Finally, finally, I came across a blog, A Story in Time, where a real homeschool mom shared her experience with Beautiful Feet Books because she couldn't find the same things I was looking for when she searched either. If other homeschoolers feel the way I do, research the way I do, then I feel like maybe someone who's researching Early American History from Beautiful Feet Books will happen across my series, and hers, and decide if this program is or is not right for their family. So here we go . . .
I really did love our former curriculum, and it served its purpose when we needed it most. I look forward to using it again with the girls, but it was time for the boys to move on. So why did I go with Beautiful Feet Books, and why specifically did we start with Early American History?
- Separate history and science - We are now at a point where we want something more streamlined and sequential, and the unit study approach wasn't working in this regard
- Charlotte Mason friendly - We were doing a literature-based approach, but I wanted to move back towards her methods a bit more, with less busywork
- Flexible lessons - I wanted a guide with a suggested flow and sequence, but not something so structured that I would feel restricted to "getting it all done" instead of using it the way that works best for us
- American History - I read this article about starting with American history (and another similar one that I cannot find at the moment) and it just felt right. Plus, I know my boys well. I know this is a good place for us for next year
Primary vs. Intermediate
There are two elementary levels for covering Early American History that could have worked for us. Primary is labeled as K-3, and Emory falls squarely in this range, being a rising second grader who is technically the age of a first grader. Intermediate is intended for 4th-6th grades, and Elliott is on the young end of this range, so my first instinct was to use Primary, and just adjust up for my 4th grader as necessary. I looked over all the samples I could find. I noticed there was some overlap in the books used for each level, so I started checking suggested age/grade recommendations, and I read descriptions and reviews for the books, and I previewed the samples on Amazon. I realized that most of the books used in Primary were well within my oldest son's age range, many with a suggested level of up to 6th grade. I think these books can sufficiently challenge him, especially since we've not thoroughly covered this time period before, because I can always adjust the assignments to meet his skill level.
If I am able to keep the boys together and meet them each where they're at, I would prefer to do so, and for our family, I believe this is the best choice. I do plan to choose a few selections from Intermediate for family reading, as well as other books that will give more perspective and understanding of historical events, particularly of Native American culture and slavery, to give a bit more of a well-rounded and historically accurate portrayal of all the events of the time period being covered.
So Part 1 is done. I've chosen a time period and a curriculum for our history studies next year. The next step, which I'm currently doing, is gathering complimentary resources. I'll write another post soon sharing some general resources that I plan to use to help flesh out our studies with art, handicrafts, music and the like.
If you have any resources for studying American history (through the Civil War) that you feel are a MUST for elementary students, please share!
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