After visiting the Ragged Robin fairy, Mrs. Applebee explained that it was time to leave the marshland and all of its creatures. Michael said goodbye to this beautiful land and started skipping back down the alphabet trail with Mrs. Applebee. "Mrs. Applebee?" asked Michael.
"Yes?" replied Mrs. Applebee raising her eyebrows in his direction.
"Will I ever see any of the fairies again? I mean after I've seen them once?" asked Michael with an concerned expression on his face.
"Ah, I understand. No need to worry, dear one. " said Mrs. Applebee in reply. "The job for a fairy is to travel around the world and take care of all of its flowers. So the more flowers you plant the more fairies you might see."
"Wait! You mean the Tulip, Pansy, Rose, and the Strawberry fairy all come to my mother's garden?" asked Michael incredulously.
"Oh, yes! But I seem to remember that your mother's garden has more than just those flowers in it!" said Mrs. Applebee.
"It does!" replied Michael jubilantly. I can't even remember them all, but I do remember how much I love the little white strawberry flowers and then the juicy red fruit."
"Then you're going to love this next fairy!" said Mrs. Applebee. They walked up to a patch of land covered with big leaves and specks of small red strawberries. The Strawberry Fairy was hard at work."
"For whom are all these strawberries?" asked Michael.
"Why, hello!" responded the fairy cheerily. "You must be Michael! The answer to your question is in my song."
"Oh goody!" said Michael.
The Strawberry Fairy sung his song to Michael.
"Oh, I think you're much every bit as wonderful as the Sunflower Fairy, though I do love my sunflower house at home. And now I see why you have to work so hard. The Queen would not be happy if she had nothing to eat," said Michael. "May I have some of your lovely strawberries?"
"You may, but promise me that you will never take an strawberry from your mother's garden unless you leave me a little not that says that you took it. You see I don't like it when people take my fruits. Because I work very hard. So, when you pinch a fat, red berry, remember this:
The things that displease the fairies are greediness and ingratitude. They don't like their fruits to be snatched at, and hoarded selfishly. Before going to bed tonight, stand at an open window and say, "Thank-you, kind fairies for your wonderful present of fruit."
With this, the fairy giggled. "I think, " said Michael, "that tonight I will especially remember to thank God for the fun of knowing the stories of fairies."
"Good plan!" agreed the Strawberry Fairy as he handed Michael a large bowl full of strawberries. " You can also whisper a prayer to the new friend I will introduce to you today. The fairy retrieved his red book and read "Saint Sharbel loved to talk with God and be alone to pray. He celebrated Mass at noon, and gave thanks throughout the day."
"I love to talk to God, also" said Michael "Just like St. Sharbel!"
Mrs. Applebee and Michael filled their bowls with strawberries. The Strawberry Fairy handed Michael a sunflower.
"Thank you so much!" said Michael. "My mother will love this sunflower!" Happily, Michael said goodbye, his berry-stained hands holding carefully to his increasingly large birthday bouquet.
Presentation: You can use the drawing of St. Sharbel in the book (and pictured in a child's example) as a visual when telling this story. 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 S in the St. Sharbel picture as an introduction to letter formation. Have the child trace the S with his or her finger. Practice the Letter S by copying the model drawing. Older children can draw the picture of of St. Sharbel as well and use the song of the Strawberry Fairy 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 "O" to our alphabet main lesson book. Ask your child to consider the things in the world that begin with the Letter O. 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. 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, spend some time on the Flower Fairy site. You can research strawberries and sunflowers 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.)
- Sharon Lovejoy is the first person to come to mind whenever I think of sunflowers. Her book Sunflower Houses really is a "must own" for every family. She's a strawberry gardener, too. And sunflowers provide the perfect large plant for studying composite flowers and ideal models for drawing. Don't miss at least an "Outdoor Hour" or two with them! Here are growing ideas. And here are thoughts on drawing them.
- 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 scientific concepts. If you choose to pursue this course of study, here is a science-themed picture book study for this letter:
Ss is for Scientist See suggestions here.
Art: Using the illustration in The Flower Fairy Alphabet Book, ask the child to sketch the The Strawberry Fairy in the main lesson book. A younger child can color the The Strawberry Fairy in the Flower Fairy Alphabet Coloring Book . Perhaps on another day the child could model the fairy or flower with modeling beeswax.
For this week's picture study, Museum ABC focuses on STAR for the "S" 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. The full image of Cross' A Landscape with Stars here. You may want to include Van Gogh's Starry Night as well.
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. )
No study of sunflowers is complete without a look at Van Gogh. His sunflower pictures are classics. After reading Camille and the Sunflowers and Katie and the Sunflowers, drag the easel outside and paint sunflowers in your garden. Alternatively, try your hand at copying the classics. There is nothing quite like the caeful study and appreciation of nature to inspire young (and older) artists!
S is for Saints:
In addition to the Alphabet of Catholic Saints and Loyola Kids Series we've used along the Alphabet Path, here are some other great books full of inspiring saint stories:
30 Saints and Blesseds of the Americas
Fr. Lovasik's Saint Books
S is for Sacraments:
These books each contain a story that portrays the beauty and purpose of one of the sacraments:
A Fish in the Fountain: A Story of Baptism
The Butterfly that Found Her Way Home: A Story of Forgiveness
The Little Caterpillar that Finds Jesus: A Parable of the Eucharist
The Little Creatures' Crusade: A Story of Confirmation
The Little Turtledove Finds His Mate: A Story of the Sacrament of Matrimony
Victor Finds His Vocation: A Story of Holy Orders
The Butterfly's Last Journey: A Parable of the Sacrament of the Sick
Read about this saint in the Loyola Kids Book of Saints:
St. Simeon Stylite
Read about this saint in the Loyola Kids Book of Heroes:
Ideas for "S 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.)
S is for Strawberry:
When the Rain Stops
Molly and the Strawberry Day
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Saving Strawberry Farm
Jam and Jelly by Holly and Nellie
The First Strawberries
The Giant Jam Sandwich
More "S" Reading, Childhood Favorites:
Author Study: Stephen Kellogg
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.)
After spending some time with Sunflower Houses and thinking about Michael's mother's garden, have the children dictate or write about their favorite spots in their garden or in the gardens of their imaginations. As far as I can tell, there is no Sunflower Fairy. Together, create one and write the "Sunflower Fairy Song."
The written narrations are used by all the children in our families for Lively Language Lessons.
Serendipi-Tea Time (Breakfast and Dinner too!) Recipes: