Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The other day we were over at our new friends' house and Mymy rediscovered the goodness of play dough. And I was inspired to make some- it had been months, since March maybe, since I'd made any, and that's practically a lifetime for a 2 year old. So he and I made play dough this morning and he played happily cutting and smashing and rolling and squeezing all the rest of the morning while ABCD tried to concentrate on schoolwork and NOT get sucked into making play dough snakes and pizzas. Here's my recipe:
1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1 T. cream of tartar
mix together, then add:
1 c. water
1 T. oil
and cook over med-high heat stirring constantly until it forms a big ball, then dump it out to cool a little. When it is cool enough to handle add a couple drops of essential oil and a couple drops of food coloring.
This time we made lemon, peppermint, and rosemary, though ABCD thought rosemary and its "invigorating" properties was perhaps not the best choice for Mymy and that it would have made more sense to choose a "calming" oil. Oh well. It kept Mymy busy and even drew Foal in when she arrived for an early-release school day afternoon play date.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Late Autumn Circle

Late Autumn Circle 2008

Rise up O flame, by thy light shining, Bring to us beauty, vision and joy.

There's the firm earth under me, The blue sky over me,
So I stride, So I stand, And I see You too,
With the blue sky above you And the firm earth under you.

I’m in the mood for singing, hey how about you?
I’m in the mood for singing, singing along with you.
Hey, hey, what do you say? I’m in the mood for that today.
Hey, hey, what do you say? I’m in the mood for that!
Clapping, whistling, stomping, learning, smiling, singing

Right hand, left foot, meet in the middle,
Left hand, right foot, meet in the middle,
Right arm over left arm, play the fiddle.
Left hand, right foot, meet down low,
Right hand, left foot meet down low,
Left arm over right arm, pull the bow.
Reach to the right, reach to the left,
Stretch in front, stretch behind,
Look down below, what do you find?
Right hand reach out to a friend,
Left hand reach out to a friend,
Make a circle without end.
Moving to the right, in a ring,
Moving to the left, we will bring,
Our circle to the center, move inside,
Then back out again, like the tide.

A diamond or a coal?
A diamond if you please:
Who cares about a clumsy coal
Beneath the summer trees?
A diamond or a coal?
A coal, sir, if you please:
One comes to care about the coal
What time the waters freeze.

The gift of light we thankfully take
But nothing may be just alone for our sake.
The more we give light one to another
It shines and spreads love, still growing further;
Til every spark is set aflame,
And from every heart Joy proclaim.

Come Ye Thankful People, come, raise a song of harvest home:
Fruit and crops are gathered in, safe before the storms begin;
God, our Maker will provide for our needs to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise a song of harvest home.
All the world is but a field, given for a fruitful yield;
Wheat and tares together sown, Here for joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade, and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
God of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

Brave and true I will be, each good deed sets me free.
I will fight for the right, I will conquer the wrong.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Waldorf Works

At least according to the standardized test ABCD recently took.
It is called the MAP test, and is a maze type test. The questions get harder if you answer correctly, and easier if you get answers wrong. It was horrible, and ABCD, who HATES getting anything wrong and has a really hard time trying things he thinks he MIGHT not be able to do perfectly had a terrible time knowing that he was getting answers wrong. He'd sit there at the computer and sigh, "Well, I guess I just have to give up and guess." The test took SIX hours, straight through, and covered reading, language arts, and math.
I've been feeling horrible for a week, making him go through this terrible experience. Well, not that the ends justify the means, or that the test results really mean anything to me as his Mom and teacher (I laughed out loud when the proctor said the test was important so that I would know "where he's at"), but it is easier to hold up a score than stop and explain all of the things you've been learning about. And my son scored in the 99th percentile in every single category, with reading and language arts covering the range of 7th-12th grades, and math solidly at 7th grade level. This is a kid who doesn't have all of his basic math facts (tables) memorized, and my husband was sure he was "behind" in math because he has to stop and figure questions out, and can't just spout off the answer. It has been one of the biggest sources of tension between us as parents. "He should know this" vs "But he understands it, and he'll memorize it when it makes sense to HIM to do so."
Oh well, pressure's off and I can relax and enjoy teaching him without worrying so much about whether I'm including enough of the stuff public school kids are doing. I have a score to hold up "See, he's learning plenty!"
Of course, my first thought when we got the scores back was "What the heck do they DO in school?" My child is bright and articulate, but he's not on track to graduate from high school at 12 or anything. He's just a normal kid whose curiosity and thirst for learning about the world hasn't been drudged out of him by a school system too over-burdened and under-inspired to teach children well. He's being given the time and experience to learn to THINK. And it works. He has the scores to prove it.