Beautiful Feet history guides provide detailed lesson plans for literature-based history. Rea Berg has created two different study guides for Early American History, Primary for grades K-3, and Intermediate for grades 4-6. The content of the guides and the books selected for inclusion overlap to some extent. Both guides are printed in full color and include numerous illustrations. (The guides are available in print or as PDFs.)
Beautiful Feet's Literature Approach incorporates Charlotte Mason methodology with the use of real books, discussion, and narration techniques. The guides use the “4-R” method of study that requires “reading, reasoning, relating, and recording.” In addition, an emphasis on Christian character flows through almost all of the lessons.
Lesson plans schedule 2 to 3 lessons per week for the primary level and 3 lessons per week for the intermediate level. Generally, children are reading (or being read to from) one of the selected books such as Columbus by the D'Aulaires. Lessons involve activities such as discussing the character and actions of Christopher Columbus, comparing a person's character with that of someone else the child has read about, drawing or writing in a notebook, working on vocabulary words, drawing maps, completing a timeline, or doing research for a report.
Many lessons in the book for the primary grades direct students to paste pictures from books by the D'Aulaires into their notebooks. To accomplish this students might use photocopies of the black-and-white images in those books or they can find the images already available in the downloadable notebooking packet that is available free to all. Activities are appropriate for each level, although you must be careful with kindergarten or first graders to choose activities they can handle.
Study guides are available by themselves or as part of a package for each level. Beautiful Feet Books has chosen resource books that might be available through library loan, but they also sell the books for those who want to own them. Selected books are high-quality titles that are generally worth adding to the family library. The Primary study uses seven books by the D'Aulaires (e.g., Columbus and Abraham Lincoln) plus Jamestown, New World Adventure; Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims; Pilgrim Stories (Pumphrey); The Pilgrims of Plimoth (Sewall); The Courage of Sarah Noble (Dalgliesh); The Matchlock Gun (Edmonds); Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin (Henry); The Year of the Horseless Carriage 1801 (Foster); A More Perfect Union (the Maestros); The Fourth of July Story (Dalgliesh); George Washington's Breakfast (Fritz); Meet Abraham Lincoln (Cary); Winter at Valley Forge (Knight); and Your Story Hour CDs.
The Intermediate study uses three books by the D'Aulaires, The Vikings (Janeway), A Child's First Book of American History (Schenk), William Bradford Pilgrim Boy (Smith), The Landing of the Pilgrims (Daugherty), The Life of Washington (Pollard), Amos Fortune: Free Man (Yates), America's Paul Revere (Forbes), Path to the Pacific: The Story of Sacagawea (Frazier), Abe Lincoln Grows Up (Sandburg), Go Free or Die (Ferris), and Walking the Road to Freedom ( Ferris) plus The Lewis and Clark Expedition Coloring Book and Your Story Hour CDs.
For both primary and intermediate levels, all the suggested resources can be purchased as a Jumbo Pack, which includes all of the required books, the study guide, and Your Story Hour CDs. If you want to scale back a bit at the primary level, you can purchase the smaller literature pack that includes only the essential books (the guide needs to be purchased separately). The Jumbo Packs for both primary and intermediate levels have also been broken down into two separate semester packs for those who want all the resources but need to spread the cost out over the school year. A Comp Pack is available for the intermediate level; this includes only the additional books that you need for the second level.
The Early American History Timeline from Beautiful Feet Books comes with the intermediate grades Jumbo Pack. While the Timeline is designed for the intermediate level, parents who think their children will benefit from it might also use it at the primary level.
Hats off to Rea Berg for taking a literature-based approach to a deeper level!