1 August 2011

unschool monday :: super sleuth


I've mentioned before that Big Owlet is fascinated by all things spy and detective at the moment. I'm not entirely sure that she knows what one actually is, but she's role playing as a way to understand it. Much like she did with faeries when she way three. She's set up her top bunk as a private hide-out and detective office. She wears the clothes when we go out and reads Nancy Drew books into the wee hours. She hit a stumbling point last week though. She wanted to be a real detective. Just like her faerie fascination, the longing to make the play into reality made her sad...


So we sent her on a mission. Huz and I talked it over one night when big owlet was sleeping and he sat down to write a mystery for her to solve. She had to follow a series of clues and puzzles to answer a question. In the process, she worked on her spelling, learned how to use a calculator and had to think laterally (not something that comes easily to 7yo). This is the brilliant bit of unschooling where we follow their interests and all sorts of learning happens along the way. We've covered History and Geography too, among other things that week. We also tick off the career development requirement for our registration with this one, I suppose... Anyhow, she loved it. She loved it so much that she forgot to eat and by the time we realised, were on our way into town. The next step was to find a book at the library. The Eleventh Hour, by Graeme Base. A book full of secret codes and mysteries to solve. Unfortunately the library's copy went missing and the Librarian was not feeling up to the case, so we went and bought it from the book shop instead...


But oh what a fun day! And when she did finally sit down with the book and some food, she loved it. And she's still going with cracking the codes. She's asked for a new case everyday. Or at least once a week. Unless there's something else she'd rather be. It's looking like Magician might be next.


  1. If she's loving cracking codes there's a pretty involved code to crack in Graeme Base's "Enigma" also.
    Happy detecting :)

  2. OH What a fun day!! Look at that gorgeous face, having a ball. You guys are awesome! What a superb idea xo

  3. What a lovely idea - I hope you're man is up to the "Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote)" challenge of a new mystery to solve every day!!

    We've been enjoying the Busytown Mysteries (Richard Scarry - books and tv and website) but Big Owlet may be a bit old for those now! I think Greame Base is much more of a challeneg and certainly better for learning!!

  4. How fantastic. I love her style - part Holmes part cool cat!

    Actually I would be amazed if we ever actually found a book we were looking for at the library. Griff's one request today was for a Maisy book. Any Maisy book. Too easy, I thought. Do you think I could find a single Maisy book on the shelf?

    Oh, and I can absolutely see that magician phase lurking around the corner!

  5. I LOVE this, Lauren! How wonderful that your husband created a Real Mystery for her to solve. That's just too, too awesome. It looks like your girl had a blissful day.

    And I love that she has a Sleuthing outfit for all her Mystery Solving! My boy has a beloved trench coat that he wears for many different games and plays. I think dressing up and truly Being in the Moment is the coolest.

    And yes, to all the learning that happens when kids (and adults too) follow their interests! :)

  6. Oh, i remember totally being into spies and mysteries and stuff - i was a bit older than big Owlet though....that is awesome you created a real mystery for her to solve - very cool. And her detective style is awesome!


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