Flowers & Femininity ~ A Unit Study

Flowers and females are almost synonymous. There is much in the example of the flower that illustrates beautiful concepts to young ladies. Let us use these lovely plants as instruments to teach our daughters about the miracle of life, wonders of womanhood, godly relationships, purity, virtue and the love of studying God's creation. This would make a sweet summer study and even those who do not homeschool would benefit by reading some of these stories and doing a few of the activities together.

Suggested Read Aloud Title: The Basket of Flowers a Tale for the Young (This book was written in the 1700's and may be hard for younger girls to understand who haven't been introduced to classic literature. If this is the case, listen to the dramatic audio book instead: The Basket of Flowers : Lamplighter Theatre (Dramatic Audio). You won't want to miss out on this story as there are so many Biblical truths in it for our daughters.)
"Inside the pages of this rare and aged book... Mary is falsely accused of stealing, and the penalty is death. She had always been taught that it is better to die for the truth than to live for a lie-for the worst pillow to sleep on is the pillow of a guilty conscience. Will the darkest and most dreadful night help Mary find God for herself or will she live in the shadow of a faith that is not her own? This is a story that will cause you to shed a tear or two and at the same time cultivate a hope that will never disappoint!" ~ The Basket of Flowers a Tale for the Young
Alternative Read Aloud Title: If you have already read the The Basket of Flowers a Tale for the Young then I highly suggest reading The Flower of the Family by Elizabeth Prentiss. Or both!
The Flower of the Family
The Flower of the Family by Elizabeth Prentiss
Both are novels with a glorious spiritual message for our dear daughters.

Suggested Picture Books: Flowers: Eyewitness Explorers by DK Publishing (non-ficton source for this study), The Garden Wall: A Story of Love Based on I Corinthians 13 by Jennie Bishop (a great tool to use regarding the beauty of a godly spouse and "true" love), The Miracle of Change ~ A Book for Young Ladies by Amy Loper & Miracle of Life by Amy Loper (Books which discusses the miracle of life and the changes in our bodies through the examples of flowers. Please see below for more information regarding these titles.), Hana in the Time of the Tulips by Deborah Noyes (Historical fiction picture book about the tulip craze in Holland in the 1600's.), Flower Field Guide or the use of the internet for flower identification.

Flower Inspired Activities:

I would suggest reading together for a half-hour per day from the chapter books above. Have your daughters do some of the listed activities below each day according to their abilities. Include all work from this study separately in a notebook/binder or composition book for each young lady. Don't forget to let them decorate their own covers with pictures of flowers, stickers or clip art! Encourage them to be creative. By the end of a few weeks you will have a nice collection of "Flower Scrapbooks" to cherish as an educational keepsake.

Spelling/Vocabulary List (Have students define the terms they are unfamiliar with):
  1. stamen
  2. petal
  3. sepal
  4. anther
  5. stigma
  6. perennial
  7. annual
  8. photosynthesis
  9. pollinate
  10. nectar
  11. pollen
  12. germination
Luke 12:27
Bible/Copywork/Penmanship: Have your daughter copy one verse about flowers per day from the Scriptures into her "flower scrapbook" in her best writing. Make sure she pays close attention to punctuation. This is a great time to teach her to use a Concordance or Topical Guide. Have her write the meaning of each verse below her entry. Here are some suggestions.

Science/Biology: The Miracle of Change ~ A Book for Young Ladies by Amy Loper This book was meant to be a supplement to a series but I used it as a stand alone resource and found it very valuable in discussing the changes that young girls go through in their bodies. The illustrations are of beautiful flowers and the message is to embrace femininity and the changes that accompany it. This is a tender time and I appreciated this gentle, Christian based book (publisher's comment below). There is also the Miracle of Life which is the intended prequel and is a very basic "birds and bees" type book in which the parent must do the actual explaining once the life cycle of the flower is presented. The Miracle of Change is more in depth with body changes and is the book I highly recommend.
"A beautiful full color and tastefully illustrated hard back educational book designed to help mothers instruct their preadolescent daughters as they face the changes puberty brings. Bringing your daughters back to the flower at the age of transition to see the beauty in God's design and His plan for each blossom. This book is a delicate, yet honest look at the transformation that is coming your daughter's way. Help prepare your daughter for the miracle of change with this beautiful book that will celebrate her God-given femininity." ~The Miracle of Change ~ A Book for Young Ladies by Amy Loper
Ecclesiastes 9:8
Biblical Purity: Flowers have always been associated with different meanings. Do some research to find out which one symbolizes Christian purity. Why is it important to keep ourselves pure? Discuss this with your daughter and read some Scripture together that supports this (Titus 2:12, Matthew 5:8, 1 Corinthians 6:18, Colossians 3:5, Psalm 24:3-5, James 3:17, Psalm 51:10, Philippians 1:9-11). Create a purity page in your scrapbook. Draw a picture of the flower that depicts purity and include the pertaining Bible verses below your sketch. Have your daughter write a list of ways to keep herself pure. You may also want to take the time to read to your older daughter about Tamar here and the lesson we can learn about physical purity.
Biblical Marriage: Read the book, The Garden Wall: A Story of Love Based on I Corinthians 13 by Jennie Bishop and discuss the type of love that a true godly marriage is based upon. Have your daughter write an essay on what she is looking for in a marriage and discuss together.

Character Building/Copywork/Art: Have your daughter copy one passage a day from the The Basket of Flowers ~ a Tale for the Young regarding flowers (my favorites are here) as you are reading it. Have her illustrate each verse with the appropriate flower. You may want to check out a "how to draw a flower book" or find some instruction on the internet. Discuss the meaning of each chosen passage together.

Crown of Roses by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Language Arts/Penmanship: Copy the following poem in your best writing making sure to use all proper punctuation. (Here is another poem about a violet that will bless this study too!)

Beauty Is Vain

While roses are so red, 
While lilies are so white, 

Shall a woman exalt her face 
Because it gives delight? 

She's not so sweet as a rose, 
A lily's straighter than she, 

And if she were as red or white 
She'd be but one of three.

Whether she flush in love's summer
Or in its winter grow pale,
Whether she flaunt her beauty
Or hide it away in a veil,
Be she red or white,
And stand she erect or bowed,
Time will win the race he runs with her 
And hide her away in a shroud.

Bible Discussion/Memory: Discuss the meaning of the poem above with your mother. Look up in the Bible what is says about vain beauty in Proverbs 31 and write the verse below the poem in your best writing. Memorize this verse.

Language Arts/Grammar: Have your daughters identify the nouns in the first paragraph of the poem. Have them identify the verbs in the second paragraph and the adjectives in the third paragraph.

Language Arts/Grammar: Discuss "homophones" with your daughters using the example of "flower" and "flour". Have your daughters think up more examples. Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings.

Language Arts: Create your own poem about flowers.

Language Arts: Explain what an acronym is and have your daughters do one with the word FLOWER using words that describe a flower. An acronym is a word formed with the initial letters of other words such as NATO, LASER and SCUBA.

Language Arts/Literature: Have your daughters read The Secret Garden independently and do a book report on it. 

Basic Skills: Have your girls list their ten favorite flowers and then have them alphabetize it.

Spring Flowers by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Science: Read a few pages per day from Flowers: Eyewitness Explorers by DK Publishing (or another non-fiction source) and do the activities below as they pertain to what you read.

Science: Diagram a simple flower.

Science: Go outside and sketch some flowers. Afterwards, using a flower field guide, label the flower using its latin name and any special parts.

Science: Define a "simple" flower, a "composite" flower and a "complicated" flower.

Science: Using a dictionary, explain the difference between an "annual" plant and a "perennial" plant. Then, classify your ten favorite flowers into each of those categories. 

Science: Try propagating a plant (an easy one is a geranium) using a cutting. There is more information here on my sister site.

Science/Research: Research the different ways that flowers are pollinated and write a short summary about it.

Discarded Roses by Pierre Auguste-Renoir

Science/Research/Health: Choose five flowers that have medicinal purposes and make a chart which explains how each one can benefit humans and how to prepare it.

Science/Geography: Just like different animals will be found in different habitats, so is the case with flowers. Make a list of showing the flowers you would find in a tropical area, woodland area, grassland, desert, marshland and mountainous area.

Geography/Research: Using a blank map of the United States, label each state (using initials) along with its state flower (do five or so a day).

Geography/Research: Write a short report on your state flower (and don't forget to include the type of care they require and in what climate they thrive in, etc.)

Flowers in a Vase by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Home Economics: Check out some books regarding flower arranging and create a bouquet for your home. Take a picture of it and place photo in your "flower scrapbook".

Home Economics: Embroider a flower onto a tea towel.

Home Economics: Research what flowers are edible and make a list. Then make a cake and decorate it with some fresh, edible flowers. Make sure to take a picture of your creation to add to your "flower scrapbook".

Home Economics: Dry some flowers by hanging a bunch upside down in a dry and airy place. Roses are a good choice since they will most likely retain their color and scent. These are fun to decorate your home with.

Home Economics: Make some potpourri using small scented flowers and petals.

Garden/Science Project: Plant a cutting garden which is basically a small garden space dedicated to flowers which are meant to be cut and placed in vases in your home. Research what kind of light and soil the flowers need and try to accommodate them.

Arts/Crafts/Service: Make some pressed flowers and then use them to decorate note cards. Send one of your homemade cards to someone who needs an encouraging word.

Art: Print out the "Flowers of the Bible" coloring pages I made with this link (see sample above) for your younger girls to color realistically, cut out, label and paste into their "flower scrapbooks".

History/Research: Read Hana in the Time of the Tulips by Deborah Noyes to your younger daughters and discuss tulipmania. You will be surprised what people paid for one of these flowers during that time! Have your daughter draw or paint a tulip. This is a very interesting moment in history. Older girls can do a report on tulipmania by doing their own independent research.

Foreign Language: Learn how to say "flower" and "plant" in the foreign language you are studying.

Girls Picking Flowers in a Meadow by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Art History/Picture Study: Study the floral paintings on this post by the French artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He was one of the leading Impressionistic painters in the 1800's. Do you know what impressionism is? It is simply painting using a series of small brush strokes so that the final product is the artist's "impression" of what they see. Capturing the light was important to them. They were mocked when they first started this style of painting. Choose a favorite picture by Renoir to do an "art review" on. Make sure to print a copy of the painting to paste onto your review in your "flower scrapbook". All the floral paintings on this post were by his hand.
Beautiful Bonding/Science/Nature: Play the Garden Game together which is a beautiful game that teaches about gardening concepts.

Field Trip/Beautiful Bonding: Pack a picnic lunch and visit a botanical garden (or one a week if you have many in your area). Make sure to include pictures of your day and paste these memories into your "flower scrapbook".

Movie: For fun, why not end this study by watching The Secret Garden together. Pop some corn and cuddle up.

Song of Solomon II-12

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