We finished our last book with Beautiful Feet Books’ Primary Early American History. For the last part of the course we studied George Washington, the American Revolution, the Louisiana Purchase, Abraham Lincoln and Buffalo Bill. The study ends with the opening of West after the Civil War. I wanted to cover more of the American Revolution so I added several books by Jean Fritz: Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?, Will You Sign Here, John Hancock?, Why Don’t You Get a Horse Sam Adams? And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?, and Can’t You Make Them Behave, King George?. I also added The Story of the Constitution by Marilyn Prolman and If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days by Barbara Brenner. My crew also finished watching the American History episodes of Drive Thru History.
The guide did suggest an essay on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln but because of our schedule I had my crew write only one essay on their favorite person at the end of the study. While learning about George Washington we enjoyed this website about Mount Vernon. We especially enjoyed the videos and picture tour of the house.
I found a few craft projects for my crew to work on and some historical based recipes to try. I didn’t plan as many activities as usual since the final part of this study fell during our busy summer season of
swimming lessons, Lego Camps and Vacation Bible School. We made tea Colonial style…or tried anyway. We used a knife to scrape tea from a brick but quickly abandoned the knife to use a microplane…so much easier! You can read about our tea party here. The crew also crafted lavender sachets and learned a few basic hand sewing techniques from Mama Quilts. While studying the Declaration of Independence and our nation’s birthday the crew decorated bamboo flutes with leather and beads and tried to play a few simple songs. We made gingerbread cookies while reading about Abraham Lincoln. I was just going to make regular gingerbread (so much easier than cookies) until I read this post from The American Table and learned the significance of the cookies to Abraham Lincoln. We were going to finish up the study with a pot of buffalo chili and Navaho fry bread but our busy summer schedule just got in the way. The next time we study the history of the
American West I’ll make this chili for the kids.
Here is the buffalo chili recipe I learned to make in Oklahoma. I learned it from one of my professors while participating in the National Geographic Christmas bird count at the wildlife refuge. Christmas was not a big deal to my family growing up and this is how I spent three of my Christmas Day’s in my early university years. I guess proper cowboy chili should have beans in it but I truly detest beans in chili…
1 pound bison
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (or more if you really like it)
2 tablespoons paprika (I like the smoked Hungarian)
1 cup tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons of powdered chili
Trim any fat (save for roux) from bison and cut it up into 1 inch or so pieces and soak in marinade over night.
Cook meat and marinade pot over low heat for a couple of hours. Give it a stir every now and then.
Cook the fat until it is a liquid in frying pan over low heat to use in a roux. You’ll need about 2 tablespoons of fat. If you do not have enough just use some bacon grease.
After meat has stewed sufficiently (it should be starting to shred), remove 1 cup of liquid from pot. Add liquid to the roux and blend with a whisk. The liquid should start to thicken. Pour it back into the pot with the meat and stir up. Serve with fry bread. Pioneer Woman can tell you how to make fry bread way better than me so check out her link above for the recipe.
Before using this guide from Beautiful Feet Books I knew nothing of literature based studies or Charlotte Mason. From day one my crew loved this study and they always asked for it first and to do just one more lesson. Because of their enthusiasm for the subject we finished it ahead of the expected schedule of two years. By the time we finished the first few lessons my oldest asked if we could use Beautiful Feet Books curriculum “for everything forever”. My entire crew love the book selections and even my very reluctant reader loved several of the books and read a few of them on his own time.
My crew had a lot of fun writing, drawing and coloring in their history notebook. I constantly encouraged them to work neatly but it wasn’t always the case. During the last few books they started to look back at their previous work and noticed the changes in their handwriting. They started talking about their work and judging it (a bit harshly) and reminiscing what they remembered the day they colored Leif Ericson or drew Grimalkin.
I nearly wept listening to them talk about their favorite books and their memories. I did not expect to witness such a spontaneous and mature discussion from my crew. Since that day they have all taken ownership of their new notebooks and made a conscious effort to work neatly (most of the time). They were very sad to reach the end of the guide and copy their final reports into the their notebooks. In all honesty I was sad too…I’ve enjoyed these book as much as my kids.
We may have reached the end of our journey with Primary Early American History but we are by no means finished with our adventure with Beautiful Feet Books. Over the summer we started their geography guide. We are at the half-way point in this course and I would recommend it as a great follow-up to the American history study. The guide has a list of several extra books and I hunted down as many of these as I could find and we are reading and mapping our way through the study. We also just started their science guide for our new academic year. For the first time since starting homeschooling we actually enjoy science time. Well, all of the experiments we’ve done in the past have been great fun but the reading has been really dry. I’m not sure we can ever go back to the elementary Apologia books again…
We’ll be using Beautiful Feet Books curriculum for the rest of our homeschooling years…that’s the highest praise I can give.
The company also keeps a very interesting and thought provoking blog and I encourage you to check it out here. Just so you know I am in no way affiliated with Beautiful Feet Books not did I receive any compensation for this review series. I originally decided to blog my way through this study simply because I could not find much information about it. When I first consider a curriculum I always search homeschool blogs for information. I want to know how other families used a curriculum and all the pros and cons. I’m not the only one who researches this way so I decided to blog my homeschools journey through the guide hoping our experience would bless someone else.