Charlotte Mason Inspired Apple Study

Autumn is quickly approaching, so naturally, all the homeschool mamas are browsing Pinterest on the hunt for the cutest apple, acorn, and pumpkin-themed crafts and activities. I used to be that homeschool mom. The one who would print and laminate all the things and stress myself out spending too much money at the craft store for projects that barely held my children’s interests and, in the end, taught my children very little.

As I have studied Charlotte Mason’s philosophies and methods over the last year or so I have begun to take a different approach to studying specific topics, and you know what? It is so much simpler and way more meaningful. Instead of the shallow approach I may have taken in the past, I focused on the staples of a Charlotte Mason education in this study–living books, narration, poetry, hand rhymes, songs, handcrafts, art, picture study, tea time, hands-on nature study, and real-life experiences.

Living Books and Narration 

First and foremost, every good study begins with books! I gathered the books from this list and put them in a basket in our living room for the children to read independently throughout the week. We grabbed a few to read together at Morning Time and I would ask the children to orally narrate what I read. We also used these books during our apple tea party and throughout the week as a reference when questions came up about apples and for art inspiration.

Here is my apple picture book list. I’ve compiled this list from a few sources over the years. These are my tried and true favorites from these sources: Read-Aloud Revival, The Peaceful Preschool Letter A Unit and Tree Guide, Stephanie Hathaway’s Apple Unit, and Rooted Childhood September Collection (get 10% off with code: TREEHOUSESCHOOLHOUSE10).

  • The Season’s of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons
  • Apples by Gail Gibbons
  • The Apple Doll by Elisa Kleven
  • How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Princeman
  • The Apple Pie that Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson
  • Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh
  • How Do Apples Grow? By Steven Kellogg
  • The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
  • The Apple Cake by Nienke Van Hichtum
  • How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro
  • Secrets of the Apple Tree by Carron Brown and Alyssa Nassner

Poetry, Hand-Rhymes, and Songs

Each morning we recited poems, hand-rhymes, and sang little songs around the theme of apples. Here are a few that we enjoyed. 

Poem

We focused on the poem After Apple Picking by Robert Frost. I pulled the poetry printable from Stephanie Hathaways Apple Unit Study and put it in our Morning Time Menu. We read the poem each morning and discussed unfamiliar words, the meaning of the poem, and how different aspects of it made us imagine and feel.

Hand-rhymes and songs

I pulled these two from Rooted Childhood’s September Collection and ended up finding them online to sing along with the music. My two-year-old especially loved these and wanted me to sing them all day and do the motions. 

Handcrafts, Art, and Picture Study

Here are a few handcrafts and art projects that I found to add to our apple study. We didn’t fit all of these into our week, but I wanted to share all of the ideas I came across to inspire you.

Apple star printing

After reading The Apple Star Story found in Rooted Collection’s September issue, we cut open an apple, found the star, and made star prints by lightly painting the apple’s star with a paintbrush and pressing it on paper.

Still-life art study

I printed the still-life art pieces from Stephanie Hathaway’s Apple Unit Study and put them in my children’s Morning Menus. Each morning we looked at the art, read about the artists, discussed different elements of the artwork, the colors, the art mediums, and how the art makes us feel. After a few days of learning about still-life paintings, the children set up their own still life using apples and anything else they would like. We lit a candle, put on some classical music, and they attempted to paint their scene. You can find the watercolor paper and paint we use here.

Apple tree embroidery

This handcraft is so adorable and perfect for beginning sewing practice. Using an embroidery hoop and a yarn needle, your child can sew a felt tree trunk and green treetop onto some burlap. To finish it off, they can sew on a few red buttons as the apples. Check out the Art & Handcrafts section in my Amazon shop to see the needles and thread I use. This was a handcraft featured in Rooted Childhood’s September Collection.

Air-dry clay apples

Roll air-dry clay into balls and stick a twig in the top of them as the stem. Once they dry, paint them red, green, and yellow. 

Tea Time

One morning I set up an Apple Tea Time with a spread of apple slices, cookies, cheese, crackers, and almonds. We had cinnamon tea, read books from our book basket, and watched a few apple videos that were shared in the Apple Unit.

Here are the videos we watched:

Hands-on Nature Study and Exploration

Using the living books I mentioned, the videos above, and Stephanie Hathaway’s Apple Unit printables, we explored many facets of how apples grow, the life cycle of the apple tree, the anatomy of the apple and the apple blossom, apple varieties, and more. 

Nature notebook

After a few days of my children soaking in all the information, I asked them to give me a few sentences of what they have learned. I wrote what they said in their nature notebooks and they drew/painted a picture to illustrate it. 

Dissecting and tasting apples

We cut open a few varieties of apples and using the Anatomy of an Apple printable from the Apple Unit, we separated the pieces into piles. Then we ate them and talked about how the different varieties tasted.

Real Life Experiences

What would an apple study be without some baking? This week we made apple crisp and apple pie. Children love being in the kitchen. They are gaining so much while peeling, cutting, measuring, following directions, setting the timer, and most of all, being together in a shared experience. 

Baking apple crisp

I use and love the apple crisp recipe from The Peaceful Preschool Letter A Unit

Baking apple pie

If you’re looking for a pie recipe, try this one.

Apple picking

After a full week of exploring apples, we drove over to our favorite mountaintop apple orchard and spent the day picking apples. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the end of a fun study and really round off all the learning that happened.

5 thoughts on “Charlotte Mason Inspired Apple Study

  1. Hello and thank you for sharing this amazing Apple study. We are supposed to start our first official day of homeschool for kindergarten on Monday. And all the sudden I want to kick off with this. My daughter loves apples because we have trees at our farm that her grandfather planted. And just like last year when they get really red today she jumped and jumped Until she could get a hold of one to pick her first Apple and then she takes a big bite and says Yep it’s Apple season! Grandpa’s pride and joy at the farm where we live by the Apple tree is planted the year he purchased this phone which was also the year he married grandma which will be 60 years ago this coming July. All that to say on the first day of school my friend sold her darling Apple trust in the apples at the farm at the most beautiful red and we all a lot of these books and Wood childhood and several of the supplies we will need to pull this off last minute. Here’s my question… I’m pretty familiar with Charlotte Mason etc. and that’s what I’m choosing to do for her education. But I am wondering how long or how much time would it take to go through most of the elements in this study that you’ve put together? Clearly it’s far too much for one day. To me I’m thinking we could try to get it done in a week. The main things I’m doing this year for kindergarten are a year of tales from Wilkinson‘s nest and exploring nature with children. So I’m already set up to do tea parties on Fridays and field trips etc. we can pick apples right at the farm. And I definitely want to invite grandma to the tea party and involve the grandparents as much as we can because they are in their 80s and we’re just so lucky they’re still with us. So I guess to reiterate my main question is if I set aside the first week of homeschool to do this does that seem like a feasible amount of time. I know for a formal year when you would do form 1 it’s estimated of about 2.5 hours in the morning for formal lessons. And for kindergarten I would like to stay under that. And for her first week if we did our Bible readings and study in the morning with memory verse we can pretty much spend the rest of our time doing this and then get back to math and other stuff the next week. Thanks for any tips you can share and thanks for the fabulous and well put together inspiration!

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