Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Modern American and World History

One of our newest programs in our Modern American and World History for grades 5-8. This literature-rich study picks up where our Early American History for Intermediate grades leaves off and has been very popular from it's introduction. Karyn from Teach Beside Me has been using it with her 6th grader and recently reviewed it here. A couple of highlights from her review hit right at the heart of what we want to accomplish with our literature approach to history programs. Here's a couple excerpts:

"I have been using the Modern American and World History curriculum with my 6th grade son. He is so happy with it and has really been thriving with this literature set. He is loving each and every book...He often forgets that he is supposed to only read certain chapters each day and reads beyond the assigned amount...His thoughts on the program are that it is simple and to the point. It makes history come to life and is making him think about how much the decisions we make matter in everyday life...He thinks it is the best way to learn history that we have ever done! He loves how the books are all related to each other, but each one has its own style and direction with new things to understand."

"In my discussions with a few other homeschool parents who have used Beautiful Feet Books, I have heard a few people talk about getting the books alone and not needing the literature guides. I have to say that I disagree completely. I was trying to do that in the past,  but never felt like there was enough structure and consistency to it. The Literature guides help with book order and guide you through it in such a wonderful way!   They are an amazing addition to this literature-rich curriculum."

Thank you Karyn for your kind words. Please read the complete review and check out Teach Beside Me for other great reviews and homeschool resources. 

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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Ancient History Update from Melissa

Melissa at Reflections from Drywood Creek is updating us on her daughter's journey through our Ancient History, A Literature Approach. Check out her beautiful notebooking pages! Here's Melissa:

Riley is just finishing up week eight of her Beautiful Feet Intermediate Ancient History study and is loving it. So far, she has been reading from the Book of Genesis, Streams of Civilization, Tales of Ancient Egypt, The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, and Pyramid. She's enjoying the books, as well as the activities.

Riley's completing two lessons per week. The lessons are a bit long so we've split each lesson into two days, giving her a total of four days per week for history. I am including photos of Riley's notebooking pages below in order to give you an idea of the types of assignments included in the guide. Aside from reading, there are bible verses to copy, essay questions, map work, illustrations to draw, and topics to research.

Continue reading about Riley's experience and see more pictures here

Thank you Melissa and Riley for sharing! We look forward to seeing more. If you have questions about teaching history through literature or want to learn more about our study guides, check out our website or give us a call at 800.889.1978.

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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Aspirational Greatness

by Rebecca Berg Manor

There are few feelings like those experienced at the beginning of a great musical performance. Sitting in a grand opera hall, the velvet chairs clicking as well-dressed people take their seats. The gorgeous discordance of the orchestra tuning up. The hush that comes over the crowd as the curtain lifts. Anticipation. And then, the first notes of a great composition break through the hush and you are transported to another place. This is exposure to greatness. It inspires. It motivates. It allows you to experience beauty.

Seeing great art provides the same experience. I remember standing in front of Rembrandt's masterpiece Return of the Prodigal at the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg and being so moved I had tears running down my face. Not one for public displays of emotion, I was surprised at my response but knew that being able to see such greatness in person was one of those moments that would impact me for the rest of my life.

Witnessing greatness plants seeds of humility in our hearts. When we sit and watch an orchestra play a classic masterpiece we are struck not only by the talents of the composer, it is the painstakingly cultivated skills of the performing musicians that bring the piece to life. We are reminded that achieving such a proficiency in any area requires discipline, years of training and practice, and inspiring amounts of hard work. In an era that measures success in material terms, one can lose sight of what is truly great. While magazines give awards in categories of beauty, financial success, and fame, the arts and history provide a counterpoint to these surface-y accolades. And history provides an antidote to the entitlement that is so pervasive in our culture of instant gratification and 2-day shipping. As a culture we have settled for measuring greatness by shoddy standards and our history suffers for it. When textbooks either portray a historical figure as nothing more than an accomplishment (Columbus and his voyage to the "New World" or George Washington becoming the first president of the United States) we cheat ourselves and our children of the inspiring aspects of their stories. In the instance of Columbus, we fail to see the years he devoted to pursuing his dream. We fail to see George Washington as a man who did not want to be president and governed with humility and sought advise from those he respected. On the other hand, when history is reduced to hero-worship we forget Columbus' greed and the brutality his men showed to the native people they encountered. We forget or whitewash George Washington's punting on the issue of slavery. Full-colored history provides aspirational portraits of greatness along with warnings we would be wise to heed. The great stories of the past allow us to dive into them, to mull over their many-faceted details, to provide a model of growth. Great art inspires, gives us a glimpse of what is possible should we devote ourselves to hard work and discipline. Its countercultural today to admire the greatness that results from hard work and discipline, but it may be one of the antidotes to the entitlement and celebrity-seeking narcissism that seems to be increasing at an alarming pace.

I would love to hear about your encounters with greatness. Has a piece of music, a performance, a painting, an encounter with a personal hero provided you with a model by which you've grown and matured? Share in the comments!  

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