In our first grade Language Arts block last year, I introduced the letter "X" through the story of Pirate Jack looking for buried treasure. We accompanied him on his journey-- pacing out the steps with him and pretending to dig alongside him for the bounty. It wasn't long before our mutual work uncovered a large treasure chest. Upon opening it, the pirate discovered more gold and precious jewels than any of us will ever see in our lifetime. He would be a rich man, indeed, if he were interested in all this "wealth." But he wasn't. He kept digging through that chest until he uncovered the real wealth. And old, dilapidated book of stories that belonged to his great, great grandpappy. The pages were loose, the spine ripped, the cover well-worn and askew... but Pirate Jack was beside himself with joy. He walked away from the gold and jewels clutching the old book to his chest and grinning madly.
I'm wont to agree with Pirate Jack.
Recently we have come into possession of a large lot of lovely, old books. We are a family passionate about reading. Addicted, one might say, to the pleasure of well-written, simple, pure-hearted books. Surely, we read a bit of candy here and there. But lovely old books are a staple of our literary diet. And nothing tickles me more.
I was fortunate enough to find a few of these gems sifting through stacks at the used bookstore and in library discard. Others were given to my children as gifts from an elderly neighbor who is cleaning out her attic. And the last one, The Wee Scotch Piper, I found in a Scottish shop while Einstein was trying to buy a new drone reed for his bagpipes. I thought it was a decorative display, but to my utter delight, it was for sale!
The one book of the lot that was the most surprising find of all is Our Singing World: Singing and Rhyming, a U.S. school song book copyright 1950 by Ginn and Company, republished in 1957. I picked it up at the used bookstore for a mere $2. It's chock full of songs that we have already come to know and love through various Waldorf resources and contains countless others that we WILL come to know and love. It's a real treasure.
As an added bonus, every song has musical notation. I plopped open the book and picked out a morning song aptly titled, "Morning Song." I started singing it, and before long the girls started singing along with me. Sunburst came over to where I was sitting and asked if she could have a turn looking at the words. I handed the book over to her, and next thing I knew she had hauled over the toy piano and began trying to plink out the notes. YES!
So what's a mom to do, but grab out a pentatonic flute and play along with her. She had to fudge it a bit since the toy piano doesn't give you a whole lot of scale to work with. I had to fudge it a little bit too, since the song has more notes than the pentatonic scale. We ended up having a little talk about "fudging" it, musically. I'm planning on sticking with this same song for a week or so to see where it takes us.
Morning Song (Swiss Folk Song translated by Margaretta Wassali)
The sun is shining brightly. Get up, Katerlin.
The birds are singing sweetly. Get up, Katerlin.
Hurry up, out of bed. Time for breakfast, sleepy head.
Ding-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling. Get up, sleepy head.
The rabbits jump and scamper. Get up, Katerlin.
The cows are in the pasture. Get up, Katerlin.
As if that wasn't joy enough, there's also a knitting song. A knitting song! And yes, I'll post it soon. Sunburst just cast-on for a new project, so I think we'll be singing this one next. But right now, I've got to go clear a shelf to hold all this glorious treasure.