The end of June is almost here and I have no clue how that happened. Ryan is officially a Fifth Grader now (I promoted him since I am the Teacher and Principal of Curry Curriculum) and Summer Break is here. The thing is, that we don’t actually do Summer Break here. The schedule may be more relaxed (no more getting up in the 6 o’clock hour every weekday) but we are still learning and working and of course reading.
As I mentioned in our previous post, Grace had her First Communion almost two weeks ago.
She did great and Ryan did great too. Many of our friends and family know that Grace broke her wrist in two places by falling out of her chair at school while attempting to pick up a glue stick that rolled off of her desk. This was two days before school let out and three days before her Communion. She was a trooper about it and she is still doing well. The timing was terrible but we are making it work. It will make for an interesting Communion story down the road. She cannot swim for another week as the blue cast will be replaced with a waterproof cast for a few more weeks.
We had a wonderful time with all of our family in town. In response to having everyone here, Ryan said HAPPY TO HAVE THE LEVINSON CREW HERE.
The next day, my brothers, Dan and Doug, deemed it “Texas Day.” We took everyone who was still in town to the Fort Worth Stockyards.
We have been to the Stockyards on a few occasions before, but we had never been to Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show. This was so much fun! We watched the show, which was about an hour and fifteen minutes, with a short intermission. Ryan did great. What was really surprising was that it was loud. The cowboys (and cowgirls) used whips which they cracked in the air (so loud!) and they shot off guns (so loud too!). Ryan did not even flinch. Honestly I was and I still am shocked by this. A few years ago, we would not have thought that it would be a good idea to take him to something like this. Between having to sit for a long period of time and the noise, it would have been impossible. Now, Ryan is an absolute champ. I am sure that the noise bothered him, but he was having too much fun to care and he wanted to be a part of this, so he had the will to make it work.
The best part–we got to go down and meet the cowboys, cowgirls, and Indian at the end of the show! Ryan even got to interview one of the cowboys!
It was an absolutely awesome time and I would highly recommend going to the rodeo there if you haven’t yet!
This is what Ryan had to say about having family in town and Grace’s Communion:
BECAUSE TOO LOVING THE LEVINSON CREW, IT WAS SO MUCH FUN. THANKING MY UNCLES FOR HANGING OUT WITH ME. THEY ARE LIKE AMAZING. I LOVED HAVING CARING BOBBY BECAUSE HE IS SO CUTE. GRANDMA CHRIS IS SO SPECIAL TO ME. REALLY LOVE HER.
LIKE TOO HAPPY TO SPEND TIME WITH EVERYONE. HAPPY TO REALLY THINK THAT I CAN MAKE MY COMMUNION TOO. HAPPY TO HAVE LIKE TOTALLY A PARTY TOO. CAN’T WAIT UNTIL MY TURN. GOOD TO REALLY PREACH THAT ALWAYS GOD IS WITH ME.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, we are still working on skills here. Ryan has been very focused on handwriting and learning to read books independently. Ryan recently spelled MOSTLY WANT TO READ AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. MEANINGFUL TO ME. READING GIVES REALLY MY IMAGINATION A CHANCE TO TAKE OVER AND I LOVE THAT. We have been using Soma’s Handbook, Developing the Visual Skill of Reading Using Rapid Prompting Method. It has been extremely helpful and Ryan has made a lot of progress. One of the steps is to write out sentences for the student to sight read along with you. To keep Ryan’s interest and prevent it from seeming too babyish, I came up with a story that involved Ryan going to Camp Half Blood (from Rick Riordan’s books). He loved it.
Ryan and his best friend Fox wearing matching Camp Half Blood shirts!
We combined several of Ryan’s favorite things to come up with another idea, Grace and Ryan did Percy Jackson Mad Libs! I know that most people are familiar with Mad Libs, but in case you are not, according to Wikipedia, Mad Libs is a phrasal template word game where one player prompts others for a list of words to substitute for blanks in a story, before reading the – often comical or nonsensical – story aloud. The game is frequently played as a party game or as a pastime.
So we combined Ryan’s love for Percy Jackson, love for doing things with Grace, love for showing off his skills (reading the word term on the page and then using his letter board to tell Grace, and then knowing the different parts of speech and giving a correct word). Ryan absolutely loved it! He was rocking back and forth and having difficulty staying in one place because he was so happy. They did a few rounds and cracked each other up with the silliness of the final results!
The next day, as we were practicing handwriting, Grace wanted to help, so she started giving Ryan words again. This time, she started with different Greek gods. She listed Ares, Hermes, and then I listed Zeus and then Apollo. Ryan spelled these one at a time but when he got to Apollo, he hand wrote NO. DEMIGODS. This meant that he wanted the characters in the Percy Jackson series, not just the Greek Gods. So Grace and I were more than happy to provide names like Percy, Annabeth, Clarisse, and Nico. Then, Ryan started to write something on his own, without prompting or dictation (Ryan’s words are in pencil below and I used an app to write out what he wrote):
Grace and I were jumping up and down and of course they did Mad Libs after that unprompted request!
One of the cool things that we have done so far this summer is to set up the Curry Cave. It is a fort where we can read, come up with stories, have snacks, and play games.
We decided to write a story, where we began each by taking a turn of coming up with one word of the story to form a sentence. This was good, but it was taking a while so we changed to each coming up with a sentence. This is the story that Ryan, Grace, and I came up with:
Long ago, there were fifteen sleeping toads. Each toad had six really yucky arms to grab trespassers. These toads once grabbed the leader of the Camp Half-Blood, Mr. D, causing mass destruction and utter panic among the campers. Once the leader realized who commanded the toads was Zeus, Mr. D scared himself. Then he thought that Thalia had conspired it with her father.
(This was written by taking turns, word by word by Ryan, Grace, and me. The next portion was written sentence by sentence by the three of us.)
But what he didn’t know was that his suggestion wasn’t true. The toads had acted on their own. They wanted to move. The toads were trying to move into Camp Half-Blood. They were upset that they didn’t have a patron god or goddess of toads. Mr. D liked the commander so he tried to reason with him. But Zeus had no idea why Mr. D accused him of commanding the toad monsters. Zeus was so angry that he was about to use a lightning bolt until Thalia stopped him. Carefully, she had him lower his lightning bolt. Then Zeus told him that the toads were probably acting on their own. Mr. D didn’t believe him. He confronted really angrily the toad in charge. Percy, Grover, and Chiron were the only ones in camp who didn’t agree with Mr. D. The toad in charge admitted that they acted on their own. Mr. D apologized to Zeus. The toads promised to move out and never bother Camp Half-Blood again.
The Curry Cave, where story making magic happens!