Pam asks a variation of a question that is popping up almost daily:
I was wondering if there’s a quick answer as to just how to get started with the alphabet path. I’ve searched all over your site and can’t figure this out. Is the “Mrs. Applebee” story your creation used in conjunction with the “Flower Fairies Alphabet” book? Do you start with those and just go with the letter you’re working on and all the activities you want to do?
Last week, I sat with my friend Linda and gave her a guided tour of the Alphabet Path. This was a good exercise for me, particularly since we get lots of questions from people asking for a detailed "how-to." So, I'm going to try to recreate the morning that we spent together. We had the benefit of being in the same room and that room was stocked with all the books, notebooks, and printed files from our Alphabet Path adventure last year. Linda has a very systematic and logical mind and she's not spent much time trying to navigate Serendipity, so I benefited tremendously from her perspective.
- First step: Go to Serendipity and find the navigation bar across the top of the page.
- Click on the tab that says "Along the Alphabet Path."
- Click on "Alphabet Path Storybook" and print all the PDF files, placing them in page protectors in a three-ring binder. Print the cover art and slip it into the cover. This book will be a read aloud and reading practice for the whole year.
- Now, return to the alphabet path webpage. Click on "A is for Apple Blossom." This is the introductory post that will set the tone for the year. First, you will see the original story of Michael and Mrs. Applebee, two characters who will introduce your child to letters and flowers and saints. These stories were created by Katherine and me and largely written by my daughter, Mary Beth. Each letter has an installment of the story. You've already printed them in the step above. When you read the story, you will need to have both the Flower Fairies Alphabet and An Alphabet of Catholic Saints. With these books, your child will meet the flower fairies and will meet a saint for every letter.
- The flower fairy song will serve as copywork for older children and memory work for every child. The Flower Fairy Alphabet CD has all the fairy songs and will help memorization tremendously.
- There are several nature study ideas which you will need to read carefully in order to discern what's best for your child's interest and abilities. some of the ideas will change with each letter. Some are offered every week. Every week, we'll provide a link to botanical information on the wildflowers. No matter how young your child, it's strongly suggested that you take some time to read about the real flowers, sketch them and make notes of the botanical information.
- We want children to use their hands, so we've provided a link to a two-part post on making wee felt saints. Part 1 and Part 2
- You are encouraged to give children time to copy the saint-letter picture in An Alphabet of Catholic Saints. The short poems that go with each saint can be used as copywork.
- In the picture book section you will find reading suggestions for faith-related books springing from the letter-of the-week theme. You will also find subject matter picture books for a specific subject for most every letter (for instance, "sunflowers' on "S" week and "eggs" for "E" week). And there is a big stack of picture books that are connected by title or contact to the letter of the week. All the books are listed on this PDF.
- There is a picture study suggestion for each letter. The lessons uses the book Museum ABC. We focus on one print per week and encourage you to follow the links and print the images for your personal use.
- there are chapter books and writing suggestions provided for older children.
- Several recipes for tea time or other mails are offered and it's really encouraged to cook according to letter. This is a favorite of our children!
- Many posts have links to Kim Fry's "funschool" posts, which extend the letter themed activities for young children.
- For further subjects organized around an alphabet theme, please consider
- P is for Poetry
- M is for Music
- G is for Geography
- A is for Art