Beautiful Feet Review + My Father’s World Adventures

Beautiful Feet books. 

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They do it to me every time.

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Online or at a conference, I am drawn to them.

Moth to a flame.

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We are using their Early American History: A Literature Approach for Primary Grades along with My Father’s World Adventures.

I love reading to my kids. The majority of the books studied in EAH were all ready on my book list for MFW. I had flipped through their guide at the FPEA convention this year and loved the way they went through each living-book. The study can be completed in two years or in one year, depending on how many lessons you decide to complete each week.  I will say from the onset that I am in no hurry to complete Adventures. Maybe we will finish in one year, maybe it will take two. What I know for certain is my desire to make the most of this wonderful season in their lives.

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They employ the Charlotte Mason method of education: reading, reasoning, relating and recording. If I am going to incorporate something, I want it to integrate well with the learning style we employ. Beautiful Feet meets the standard.

The EAH guide opens with this quote from Cervantes:

“…the ultimate end of writing is both to instruct and delight.”

We just completed our first book study, “Leif the Lucky” by Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire.  Instruction and delight indeed!

I would have read “Leif the Lucky” this year, no matter what. Its just too excellent of a book to pass up on. However, we would not have delved into the book to the extent that we did without this guide.

Topics like the principles of self-control and moral sense, were discussed by looking at the text and digging through scripture. We memorized a poem and used a dictionary.  EAH made us stop and really reflect on this book. Each lesson provided socratic questions to further enrich our discussions. Beautiful coloring pages, which are free to download, accompanied the lessons. This gave my children a closer look at the d’Aulaire’s gorgeous artwork. My son was inspired by these exercises and now tries to imitate their work in his own independent projects. Nothing sweeter than amateur d’Aulaire-esque Lego mini figures and dragons.

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There are 19 books studied in this guide. They all pertain to American History but not all match up precisely with MFW’s schedule. For example, Leif the Lucky, Columbus, Pocahontas, Jamestown and Pilgrim Stories all fall nicely into the sequence. But in later lessons we will be reading through Winter at Valley Forge while we study different states. I am ok with these themes not lining up perfectly. I don’t want to rush lessons in one curriculum or pull back on another just to make them meet up. It will be interesting to see how the children react to newly introduced books that relate to something they learned weeks prior. What will they still recall? How will a slower study of a living-book influence their understanding of the topic? How will this fit into the framework of their timeline now that they know “what happens next”? 21513_1

I have not purchased the entire package of books used with the guide. I plan to find them little by little on thrift sites or at used curriculum sales.  Some we will be able to find at our local library and I can decide later if we would like to add those books to our personal library.

I’ll be checking in throughout the year as we try and incorporate these excellent Charlotte Mason based curriculums. If you are using Beautiful Feet books along with My Father’s World, please chime in the comments and let us know how your experience has been!

The Morning Hour: Listening, A Way of the Spirit

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The morning hour is one of the best times to work in reading aloud into our daily rhythm. Specifically, breakfast time.

I have a captive audience upon which to pour out beauty–for my children and for myself to soak in.

Starting the day off with something beautiful and purposeful, gently nudges us in a good direction. Even when kids are crabby and upset (TANTRUM), its good to know that we have this block of uninterrupted time to move slowly and work out kinks. Breakfast is a long affair at our house. Not fancy, just slow. The boys set out their dishes, napkin, cups. They pour out their drinks and sit down to wait for their food. Sometimes its just Ezekiel bread right out of the bag with a pat of butter on it.

We set things up, we pray and then, we experience beauty!

We are never in a hurry to finish.

They need time to think and absorb and process.

There are days when it takes 7 minutes start to finish and they are racing off to find an activity.

But there are also days when little hearts have questions they don’t know how to ask aloud and gentle patience is needed.

So I read to draw out their hearts. I read to pour in a piece of truth that will soak down into those soft pink ears to light upon their souls.

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We are currently reading through several poetry collections. We read one or two poems in the morning as a fun warm up. Oftentimes the kids will beg for more or ask for one long poem to be read out loud again. They have surprised me by memorizing several small poems after only a few readings. My boys love the cadence of poems. The certainty of what the next sound will be and the uncertainty of where the poet is taking them—calculated suspense! Poetry is adventure.

Next, we will read a lovely story. This book is almost always focused on virtue or character building.  We have read excerpts from biographies, short stories, children’s fiction, and allegories. The qualifications are simple: beauty and truth.

Composer study, Artist study, and hymn singing are also treasured parts of the morning.

Lastly, we read a brief devotional from a study to close out the breakfast hour. We are currently reading through some devotions by Sally Michaels, who has become a household favorite! (I will include all book links at the end of the post).

1 or 2 poems
A story
1 small devotional

That has been the routine for many years. But now, we have a pair of second graders ready to read the Scriptures on their own.

I have never taught anyone how to read Scripture. Perhaps I will have fancier goals as time marches on, but for now the goal is simply this…

I want my children to be confident navigating the Word so they can feed themselves from Scripture.

I don’t want them to be depending upon me for their sole Scripture reading. Not at this stage in the game.  We will still read the Bible as a family, but they must now take up their swords and learn how to wield them on their own.

Our four and two year olds will be excused after the short devotional and the two elder children will be studying their own Bibles for 5 minutes.

The Discoverer’s Bible is a large print Bible for early readers. We have incorporated the Child Training Bible program to help them in learning to navigate this precious tool.

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The CTB includes 6-7 heavy-weight pages of guide material. The guide provides boxes with key struggles in grid form. References are provided so parents can hi-light and tab, related Scripture. My kids can open their Bibles and study the topic of “Anger,” together. They will read the prompt and discuss an example from the life of Jesus that I read to them. Then they will find the yellow box that says “ANGER”,  they will look in their Bibles and find all the yellow tabs on top, which lead to pages containing anger related verses hi-lighted in yellow. They are free to discover these verses and read them aloud or to themselves. Overtime they will become more familiar with where books of the Bible are found and will have read over 200 scripture references concerning struggles like “Fighting, Not Listening, Fear, Pride, Disobedience.”

I do wish the CTB incorporated other topics, like the Fruit of the Spirit, but for now it helps us in behavior training and Scripture training in a valuable way. I am glad that they have a thorough section entitled “The Gospel.”

I’ll let you know how things progress as the kids learn to feed themselves from Scripture!

Check out Ann Voskamp’s routine: “Listening: a Way of the Spirit” for more inspiration!

BOOK LIST

Poetry Collections:
A Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevens
Now We are Six by AA Milne
The Oxford Illustrated Book of Children’s Poems Edited by Donald Hall
101 Great American Poems
Favorite Poems of Childhood Edited by Phillip Smith

Stories:
10 Boys Who Made History by Irene Howat
10 Boys Who Made a Difference by Irene Howat
10 Boys Who Used Their Talents by Irene Howat
10 Boys Who Changed the World by Irene Howat
10 Boys Who  Didn’t Give In by Irene Howat
(Girl counterpart books found here).
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
Boys of Grit Who Became Men of Honor by Archer Wallace
The Children’s Book of Faith by William J Bennet
The Children’s Book of Virtues by William J Bennet
Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
The Quiltmaker’s Gift by by Jeff Brumbeau
When Daddy Prays by Nikki Grimes
The Circle of Days by Reeve Lindbergh
Song of Creation by Paul Goble

Devotions:
Five-Minute Devotions for Children by Pamela Kennedy (Many in the series)
Training Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade
God’s Names by Sally Michaels
God’s Promises by Sally Michaels
God’s Wisdom by Sally Michaels
God’s Providence by Sally Michaels
God’s Battle by Sally Michaels
God’s Word by Sally Michaels
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd Jones

Homeschool Booklist

A list of books (with links) to my favorite Homeschool Life reads of all time!

These books range from peacekeeping to philosophy of education to child rearing.

Parenting/Family
Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande & Tom Raabe
The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande
Practicing Affirmation: God-centered Praise of Those Who Are Not God by Sam Crabtree
Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic
The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo
Do Hard Things by Alek and Brett Harris
Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis
Training Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade
Give Them Grace:Dazzling them with the Love of Jesus by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick
Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel
Teach Them Diligently by Lou Priolo
Laying the Rails from Simply Charlotte Mason

Homeschool Family Help/Life Help
Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins
Help for the Harried Homeschooler by Christine Field
Time Management for Unmanageable People by Ann Cooper
No Ordinary Home: The Uncommon Art of Christ-centered Homemaking by Carol Brazo
The Shaping of a Christian Family: How My Parents Nurtured My Faith by Elizabeth Elliot
Beyond Survival:Guide to Abundant Life Homeschooling by Diana Waring
Margins: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson
Contentment: The Secret to Lasting Calm by Richard Swenson
For the Family’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley

Homeschool Guides/Philosphy of Education
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakeable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie
For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macauley
Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola
Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child by Anthony Esolen
Death by Living by N.D. Wilson
Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child by Cheryl Swope
The Well Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Jesse Wise and Susan Wise Bauer
The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education by Leigh Bortins
The Educated Child by William J Bennet
A Mind at a Time by Mel Levine
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell
Educating the Whole Hearted Child by Clay & Sally Carkson
The Homegrown Preschooler by Kathy Lee & Lesli Richards
Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals and Meaning by Nancy Pearcy ** All her titles are exceptional.

Stay tuned for more book lists!