Beautiful Feet Books Early American History Primary Review


Beautiful Feet Books:

Early American History Primary

Have you heard of Beautiful Feet Books? It is one of my favorite homeschool history curriculum companies! (If you are unfamiliar with this company, you may want to check out my Beautiful Feet Books Introduction post here.) I love that this non-consumable homeschool history curriculum is centered around beautiful, living books. And Early American History: A Literature Approach for Primary Grades is no exception! Just wait until you see the drool worthy titles on this book list! This homeschool history curriculum is designed for grades K-3. It introduces your young learners to American history from 1000 A.D. to 1865. It is a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum that will have your student feasting on classical, historical, and biographical literature suitable for their age. Beautiful Feet Books recently updated this teacher guide; and it is such an improvement over the previous second edition that I used several years ago with my oldest child! Even my husband said how nice it was as he browsed the book! (Coming from someone who doesn’t like to read, I would say that is a big compliment.) The first thing I noticed is that the 3rd edition is more culturally diverse. There are books on Sacagawea, Squanto, Harriot Tubman, Benjamin Banneker, and others. I am so pleased with this change. I believe it is so important for children to be exposed to other cultures and ethnics. Secondly, I noticed there are MANY more photos, maps, and fine art prints throughout. They also added some optional book lists called Rabbit Trails, as well as extra resources and recipes to bring more experiences into the lessons. Let’s take a peek into the teacher guide first!

A Peek Into this Homeschool History Curriculum:

The first thing you need is the Early American History: A Literature Approach for Primary Grades teacher guide. When you open this beautiful teacher guide, you will quickly notice that this homeschool history curriculum covers seven historical periods:

  1. The Vikings
  2. The Indigenous Peoples of North America
  3. The Golden Age of Discovery
  4. The Colonies
  5. The Revolutionary War
  6. The Young United States
  7. The Civil War

After you see the Table of Contents, the next section is How to Use This Guide. After reading these two concise pages, you will have a clear view of how this homeschool history curriculum works. I love that Beautiful Feet Books gets straight to the point! Spoiler- it is very teacher-friendly! Next will be the complete book list of required books for this study. And after that, it goes directly into the first historical period. Each section is laid out in the same way. I love this because I know exactly what to expect. And I can easily look ahead to the next section and see what Rabbit Trail books I want to gather for the upcoming historical period. Each lesson is open and go. Meaning it takes zero teacher prep for the lessons. This is a must for me as a mother of 5 children. This homeschool history curriculum can be easily tailored to fit your needs. This kind of flexibility is important to me. For example, if we are not enjoying a certain book, we can simply skip the book and those lessons. If we want to linger on a specific historical period, we can slow down and enjoy some Rabbit Trails books. If I want to skip the discussion questions and just have my child narrate to me, I have that freedom. Always teach the child, not the curriculum! This is one of the many beauties of homeschooling!  Here is how each section is laid out:

  • It begins with a brief introduction to the historical period. You can read this to your student(s) or yourself.
  • The next section is called: Rabbit Trails. This has a book list for further exploration of the historical period, as well as an Online Resource section with optional activities, etc. I was overjoyed to see this new section! (I like to gather any of the books I want for the next historical period before we get to it.)
  • Open and go teacher lessons. This lists the specific literature readings for the day. It also contains questions that can be used as narration prompts or recorded into a notebook. You will find sprinkled throughout the pages beautiful photos, maps, and fine art prints. Your student should complete the 94 lessons in 2-3 lessons per week for a standard 180 day school year. This allows time to catch up if your student gets behind on occasion.
  • Lastly, it ends with a Historical Table section that contains recipes for you to cook or bake. This is a tangible, fun way to bring history alive! As well as practice some life skills, like following directions and measurements.

Because of the ease of use, flexibility, and beauty of this teacher guide, I have no negatives to report – I honestly love it. This is truly a wonderful homeschool history curriculum, and I highly recommend it! 

“The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times–a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story-books.”    ~ Charlotte Mason 

Literature Used In This Study:

At the beginning of the teacher guide, after the Table of Contents and How to Use This Guide sections, comes the required Literature Used In This Study book list. This is a detailed list, complete with the title, author, brief description, and a cover picture of each book. You will need these books to complete the lessons laid out in the teacher guide. Of course, there are several ways to gather these books:

1. If you are on a strict budget, you can try to check them out from your local library.

2. You can purchase used books – all at once or as needed.

3. You can purchase new books – all at once or as needed. (See individual books here.) 

4. But the most convenient option is to purchase a bundle pack from Beautiful Feet Books. This bundle contains all the titles on the following book list, as well as the teacher guide. If you already own a few books, you can customize the pack and take off what you do not need! (See the bundle here.) 

I am so pleased that most of these books are what I consider living books. Living books bring subjects to life. They are interesting and will draw children into the story – they are not dry and dull like a textbook. Many people believe history is boring! I assure you that is the farthest thing from the truth. History is full of interesting stories. Some are joyful, some are heartbreaking, but each one has something to teach us. I believe living books are the best way to impart a love of learning and reading to children. I hope you have been enjoying this homeschool history curriculum review so far! Now I want to share one of the most exciting parts of the teacher guide! The books! Here is the wonderful book list along with a brief description of each book.

The Vikings

  • Leif the Lucky by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

This is a biography of Leif Erickson, son of Eric the Red. A well-researched text. It is lavishly illustrated with Viking rune-like carvings, from the dragon prow of the ship that Leif must hurry to remove, lest it anger the spirits of the land, to the stave churches so unique to Norway. Landscapes depict emerald green fjords against floes of ice and mountains of snow. The grand halls of King Olav Trygvason are ornamented with carvings of Nordic mythical creatures, while tame polar bear cubs romp and play. In this setting, the young Leif grows to manhood and learns the skills of navigation, sailing his own ship when just a teen from Greenland to Norway. It is on his return journey that he discovers a new land—what we now know to be Newfoundland. Later, he sends settlers there—actually establishing a colony. Elaborate color and black and white illustrations on every page.


The Indigenous Peoples of North America

  • The Discovery of the Americas, From Prehistory Through the Age of Columbus by Betsy and Giulio Meastro

From the crossing of the Bering Land Bridge over 20,000 years ago to the arrival of the Europeans, this classic picture book paints the early discoveries of America in grand strokes. The text is useful for both the classroom and at home as it combines beautiful landscape illustrations with factual features: maps, timelines, chronological tables, and easy-to-use appendixes.

The Discovery Of The Americas

The Golden Age of Discovery

  • Columbus by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

This text reflects many little-known facts not generally included in the typical biographies of Columbus. Children will learn that the saga of Leif Erickson, was one of the inspirations for Columbus’s voyage to the East. They will also learn that Columbus was such a skilled astronomer that he knew the exact date when the next eclipse of the moon was, and used that knowledge to his advantage. They will also learn that though “Columbus was a great man, he was not a modest man. He wanted too much, and so he did not get enough” (54). Elaborate color and black and white illustrations on every page.

  • Encounter by Jane Yolen

When Christopher Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492, what he discovered were the Taino Indians. Told from a young Taino boy’s point of view, this is a story of how the boy tried to warn his people against welcoming the strangers, who seemed more interested in golden ornaments than friendship. Years later the boy, now an old man, looks back at the destruction of his people and their culture by the colonizers. Filled with full color illustrations.


The Colonies

  • Pocahantas by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

This is a tale of the first colony at Jamestown is told from the perspective of the princess daughter of the mighty chief Powhatan. When the medicine man judges the white man’s magic as evil, John Smith is condemned to death—only the intervention of Pocahontas saves his life and a tentative friendship is established between Pocahontas’s tribe and the new colonists. The King of England sends a crown, rich robes and a royal bed to honor Powhatan and he is pleased, but the white man’s insistence that the Indians give them corn to sustain them through the long winters threatens their tenuous relationship. Pocahontas’s ultimate marriage to John Rolfe, the birth of their son, their voyage to England and presentation to the King and Queen is the stuff of fairy tales, except that it is one of the great true stories of America’s earliest days. Elaborate color and black and white illustrations on every page.

  • Jamestown, New World Adventure by James Knight

A clever diary style tale of two English children who are told the story of their grandfather’s experiences as one of the original Jamestown colonists. Through dramatic depictions of significant moments in American history, it gives young readers a vivid sense of Colonial American life — its farms and villages, cities and ports, and the struggles and dreams of its inhabitants. Detailed pen and ink drawings add life to the story.

  • Pilgrim Stories by Margaret Pumphrey

In this newly edited and expanded edition, children will learn not only the faithful saga of the Separatist’s struggle for religious freedom, but also that young Rembrandt was just learning to walk when the Pilgrims arrived in Leiden, that Galileo was fighting his own battle for religious and scientific freedom, and that William Brewster served as clerk to Queen Elizabeth’s secretary. Historical figures from around the world will see the Pilgrim’s heroic struggle in a more meaningful context. Through scattered, whimsical illustrations, children and parents alike will see the world as the Pilgrims saw and lived it. This is a full-size chapter book.

  • Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac

In 1620, an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together–a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later. Beautiful muted full-page illustrations throughout. This will easily become a yearly favorite to read every Thanksgiving season!

  • The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

In 1707, young Sarah Noble and her father traveled through the wilderness to build a new home for their family. “Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble,” her mother had said, but Sarah found it was not always easy to feel brave inside. The dark woods were full of animals and Indians, too, and Sarah was only eight! The true story of Sarah’s journey. And as she cares for her father and befriends her Indian neighbors, she learns that: to be afraid and to be brave is the greatest courage of all. Scattered well-drawn illustrations throughout this early reader chapter book. 

  • Benjamin Franklin by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

Details the life of this famous American from his boyhood as one of the youngest of seventeen children, to his teen years as an apprentice in his brother’s print shop and his later years as an inventor, statesman, diplomat, and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Children and adults alike will enjoy learning about the fascinating life Franklin led from the lively text. As well as quotes from old Ben himself! Elaborate color and black and white illustrations on every page.


The Revolutionary War

  • The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh

This book takes young readers back to revolutionary times, back to the colonists’ desire for freedom and the creation of the Declaration of Independence. Simple text captures the excitement of the era, telling how word of Independence traveled up and down the thirteen colonies, touching the lives of everyday people throughout the land. Delightful, colorful illustrations throughout the entire book. The perfect book to read every July 4th! 

  • George Washington by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

The story follows his growth from young boy to surveyor, to soldier in the French and Indian War where he became a war hero. Then George courted Martha Custis and after their marriage they built a plantation at Mount Vernon. Then we see Washington lead his troops through the dark and hungry days of the Revolution. By exhibiting courage and integrity, he inspired the same in his men. Beautiful stone lithograph illustrations bring the story to life for readers, both young and old.

  • Phoebe the Spy by Judith Berry Griffin

Someone is planning to kill George Washington, and young Phoebe Fraunces is trying to save his life. Phoebe gets a job as George Washington’s housekeeper, but her real job is to work as a spy. She listens and watches very carefully, and she meets her father every day to tell him what she has learned. One day Phoebe’s father tells her that Washington is planning to leave town in a few days, and the person plotting against him will act before then. Phoebe is very frightened, but she is determined to figure out who is after Washington before it’s too late…… Colorful illustrations sprinkled throughout.

  • The Winter at Valley Forge by James Knight

A brief yet penetrating look at the price that was paid during the terrible winter of 1778. This book is journal style and would be insightful to all ages. This book details the survival and victory of George Washington and his troops during the winter at Valley Forge. Detailed pen and ink drawings on every page.

  • A More Perfect Union by Betsy and Giulio Meastro

This easy-to-understand book tells why and how the Constitution of the United States was created. An ideal introduction to the Constitution for all students in elementary grades. Learn about the founding fathers and their meetings at the Constitutional Conventions. Full-page colorful watercolors will hold the interest of a young audience.


The Young United States

  • Dear Benjamin Banneker by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Throughout his life, Banneker was troubled that all blacks were not free. And so, in 1791, he wrote to Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, who had signed the Declaration of Independence. Banneker attacked the institution of slavery and dared to call Jefferson a hypocrite for owning slaves. Jefferson responded. This is the story of Benjamin Banneker–his science, his politics, his morals, and his extraordinary correspondence with Thomas Jefferson. Illustrated in full-page scratchboard and oil paintings.

Dear Benjamin Banneker by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • The Year of the Horseless Carriage: 1801 by Genevieve Foster

In Genevieve Foster’s inimitable style, she brings to life the dawn of the 19th century with all its wonderful advancements in transportation, communication, and technology. This is the age of Napoleon, Jefferson, Toussaint, Livingston, Robert Fulton, Richard Trevithick, Beethoven, Lewis and Clark, Sacajawea, Dolley Madison and many more. Foster’s use of “horizontal history” weaves these stories together by delightful retellings and whimsical illustrations. Shorter full size chapter book. Banneker attacked the institution of slavery and dared to call Jefferson a hypocrite for owning slaves. Jefferson responded. This is the story of Benjamin Banneker–his science, his politics, his morals, and his extraordinary correspondence with Thomas Jefferson. Illustrated in full-page scratchboard and oil paintings.

The Year of the Horseless Carriage: 1801 by Genevieve Foster
  • A Picture Book of Sacagawea by David A. Adler

A concise look at the legendary Shoshone woman who led explorers Lewis and Clark on their route from the Dakotas to the Pacific Ocean. Her knowledge of the land, interpretation skills, and diplomatic manner were of great use to the team and helped ensure a successful voyage. This child-friendly narrative of Sacagawea’s intrepid life contains memorable facts, history, and context, accompanied by elegant illustrations. Back matter includes a timeline, author’s note, and bibliography. Bright and detailed illustrations throughout.

A Picture Book of Sacagawea by David A. Adler
  • Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle

Martha Tom, a young Choctaw girl, knows better than to cross Bok Chitto, but one day—in search of blackberries—she disobeys her mother and finds herself on the other side. A tall slave discovers Martha Tom. A friendship begins between Martha Tom and the slave’s family, most particularly his young son, Little Mo. Soon afterwards, Little Mo’s mother finds out that she is going to be sold. The situation seems hopeless, except that Martha Tom teaches Little Mo’s family how to walk on water to their freedom. Gorgeous, full page illustrations bring this moving story to life. 

Crossing Bok Chitto by Tim Tingle
  • Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford

This poetic book is a resounding tribute to Tubman’s strength, humility, and devotion. With proper reverence, Weatherford and Nelson do justice to the woman who, long ago, earned over and over the name Moses. A unique and moving portrait of one of the most inspiring figures of the Underground Railroad.  Beautiful full-page illustrations portraying the emotions of the heroine. 

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • Thee, Hannah! by Marguerite de Angeli

Nine-year-old Hannah is a Quaker girl who lives in Philadelphia just before the Civil War. She is strong-willed and imaginative, brave in the face of danger. Soon, she learns the value of her plain clothes and the proud heritage they represent when she helps an escaped slave make her way along the Underground Railroad. Lovely vintage, muted illustrations throughout.

Thee, Hannah! by Marguerite de Angeli

The Civil War

  • Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

Abraham Lincoln continues to stand as America’s most beloved President. Of our nation’s historical icons, Lincoln is the quintessential embodiment of American possibility in his mythic-like rise from rail-splitter to Chief Executive and Emancipator of the oppressed. The admiration felt by Americans for Lincoln’s humble integrity, his noble statesmanship, and his keen sense of justice, is beautifully captured in the d’Aulaires’ art and prose. Elaborate color and black and white illustrations on every page.

Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
  • Buffalo Bill by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

The d’Aulaires have captured the allure of one of America’s frontier icons in a text that brings to life the story of the fearless and wild Buffalo Bill. Travel along with Bill, and his adventures, including meeting wilderness scout Kit Carson, signing up to carry mail on the new Pony Express, fighting in the Civil War, and performing in his Wild West Show, which took him around the country for forty years. Lush color and black and white lithograph illustrations on every page.

Homeschool History Curriculum Final Thoughts:

I hope these brief details of the literature was helpful! Honestly, I love almost every book on this list! Many of these books were out of print until Beautiful Feet Books reprinted them. I love old books, and I am always thankful when publishers bring good books back into print. A lot of these books were written by some of my favorite children’s book authors: Bruchac, Yolen, Foster, de Angeli, Dalgliesh, and d’Aulaire. All in all, this is a beautiful selection of children’s literature. These books will have you feeling so many emotions. Get ready to laugh, cry, and everything in between, as you read these books with your student! I am so pleased that most of these books are what I consider living books. Quality literature is an important part of instilling a love of learning and reading into our children. If you are searching for a homeschool history curriculum that teaches through engaging, living books, then Beautiful Feet Books has you covered! You can view and purchase this entire homeschool history curriculum here. It is all in one big bundle to keep it simple for you!

Click here to download the scope and sequence, as well as the book list from the teacher guide.

Be sure to download the free picture packet that accompanies this curriculum. These are the coloring pictures referenced in the teacher guide.

“Their lessons, too, history and geography, should cultivate their conceptive powers.”  ~ Charlotte Mason 

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