Friday, May 26, 2017

Final Thoughts on Beautiful Feet Books Early American History

This post contains affiliate links.

From the very beginning of our homeschool journey, I knew I wanted literature-based curriculum.  To this book loving momma, there wasn't a thought more perfect than learning through real books.  We found our rhythm for a couple of years, but then decided we were looking for something a little different.  I was immediately drawn to Beautiful Feet Books.  Living books, short lessons, gentle notebooking assignments, no busy work, compatible with Charlotte Mason . . . obviously I couldn't resist!

You can read more about why we chose Early American History and the Primary Level in The Planning Stages, but essentially it boiled down to choosing an appropriate time period and being able to combine the boys in the best way possible for both of their learning styles.

So now that we're finished with our first year, what are my final thoughts?  Did we like it?  What would I change?  Will we use Beautiful Feet Books again?

Did we like it?
Yes!  If you've read my other posts, you might be wondering about some of the "issues" I addressed.  Those were primarily related to the fact that some of these lovely books are older, so there is some outdated language and stereotypes within the books.  I also want to address the fact that I don't believe in censoring out everything that makes us uncomfortable; we choose to use these opportunities to have these conversations now with our children.  There were some books we didn't love, but that will be the case with any literature curriculum.  There will occasionally be a book that doesn't resonate with one of us, and while unfortunate, it doesn't mean you can't learn from it.  Overall, the books chosen were well-written and such a good fit for us!

What would I change?  
About the actual curriculum - not much.  I would have appreciated a list of supplemental living books  for elementary ages for following rabbit trails, but other than that, I found the guide easy to use.  The lessons seemed to flow so naturally, and I didn't feel the need to supplement with all the "bells and whistles" that I'd searched out before we started.  So I did add a book or a website or a simple activity here and there, and that was enough for us.  After all, one of the primary reasons I chose Beautiful Feet Books is because of the simplicity.  I do wish I'd taken the time to do a proper artist study on Benjamin West, but maybe we'll study him as a family when the girls get to this study!

When I did alter something for our personal needs, I found the guide flexible and easy to adapt, without compromising the integrity of the program.  That is what makes a guide nearly perfect to me!

Would we use BFB again?  
Yes!  I found several new living books that I adore.  We all learned so much through this course, and we've had some amazing heart discussions.  What more could I ask for?  It'll be awhile before the girls are ready for this course, but I certainly intend to hold on to the guide and literature for them.

What are we using next year?
I don't know!  There are so many great options with Beautiful Feet Books.  I definitely want the new Teaching Character through Literature, because we can use it for family read-alouds or independent reading at their respective levels.  Otherwise, I'm still researching.  We have the option to continue chronologically and continue with American history, or skip around to something else.  There's the Geography, and the History of Science that both look great.  We might be interested in the new Around the World program, but it won't be out until September, and I've not seen any samples or booklist yet, so that's a long time to wait to make a decision!  Husband and Emory have both mentioned Ancient Egypt, so starting a formal history rotation is also an option.  I will certainly update with our full curriculum choices . . . if we finally narrow it down!

To read all of the posts about our journey with this program, check out my entire series for this Early American History study.

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