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Around the World with Picture Books!

ATW Cover shot!Dear Readers,

Thank you to all the friends and literature lovers who have waited patiently for this new study to be available!  It has been quite a labor of love, and it is my fond hope that you and your students will have as many happy, enriching, and rewarding times with it, as I have!

So . . . Here goes!  Around the World with Picture Books Part I is designed to be a notebook approach to world cultures and geography for the primary student. (Part II will cover South America and Europe and is slated for Winter/Spring 2018). Using beloved children’s books, this guide includes nature study, folk tales, fables, art, poetry, history, and gentle Socratic questions to prompt discussion and discovery.  Geographic elements include country maps and flags for students to cut out, paint, or color. The beautifully illustrated Maps by Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński acts as the spine of the study and there will be few students that don’t love geography after encountering this work. Beautiful drawings of indigenous animals are included for each country, and will familiarize students with some remarkable creatures, cultivating respect and wonder for the natural world. As the student compiles these elements in a journal, he creates a memorable keepsake recording of all he is learning.

Pavlova
When we visit Australia, make this gorgeous Pavlova—a dreamy dessert for which we can thank the Aussies and Anna Pavlova, a famous ballerina!

Part One covers Asia, Antarctica, Australia, and Africa.  In Asia, we explore China, Japan, Thailand, and India.  In Africa, we visit Morocco, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, and Ghana. Each country visited includes additional picture book suggestions as well as biography and history recommendations.  Chapters conclude with a fun foray into the cuisine of the country with recipes, photos, and links to create a memorable evening experiencing unique culinary creations from around the world—a perfect time for students to relate to family and friends all that they’ve learned.

ATWWPB Cover.JPG

The Literature

All of the books chosen for this study are either classic works, award-winning books, or newer selections that have achieved some critical acclaim. As a primary-level study, the book notes presented here are simple and straightforward with comprehension questions designed to enhance and draw out some of the subtleties or nuances of the books.  Most selections included in this guide can stand quite well on their own.  The best literature tends to inspire the student’s interest and curiosity to bubble up naturally and often notes are not necessary.

Nature Studies

Children take to the study of nature with keen interest and delight.  The animals featured in this guide were chosen for their appeal to primary students. Helpful websites and links are included for each animal.Japan NBResearching a few remarkable facts about each of the creatures will help cultivate a child’s sense of wonder at the marvels of the natural world; allow time to ponder the spectacles of perfect symmetry, function, and design.  Even the tiniest creature reveals something marvelous about the mind of the Creator and should inspire awe and reverence.

Notebooking

Tsubame W30SThe notebooks that are included in the Around the World with Picturebooks Pack have been specially chosen for the quality they will bring to your student’s journaling experience.  Imported from Japan, the Tsubame Fools Note Book is made from acid-free paper that is beautifully smooth to the touch, does not bleed through, and is lined for beginning writers but can accommodate a student working on cursive as well. With a sewn binding, this notebook lays perfectly flat wherever it is opened, significantly facilitating all the writing and pasting work in the course. 

Finally, Around the World with Picture Books Part I goes to the press in just a few days, as we make all the final touches!  The good news is that we have a download available now of the first two chapters—China and Japan.  This includes all the lessons, geography, history and biography connections, art connections and nature studies. We expect the guide to be available by the third week of September.  So check our website at http://www.bfbooks.com and let us know how you like the study!  Happy travels!china-maps.jpg

From Anno’s China a scene from the beautiful Guilan province in China. Just one of many scenes visited in Around the World with Picture Books!
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How to Raise a Wild Child

Dear Readers,

How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson
How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson

Today on Tom Ashbrook’s On Point, the host interviewed the author of How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature by Scott Sampson.  (This was a re-broadcast of an earlier recording, but it was the first time I heard it). I have the book on my bed stand and have been reading it in fits and starts.  This has been a very humbling read, as I’m painfully aware of how little I’ve had my 16-year-old daughter outside enjoying nature and seeing the wonder of the created world around her. There are several reasons for this (she is a ballet dancer which requires lots of time in ballet studios–these don’t exist outside, besides a very time-consuming online curriculum which steals about 7 or 8 hours a day!) So, like Rip Van Winkle, I feel I’ve woken out of a long winter’s (technology) nap and am awake to real life again!  I’ve also been inspired by Ainsley Arment through her work at Be Wild and Free and have determined that this coming school year will be different. So, we’ve quit the demanding online academy and are taking a less stressful, more relaxed approach to our home education next year, including regularly scheduled outdoor times! I’m so looking forward to this!

In that endeavor, here are a few of the key points of Scott’s How to Raise a Wild Child book and interview:

• children today spend an average of 4-7 minutes outdoors and 7-10 hours on screens

• this phenomenon has reduced life expectancy, increased obesity, diabetes, anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc.

• this dramatic cultural shift has been driven by a “fear factor” wherein parents fear child abduction, when in reality the likelihood of child abduction is no greater than it was in 1950.

• the “busy factor” of “over-scheduled children”–who go directly from school to sports, music lessons, etc., with no time to play.

• finally, the “lure of technology” robs countless hours that previous generations of children spent outdoors, running, climbing trees, building forts, exploring, and creating adventures.

What Scott Sampson sees in these modern trends is that we keep our children under a veritable “house arrest” where “free range children” are a dying breed!

The solution isn’t complicated, or only for the privileged. It merely requires getting outside! As one of the guests stated, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!” Children can be kept warm and dry no matter the weather with thoughtful preparation. This resonates so beautifully with the philosophy of Charlotte Mason, who advocated that children spend a minimum of 3 hours per day outside–rain or shine. In spring and fall, she insisted on even more time outdoors!

To be wild and free boys only need some water, rocks and trees. My adorable grandsons this weekend.
To be wild and free boys only need some water, rocks, and trees. Two of my adorable grandsons this weekend.

In an age of helicopter parenting, where children are habitually supervised and smothered by parental involvement, I love the words of my eldest daughter’s parenting philosophy of “benevolent neglect!” There is so much truth to the notion that children need to be left alone to muse, create, ponder, and reflect. Charlotte Mason advocated the importance of free play, noting,

Boys and girls must have time to invent episodes, carry on adventures, live heroic lives, lay sieges and carry forts, even if the fortress be an old armchair; and in these affairs the elders must neither meddle nor make.”

Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake

Scott Sampson likened wise oversight of children’s playtime to “hummingbird parenting” where parents stay on the periphery and only zoom in when needed and just as quickly zoom out. And when we are outside with our children, give place for them to explore and discover on their own. Let’s not badger them with questions or facts, or “educational moments.” Let the wonder and awe of creation in all its profound intricacy and majesty, work its magic on us and our children.