Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Shifting Teaching Paradigms


by Rebecca Berg Manor

It's back-to-school time and many of you may be using our study guides for the very first time. It can be a big change if you're used to at textbook or a more schedule oriented history curriculum, so we wanted to write a bit about how to make this approach work best for you family. Today, let's take a look at scheduling, study guides, and subjects.
At BFB, we want our study guides to be seen as guides, not checklists, do-to lists, or something that holds undue influence on how you teach your students. The guides exist for you to use in the way that works best for your family. When using literature to teach history, it does take more time than it would if you're using a textbook. Textbooks are designed with efficiency in mind, not story. In order to make a literature-based approach work for your family so that they can glean the riches of a literature approach to history, it can be helpful to simply set the amount of time you want to spend each day or week on history/literature/geography. Then, within the confines of that time, do what you can. Do not be distressed if you do not complete an entire lesson in the time you've set aside for history. The study guide is a tool, not a master. If you set up history to be for three hours a week, stick with that as you've already determined that this is what works best for your family. This gives you control of your curriculum, instead of the curriculum controlling you. Try not to feel like you must complete three lessons each week or read four books a month. Simply complete what you can in the amount of time you allot for the subject. If the study takes you longer than a year, that's one of the freedoms of homeschooling; you do not have to follow an artificially imposed schedule. This also give you the ability to take diversions when your student comes upon something they want to explore further. Additionally, it gives you and your chilfen time to enjoy the literature and really delve into the historical characters, ideas and consequences, movements and upheavals, that make history so interesting.
For many this approach can be intimidating or it can feel like you are not accomplishing enough, but it can also be very freeing. Your students are digging into history as more than just dates and events. They're learning that history is the stories of people; people like themselves who lived at times that can inform our own and give us wisdom in how we live. In this way coupling history and literature becomes more than just social studies, it becomes a study in ideas and character and when viewed from this lens, it's bigger than a lesson plan or a four-year cycle in which the entire history of the world is covered on repeat.
Additionally, our study guides encompass more than history. Your students are learning geography with every mapping activity. They're being exposed to great literature and language with each reading assignment. Their written work counts toward language arts. Notebook illustrations count as art. Discussion questions develop critical reasoning skills. Teaching in such an interdisciplinary style takes the pressure off of feeling that each subject must be covered in a separate lesson. The separation of disciplines is artificial. Rarely does life fall neatly into separate categories and neither should our studies.

Later this week we will be talking about notebooking and how to make it more engaging for those of you whose students find it boring or challenging! Please post your questions and comments here and we will try to address those in the next blog post.

Don't forget to enter our Back-to-School with BFB contest. Details here.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Don't forget to enter our giveaway!

Are your bookshelves organized, your lessons planned, your school room in ship-shape order? If you're like me, probably not! But for many of us, school starts anyway! Add one more thing to your to-do list and snap a pic that captures #backtoschoolwithBFB and post it on our Instagram and Facebook page to be entered to win a $100.00 gift certificate to use at Beautiful Feet Books! Be sure to tag the photo with #backtoschoolwithBFB to ensure your photo gets entered. We love seeing how you use Beautiful Feet Books and are excited for a new year full of wonderful literary exploration and discovery.

Contest is open until September 25, 2016 and the winner will be announced on September 30, 2016.
Complete Rules and Conditions here.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Starting school this week? Enter our contest!!!

Are your bookshelves organized, your lessons planned, your school room in ship-shape order? If you're like me, probably not! But for many of us, school starts anyway! Add one more thing to your to-do list and snap a pic that captures #backtoschoolwithBFB and post it on our Instagram and Facebook page to be entered to win a $100.00 gift certificate to use at Beautiful Feet Books! Be sure to tag the photo with #backtoschoolwithBFB to ensure your photo gets entered. We love seeing how you use Beautiful Feet Books and are excited for a new year full of wonderful literary exploration and discovery.

Contest is open until September 25, 2016 and the winner will be announced on September 30, 2016.
Complete Rules and Conditions here.




Friday, August 12, 2016

Back-to-School Photo Contest, $100.00 prize!

It's that time of year when boxes of books are landing on doorsteps all over the country and parents are putting together lesson plans, setting up classrooms, and squeezing in last-minute summer activities. In honor of this exciting time of year, we're sponsoring a fun photo contest on our Instagram and Facebook page. Snap a pic of your first day back at school with your BFB books and post it on either platform for a chance to win a $100.00 gift certificate to use at bfbooks.com. Extra points awarded for creativity! Make sure to tag it with #backtoschoolwithBFB to ensure it gets entered in the contest. We'll announce the winner on September 30, 2016. 

And if you're still trying to decide on your history curriculum, give us a call (800.889.1978). We love talking through our options with you. And check out all our studies here

We would love to hear what you think! Chime in below in the comment section and share your thoughts. Don't forget to 
check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages. To learn more about Beautiful Feet Books, click here
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Melissa introduces our Ancient History...

Melissa at Reflections from Drywood Creek is going to be using our A Literature Approach to Ancient History this year. She will be sharing her family's experience in regular blog posts and this is the first! 


It occurred to me that I keep mentioning the fact that we'll be using Beautiful Feet this year, but I really haven't shared the plan so here goes.  RileyAnn will be using Beautiful Feet Ancient History as her primary curricula for 7th grade.  She's really excited about the great books she'll be reading and I'm very pleased with the intermediate level book choices as well.  Here's the list of suggested resources and literature used in the guide, as well as a little bit about our plan for each suggested resource:

BF Ancient History guide - We will be using the first half or intermediate section of the guide, which was written for 5th - 8th grade.  The guide is intended to be completed in one traditional school year...continued here.  

We would love to hear what you think! Chime in below in the comment section and share your thoughts. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages. To learn more about Beautiful Feet Books, click here
And if you've enjoyed this, please feel free to share using the buttons below.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Simplified Parenting

by Rebecca Berg Manor


I have recently been reading Parenting, Inc.: How the Billion-Dollar Baby Business Has Changed the Way We Raise Our Children by Pamela Paul and have found it to be both infuriating and reassuring. In exposing the pervasive influence marketers have had on parents, Paul shows us how we are constantly inundated with the message that as parents we are never enough. We aren't aware enough, we aren't safety conscience enough, we're not qualified enough, educated enough, expert enough to raise our children without the help of "experts" and this nifty product that is helpfully being offered at a price.

By tracing the development of the "mama market" and it's reliance on fear-mongering Paul shows that many contemporary parenting anxieties are really constructs that have been so pounded into parent's heads it can be difficult to sort through the noise and hone in on the truth.

As someone who was raised in the 1980s and became a parent in 2013, I know a bit about fear-based parenting. Widely publicized kidnappings during the 1980s made parents nervous and children's formerly unrestricted wanderings were suddenly curbed. Enter the hyper-competitive nature of the 1990s and suddenly kids were not only given no time to freely wander, their free moments were rapidly shrinking, filled with private tutors, Mandarin lessons, ballet, etc. Parents viewed an increasingly global economy as a place filled with opportunities open to only those children who were most prepared. Add in technological developments and the Internet and homes were no longer insulated from every bad-news story. Local news, national horror stories, expert opinions, educational experts, and a million other voices were streaming into our homes, most of them telling parents that we're inadequate. It may seem a bit melodramatic to call this a tragedy, but I do think it is one. In my own friends I've seen mother's riddled with anxieties due to poorly researched news stories. I've experienced the worry of wondering if my son is at risk for "dry drowning" - an extremely rare event that has been broadly trumpeted on morning news shows, Facebook, and email.

This age of information makes all content see useful, but that's not true. I've seen information-overload in person at countless homeschool conventions. Spending over a decade attending these conventions gave me a window into how overwhelming it can be to take on the responsibility of educating your children at home. As a mother myself, I can surely empathize and am so grateful for those voices of reason and experience that help me tune in to my instincts and reject the fear. Here's what I found useful.

1. Read Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. It's the best book for home schooling parents, hands down.
2. Choose an educational style/curriculum that suites your personality. If you are someone who craves structure, find a style that provides guidance but does not turn you into a servant to a schedule or checklist. If you're more carefree, find an approach that provides structure without squelching your spirit.
3. Remember that you know your children best. Take time to enjoy your little ones, getting to know their idiosyncrasies so that when you start questioning your abilities in light of some new study or  trend, you can make the best choices for your family.
4. Choose joy. One of the greatest dangers of this information age is the ever present temptation to compare ourselves to other moms. When we can be inspired by other moms, that's wonderful. When
picture-perfect Instagram pictures start to make us feel inadequate and begin stealing our joy, it's time to step back and refocus on our own families.
5. Make your own education a priority. When we model curiosity to our children and show them that investing in our own development brings us joy, we're setting a good example.
6. Seek wisdom from your spouse. The moments when I feel most inadequate are when I want to shut down but my kind husband has shown me that those are moments when I need him to speak in to my life, to provide a better perspective.
7. Step back. It's so tempting to take on too much responsibility for our children, believing that if we just parent well enough, we can protect our kids. By trusting God with our children, we give ourselves the freedom to be even better parents; parents who engage with our children out of joy and not fear.
8. Have fun together. When the tyranny of school schedules becomes too much, take a day off and do something you all enjoy together. These breaks are so important. When my husband was writing his dissertation there were months where he would be trudging through research and would feel like he kept hitting the same wall. This was when I knew he needed a break. We'd take off on a mini-holiday and the time off always resulted in a breakthrough in his thinking. Breaks are not time wasted, they're essential to reordering perspective and making way for new thoughts and inspiration.

As we approach a new school year, I hope this is encouraging to you. Try to ignore the doomsday voices of our age, remembering that God chose you to parent your children and equipped you in just the right way.

See our video "Why BFB?"
Want to lean more about Beautiful Feet? In two minutes we explain how literature-rich history curriculum can inspire, educate, and build character. It's the power of good books!


video


We Would love to hear what you think! Chime in below in the comment section and share your thoughts. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Pinterest pages. To learn more about Beautiful Feet Books, click here
And if you've enjoyed this, please feel free to share using the buttons below.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Be Inspired for an Incredible School Year

It's August and that means Rea is hosting her annual Back-to-School Literary Soirée! Read all about it below! 
Dear Readers,
IMG_2509I am excited to announce our Summer Literature Soirée for Saturday, August 20th from 9:30 am -3:30 pm.  This will be a full day of friendship, luxuriating in literature, and just plain fun!  We will discuss For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay as well as cover Renaissance history with a full session on Renaissance artists.  I’m excited about this as it’s going to give me the opportunity to really revisit some beloved artists and sculptors of this period. We will, of course, talk about the best children’s books for exploring this period and I don’t doubt you will all have some wonderful additions to add to the general richness!
Bernadette Speakes
Bernadette Speakes is a talented actor with broad experience on stage, film and television. She is also a wife and home schooling mother. Her readings will transport you!

Lunch is included of course, and I will be delighted to share some fresh goodness from my vegetable garden, and more than likely we will enjoy a
Salad Nicoise–the variations on that theme being many! Saturday, August 20, 2016And not to forget, the wonderful Bernadette Speakes and I will be coming up with some special reading to share for your listening pleasure!
1306 Mill Street
San Luis Obispo, CA
Cost: $35.00 (includes lunch)
Register here.