substance for intellectual and spiritual development were carefully sought after and obtained. At this time, my husband and I began to set aside a portion of the early evening as family read aloud time. In the early years, picture books classics such as The Snowy Day, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, Corduroy, and Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop were the nightly fare. As our daughter moved into the primary years, the selection grew to classic children’s books such as Winnie the Pooh, Strawberry Girl, Caddie “Woodlawn, The Twenty-One Balloons and the D’Aulaire’s Benjamin Franklin  The adolescent years have broadened and refined her literary palate. To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hobbit and The Help are among her favorites. 

Reading aloud as a family has allowed us to meet new literary friends. It has provided the opportunity for us to discuss real life situations and to appreciate good writing while becoming closer because of the shared experience. Reading together with your child as they grow and mature will help to strengthen the bonds within the parent child relationship. 
As far as guidelines go, my husband and I have used good old fashioned common sense and implemented these principles:
  1. Provide inviting reading spaces
    We have made it a priority for our child to see her parents reading.
  2. Television viewing and computer time in our home are monitored and limited.
  3. Books and other good reading materials are kept within easy reach. The rooms within our home are comfortable and well-lit, inviting family members to pick up a book and read.
  4. Reading time must be balanced with other activities such as outdoor time.
  5. Reading in bed with a flashlight is encouraged.
  6. A weekly trip to the public library has helped to foster book love.
  7. The tradition of giving books as gifts for birthdays and holidays has helped to create an atmosphere of “bibliomania.” 
If you’re looking for guidance on how to make reading a part of your children’s lives, these principles will help. And remember you’re giving a great gift to your children! In closing, I would like to leave you with a piece of poetry from S. Gilland that has served as our parental compass throughout the years:

"You may have tangible wealth untold, 
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold
Richer than I can you never can be
I had a mother who read to me."

Thank you Kathy! Readers, what have you done to encourage reading in your family? Share your practical tips in the comments section! 
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, April 21, 2015

Encouragement to finish strong!

We love this quote from Charlotte Mason because it encompasses qualities that are not necessarily in vogue these days but are things we all want to see in our children. As the school year winds down for many of you, it can be so difficult to stay motivated, but be encouraged that the end is in sight! Throughout the year you and your children have all put in great efforts and have increased in understanding! Keep it up!

image: ©Rebecca Manor

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!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Over the past few weeks I've come across so many amazing stories, inspiring tales, and great blog posts. Here's a sampling for your reading pleasure!

Davide Monteleone for The New York Times

Great story today in the NYTimes about an Italian family who discovered amazing medieval and ancient worlds beneath their floor! History is everywhere - and sometimes it takes tying a rope around your 12 year old's waist and lowering him down a dark hole to discover it! Ha!

Interview with Peter Gray, author of Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life and professor of psychology at Boston College. My favorite quote from this interview was when Gray states that if our society is one where it is not safe for our children to run freely and unattended, then we need to fix that society. We cannot just accept it and force our children to grow up inside and constantly under supervision.

Audria from At The Well shares her experience of working at our Beautiful Feet Books booth at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

GHC Cincinnati!

We can't wait to see everyone attending GHC Cincinnati this weekend!!! Here's Rea Berg's speaking schedule: 

Classic Literature for Little Folks
Friday, April 10, 8:30-9:30 am
Room: Duke 250
Introducing classic literature to preschool and primary grade children is one of life's most rewarding, engaging, and enjoyable endeavors! There is quite possibly nothing more essential to the emotional and spiritual wellbeing of our children than the affirmation and security fostered while holding a little one on our lap for story time. The power of the spoken word in these moments builds bonds of security, creates the capacity for empathy, and forms the imaginative powers of the mind. In this seminar, we will explore the power of story, and look at the authors who have polished the touchstone of truly great literature for children.

Reviving History Through the Power of Literature
Friday, April 10, 4:00-5:00 pm
Room: Duke 233
"The sole substitute for an experience which we have not ourselves lived through is art and literature."–– Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian novelist and historian reminds us of the critical part literature plays in carrying historical knowledge from one generation to the next. This presentation will explore ways in which literature can be incorporated into all areas of historical study, from primary grades through high school, in the interests of bringing the beauty, pathos, and inspiration of the world's great books to readers of all ages.

Charlotte Mason Meets Plato: Restoring the Joy of Education in Your Home
Saturday, April 11, 10-11am
Room: Duke 252
In Plato's Republic, the ancient philosopher advocated educational methods that would best suit the individual to serve as political creatures. When Susan Schaeffer Macaulay popularized the Charlotte Mason method of education with her book, For the Children's Sake, she promoted the notion that Christian educators are preparing students to serve as citizens of a heavenly kingdom. As parents intent on knowing our children and providing an education suitable for their individual needs, the Charlotte Mason approach can liberate us to discover once again the joy that can be found in the adventure of learning.

Monday, April 06, 2015

New Products!

We are so excited to announce that we are now offering several products that we feel make wonderful additions to the BFB collection! Check them out here:

Our Geography Through Literature program is one of our most beloved studies. Year after year families share their experiences of traveling the world with Minn, Paddle-to-the-Sea and Seabird and that stalwart Tree on the Santa Fe Trail. Now, you can add even more value to this award-winning program! Beautiful Feet Books and Institute for Excellence in Writing have teamed up to provide a course of instruction that incorporates geography, science, history, and writing instruction, all using the classic works of Holling C. Holling—Paddle-to-the-Sea, Tree in the Trail, Seabird, and Minn of the Mississippi*.  While students learn history and geography from these Caldecott and Newbery award-winning works, they will also enjoy discovering the principles of writing with structure and style developedby Andrew Pudewa. You and your students will discover and discuss the panorama of American wildlife, the opening of new frontiers, transportation systems and industry, heroic struggles with natural forces, and native American peoples and their ways. Then be your students’ writing coach and editor as they learn to take notes, summarize references, write from pictures, compose a story and a personal letter, and put together a research report! Check it out here.

A Noble Experiment
Over the years we have been asked many, many times what we recommend for Civics. In this self-directed program we think we have found the answer. Your student will embark on an exciting one-semester (16 week) study of government. BFB is glad to offer you a new product: A Noble Experiment - The History and Nature of the American Government. Designed around the national civics standards, this high school government course utilizes primary source documents to teach the history and principles of our democratic republic. From our research, there is nothing quite like this on the market.

Course materials include a consumable student workbook, a teacher resource CD, and twenty-four video lessons on DVD. The student workbook contains all primary source readings, required and optional student activities, and unit assessments to accompany the DVD lessons.

The Teacher Resource CD contains printable copies of the course outline, the course syllabus, answer keys for all graded student assignments, a grad book to record individual assignment scores, and optional activities for use by the motivated student or home school co-op groups. It also contains the entire transcript of the video lessons, with highlighted key concepts. This format enables the teacher quickly to look up pertinent information without the need to watch the video lessons. Students may also use the transcript to review for assessments. The CD concludes with a course description for use on the student's high school transcript.Each video session is a self-contained instructional module. More like a conversation than a lecture, the videos cover all the major topics in the National Standards for Civics and Government at the high school level.

Why the title A Noble Experiment? We think the following excerpt from the student workbook says it quite well:
On September 17.1787, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention signed the completed Constitution of the United States. Patterned after the ancient Roman Republic, with elements of Greek democracy and Enlightenment political philosophy, the Constitution set in motion a form of government based on the premise that people can successfully rule themselves. What a radical concept in an eighteenth-century world dominated by monarchs and tyrants!Like the "holy experiment" of its Puritan predecessor, this "noble experiment" altered the course of history for oppressed peoples everywhere. Its ideals have been exported to the four corners of the earth. Millions live in freedom under its principles. Yet it remains an experiment because each succeeding generation must prove the hypothesis of successful self-government.
Zeezok Publishing's high school government course explores the creation, implementation, and evolution of this experiment.

Practical & Foundational Economics
Economics is the science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, or the material welfare of humankind. Although relatively few men and women make a living from studying, explaining, or teaching its principles, economics affects every human being on a daily basis. Why do some people struggle just to survive, while others live in luxury? Is a free-market economy really better than a command economy? What makes certain items more valuable than others? You’ll discover the answers to these questions and more in Practical & Foundational Economics.

Designed around the national economics standards, Zeezok Publishing’s Practical & Foundational Economics provides a solid foundation for life and future economic studies. The carefully crafted text and “hands-on” approach to economic principles makes the subject matter interesting and applicable to the student. Every lesson provides real-life situations and opportunities for the student to use the knowledge they are acquiring in unique and memorable ways. Practical & Foundational Economics emphasizes critical-thinking skills and evaluation of historical and contemporary economic events. It strikes a balance between success in this life and the wisdom of investing in things of eternal value.

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!