Beautiful Feel Study Guides for history guide students through a real book approach for learning history. History of California uses literature covering the period of exploration when California was visited by explorers up into the early 1900s. This is not intended to be a comprehensive study of all important events. Instead, students develop an understanding of the key influences and groups of people—Native Americans, the Spanish, the Mexicans, pioneers, explorers, and immigrants. In the process, students probably learn and recall more than they would using the standard textbook approach.
If you are using other Beautiful Feet guides, you should use this after Early American History. You might use it concurrently with or follow it with the Western Expansion Study Guide.
The target audience is grades 4 through 6, but the literature might also be used as read-alouds with children in second and third grades. Students in grade 4 through 6 will need to do some or all of their reading independently then discuss their reading with a parent or teacher. Students create a notebook, applying “4-R” methodology: reading, reasoning, relating, and recording. They read the selected literature. Next discussion is guided by the parent/teacher using the questions in the guide or others. The student then relates aloud what he has learned in his own words. Finally, students write what they have learned in their notebooks. To their notebooks, students also add vocabulary words, drawings, maps, copy work (from the literature or poetry). Students should also be making entries on the History of California Time Line (also from Beautiful Feet).
The 52-page Guide breaks down the reading of each book into groups of chapters or pages, with discussion and activity following each group rather than after a student completes an entire book. The Guide includes some additional background information for the parent/teacher, the discussion/comprehension questions and suggested answers, web links for further research or activities, and detailed instructions regarding items to be put into the notebook. The guide is printed in full color and includes illustrations; this new version of the California History course is much more attractive than the previous edition of this and other guides. The Guide is available as either a softcover book or as a download.
Required literature for the course:
Columbus by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
The Cruise of the Arctic Star by Scott O’Dell
Zia by Scott O’Dell
Patty Reed’s Doll by Rachel Laurgaard
Riders of the Pony Express by Ralph Moody
Jessie Benton Fremont: California Pioneer by Marguerite Higgins
By the Great Horn Spoon! By Sid Fleishman
Blue Willow by Doris Gates
Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi
Two other optional books are recommended but not required.
While the History of California Study Guide is not overtly Christian, it gives attention to the founding of the California missions and religious development through the selected titles.