Roses ~ A Unit Study

What female doesn't appreciate the beauty and fragrance of a rose? Why not do a thematic study on this beautiful flower with your young ladies and learn more than mere science and nature, but the growing up of a girl to a woman as likened unto a bud to a full-grown rose… (My hope is that the maidens who aren't home educated can also amuse themselves with some of the books and activities listed below.)

Literature to Read Aloud with Your Daughters: The Flower of the Family ~ A Tale of Domestic Life by Elizabeth Prentiss (This is from the author of my favorite book, Stepping Heavenward, and is full of inspiration for the journey of the young lady.) Something that really impressed me with this book is that the father is involved in his daughters' life. He gives spiritual guidance and comfort to her. This is rare to read in books these days. Here is a favorite excerpt of mine from the novel of the father encouraging his dear daughter: 
"You may be sure of one thing; God himself has placed you in your present circumstances, and it is He who appoints for you your daily task. Now, is it possible to conceive that a Being of so much wisdom and goodness would place you amid duties whose tendency is to draw you away from him, rather than towards Himself?"
The Flower of the Family
~ Elizabeth Prentiss, The Flower of the Family
I would suggest reading together for a half-hour a day from the above chapter book and having your daughters do some of the listed activities below each day according to their age and 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 roses, stickers or clip art! Encourage them to be creative.  By the end of a few weeks you will have a nice collection of "Rose Scrapbooks" to cherish as an educational and sentimental keepsake. You may print off my label above to place on your cover as a label to your scrapbook if you desire.

Rose Inspired Learning Activities

Character Building: Begin this study by reading a Beautiful Girlhood excerpt, Chapter 1, titled "Opening Flowers" to your daughters regarding roses and discuss (The above link will take you to a free online source of the chapter).

Spelling/Vocabulary: hybrid, rootstock, graft, deadhead, bare-root, dis-bud, fragrance, cane, climber (Copy words into your scrapbook and fill in definitions of unfamiliar words or phrases. Mothers may give a spelling or vocabulary test at the end of this study if she so desires to younger pupils.)

Vilmorin Rose by Pierre Joseph Redoute

Science/Nature: Draw and label the parts of a rose.

Science/Research: Using the internet or encyclopedia, research the types of roses such as a "climbing" rose, etc. and make a list. Write a short description of the type of rose next to each entry. 

Science/Research: Using the internet or encyclopedia, find out what kind of care a rose needs and write a short report on the subject. Make sure you include how much water they require, how much sunlight is needed, when the best time to plant is and what kind of soil is best.

Science Project: Plant some roses in your backyard using the information you have gathered. Take pictures of the process and include in your "scrapbook" and make sure to write captions explaining each photo.

~ Isaiah 35:1

Bible/Penmanship/Art: Copy the above verse regarding a rose from the Bible in your best writing, paying careful attention to punctuation. For extra beauty, draw a picture of a rose to include above your verse. Write the meaning of this verse on the bottom half of the page.

Language Arts/Character Building: While reading the book, The Flower of the Family ~ A Tale of Domestic Life by Elizabeth Prentiss, write down any passages in the book that really grasp your interest. When you are finished with the book, choose your favorite entry and write a short essay explaining why that verse was meaningful to you.

Language Arts/Penmanship: Copy the poem below in your best writing, paying careful attention to punctuation.
Painting by Paul de Longpre

The Rose
How fair is the rose! what a beautiful flower!
The glory of April and May:
But the leaves are beginning to fade in an hour,
And they wither and die in a day.
Yet the rose has one powerful virtue to boast,
Above all the flowers of the field!
When its leaves are all dead and fine colours are lost,
Still how sweet a perfume it will yield!
So frail is the youth and the beauty of man,
Though they bloom and look gay like the rose;
But all our fond care to preserve them is vain,
Time kills them as fast as he goes.
Then I'll not be proud of my youth and my beauty,
Since both of them wither and fade;
But gain a good name by well doing my duty:
This will scent like a rose when I'm dead.
~ Isaac Watts

Language Arts/Character Building: Write a short essay which explains what the above poem is talking about and how it could be applied to your life. Make sure to use complete sentences.

Language Arts/Creative Writing: Write your own poem about a rose. Keep careful attention to spelling and punctuation. 

GeographyLearn about what a "compass rose" is.  Print out and label one for your scrapbook or make one yourselves with this link.

Rosa centifolia foliacea by Pierre Joseph Redoute 

History: Research the life of the famous, botanical artist, Pierre Joseph Redoute and write a short report about his life and work (you will probably recognize these prints as they are widely used to decorate many commercial products). His collection of paintings titled "Les Rose" is probably still one of finest records of rose illustrations. He was nicknamed the "Raphael of Flowers" and worked as the royal flower painter for Marie Antoinette and later for Napoleon's wife, the Empress Josephine. There is a website dedicated to his life work and you can find some beautiful clip art of his work there. 

Rose Research: Find your favorite picture of a rose from Redoute and print it out and paste onto some notebook paper. Do some research on that particular rose, how it received it's name and why you chose it. You will be surprised at the variety of roses there are!

Painting by Paul de Longpre

Foreign Language: Learn how to say "rose" in the foreign language you are studying (you may need to use the internet for this).

Thinking Skills/Creating a Chart: Roses are said to have different meanings depending on the color. Research this idea and create a chart showing which color represents what.

Painting by Paul de Longpre
Home Economics/Flower Arranging: Create a rose bouquet to display in your home (you may cut from a garden or purchase some if you don't have access to a rose bush). Be sure to place in a pretty vase in a family room so everyone can enjoy it. Take a picture of your final product and include in your "rose scrapbook". The above link will give you some guidance in this "art" of flower arranging.

Rosa Canina by Otto Wilhelm Thome (rose hips)

Home Economics/Science/Research/Health/Hospitality: Research "rose hips" (aka rosa canina) and why they are so good for you. Write a short report about it and the benefits they provide for your health. Purchase some at a health food store and brew some rose hips tea for your family to be served on a pretty tray in a pretty way. Take a picture of your final product (your tea all set up) and include in your "rose scrapbook".

Painting by Paul de Longpre

Home Economics/Sewing: Sew a lovely "rose petal" sachet that you can put in your drawer for it's nice scents or to give as gifts.

Home Economics/Health/Hygiene: Make your own rose water. You may use it for it's fragrant scent or as an astringent for your skin. Remember that a young lady always take care of herself. She must be neat and tidy for she represents a maiden of God. Make sure to copy the recipe down in your "scrapbook" for future use.

Home Economics/Organization: Here is a free printable of beautiful rose labels from the Just Something I Made Blog (see sample above). Use them to organize your room by gathering together your crafts, paperwork, sewing supplies, etc., and placing "like items" in boxes or plastic containers according to category and labeling appropriately (using the above rose labels). Make sure to keep your room organized and clean. This is a great place to practice your housekeeping skills for the future home you will be managing.

Art: Paint or draw a picture of a rose. Younger girls may want to color a page of a rose to include in their scrapbooks (see sample above of coloring page).

American Beauty by Paul de Longpre

Art History/Picture Study: Using the internet or the pictures I am featuring with his name on this page, study the turn of the century rose paintings by Paul de Longpre. He is famous for his "yard-long" paintings (sample shown above). Choose your favorite picture and write an "art review" about it and describe why you favored that particular one. Paste a copy of the painting onto your "art review" for extra detail in your scrapbook. Hope you enjoy his artwork as much as I do. They are one of my favorites! 

Picture Study Question: Now, looking at the botanical style of Redoute's paintings and comparing them to the romantic style of de Longpre, which do you like more? (I think they are both so beautiful!)

Field Trip: Visit a local "rose garden" or gardens in general. Take a stroll through the lovely landscapes and prepare a picnic in advance to be enjoyed there. If you live anywhere in the Los Angeles area, you can visit the house and garden of Paul de Longpre (floral painter mentioned above). Make sure to take pictures and do a "scrapbook" like page of your trip including any interesting information, etc.

The Bride Rose by Paul de Longpre
Final thoughts… Read aloud excerpt from Beautiful Girlhood, Chapter 33 "The Full Blown Rose" to your daughters and discuss everything you learned about in this study. (You can read the chapter for free with this link.)

You may want your daughters to copy the proverb below in their scrapbooks as a finishing touch to this topic. Make sure to discuss what it means...

"Beauty without virtue is like a rose without scent." ~ a proverb

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