Waldorf schools inspire a lot of projects. In fact, every single lesson has an art component.
Cole has built a cave dwelling, sculpted an otter that lived in a real water stream, the Roman Coliseum and something that required a lot of sand. I can’t remember the project, but I do remember the sand because Joe was rather phobic about sand in the house and kept insisting the container the project was built in was leaking. Cole loves these projects, and the more challenging, the better. Joe was good at helping Cole figure out how to bring his ideas to reality without taking the project over. I could manage the supply list and insist that the sand could be contained. We were a good family team.
However, Team Ruscitti suffered a loss before the high school years began, when Joe became dearly departed Joe. This meant (among other things, of course) I was left to support Cole as he pursued projects that included electricity, batteries, math and measuring. I’m a mom. I staple, hot glue gun, and use duct tape with wild abandonment. I don’t weld, hold wires together or double check the circumference of anything. Yes, I know there are many fabulous women engineers—and perhaps some of them are even moms out there in the world—but guess what? I’m not one of them.
Currently one of Cole’s classes is Electricity and Magnetism, and he announced he wanted to build a linear induction motor for his class. I just smiled and nodded supportively…you may have guessed that I knew nuthin’ about no linear induction motor. The first obstacle was finding how-to directions. Cole immediately fell into frustration and despair and came to me hanging from his last thread of self-esteem, announcing he could not even start the project because he could not find decent instructions.
Cole: MOM! I have been searching for hours and I can’t find any directions for making a linear induction motor.
Me: Really? Where did you look?
Cole (looking at me like I was a slow mom): YouTube.
Me: Did you search anywhere else? Like under “DIY projects”?
Cole: MOM, if the directions were there, they would be on YouTube. Maybe I should just go to Lowe’s and search around.
Me: Ok, go ahead. Please bring me a Starbucks on the way home.
Boys and men alike seem to feel comforted by a trip to a hardware store to look for supplies and tools for a project that may or may not exist. I guess it’s a guy thing. I was hopeful he would find a wannabe older brother or dad at Lowe’s who always wanted a younger brother or son to build a linear induction motor with. Stranger things have happened.
While Cole was gone, I decided to do a little linear motor research beyond YouTube. I went directly to Facebook and typed, “Does anyone know where we can find instructions for building a linear induction motor?” Some friends were most helpful than others.
Rachel: Oh darn…I threw mine away yesterday.
Julianne: You’re kidding, right?
Two more helpful friends threw out links. One was to a doctoral paper, which was a tad overwhelming, and another pointed us to a YouTube video. When Cole returned home glum and without a surrogate dad or brother (but with my Starbucks!), I showed him the video.
Cole (in his “slow mom” tone, accompanied by a gentle smile): I. Saw. It. Mom.
Me: Did you search for instructions to the project using the kid’s name?
Ha! Point for Mom as Cole admitted he had not done that search.
We quickly did a Google search, and it annoyed me when we didn’t turn up anything. Cole was all like, SEE MOM, I TOLD YOU. I was right—those instructions don’t exist. Ha ha ha. He didn’t actually say that, but I’m a mom and I was once a kid…so I knew that was what he was thinking.
I stared at Cole hard and said, “Well, the kid on the video made his linear induction motor for a science fair project. I wonder what would happen if we searched “science fair projects?” (Insert evil laugh.)
Cole was worried now. Sure enough, under the search for “science fair projects,” there were several sets of directions for linear induction motors.
I smiled victoriously. I threw up my hands and yelled, “YEAH, MOM!” Cole looked at me, smiled broadly and said, “I knew you could find those instructions, Mom.”
Tonight I am going to stay up late and make a bumper sticker for Cole’s car and then sneak out and Super Glue it to the bumper of his car…