Why the Tree of Life?


Turkey Creek


First Tooth

Dunagan just popped out his first loose tooth with a piece of floss!  He's been working on it for weeks!


Dragon Castle

Home of the magic dragon egg in its nest of fire.


Dried out model magic is still useful, apparently.  Dunagan wants me to make a monster with him.


Napping Outside

It's beautiful outdoors.  The boys are playing in the mud, and after our picnic lunch, Ayla and I are resting on a blanket.  It's going to be hard to finish our last week of lessons.

St. Francis, Ch 3


St. Francis, Ch 2

Letter Sounds-Done!

Dunagan finished all his letter sounds this morning.  G was the last one.  We've started doing the lessons in Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading as well.  I've skipped all the letter sound lessons in that book and used starfall.com instead, and I just had him start with the first lesson in blending in the OPGTTR.

We're going to take the month of April off, and when we pick back up in May, we'll throw in fairy tale/recall/hidden letter drawings to bring all the sounds to life.


Mutton Bustin'

Dunagan did it! He mutton busted at the Star of Texas Rodeo this evening! He was very excited.

All the riders were escorted by the Rodeo Queens. Here he is lining up in the arena.

Evan was able to get a little bit of a video of Dunagan's ride. I don't think it is going to load more than the initial frame. He didn't hold on the longest, but he held on longer than most!

He and Evan had front row seats next to the bull pens and was right there to watch the bullriders come out spinning. He told me that, someday, I'm going to go to the rodeo and then be surprised that he is riding a bull! Lord, help me.

All in all, we had a wonderful time today. Grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, significant others and friends all came out to see Dunagan ride. The boys and I rode lots of carnival rides (Evan and Ayla declined), we all ate way too much carnival food, cheered on the pig races and caught a really great La Charreria show. The Charro was a truly amazing horseman and trick roper. Don't miss him if you go! It was fun to watch the rodeo itself. I had never been. I know, amazing.... I've been a Texan how long? And now I have a mutton buster? who wants to be a bull rider? Thank goodness we don't actually live at the ranch.

All the kids were exhausted when we got home. Dunagan threatened to go to sleep on the stairs if I didn't drag him up. I told him he was my calf and I had just roped him and now I was dragging him up the stairs with my horse and into the bathroom to brand, I mean, brush his teeth. He liked that. Once he was in bed, he was literally asleep before I could turn out his bedroom light. Kirven and Ayla weren't far behind him.

Maybe I got the video to load. Fingers crossed:
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St. Francis

We started St. Francis this week.  I helped Kirven make his summary after he recalled chapter one. 

Thinking Putty

Kirven has been complaining that his hand hurts when he writes, and I remember that feeling so well!  In addition to just straight out handwriting practice, I've gotten the kids a couple tins of Thinking Putty.  It's basically silly putty, only in a larger quantity and in lots of cool colors and heat-sensitive (remember hypercolor shirts?!), magnetic, glow in the dark... lots of choices.  The idea is that it will strengthen all those fine motor control muscles, and it is something to do while listening to chapter books.  Typically, beeswax modeling and handwork (to some extent) would fill this role, but there has been resistance to both in this household. 



They arrived today!  Someday soon, they will be painted lady butterflies.


Letter Sounds

Dunagan has been working on his letter sounds lately, and I decided to make him a chart like Kirven's counting-by chart.  Now, he and I can both see which ones he knows and which he doesn't.  We were playing a magnetic fishing game for this work, but he really didn't like it, so he has been doing starfall.com instead.  I'm still going to have him do letter work with stories and drawings and verse writing in the coming months, but I'm going to use those blocks to reinforce and bring to life rather than introduce.  At the end of first grade, Kirven was still sketchy on letter sounds, so I am trying a different approach with Dunagan.

Counting By- Done!

Kirven knows them all!



Always.  Even at the ranch.


Clearing out a cedar tree at the ranch, and learning how to handle an axe.


Playing Chess

He usually beats me.


Ayla's Climbing Tree

Four Square

Four Square has been 'the' game lately.  They're missing their fourth today.  Maybe he'll be down soon.

Man, have the rules been enhanced.  The one at the top of the square is 'king' and can have all sorts of powers.  I find it confusing, but they seem to be able to keep all the intricacies straight.

Tricky b & d

Little b and little d can still be confusing around these parts, so I made these glitter letters today.  I'm hoping they'll work like sandpaper letters without damaging my scissors.  When they're dry, I'm going to draw a bed out of the word 'bed' and then we'll play around with switching the letters.  Bed likes to be laid on, but deb does not!  We'll see how it works.

The Wolf and the Kid

Wolf comes across a kid that has become separated from his flock.  The kid convinces the wolf to play the flute for him while he dances one last time.  Happily for the kid, two dogs are drawn by the music and scared the wolf away.

I like Kirven's musical notation next to the wolf.

Next week, St. Francis!


Put-Put Golf


We went to Sherwood Forest Faire this past Sunday, and the boys both got shields.  They have had swords since Christmas, and were both swearing up and down that they NEEDED shields.  The faire was fun and timely for our St. Francis block, and I hope to post more about it.

The Fox and the Stork

Fox was jealous of Stork, and decided to invite her to dinner.  He fed her a weak broth from a shallow bowl.  Of course, she couldn't drink any of it, but was well aware of Fox's motives.  So, she invited him in return and served his meal in a tall, narrow-necked bottle.

Morning Wrestling

The boys wrestle every morning until they wear themselves out.  It really helps with morning lesson, which immediately follows.


The Fox and the Goat

The Fox came across a well and being thirsty looked down into its depths longingly.  Goat happened to see him leaning over the well and decided to play a trick on him since Fox had played so many tricks on Goat.  He took a running start and butted him down into the well.  Fox figured out what happened and told Goat it was the best thing that happened to him all day.  Why didn't he join him since he was thirsty and it was a hot day.  Goat did, and Fox promptly leapt up and off of Goat's head and out of the well.


The Old Woman and the Doctor

Once there was an old woman who had lost her eyesight. A rascally doctor promised to cure her if she agreed to pay him well with silver and gold.  This she promised to do.  While he pretended to treat her, he carried away all of her possessions piece by piece.  When she began to grow impatient, he went about curing her in interest.  When her eyesight returned, she saw that he had stolen everything of value and put off paying him in silver and gold.  He brought his case before the judge, and while she confirmed that she had promised to pay him if she was cured, she said she couldn't have been cured because before she was blind, she could see all her possessions.  Now, she can't see her possessions so she couldn't have been cured.  And so, she outsmarted the doctor.

If you'll notice, Kirven used gold and silver glitter in his drawing.


Math Practice @ Terra Burger

Because we can!  Man, it's a pretty day.  We had to celebrate Spring with baby shakes.

March 2nd

It's Texas Independence Day! For my out-of-state friends, this is the birthday of the Republic of Texas. We used to be our own country, don't you know? Most people don't know that, and we even had dreams of becoming an empire (just ask former vice president Lamar)... until we joined the Union. Not sure why we did join the Union, other than assuming that that empire thing didn't work out. It's all kind of fuzzy. And we haven't gotten to Texas State history yet. That's 4th grade. I'll let you know when I find out.

But! "You're Texans first, no matter what." That's what I tell my kids. We could secede if we want to. Really. There was a clause or something. It's just nice to know that we could. If we wanted to.

And our capital building dome is taller than the federal capital building dome. So there.

Where's our Texas flag... gotta go hang it up... why aren't there fireworks today? Shouldn't it be the most important day of the year in Austin, Texas? That should at least warrant fireworks... day off from work...

The Rooster and the Fox

The Fox tried to trick the Rooster out of his tree by saying that all the animals had declared a truce, were no longer eating one another and to come down and celebrate with him.  Rooster thought this was great, but knew Fox to be tricky.  So, knowing that the Fox was scared of the Dog, he called Dog over to celebrate, too.  Fox declared that he was needed at home and would celebrate with Rooster later!  Rooster now knew all about the truce.  I love Kirven's question marks for the Rooster thinking.


Counting By

Counting By is moving along very nicely these days since we started listening to Multiplication Unplugged.  We typically listen to one song in the car.  I'll put it on repeat so that we hear it about three times before we move onto regular music.  I made Kiven a chart so he could see what he had memorized and what he hadn't.  When he can recite one cold to me, I fill in the penciled number with red.  He only has the 9's and 12's to go.