Beautiful Feet Books Intermediate Ancient History
I’m just going to get this out of the way first thing: I loved using this curriculum! It made it easy to have a deep and rich history experience with my kids using literature – my preferred method of teaching.
Teach without a Textbook
I had never heard of Beautiful Feet Books curriculum or their literature packages, but as I was perusing the CEB website to try to combine my grade 6 and grade 8 students, for socials last year, I came across a few options, and the Ancient History Intermediate Package was one of them. I liked that the Beautiful Feet Books curriculum focuses on history (or science, geography….) using a literature spine instead of a textbook, and doesn’t require much prep-work. This ticked every box for me. I could easily work in a science text of my choosing, Aristotle Leads the Way, that integrated really well for my students’ ages and time-period studied.
Flexible History Curriculum
The packages can be added to or subtracted from if you have one or two of the books on your shelves already. We added Pyramid, by David Macaulay, and also used some of the supplemental books suggested like Pharaoh’s Boat, Black Ships Before Troy, Lysis Goes to the Play*, and refreshed from a previous year’s read-aloud of Archimedes and the Door of Science. We also added in Galen and the Gateway to Medicine, and slipped it right in between our socials and science textbook, for a really fascinating look at the history of medicine in the ancient world.
Some of these books we read-aloud together, some they read independently, and some we read “side by side”. This means I read it ahead of time, and they read it during their school time as an assignment, followed by talking about it together–like a mini book club.
Optional History Activities
Our family included many of the hands-on art projects suggested like the following: making a Roman mosaic (you can get tile pieces and specific tile glue at craft stores), sculpting clay busts, planning a Roman city (using graph paper and then leveling up using a free 3-D design app!), and writing out phrases using the Greek alphabet. I made up one art/design project and that was to create an Egyptian pyramid complete with hidden chambers full of treasures, using Minecraft. My kids enjoyed all of these and really did some unique and creative work they were proud of.
The curriculum comes with comprehension questions for every chapter of the books that go with the curriculum and adds in a few interesting links or other historical data/reading to go along if you want to deep dive. There are answers to these questions in the back of the teacher guide, as well.
There are maps in every section to label and refer back to, and plenty of vocabulary words from the various time periods and cultures for students to define. I appreciated this bit of extra learning because if it hadn’t been included, I likely wouldn’t have had the time or energy to come up with maps, places, vocabulary words, and art projects on my own.
History Curriculum for Multiple Ages
Beautiful Feet Books history/literature packages have multiple options for junior high and high school levels. If you’re schooling multiple grades, you could even mix and match, and share some of the same books for both levels. This is what I’m planning on doing this upcoming year with both Medieval History Intermediate and Medieval History Senior High, and pairing with the next level in Joy Hakim’s science texts, Newton at the Center. I’ve gone through the guides and am already excited at the literature we’ll be reading together, the unique artwork they’ll create, and the depth of knowledge they’ll be diving into!
*Out of any of the extras, I would just skip Lysis at the Play; it’s just a bit too young for middle schoolers, though it does give a good reference for daily life between boys and girls, and what a real Greek theater experience may have been like.
My name is Sarah Mast and I homeschool my two kids in Ft. Langley, BC. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is the community gained, and I volunteer with a local support group to help foster that and connect others. My family loves the outdoors and traveling, and our weekends include skiing, swimming, hiking, or biking depending on the season. I found Classical Education Books at a conference and noticed their well-curated selection of children’s books. I kept tabs on their collection of the classics and hard-to-find books and reached out. Now I get to help customers hone their collections, and work on the ever-growing inventory here at CEB!