Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review: History of Science

This year, Jessica from Wonder & Wildness has been sharing her family's experience with our History of Science study. This literature approach is rich in ideas, story, and fun. She first shared a great overview of the study here and now brings us an update. Thanks Jessica for sharing!

Our minds have been delighting in the beautiful stories we have been enjoying from Beautiful Feet Books’ A History of Science book package. It is a beautifully curated collection of books, with a thoughtfully laid out guide. I first mentioned A History of Science back when we started the school year. At that point we were newly starting out with the books and I wasn’t sure if we would follow the one year schedule or their two year schedule. We have solidly shifted into somewhere right in the middle, but I may possibly continue these readings through summer and finish within a calendar year.

A History of Science consists of 11 books about specific scientists, 1 audio cd, 2 books that help you dig deeper into the lives of the scientists and their scientific experiments, and the guide book that schedules the reading and activities out for you, while offering helpful insights and additional resources.

My favorite thing about the living books Beautiful Feet Books provides is that they don’t feel like work. They are books you could read as bedtime stories or curled up in hammocks on a lazy afternoon- they’re beautiful and cozy. The books are bright and engaging to burgeoning minds and the teachers guide book is excellent for digging deeper, applying what is being taught, and connecting resources to help with the readings....continue reading review on Jessica's blog here

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Free Shipping Offer!

Now through February 20 we're offering free shipping at bfbooks.com!! Just use code "FREESHIP" and save on shipping.

While you're looking around, be sure to check out our newest title, Anno's China. It's beautiful and sure to become a treasured part of your family library.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Anno's China

We are so excited about our latest book! Anno's China is hot off the press in hardback and is gorgeous. Available for the first time in the US, this pictorial journey through China is charming, lovely, and literary despite being wordless. The book received a Kirkus Star Review which you can read here.

If you are not familiar with Mitsumasa Anno's work, it's wonderful and we're pinching ourselves that we have been allowed to bring this book to the US. As a child I remember checking out books in this series like Anno's Journey or Anno's Italy and pouring over the illustrations for hours. We hope you enjoy these books as much as we do.

From the description: Allow Anno to be your guide to China. Through delightfully detailed watercolors, readers will explore this vast and varied land where calligraphers bestow good fortune, birds fish for men, and dragons dance. Stand with Anno on the Great Wall, visit bustling villages where the streets are waterways and everyone, even horses and bulls, travel by boat. Learn how flocks of ducks are herded on rivers and witness the discovery of thousands of clay soldiers guarding the ancient tomb of China's first emperor.

About the author: Mitsumasa Anno, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award for his lasting
contribution to children's literature, is a lover of travel and culture. Anno's books, through their unique perspective and mischievous sense of humor, have opened to children across the world, cultures and lands distant from their own.

Without words Anno conveys the beauty, humanity, and value of all people in all times and places. As he notes, "There are differences in people, different styles of housing, social differences, different cultures all over the world. But perhaps what lies at the bottom of the heart of each human being is the same, an inherent value."

Born in Tsuwano, 
in Western Japan, Mr. Anno studied both art and mathematics before teaching school for ten years. He has written and illustrated over 20 books for children. He makes his home in a suburb of Tokyo. He is married and has two children. 
Available in hardback here

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Meet us in Tennessee!

Wild + Free is having their first National Conference at the end of September! It's in Franklin, TN and we're going to be there! Come listen to Rea speak along with Read-Aloud Revival with Sarah Mackenzie, Sally Clarkson, Toni Webber, Greta Eskridge, Jodi Mockabee, and many other inspiring mothers. Be refreshed and encouraged! Registration is open now: http://www.bewildandfree.org/event

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Check this out!!!

Read Aloud Revival is hosting another New Year Read Aloud Challenge and it looks and sounds fantastic. In fact, I'm going to sign up my three-year old. That's right. It's open to children ages 1-17 and its about them reading aloud, not you!

Check out all the details here!

We love everything Sara does to encourage families to spend time reading together and this is not a sponsored link. It's just something we at BFB think is pretty awesome and wanted to be sure all of you knew about it!

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Have a glorious and sacred Christmas

As we at BFB gather with our families and prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, we are thinking of all of you, our wonderful friends who have made this a wonderful year for us. We've loved connecting with you at conventions, on the phone, over at Instagram and Facebook. You are each appreciated and valued. Thank you for being the best customers in the world! You inspire us to continue in our mission and we love seeing your homeschool and educational experiences enriched by great literature. 

We would love to share this Christmas meditation by our Rea Berg here.

The Vulnerability of a Virgin

“Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us.”  Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23
Image result for tanner mary painting
The Visitation by Henry Ossawa Tanner
This is the season of Advent.  “Advent” comes from the Latin–ad venire–meaning “to come to” and denotes a sense of anticipation or heralding the arrival of something.
For Mary, the arrival meant an unplanned pregnancy, the potential loss of everything–her home, her family, and possibly her life.
To be “found with child” before marriage (and during a betrothal) was a complete disaster in Ancient Hebrew culture. It was a tragedy with dire consequences.  Deuteronomy. 22:20 says, that if a man marries a maiden who claimed to be a virgin, and then finds out that she is not, “they shall bring the girl to the entrance of her father’s house and there the townsmen shall stone her to death.”
And Deuteronomy. 22:23 says, “If a man has relations within the walls of a city with a maiden who is betrothed, you shall bring them both out to the gate of the city and there stone them to death.  But if they were in the open fields, “the man alone shall die,” [because] the betrothed maiden may have cried out for help but there was no one to come to her aid.”
Mary’s unplanned pregnancy made her extraordinarily vulnerable. Vulnerable denotes being susceptible to being wounded or hurt–and what could possibly be more vulnerable than a young maiden with child?  Mary was susceptible to being wounded by her family, her community, her betrothed.
Vulnerable also means being open to moral attack, criticism, or temptation.
“Look! A young woman, a virgin, shall conceive and bear a son!” Yeah, right. Mary was vulnerable to contempt, scorn, to malicious mocking, to pure logic, to reason, to laughable disbelief, to the wagging of heads, the rolling eyes, the knowing smirks.
C.S. Lewis says of vulnerability:
To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal.  Wrap it carefully with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements.  Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
Mary allowed herself to become vulnerable–to bear the potential shame, rejection, misunderstanding, disbelief, scorn and contempt that came as an unexpected outcome of her love and obedience to God.
The opposite of vulnerability is to be unbreakable, impenetrable, defensive, oppositional, intractable, insensitive, incapable of empathy or compassion.
Unwittingly, Mary carried within herself the King of Vulnerability.  When the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace, took on human form–and not only human form, but the most vulnerable–a tiny helpless babe, he demonstrated the power of becoming powerless, the majesty of laying aside all majesty, the honor of becoming the lowliest.  When the King of all eternity, the maker and sustainer of life, the genesis of all beauty, goodness, truth and light, came into the world he came stripped of everything but vulnerability.
Imagine the scene: the Eternal God has left the beauty, glory, and splendor of heaven–where “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man”–the wonders there, to be born of blood and water in a stable, dark, dank, cold, spread with urine-soaked hay, surrounded by the warm breath of animals, and their dung, and then wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.
Matthew Henry says of the “swaddling clothes” that they signify
“rent or torn . . . his very swaddles were ragged and torn.  His being born in a stable and laid in a manger [reflects] the poverty of his parents–had they been rich, room would have been made for them in the inn–being poor they must shift as they could. [The precious lamb of God] was born into an age of the corruption and degeneracy of manners–that a woman of virtue and honor should be used so barbarously  . . . if there had been any common humanity among them, they would not have turned a woman in travail [labor] into a stable.”
In this scene we see the vulnerability of Mary and the vulnerability of this precious infant.
Five-hundred years before Christ, the playwright Aeschylus wrestled with the fate of the perfectly just man–the man who loves justice for the beauty of the thing itself, and not because being just brings worldly blessings.  Plato recorded the thoughts of Aeschylus:
The perfectly just man must not be just merely for the love of justice, and not on account of worldly blessings that might accrue from  its practice.  Therefore the perfectly just man will be tried, will suffer all kinds of ills on account of his justice, and finally be crucified.  Plato–The Republic II
The King of glory chose the way of vulnerability fully, completely, and without reservation  Having perfect foreknowledge he knew what to expect from broken humanity.
We are called to follow the vulnerable One.  We are called to follow Him, who “made himself of no reputation.”  Becoming vulnerable is painful.  We open ourselves to an unknown future, one we don’t have foreknowledge of.
Bryan Stevenson in his book, Just Mercy says the following:
Paul Farmer, the renowned physician, who has spent his life trying to cure the world’s sickest and poorest people, one quoted me something that the writer Thomas Merton said: We are bodies of broken bones.  I guess I’d always known but never fully considered that being broken is what makes us human.  We all have our reasons.  Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our
Image result for just mercy bryan stevensoncommon humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, healing.  Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion.  We have a choice.  We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing.  Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and as a result, deny our own humanity” (288-289).
I want the compassion and empathy spoken of here, to be a reality in my life.  I know my love for those I ought to love best is often conditional, harsh, strained.  I am so often selfish, prideful, quick to anger, and quick to judge. This is the confession of my own brokenness that in reaching for the light, I might find hope for the darkness in myself.
“Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel–God with us.” Our God made himself vulnerable in order to be the God that is with us. He does not stand afar, but stands with us in our sin, our pain, and our brokenness, to bring healing, light, and redemption.  That is the message of Christmas.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Modern American and World History

One of our newest programs in our Modern American and World History for grades 5-8. This literature-rich study picks up where our Early American History for Intermediate grades leaves off and has been very popular from it's introduction. Karyn from Teach Beside Me has been using it with her 6th grader and recently reviewed it here. A couple of highlights from her review hit right at the heart of what we want to accomplish with our literature approach to history programs. Here's a couple excerpts:

"I have been using the Modern American and World History curriculum with my 6th grade son. He is so happy with it and has really been thriving with this literature set. He is loving each and every book...He often forgets that he is supposed to only read certain chapters each day and reads beyond the assigned amount...His thoughts on the program are that it is simple and to the point. It makes history come to life and is making him think about how much the decisions we make matter in everyday life...He thinks it is the best way to learn history that we have ever done! He loves how the books are all related to each other, but each one has its own style and direction with new things to understand."

"In my discussions with a few other homeschool parents who have used Beautiful Feet Books, I have heard a few people talk about getting the books alone and not needing the literature guides. I have to say that I disagree completely. I was trying to do that in the past,  but never felt like there was enough structure and consistency to it. The Literature guides help with book order and guide you through it in such a wonderful way!   They are an amazing addition to this literature-rich curriculum."

Thank you Karyn for your kind words. Please read the complete review and check out Teach Beside Me for other great reviews and homeschool resources. 

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