a look at my crews books for Primary Early American History from BFB
a look at my crews books for Primary Early American History from BFB

I really struggled with purchasing Primary Early American History from Beautiful Feet Books. I depend on the homeschool blogging community to get a feel for a curriculum before purchasing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find much on these books. There are many reviews of the Beautiful Feet curriculums and forum discussions listing all the pro and cons…really nice information but not what I was searching for. I want to know how the books and curriculum were actually used…too easy or too hard…did the kids love the curriculum…was it a ton of work for mom…Also, coming from the public school system, I had no concept of “living books” or learning through literature or notebooking. I ended up putting off purchasing this curriculum for over a year trying to determine if it was the correct choice for my family.

Sparkles fingerprint page
Sparkles fingerprint page

Primary Early American History is for grades K-3. I also got A Child’s First Book of American History by Earl Schneck Miers for Oldest to read through as well. We are using the curriculum with my fourth grader and two second graders. Littlest loves to be read to so he usually ends up in my lap. We just finished the first book Leif The Lucky by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire and the corresponding lessons (first ten lessons) in the teachers guide. My crew loved the study! We would read a set number of pages in the book and discuss the questions. They also colored illustrations from the book (free download from BFB) and had copy work assignments. The coloring pages and copy work are kept in a composition notebook.  My kids were not crazy about the copy work and complained some. JR is only six and he just wears out with too much writing so I started writing his very lightly in pencil and he would trace over my writing with a pen. Everyone’s attitude was greatly improved when I started awarding good work with a sticker…little things like that do make a difference.

example of JR’s (six years old) work

The big surprise with this curriculum is that it isn’t just history. I was very happy to discover my little scholars were also studying Christian character. I loved pulling the Bible off the shelf!!! We applied passages of Scripture to the life of Leif Erikson and his father Erik the Red. We studied what it means to have a conscience and wondered how history may have been different if the Vikings had not abandoned their colony in North America. We enjoyed this first book so much that none of us want to do just two lessons a week. We usually did one lesson on Wednesday and another on Friday but I think we will change things up for the next book and add another day.

we added a map page
we added a map page

They are always begging me to read the rest of the story. I even caught my very reluctant reader with the book!!!At the end of our study I added a map page and we charted the courses of Erik the Red and Leif Erikson. The map came from National Geographic’s MapMaker page.

We made “Viking Bread” sort of…there really are not any recipe books from the era. You can find a ton of recipes from a web search. I studied this page from a Viking re-enactment group and came up with a couple of recipes.

Viking Bread:

3 cups whole wheat flour or use another coarse flour
2 cups white flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups warm water
1 cup oats
I put the ingredients into my bread maker on the dough cycle.  Then I formed the dough into a circle and placed it on a greased cookie sheet.  Then sprinkled a few oats on top for decoration…not sure if the Vikings would have done so.  Place the bread in a cold oven and bake at 375 degrees for an hour. This is a thick and dense bread. We tried it with honey but thought it was best dipped in chicken noodle soup.
We also made the oatcakes recipe from the same Ydalir Vikings page.
Here is a fun Viking game.
some of Oldest's work
some of Oldest’s work

Horrible Histories silliness…Leif Erikson and Words We Get from the Vikings. They have a ton of fun Viking videos to watch! Remember to preview anything from the Horrible Histories You-Tube channel first!!

We enjoyed our study of the Vikings and are looking forward to learning all about  Christopher Columbus. I plan to look for activities, recipes, map work and art projects to accompany each book in the study and hopefully share them here. The kids are always excited to study with this curriculum and that makes me very happy…if only they felt the same way about diagramming sentences or long division…
 The rest of the study: