After all the giggling and kissing, Michael and Mrs. Applebee meandered along the Alphabet path until they they spotted a wee gnome with a yellow hat hopping merrily up and down the stalk of a plant. "2-4-6-8-10!" he hollered at yellow-winged fairy who clapped, delightedly.
"Do keep counting, my friend," he implored. And the yellow-capped gnome complied readily. Michael and Mrs. Applebee watched the happy pair for a few moments and then Mrs. Applebee whispered, "'Tis my boy, Herb Twopence and his buddy the gnome. Herb Twopence always grows in pairs, so the counting gnome is counting by twos." Michael watched for a little longer as the gnome counted and the fairy clapped and pretty soon, he was counting and clapping along.
Michael's counting drew the attention of the Herb Twopence Fairy who fluttered over to properly introduce himself and to sing his song for Michael:
Have you pennies? I have many:
Each round leaf of mine's a penny,
Two and two along the stem —
Such a business, counting them!
(While I talk, and while you listen,
Notice how the green leaves glisten,
Also every flower-cup:
Don't I keep them polished up?)
(...the rest is in the Flower Fairies Alphabet)
When the fairy finished, Michael and Mrs. Applebee applauded heartily. The Twopence Fairy explained that his leaves all looked like shiny pennies. Michael agreed that they were very shiny little round leaves and they did resemble money a wee bit. The fairy gave Michael as stem of those leaves with a delicate yellow flower growing on it to add to his bouquet. Then, he asked Michael to count the leaves with him, calling out every two, just as the yellow gnome had done. "2-4-6-8-10!" Michael called triumphantly.
"Well, done, my new friend," said the Twopence Fairy with genuine pleasure. I have another story for you, Michael, a story of great love and determination." The Twopence Fairy told Michael the story of St. Helen, the mother of Constantine, the first Emperor of Rome, who was determined to find the cross from which Jesus hung on Good Friday. When he was finished reading from his special book, he reminded Michael that St. Helen was his friend in heaven, too.
When he was finished, Michael thanked the fairy and hopped on down the path, counting by twos and calling out every second step with confidence.
Presentation: You can use the drawing of St. Helen as a visual when telling this story. ( Download h_is_for_herb_twopence_and_st.pdf ) You may want to print it on card stock and add it to your child's main lesson or sketch book. It can be added to your child's main lesson book as well.
Language: Use the Letter H of St. Helen as an introduction to letter formation. Have the child trace the H with his or her finger. Practice the Letter H by copying the model drawing. Copy the small poem on the St. Helen pages in An Alphabet of Catholic Saints. Older children can draw the picture of St. Helen as well and use The Song of the Herb Twopence Fairy as copywork. Sing the song as well and soon it will be memorized.
Continue reviewing what we've learned. This week we will add the letter "D" to our alphabet main lesson book. Ask your child to consider the things in the world that begin with the Letter D. Ask her to illustrate them in her main lesson book and label the pictures. You can write the word for your child to copy if necessary. In Stephen's example shown here, he included words that are signed in the Signing Time Alphabet Song, which is the alphabet song he hears at home. The lyrics are here on page 6. If you have not yet made salt dough letters, now is the time to catch up. We are going to use those letters later along the alphabet path. If you are just beginning, you might consider letting your child paint the consonants green and the vowels gold (or yellow) to match the stems of the flowers in the story. All the flowers for the vowels will have golden stems.
(Don't try to do it all--these are options for science and nature study)
- After the story has been told, you can research the botanical information and plant indications and record them in a sketchbook or main lesson book. Or perhaps you would prefer flower storybook paper for letter writing practice and copywork. (An older child can do this independently, but a younger child can give an oral narration which you write or keyboard for him or her.)
- With your older child, you might choose to work through Apologia's Discovering Creation with Botany. Read a section and then ask your child to narrate the information in his main lesson book. Always encourage your child to illustrate his narrations. Work on the experiments that you feel would be most beneficial for your child. Take a picture of the finished project and add it to his main lesson book. The pace at which you move through this book is not as important as the child having an opportunity to really understand the material. Go at your child's pace.
- We've had great success encouraging older children to take their flower narrations well beyond what is provided at the Flower Fairy site. These children are able to truly appreciate the vast varieties of flowers and to to see God's creativity when they consider the lilies of the field.
- For some children, a living books/picture book approach seems to resonate and be more meaningful than any other approach. Consider choosing meaty picture books to teach the same concepts. If you choose to pursue this course of study, here is a science-themed picture book study for this letter:
- H is for Honeybee
- Because honeybees are our focus this week, we'll take plenty of time with these books. The Life and Times of the Honeybee, in particular, is full of lots of information about the crucial role of bees in botany. Older children are encouraged to research the crisis facing honeybees and its impact on agricultural biodiversity. There are further resources here and here. And of course, Ms. Frizzle covers the bee topic nicely.
Serendipitous Delight: This week, our gnomes meet our fairies as the Yellow Gnome helps Herb Twopence Fairy count by twos. We can also extend our math work by reading Benny's Pennies and taking plenty of time this week to count change.
Art: Using the illustration in The Flower Fairy Alphabet Book, ask the child to sketch the The Herb Twopence Fairy in the main lesson book. A younger child can color the The Herb Twopence Fairy in the Flower Fairy Alphabet Coloring Book . Perhaps on another day the child could model the fairy or flower with modeling beeswax. (Sources of excellent quality modeling beeswax can be found on the right sidebar.)
This week's picture study is Gilbert Stuart's George Washington. The Museum ABC focuses on hair on the "H" page. It's interesting to look carefully at just one segment of the painting in the book. The children can discuss what they think the rest of the painting might look like before you show them the print. Do take some time to click on the link provided. This site offers so much information and enthusiasm for this one painting. Well worth your afternoon!
Really look at the picture. Soak in the details. Ask your child to narrate with a prompt such as, "Pretend that I am going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time and want to find this painting. What details could you give me so that I could more easily find it?" Keyboard the narration and ask your child to sketch the work of art. A younger child can copy the painting while an older child can narrate from memory and discover how much detail he remembers by attempting to sketch it from memory. Over the course of this unit, consider collecting the narrations and sketches in a single album and create your own family art history book.
(The goal of Picture Study is to train the eye toward the beautiful. Biographical information about the artist is secondary. Set the work of art as your family computer's wallpaper or screen saver or print the painting on card stock and display it on the refrigerator. After spending time with a picture and really taking the time to look at it, your child will make a connection. There is no need to explain a great deal, especially to a young child. Allow the child to make his own connection with the art. )
Faith: Read the short biographical information about St Helen in An Alphabet of Catholic Saints.
There is more biographical information here.
Read about these saints in the Loyola Kids Book of Saints:
St. Hildegard of Bingen
Read the poem about Holy Anna in Letters from Heaven. Emily has provided original art to study and to imitate. Review St. Anne from "A" week.
Make a Wee Felt Saint of St. Helen. Use your imagination to come up with symbols that tell the story of her life. If several children are making saints, consider adding saints from the liturgical calendar to your collection, as well.
Ideas for "H Week:"
Suggested Books for Read-Alouds and Narrations (These are to be narrated both verbally and artistically. For the younger children it is often fun to keyboard an oral narration for them and then ask the child to illustrate the printed page.)
Author Study: H is for Michael Hague
Where Fairies Dance
The Book of Fairy Poetry
Hans Christian Anderson Fairytales
The Book of Dragons
The Book of Pirates
The Children's Treasury of Virtues
The Wind in the Willows
Hush Little Baby (Zemach)
Hush Little Baby (Aliki)
Hush Little Baby (Long)
Suggested Books for Independent Reading (These are for older children to read and narrate over consecutive weeks. Allow your older child to illustrate his or her narrations. Expressing oneself both verbally and visually is a peak of communication.)
If you would prefer not to use a writing program, simply have your children narrate to you. Select a story from the picture books (the Elsa Beskow ones work particularly well) and ask the children to re-tell it as completely as possible. Alternatively, use a story from the fairy tale anthologies. We are still using our Fairy Tale Christmas Book and plan to use it until Candlemas. For younger children, mom keyboards as the children tell the story. Older children are encouraged to write or keyboard for themselves. An older child's story is a great place for proofreading and editing practice. Older children also explore the imagery and symbolism of the genre.
All children should illustrate their stories. Stories written by younger children can be used for reading practice. The written narrations are used by all the children in our families for Lively Language Lessons.
This week, Lively Language is moving along to study verbs.
Serendipi-Tea Time (Breakfast and Dinner too!) Recipes
Hummus and Chips
Remember to check back throughout H Week for main lesson book samples in the sidebar albums!