Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Getting Started with BF Modern American and World History....

We are in our sixth week of the 2015-2016 school year.  I want to share a little bit about our Beautiful Feet Modern American and World History study.  The guide itself is much more aesthetically pleasing than the brown cover, comb bound guides of the past.  Initially, I was a bit worried about the spine cracking.  However, it seems to lay flat and so far has hung together well.  The color images, historic artwork, and short author biographies are a wonderful addition!

I'm using the study with a 5th and 6th grader.  I will be reading all the books aloud because up to this point, we have studied history as a family combining Riley and Ruben.  This is our sixth and final year of our first history rotation, which makes BF Modern American and World History the perfect fit, covering the Civil War to Modern Times.

In the beginning, the study was a bit of a struggle because we were starting cold in the middle of A Child's First Book of American History.  When Lesson 1 began with assigning four chapters from A Child's First..., plus two chapters of Across Five Aprils, which were approx. 20 pages each, I was overwhelmed!  This was a couple hours worth of reading!  I knew then and there it would have to be split up.

Eventually, we worked through A Child's First and started reading one chapter of Across Five Aprils during our scheduled school time and one at bedtime.  This worked much better, especially since Across Five Aprils is such a fabulous book!  I didn't want to cut it or save it for later.  The kids were constantly begging for more!  It was truly one of the best books I've read in some time.

Anyway, following Across Five Aprils, we read The Perilous Road.  Both book are coming of age stories set during the Civil War.  However, Across Five Aprils is set in Southern Illinois and The Perilous Road is set in Tennessee.  Each protagonist is for a different side of the war, one being a Confederate and the other being for the Union. The Perilous Road is a much easier read, but, it's still a realistic telling of life during that time.

In addition to reading, we are notebooking.  I have pulled in notebooking pages from Home School in the Woods' Time Travelers CD-Rom, The Civil War.  I have also printed pages from various Dover Coloring Books and The American Civil War History Pockets.  Riley and Ruben enjoy notebooking and pre-printed pages are easier for Ruben since there's more coloring and not as much writing involved.  Due to dyslexia, much of his comprehension work is done through oral narration and discussion, but the notebook gives a place for copywork and is a nice momentous portfolio to look back on.  I'm including photos of misc. notebook pages completed so far.

Overall the BF Modern American and World History study is going great!  We are just starting Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass.  I plan to continue giving updates regarding this study every 4-6 weeks throughout the school year.


  1. Were there any other lengthy book readings scheduled in addition to Across Five Aprils? I am possibly using this study for Fall 16 with a 4th and 6th grader.

  2. Hey Sandra K.,

    There are several lengthy readings in this guide. The suggested pace is 3-4 lessons per week. This could be anywhere from 150 to 200 pages per week, depending on the book. I originally scheduled three lesson per week or 3 days. However, we're only getting through 1-2 lessons per week in 2-3 days, which is still 50-100 pages. At this pace, we're just finishing up Week 31 of our 2015-2016 school year and we're on lesson 61 out of just a little over half way through.

    Now, with that said, I definitely over scheduled our reading this year, adding in literature (Socratic Book Club) and BF Science, which is lit heavy, among other things. Because the literature in this guide is so incredibly rich, it would certainly be enough to cover history and literature. Also, I read everything aloud and it's just too long for my students to sit. If one was assigning the guide to the student independently, they may be able to cover more ground. On the other hand, we've had some great discussions after reading the books together.

    Next week, we'll finish up the Science guide and our Socratic Book Club. I then intend to solely focus on finishing this Modern American guide, which I anticipate continuing over summer. Based on our experience, I think a more realistic time frame for this guide is 1 1/2 to 2 years or scheduling history 4-5 days per week. The study is fabulous and I think it would be better to slow down and savor it.

    Hope that helps :)