Friday, May 12, 2017

Beautiful Feet Books: The Civil War Era

This portion of our American History with Beautiful Feet Books study focuses on Abraham Lincoln.  Consistent with a Charlotte Mason approach, and forming relationships with people, biographies are commonly used for history.  Since this time period is covered through Lincoln's presidency, it does passively cover slavery and the Civil War.  It looks to be covered even more in-depth at the Intermediate and High School levels of Beautiful Feet Books courses, but I decided to go ahead and expand on the time period now with Five in a Row books, because we needed some "extra" stuff in other subjects to round out our studies a little.

Ingrid and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire

This book gave a simple, age appropriate look at Abraham Lincoln's life.  It was full of little stories that make a person human.  The boys liked hearing about the practical jokes.  Exaggerated or not, it did make Lincoln seem like the perfect role model, but overall, the story itself was interesting.  For the most part, we have enjoyed the written aspect of the d'Aulaire biographies.  I can see why these books are popular and frequently used in CM curricula.  They are well written and mostly appropriate for the elementary grades, though they do contain outdated language and stereotypes.  I'll be honest--my boys were upset by some of the illustrations in this book and how it depicted the slaves, particularly one of the pictures at the end.  I had not fully previewed the book (my mistake) and so I wasn't entirely prepared.  They actually questioned why the illustrator would do something like that, and why we would use a book that showed people that didn't look like people.  It really opened our eyes to how some people were viewed during that time period and even when the book itself was published.  Even though the Primary level doesn't specifically dive into these topics, we were still able to discuss racism and stereotypes and how society is still trying to overcome these issues.  {Edit:  Please read in the comments from BFB about the updated version.  I apparently have an old edition.}

Barbara Cary

Although this book is schedule out in the manual, I decided to use it as Elliott's individual reading while we read the other biography and did the FIAR units, because I didn't see the need for two Lincoln biographies being read aloud.  I just had him narrate each reading to me.  It worked well this way, because he's more visual than auditory, and he seems more focused and comprehends more when he reads the material as opposed to me reading aloud.  (I think I just pushed up some of the notebooking activities to coincide completely with the first biography.)  Emory can just read this book later on his own, if he chooses.

Who Owns the Sun?
We rowed this first during the first week of reading Abraham Lincoln.  It's pre-Civl War and introduces slavery and the misguided notion of "owning" someone.  It was a tear-jerker for me, and very emotional for my 7 year old as well.

Follow the Drinking Gourd
We didn't row this book a second time, but we did read it again since it's about the Underground Railroad and fit into the time period.  

They Were Strong and Good
We ended our study with this book, because some of the stories take place during the Civil War.

We have already finished the entire Beautiful Feet Books study, including the very last installment on Buffalo Bill, which I'll be sharing about soon enough.  It was a good year, and overall I enjoyed the study.

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  1. Hi Brittney,

    I've enjoyed reading your posts on the Early American study, keep it up! I did notice the Abraham Lincoln book you use is the old edition. Beautiful Feet Books published a new edition of this book about a year and a half ago and the text and some of the illustrations were updated for our modern sensibilities. The specific pictures you spoke of were edited and much more detail given to the slaves appearance. Also some of the text was edited on these pages and more. Thought you would like to know!


    1. Thank you, we have loved this study! I'm still undecided on what study to use next year, but I'm looking forward to more time with BFB!

      Also, thank you for letting me know about the updated book. I think I'll replace my copy!