Beautiful Girlhood, written originally by Mabel Hale and revised by Karen Andreola, was a book I saw recommended on quite a few "homeschoolers should read this" book lists. I'm not one to require that my own children should read something until I've read it myself (another excuse for me to read more! yay!), so I checked it out from the library.
I will be buying this book. I have a few years to get my hands on it, since we won't be using it fully until our girls are about to enter puberty, but having it on hand will be useful to pull out a chapter at a time as issues come up. In other words, I have time to acquire this book, but hope to actually buy it long before we need it.
This is a book for a mother and daughter to work through together. I have not personally checked out the companion guide yet, although it sounds like it could be very useful. In our family, if I don't end up buying the companion guide, we will probably assign a chapter at a time, followed by an essay or other report and a discussion with me about the contents of that chapter. I expect that discussions with my teen and pre-teen girls will include protests that the book is too old fashioned and that it insinuates expectations for a girl (e.g. that she will be a stay-at-home mom) which don't apply to everyone. Part of our discussions will be cutting through the prejudices of our modern society and pointing out that an insinuation is not enough reason to throw out everything the author has to say. There is wisdom in every chapter about the character development every girl should desire, and a suggestion that the woman is the heart of her home is NOT the same as an insistence that women should never be seen working outside of that home. The book is written in an old-fashioned style, but so are many classics. It is a bit preachy, but that's part of the point of the mother-daughter conversation: to cut through the style to reach the content and prayerfully consider whether this book has wisdom to learn from and apply in your own life. It won't be an easy book for my daughters to work through, but I'm hoping they will learn a lot from it and grow in godliness from lessons learned from it.