Why the Tree of Life?

10.27.2010

Hug

Ayla and Dunagan were spontaneously hugging at lunch. She wanted him to sit next to her while she ate.
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10.25.2010

Science & Engineering Expo

This weekend was the first annual Science and Engineering Expo, and it was really cool. There were lots of exhibitors, and each one had a fun activity for the kids. We especially enjoyed the presentations on science in the movies and the Physics Circus. Any time one of the presenters asked a question, Kirven's arm shot up in the air. The boys made a bridge out of marshmallows and toothpicks and tested its strength. There were robots galore, and Dunagan particularly liked the animal and butterfly specimens. He learned that the jaw bone we found on a previous hike was from a deer, and a young one at that since its teeth were still sharp. We'll definitely be back next year.
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10.20.2010

Scottish Trickster Tales

Some drawings from this week. Kirven's The Eagle and the Wren, and then my version. Kirven's The Fox Who Said He Could Read, and my The Two Foxes.
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10.19.2010

Wood Sorrel

My Monday hiking buddy and I are loving our new activity that we have set for ourselves. We identified and tasted wood sorrel this week. I've always called it clover, but clover it is not! Clover does not have heart-shaped leaves, which this plant, wood sorrel, does. It had a sour, lemony taste; reminiscent of french sorrel, and nothing bitter at all. Kirven wants me to mention that the root tastes the same, too. It has lots of vitamin C, but should not be over-eaten because it can inhibit calcium absorption. In fact, all the kids loved it and Ayla was gobbling it up as fast as Kirven could pick it for her.

When we set out for our hike, the kids do a lot of random exploring, and my mom friend and I flip through my guides and see what we can see. When we settle on something, we send the kids off on a hunt for it. Being ignorant as we are, we're sticking strictly to the obvious and easy, which have been prickly pear, Turk's cap, and now wood sorrel. We are also repeating, mainly for Ayla's sake: "don't eat anything that Mommy doesn't give you first."
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10.18.2010

Paradigm Shift

10.14.2010

Fox and Rooster

Kirven officially started 2nd grade and Dunagan started kindergarten this week. We are beginning with a Scottish cultural block studying John Muir. We'll do a couple of weeks of trickster tales from the culture and then move into John Muir's biography.

We drew The Fox and the Rooster today, and Kirven's drawing and handwriting (above) are really improving. He's really resistant to the whole recall/drawing process, but I'm going to give it a little longer before I rethink this area. Once he finally agreed to draw, he seemed to enjoy it and was adding details that I wasn't leading him on, like adding hay to the barn.

As part of the Scottish cultural block, the boys have been taking Scottish Country Dancing lessons once a week (Dunagan seems to enjoy it the most), and we have plans to go to the Austin Celtic Festival in November.

As I've mentioned in recent posts, I have been rethinking our approach, and I have decided that I just can't pull off the Enki way of teaching reading. I think it would be great in a classroom setting, but I am finding it too much to keep track of at home. I still like the sage/trickster stories and process, and we will still probably read the language arts spelling stories and do the three fold process with those, but I have turned to using the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading on a daily basis. I've thought long and hard about this, and there are just too many details that I am not attending to with the Enki method (be they reasons of time, energy or Ayla), so I am therefore short-changing Kirven. The truth of the matter is, when I sit down with Kirven and that scripted lesson book, he makes progress in his reading, and it is easy for me in the sense that I don't have to prepare anything. Yes, it's a little dry, but it feels better; and I can relax a little because it is so thorough and progresses logically. I think I need that logical progression for my own sanity. Best for me to just start admitting that to myself and move on.

And a couple of paintings from craft day this week. Kirven's above and Dunagan's below.

I had pictures of the awesome, five-person cardboard box house the boys built at Tinkering class, but my camera didn't save them. Blast it. The boys love Tinkering Class. It is the highlight of their entire week, I think.
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10.06.2010

Tasting Nature


For awhile now, we have been taking weekly nature walks with some good friends. We are blessed with a greenbelt and trails behind our house, and we have been sticking close to home on our hikes these days. Ayla refuses to ride in a backpack, and she wills her legs to carry her only so far. She also has a love/hate relationship with water. She loves to play in it, but if she gets a drop on her, all clothes must come off since they are "wet." Nine times out of ten, we emerge from the woods with her completely naked. Shoes are usually shed before we've even left the driveway. She has hobbit feet. Really and truly.


The boys found a prickly pear, and while we were waiting for our companions to arrive Monday morning, I read a little bit about prickly pears in my Edible and Useful Plants of Texas. I had the bright idea that we could collect a bunch and have a tasting and make one of the recipes. I quickly found gloves (they grow on cacti, fyi for those of you living outside the SW). But we found nary a one. I guess the season is over, though I really felt like I had just seen a ton.



When we sat down to draw in our nature journals, I cut up our one prickly pear so that everyone could have a taste. None of the kids liked it, but the adults could see the potential. It was obviously overripe, and different kinds of prickly pears can be sweeter than others.



We also identified the Mexican buckeye, seen above, and found out that they are very poisonous. In fact, my book claimed, indigenous people used them to make poisons for their arrows. Fascinating tidbit. Don't tell Dunagan.
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