In Which An Apple Study Begins…

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

By: Robert Louis Stevenson

While sitting in my room, holding my five month old baby, I notice the delicate signs of fall approaching. My long rose embroidered drapes lined with ivory lace dance about as the cool breezes set a swirling whirlwind through my opened window. The casual evenings outdoors with my husband and children end quicker as darkness settles a little sooner everyday. The soft wind filled with whispers of falling leaves tickle my nose with aromas of a sincere fireplace producing orange and red flames. I imagine it keeping some family content and warm as they sit around the fire, hot chocolate in hand, enraptured in a story. The tiny white blossoms that once held the attention of humming bees, now decorate a fine tree with bright, crisp, red apples, providing beautiful memories of barefoot children in overalls, helping daddy harvest baskets full of this sweet fruit.

Autumn, with your deep breaths of gold, yellow, and red, you bring a coziness to our world, like a warm apple pie ornamenting a dining room table.  And as the sun sets beyond the horizon, and the sky is robed in vibrant hues of purple, pink, and orange, I share our treasured moments filled with apples, apple pie, art, and literature.  Who would have known as fall blooms, a single apple tree, could provide so many fond memories?

Fall for Nana’s Apple Pie, Apples, Gentle Art, and Literature

Day 1

My daughter and I began our apple mini study by making a pie using the apples from our tree. We followed Nana’s Apple Pie recipe found in the Clubhouse Membership at Chalk Pastel Art. We wanted to make sure the pie was nice and ready by the time we finished our lessons. I used my mother in law’s recipe, which was her mother in law’s recipe for pie crust and rolled out the dough. Which I ended up piecing together the dough to make the pie crust (I am learning to roll the dough effectively. I sometimes get it right, but this particular day called for piecing it together. What matters in the end is what the pie tastes like, right?)

While the apple pie baked in the oven and began smelling oh, so delicious, we cut apples and smeared peanut butter on plates for our first read aloud. My two in a half year old and four year old handle longer stories a lot better with a yummy snack.

We opened up our apple study with a picture book read aloud by Gail Gibbons titled, Apples. This colorful informational picture book shares the many different kinds of apples, explains apple blossoms, pollination, and the many uses of this popular fruit. A simple explanation of John Chapman and how seedlings came to America is also covered. The engaging illustrations provide wonderful visuals. We used several illustrations to help learn about the parts of an apple. We cut one of our apples in half to see the core, seeds, carpels, and seed chambers.

While my older children, busily drew, labeled, and colored, my two little ones colored the letter “Aa”. I printed this worksheet from . I have used the free printables for preschool resources for many years now. I stumbled upon this wonderful website while searching for resources tailored to my son with special needs. It became a blessing for all of my children.

These two, little, speedy boys finished in no time, thankfully a back-up multi-sensory activity helped to pass the time. We used play dough mats from our Play Dough Activity Binder from . After printing all the pages, I placed all the activity pages in page protectors.  Both boys busied themselves for awhile. They did sneak off into the hallway to stack all the play dough containers as high as they possibly could, and with giggles, enjoyed the containers crashing to the ground. Thankfully it was time for another engaging activity while that apple pie baked in the oven.

My little Johnny Appleseed as we all call him, loves apples! Around this time of year, I find him and his bare little feet under that apple tree, and with apple picker in hand, reaching for that one apple he has his eye on. If he can’t manage to get one, he is sure to ask his older brothers to pick one for him. Johnny Appleseed also has a love for anything hands on and multisensory like play dough and stickers. He is often times found in the background of our Chalk Pastel Art photos and has picked up a pastel or two to experiment. It usually ends up all over his face, but how cute those cheeks look with added hues of blue or orange! This year, I am excited about the preschool art lessons Chalk Pastel Art provides for little ones. On the September Art Lesson Calendar, an apple lesson is provided! Just what we needed! What excitement emerged as he placed that red pastel in his hand. With his older brothers all around him and his younger brother watching, Johnny Appleseed was off creating his work of art with Nana for the very first time! His brothers and sister cheered him on, then helped him write his initial in the bottom corner.

Now, his little brother always watches what Johnny Appleseed does. We weren’t surprised when he asked if he could paint too! With his master artist older brother at hand helping him, he could hardly contain a sweet crisp smile!

All this new excitement made two tired brothers. With tummies full of apples and peanut butter, red chalk pastels on their fingers (we wiped it clean easily with baby wipes), they were off for nap time. To end our mini-apple study, we read several poems found in the book Sing a Song of Seasons A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year selected by Fiona Waters. This big book is a beautiful collection of poems for everyday of the year and for every season! We use this book a lot for copy work or to just read together! We read the poetry about apples found in the month of September. My children picked the one they enjoyed the best and copied it into their notebooks!

We closed our lesson by eating that mouth watering apple pie! Thank you, Nana for that delicious recipe.

Day 2

I searched through many books about Johnny Appleseed. I really had a hard time picking one since so many picture books presented such a beautiful portrayal of John Chapman’s life. I found Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh. This gorgeous picture book was so brilliantly written in poetic form; it was the perfect pick for our apple/fall mini study. I cried while reading this book about Mr. Chapman’s life. The precious and creative way Reeve Lindbergh portrayed his life, really made this read aloud engaging for my children. The paintings by Kathy Jacobsen are absolutely stunning, bringing in beautiful colors of fall and nature. After our immersion in this read aloud, we painted with Nana. I love how my two and four year old benefit from Chalk Pastel Art’s preschool lessons. At the same time, my elementary and upper elementary aged children benefit too. My sons painted Johnny Appleseed while my daughter painted his travels, learning geography; such a homeschool win when art lessons accompany such a wide age range for one mini study!

We closed this lesson with more apple pie.

Day 3 & 4

Since the sweet scents of fall emerge all around us, from the crisp cold mornings, to yellow leaves swirling to the ground, and apples dropping from the highest tree limb, we read two picture books brilliant for this time of year, Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn by Kenard Park and Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson. Both picture books deliver an array of fall sensations! Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson displays a beautifully written story full of personification about a fox named Fletcher. Fletcher doesn’t quite understand why his tree is changing, but discovers something quite magical as the season shifts. This book is also gorgeously illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke. Beware! After thumbing through the illustrations, you may desire a pumpkin spice latte with your favorite cozy blanket and socks. Because coupling art with our books and studies is so simple and easy, we painted stunning fall trees with Nana. Chalk Pastel Art offers so many art lessons, I think I could write about them forever!

We also found fall themed poetry in my favorite Sing a Song of Seasons book. We read the poems aloud, then copied our favorites into our notebook.

We brought our apple/fall mini study to a close by bobbing for apples! This was truly fun and I wished I owned something bigger to place those apples in so my children could have bobbed for the bright red fruit all at the same time.

Then when all was quiet, this exhausted momma brought this study to a close by sneaking the last piece of apple pie. I sat down in front of my computer, and enjoyed a glorious time painting with Nana

Copyright © 2021 Jamie Gault

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