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A Literature Approach to U.S. and World History: from the Civil War to Vietnam Review by Julie Dear

By Rea C. Berg
Beautiful Feet Books
139 Main Street
Sandwich, MA 02563
(508) 833-8626

I have always been interested in Beautiful Feet Books, and with this being my first introduction to their curriculum, I was quite impressed. Using a literature and classical approach to study such a vast subject as U.S. and world history, they provide a clear and well-organized guide to direct you and your senior high student, dividing the study into four logical parts that can be easily grasped.

Books to be used for the study of this subject were "selected for their value as classic or historical literature" and also for "character building, recognizing that the written word has the ability to shape us and inspire us in ways few other mediums can." With that in mind, the book lists for each section of this unit are divided into four categories (each indicated by its own icon): required reading, highly recommended, additional books for a student that loves to read everything they can, and books that offer original source documents. This is thoroughly outlined in "Using This Guide," leaving no room for confusion or misunderstanding.

The guide features study notes for most of the books on the "Required" list. There are questions to be answered, vocabulary words to know, and significant people, events, etc. with which the student should familiarize themselves. "Teacher Notes," found in the back of the book, gives the answers for checking your student's work, since as parents we don't always have the time to research the information for ourselves. However, I must admit that this study looks so interesting that I want to do it myself!

There are other recommendations to round out the study, such as good resource books, websites, and videos to "add some fun to the course as well as serve as incentives for reading the books." For every book, website, and video recommended, a short description is included.

My 17-year-old-daughter, an avid reader, enthusiastically jumped right in after browsing through the guide herself. I'll definitely plan to use this literature approach for my junior high age son when he's ready to study this subject. Although my son may not read as many of the extra books as his sister will, I'm content to know that they'll both have a complete understanding of the subject when through.

-- Product Review by: Julie Dear, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine