Dear Asher: Fifth Birthday Letter

{This letter was started on January 31, worked on again February 24, and finished today, February 28.}

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Dear Asher,

Happy birthday, my love! You are 5-years-old! You are so very excited to be 5 now. Every day for the last week I had to tell you how many sleeps until your birthday.

So let me paint a little picture about you and your life right now. You are the most precocious child, always chatting and singing through nearly every moment. You tell wonderful and hair-raising stories to anyone who will listen, especially about Earthland and your adventures there, your pet dragons of various breeds, the battles you engage in to save the world, and your wife Jennifer, who is having a baby with you. (This development is very recent.) The baby is a boy and his name is Morlassus. I hope to hear more about Jennifer and Morlassus.

You are very much at home in the Red Rose Kindergarten at our Waldorf school. Your teachers both adore you and you seem rather popular. Yesterday you told me that there are two girls who are in love with you, but since you were being discreet, you only told me the first sound of their names. What a gentleman you are. Lucas promptly guessed the girls’ names, and you eagerly confirmed he was right.  It seems that you have many friends that you run around with on the playground. I hear a lot about Elijah, Lilly, Enzo, Landon, and of course, Noah, and many others. It’s fun to watch your world expanding to include new people. When I’ve had the privilege of watching your class during circle time, I’ve been delighted to see that you enjoy the songs and movements so much. You pay attention and participate with joy. You love to clown with your buddies.

Asher and N

I hear more about battling from you than I remember hearing from your brother when he was your age. I don’t know if that’s part of being a younger sibling, for your interests tend toward the more mature things your brother likes.

At home, you and Lucas spend a lot of your free time together. Usually you get along pretty well, although now that you are older, the two of you fight more often. When you do, there’s all kind of shouting and often tears. I think you work very hard to get your point across and, in the long run, I think this is good for you. You stick up for yourself well; you push back when he’s trying to control or manipulate you. You are possessive of your things and sometimes don’t like being told how to play with them, which Lucas often does. At other times, you are happy to let him lead your games and imagination play. When the two of you work together, and allow each other space to create, you can be so agreeable and amazing—magical things happen in your minds. That part is fun to watch quietly, out of the corner of my eye so you don’t catch me. Together you are making up your own language, which as far as I can tell involves both of you making up words and Lucas correcting yours. You both enjoy hatching and training creatures and playing with your pet dragons.

~~~~

February 24

Mama-made Dragon Hat

Asher, I can’t believe how much time has passed since your birthday. Here it is almost a month later and I still haven’t finished this letter. I’ll continue to try to paint a picture of who you are now.

Face Paint Crayons: Dragon Boy

At 5, you are formidable. You are confident and brave. You seem to know what you want and what you’re about most of the time. Although you often happily follow in your brother’s footsteps, you also sometimes pursue your own path with a kind of determination and certainty that I deeply admire.

You talk constantly. When you’re not talking, you are singing or jibber-jabbering in a steady stream-of-consciousness narrative.  I love to hear you singing, and I think you have a beautiful voice. Sometimes you and Lucas will sing together; he takes the low parts and you take the high and you weave your music together in a spontaneous and exciting way. You seem to have an instinct for it. I confess I sometimes find it hard to think in the midst of all your music-making. But I know you are processing your world, changing it through the power of your words, figuring out how things work, and joyfully plucking from it all the wacky humor and opportunities for fun as possible.

You also tell lots of stories. You enjoy tricking people, so you now tell stories that aren’t true in the hopes that people will believe you and you can have a giggle. And sometimes, I think you believe your stories yourself. The line between reality and fantasy is, well, rarely observed and certainly never hard and fast. You have been known to doorbell ditch, both from the outside and the inside of the house, by which I mean that you will knock on a hard surface until an adult goes to answer the door, only to find no one there.

Light Saber Battle

For fun, you love to play with LEGOs and building spaceships is your specialty. You also enjoy blocks, but choose them less frequently nowadays. Once in a while you pick up a stuffed animal or your little Waldorf house elf Miko and play and play. When Lucas is home, you two enjoy “fighting” or “training” in martial arts. Lucas has convinced you that he is in fact a martial arts ninja master, and you are his willing and obedient student. He’s even got you calling him Master within the context of your game. Sometimes this play is relaxed and groovy, and you both enjoy it a lot. Other times, the sparring can lead to hurts. You were both given lightsabers for Christmas, and you love to battle each other in the evening, when the lightsabers glow beautifully in the darkness. Basically, you and Lucas are best friends and brothers, which is something special, I think—you compete, fight, and play with each other; you stick up for and cover for each other; and you learn from each other constantly. I often watch with wonder at how you interact, knowing that you’re both learning so much and gaining so much by being brothers. It’s marvelous.

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We’re at the cabin in Tahoe for a family vacation now. Today, I watched you playing in the snow with great vigor and enthusiasm—never mind that it’s been two years since we came to play in the snow. You rambled through the woods near the cabin, enjoying your freedom and time to explore. You threw snowballs at your brother and didn’t mind when you got hit yourself. You never got too cold or out of sorts. I love to let you and your brother roam. Opportunities to do so safely are fewer than I would wish. To see you tromping through the woods, following your nose or the fairies or whatever it is that pulls you onward is a wonderful thing.

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~~~~

February 28

Blade and Shortbow

Your latest obsession is Dungeons and Dragons. You now talk about it constantly. We probably should have held off on this for a few years, but as your brother is the perfect age for this kind of role playing and you absolutely will not be left out, we have compromised. Daddy is a wonderful DM. He has painted miniatures for your characters according to your descriptions of them and he is creating quests for you and Lucas that are good for you, requiring that your characters work together as friends and companions. I like this, for it’s a way of exercising your imaginations in cooperative ways instead of competitive ones. Once, many years ago, a friend told me how to raise brothers, for he himself was raising two boys in a way quite opposite how his own parents raised him and his brother. He said, “You must find ways to make your boys work together, even if that means they strive against you, the parent, as a team. Avoid all situations where your boys are striving against each other. That is how to foster brotherhood and closeness in your sons.” I’ll never forget that, and my heart tells me he is right.

Anyway, you are currently playing D&D as a “dorf” named Shortbow, which may be the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. You are beardless, because you don’t care for beards, and you are an adult. Not a child. Not a teenager. You like to inject all sorts of things into the story Daddy is telling during a game.

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You have great new skills now. You can snap your fingers. You can throw a mean snowball. You recently braved the two-wheel bike (with training wheels) and Lucas gave you his old bike for your birthday. You ride it often on our street now, while Lucas rides his bike or his scooter. You seem to like the speed you can achieve now. You also can hop on one foot quite a distance and you can count pretty well up to 30, missing a few numbers along the way. Same with your alphabet, but we’re not worrying about that. I think it is rather funny that your interest in letters has come mainly from the kids on the playground. (Take that, Doubters. Waldorf kids not pushed will learn their letters and numbers in their own time, probably in Kindergarten.) And of course, you pay attention to your brother writing and practicing his spelling words. One of my favorite sights is seeing you both absorbed in a book or writing away in your own blank notebooks. A few days ago you wrote an entire page of “spells” in crisp, neat, blocky, made-up scribble letters. I love them.

I can go on and on, of course, for you are endlessly fascinating to me. I love you completely and I’m so proud of you.

Love,

Mama

 

New Sweater from Grandma

Grandma's Latest Sweater for Lucas

My mother has done it again—produced a beautiful, perfect sweater for Lucas in less than two weeks. It’s his favorite color, turquoise. She used an acrylic yarn by Caron “Simply Soft” because she likes the way it washes and dries in the dryer. I like that, too, for my ever-muddy boys.

Grandma's Latest Sweater for Lucas

Grandma's Latest Sweater for Lucas

Grandma's Latest Sweater for Lucas

She used a seed stitch and a basketweave stitch—both of which are completely beyond my understanding and skill.

It’s wonderful having a grandma who make such beautiful things. My sons have drawers-full of handknit socks and a closet-full (they have to share one) full to bursting with grandma’s sweaters. Now if only I could convince the little guy that “fuzzy” is a good quality in a sweater.

Back to School and January Roses

January Rose

Monday morning. The boys went back to school today after a two-week winter vacation. Suddenly the house is quiet and the little dog is wandering around. He’s gone back to Asher’s bed to snooze five times now.

It has been a marvelous two weeks. Plenty of rest and play, plenty of knitting and painting and gardening, plenty of little brown dog.  We have also had plenty of bickering, having to share, and learning how to get along and what to do/not do when you’re not getting along. Although this part isn’t sweet and peaceful and the stuff of most blogs, it’s also important family work.

Lucas bravely walked out the door this morning with all his fourth-grade animal report and two eager helpers (Daddy and Asher) to carry it all. It is a paper report, a 16 by 20 acrylic painting and a diorama of the fennec fox in its habitat. It turns out the report is actually due tomorrow, but I think he’s so happy and relieved to have it done.

My Boy

Fennec Fox Diorama

Fennec Fox Diorama

For his diorama he used brown paper (which came to us in a package as packing material) to simulate desert sand dunes of the Sahara Desert in Africa and a fennec fox burrow. He sprayed the paper with spray adhesive and then carefully sprinkled sand over the whole thing and a little bit of sawdust. The fennec foxes are made from Sculpey clay and painted with craft acrylics. More (unbaked) Sculpey clay and some grasses complete the environment. I think it looks great!

This weekend we did a lot of project work and also quite a bit of household reorganization. We weeded out some books for the used book store and Ian tackled the craft/game closet and reorganized it. It’s lovely that he did that because I sometimes have a hard time letting go of things “that we might someday need.” My office needs the same kind of attention. I worked in the garden a bit, pruning the roses and other shrubs, watering, etc. We’re having such a warm winter (I guess to balance our cool 2011 summer?) that I’ve had to water. No rains have come yet and we have roses blooming in January. I have some more planting to do and hope to pick up a few bare-root roses that typically appear in the shops this time of year.

I’m starting a new work project today. The timing couldn’t be better. The quiet of today feels blissful. I can hear myself think again.

Fourth Grade Animal Report

Fennec Fox Report

Lucas is deep into his fourth grade animal report. He is actually done with all the hardest parts. The research is done, the report is written, edited, and the final draft has been done. It’s illuminated beautifully and lacks only an illustration and a cover design. Lucas consulted three books and a website to learn about the African desert fox.

Fennec Fox Report

These last two days before his deadline are dedicated to the art of his report. He has to model his animal in 3-D and create a diorama of the animal in its environment. We are working on how to make a desert scene.

Fennec Fox Painting in Progress

Lucas also has to paint his animal so the painting can be displayed at the front of the class during his oral presentation. He considered watercolors but elected to use acrylics and canvas for his painting. I didn’t see anything in the instructions barring this option, so that’s what he is working on today.

Painterly

He paints with a sort of flair, I think. I love this kid!

He has lots more work to do still, but I’m so proud of how he has approached this extensive, multipart, multimedia project. I am proud of his skill and his artistic eye. I’m also delighted with how easily the writing portion went. I watch him unfolding and expanding and becoming more every day with astonishment and gratitude. Imagine—this amazing, soulful being came to us! And I am honored.

Finished Fennec Fox Painting

Baking

Persimmon Pulp

It’s a domestic arts day. The rye bread dough is rising. Next I’m moving on to the cookies. My friend G gave me persimmons this week and they are beautifully ripe and squishy. So I’m making persimmon cookies to share with friends this evening. I get to spend some time with some of my favorite women in the world tonight to mark a momentous occasion, make some magic, and have a feast together. My heart is full today of memories of wild nights in the woods and adventure, and also of quiet moments in the kitchen with a beautiful mentor. I’ve lit my baking candle and it’s glowing near the dough to warm and encourage the yeastie-beasties to make their happy bubbles, just like she taught me to do.

My boys are out right now, buying supplies for the elving they are doing. They have big, manly plans for working in the garage and I’m told I must keep to myself today, lest I ruin my surprise. This feels just right to me today. My heart is full of my women near and far, and I cannot wait to be surrounded by them tonight. It’s been too long.

Persimmon Cookies

Tough Mudder Nor Cal

Pre-Dawn Drive to Squaw Valley

Our Sunday began at 4:45 a.m., earlier than we ever rise. We dressed, brushed our teeth, threw our things into the car, and then carefully transferred sleeping boys into the vehicle. We drove almost two hours up highway 80, heading toward Squaw Valley, California, to the Nor Cal Tough Mudder. Seriously, check out the Tough Mudder website here. You won’t be sorry you did.

For Charity Number on Your Forehead Don't Throw Up Tie Your Shoes, Mudders

Ian had been training hard for this event since May, when he decided to join our friends NoNo and Mars in this obstacle course extraordinaire, this crazy endurance “race” to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps recently returned wounded veterans. Yes, that means our dearest Daddy and darling friends paid for the privilege to test their meddle against 24 seriously gnarly obstacles designed to challenge both body and mind.

Our arrival at Squaw valley was a joyful, exciting time. Hundreds of participants and spectators milled about reasonably, filling out death waivers and promising not to sue. All Mudders recieved registration packets and race numbers, which were written on their foreheads and bodies for easy identification. One wonders whether they expect participants heads to separate from bodies—well, better safe than sorry.

Team Burndoggle!

This is team Burndoggle. As you can see, spirits were high before the start. Butterflies? Oh yeah! This is some crazy stuff, folks. We in the support crew, our dear friend Dakini and me and our two children, were there to take photos and give high fives and wishes of good luck. Honestly, I’m overjoyed that I got to be present for this. What a day! What a day!

25199 and 25200

An amazing, loving, superb couple, our lovely NoNo and Mars! Lets just say they’ve been training for the Tough Mudder for something like 11 years. Yes, they take their fitness seriously.

Moment with our Boys

Daddy was pumped up and jittery, and took some time before the 8:40 start to love up the boys and play with them. Oh yeah! Asher kept looking at Ian like he was more than a little insane. Frankly, I don’t blame him.

Starting Line Excitement

The Tough Mudder start line was at the base of a huge mountain. It seemed to say, “Get use to it, Mudders, because mountains are going to be your life for the next several hours!” Some Mudders wore funny costumes. I saw ‘fro wigs and matching tights and tutus and teams of friends all in pink scrubs. The National Anthem played before the 8:40 wave was allowed to start. There was crazy cheering and Asher cried because I was making too much noise. A lot of this day was well outside his comfort zone.

We Burndoggle team supporters knew we wouldn’t be able to witness MOST of the Tough Mudder obstacles. (Here is the course map.) But we were there to pass the day, have a great time, and hope for the opportunity to see our friends kicking ass, so we bought tickets for the cable car to take us up to 8,200 feet above sea level. (Asher didn’t much like this part either, but he bravely did as he was told and stuck very close to me. Especially when it started rocking after passing a pylon. Even my stomach did flip-flops while on this thing.)

Gondola, Squaw Valley, CA

Right after we exited this cable car “sky bus” thingy, we emerged at the top of a gorgeous mountain with a vista that stretched all the way to Lake Tahoe in the distance. But that’s not what caught our eye right away. First, we were captivated by the nearby obstacle called Everest—a quarter-pipe against which Mudders threw themselves in the hopes of  scaling it. A group of burly athletes lined the top to help other Mudders over the obstacle. Yes, Mudders, you see work in cooperation. This isn’t a race, per se. It’s more about teamwork and cooperation and facing your fears. These guys at the top were more than happy to haul others up and over the edge. But just jumping high enough to grab one of these body-building helpers’ hands was a huge feat. Most people I watched couldn’t do it. Some did. Mars did it, somehow, when I wasn’t looking. This may be my only regret of the day.

Mudders at Half Pipe

(None of these marvelous people are my people. That’s OK, though. They’re cool!)

NoNo

What was truly thrilling was the fact that Mars, NoNo, and Ian were there when we arrived, waiting for their chance!  There was something of a traffic jam for the Mudders to get over this thing. I hadn’t really dared to hope that we might catch up with them at any point on the course. This was a dream come true. NoNo waited and watched others make their attempts, strategizing all the while, I think.

See the Grit?

Ian's Almost Up

Ian weighed the risks carefully.

Over the Top

NoNo and Ian both climbed the 12-foot half-pipe to get over. Tough Mudder isn’t about doing every obstacle perfectly. It’s about making it through. This Everest was only obstacle 3, I think (after the Kiss of Mud and the Death March). We got kisses and then they were off again, running up an even higher mountain to who knows where? … something about crawling through snow, I later found out.

High Camp View

Dakini and the boys and I followed an alpine meadow trail a ways over to two nearby obstacles: the monkey bars and the rope climb. These were monkey bars on steroids, I tell you. About six lanes of Mudders monkeying uphill to a peak and then downhill to the end of the obstacle. Most fell into the muddy water below. Some made it all the way across. Many made it only part way. I really didn’t ever realize how many different monkey bar styles there were before this day!

Mudders at Monkey Bars

This might be my favorite photos of the monkey bars because of the tights, of course, but it doesn’t convey the numbers of people crossing at once. Crazy. We waited here quite a while, hoping our friends would arrive after having passed through obstacles that we skipped by coming here. We’ll never really know if they went through this section of the course before we arrived here on foot with a 4-year-old, or after we finally gave up hoping to see them.

How Do You Like Tough Mudder? Mudders at Monkey Bars PBJ Sandwich

Right near here was the rope climb, which I later learned was something of a triumph for Ian. At this point the boys were holding up beautifully, especially since I kept feeding them.

High Camp View

The High Camp views were amazing. Truly spectacular. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel small and yet restores your faith in the world because of it.

Us at High Camp, Squaw Valley

Dakini took this great photo of us on top of the world among the mules ears. It was such a gorgeous day!

Flags

Squaw Valley hosted the Olympics in 1960. They have an Olympic Museum, which would be interesting to visit sometime, but we weren’t here for that.

The Downhill

Eventually, we rode the cable car back down the mountain and got the gear bags for our warriors. We ended up waiting under some shade at the cargo net obstacle for quite some time. This is a shot that Lucas took, which clearly shows Mudders coming down a (third?) mountain single file to get to the cargo net. We could see them way at the top as tiny specks, and we must have scanned the outlines of hundreds of descending people, looking for our three darlings, all the while shuffling our feet and hoping.

Tough Mudder Supporters Did a Lot of Waiting

The waiting was hard. Anxious for me. But mostly boring for the boys. I jollied them along as best I could with PBJ sandwiches and pears. Lucas made a little birdie out of a pine cone and bits of wood chips. Asher made a big pile of rocks and then carefully formed the letter A with little sticks. “Mama, look what I made! Is that a A?”

Atop the Cargo Net (Cropped)

After what felt like a long, nail-biting time, Ian emerged on the top of this obstacle. We had spotted our friends snaking down the mountain, and we were cheering like mad when he reached the top and looked right at us. Moments later, NoNo and Mars were there, too. They were close to the end of this ordeal and spirits were very high!

Racing to the Cheering Section for a Kiss

Daddy ran to us. We cheered and applauded. We got hugs and kisses. I snapped many photos of these gorgeous, dusty Mudders. (A gazillion more are on my Flickr stream.)

Dusty and Happy

Don’t they look wonderful? But alas, even though they had scaled the Berlin Walls, carried logs, swam under walls, jumped off high planks, and braved the Chernobyl Jacuzzi already, they weren’t done yet. Two or three other obstacles still remained ….

Helping Hands

Like this balance-beam obstacle called Twinkle Toes. Again, there were many lanes that Mudders could cross. Trouble was, the boards kept wobbling and many people fell into icy-cold water. I’m told the day was punctuated by frequent encounters with icy-cold water.

March of Doomy Electricity

They approached the last obstacle, Electroshock Therapy—a field of electrically charged wires ready to zap Mudders with 10,000 volts as they pass—at a walk. This is one that messes with your mind, I think.

Mars and Ian at Finish (Cropped)

And then they were done. Their reward? A free beer and some food, a T-shirt, and this nifty orange headband.

Ian Exhilarated

Ian was elated, but not quite in his right mind at the finish. Dizzy? Addled? Relieved? Definitely happy!

Ian, NoNo, and Mars

Team Burndoggle’s time was something like 5 hours and 20 to 40 minutes. I don’t know exactly. I was too excited and busy congratulating them and taking photos to check the time. Whatever. They did it! And then much celebration ensued. The grins were worth a million bucks. There was pizza and more beer.

NoNo and Mars

And our Tough Mudders posed for pics in the most delightful ways.

Victory Smiles

And my little, impressionable boys got to see Daddy do something amazing and clearly worthwhile, something he worked hella hard for—which is why I dragged them two hours into the Sierras at the crack of dawn and then up and down mountaintops after all.

Congratulations, NoNo and Mars! You rock!

Congratulations, Ian, my love. You are heroic and mighty! I’m so proud of you.

 

Painting

Oil Painting in Progress

I had my “final” painting class on August 23. We worked on a still life of watermelon on a table draped with black velvet fabric. I tell you, painting black velvet was really tricky for me. Is it green-black? Purple-black? Mixing blacks from transparent ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, and thalo green was quite remarkable. I painted a small 8- by 10-inch canvas that night.

Third Oil Painting

A few days later, while the paints on my palette were still wet, I finished it at home. I elected to work on that black velvet some more—it was looking wimpy—and to dull the green in the rind of one section of melon a bit more. Here’s a photo of the finished, still-wet painting. Such a simple, one-object subject, and yet it presented many challenges. It felt perfectly marvelous to use all those reds!

Above, I said “‘final’ class.” I have to enroll in another session because I’m not done with this yet. I’ve taken a haitus of a couple of weeks now and I and really miss it. I’m hoping to return to class next Tuesday.

To all of my darling friends who made it financially possible and shoved me into this dream of mine (because I wouldn’t go there otherwise), thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’ll never forget this birthday present.

Dear Lucas, Fourth Grader

First Day of Fourth Grade

Darling boy, I usually reserve these letters for birthdays. But I feel the need to write you today, on your first day of fourth grade, and tell you how proud I am of you. You are embarking on what I’m certain is going to be an amazing year. I see your skills blooming every day, and I know that you are ready to take on the world. I am delighted in your many interests. I am astounded by your can-do attitude. I think you have wowed me every day of your life.

I know that some things come easily for you—being creative and solving problems are your superpowers, I think. I also know that you’re going to have to learn some new skills, new discipline, and good habits that will carry your natural talents to the next level. You will be tasked with bigger projects and more involved work. Homework is part of our journey this year. Spelling tests will continue. I am not sure how to teach you to care about these things; I hope that you will automatically, now that you’re older. I am not saying that it’s good to live or die by these things (certainly my own obsession with grades often worked against my best interests). But I do want you to strive. How does a parent teach that?

I don’t know. We’ll be learning together, that much is sure. Our collective brilliance will need some focus this year, of that I am certain. My hope is that we can learn to work effectively together in this new way.

I love you. Here we go!

Mama

Asher’s Art at 4.5 Years Old

"Zombie Blood Splats, Explosions, and Chemicals" Asher's Art, 4.5 Years Old

There’s been another change in Asher’s artwork since I last posted about it in May here, and before that, here. This one above is “Zombie Blood Splats, Explosions, and Chemicals.”

"My Creature Owl" Asher's Art, 4.5 Years Old

“My Creature Owl”

"Doggy" Asher's Art, 4.5 Years Old

“Doggy”

Asher's Art, 4.5 Years Old

Untitled

Asher's Writing (Left-Handed)

Asher’s Writing (left-handed, right to left)

Asher's Art, 4.5 Years Old

Untitled

"Just Scribbles" Asher's Art, 4.5 Years Old

“Just Scribbles”

"A Game With Gold" Asher's Art, 4.5 Years Old

“A Game with Gold”

"Asher, Alex, and Noah Fighting a Black Monster" Asher's Art, 4.5 Years Old

“Asher, Alex, and Noah Fighting a Black Monster”

Marker Writing, with Swords, Asher's Art, 4.5 Years

“It’s About Swords”

Crayon Drawing, Asher's Art, 4.5 Years

“A Game” This one looks like a form drawing! Something he won’t be asked to do in school for another two years. This stuff is fascinating to me.

Crayon Drawing, Asher's Art, 4.5 Years

“BattleBetween a Fire Octopus and a Blue Guy”

LEGO Robotics Camp

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A couple of weeks ago, Lucas and some buddies got a golden opportunity to study robotics with a young champion robot engineer. They basically built a LEGO Robotics Summer Camp for a handful of lucky fourth-grade Waldorf kids. Above is the robot that Lucas and his partner, R, built.

Lucas Working on the Program

The boys got to use LEGO Mindstorms parts, complete with a programmable brain, light sensors, eyes, etc.  Although Lucas is a champ at building with LEGO, this was different! This was pretty much his first experience working with a computer, apart from a 10-minute learning game once in a while.

LEGO Robotics Camp

The boys worked in teams, building three different robots of their own design. On the last day of camp, we gathered for a final challenge.

IMG_4544

The robots had to follow a prescribed, programmed path, turn, advance to pick up a baton, turn again, and carry the baton and deposit it into a holding bin. Along the way, the robots were supposed to push a ball into the holding bin, too. This is a photo of Lucas and R’s robot on a trial.

Waldorf Boys Learning Computers

This is a challenging task! Being off even a few degrees at one point in the path makes the robot wildly off course later on. During the challenge, the kids made lots of minute tweaks to the robots’ programs.

"Yes!" Blurry Moment of Victory!

Several robots succeeded in completing the challenge at least once. Here’s their (blurry) moment of victory.

The Guys

The taped table gave the robots’ sensors clues about where they were.

Teammates and Partners

I think this six-afternoon camp was challenging in many ways, but also super cool. You can tell they had a great time, even though some afternoons were uncomfortably hot.

LEGO Robot

I think this is S’s robot, ready for a run. So great!

Lucas and R Pose with Their Robot

At they end they all got certificates of completion. Can you think of better way to motivate boys to learn than combining good friends, LEGO, computers, problem solving, and mentorship?

LEGO Robotics Camp Group

Don’t they look grand with their robots and coach Karl in the back? Little geniuses every one of them!

LEGO Robotics Camp Group Crazy

And goofy boys, too.

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I'm Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2017 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    "Love doesn't just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new." —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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