Monday, December 15, 2008

rabbit trails

I know I always talk about my "favorite" thing about homeschooling... and with every post it's something different. Well... today one of my favorite things about homeschooling is the freedom to follow "rabbit trails".

I decided to document one of Alex's recent trips down a rabbit trail.

It started with this book...

It was given to us by a friend.... totally random book to read. After reading the book, Alex came to me to tell me that it was cool... in the book the kids communicated by Morse Code. He thought this was a made-up code for the book, so when I told him it was real, he got very excited. I found a key for the code online and printed it out for him.

The next thing I knew, he was a note writing machine...

He was busy writing notes for me, Jeff, Clara and his friends. He loved writing them and decoding the notes we wrote back.

On my next trip to the library, I picked up a couple of books for him...Top Secret: A Handbook of Codes, Ciphers and Secret Writing

and another book I can't find right now (but I hope I do before it's due!).

In these books they give examples of many different secret codes and brief histories of these codes. In the book I can't find, it mentioned a special code that was part of an old radio show called The Shadow. He wanted to know what I knew about it.... which happened to be very little.

So, we went snooping around the internet and found that the episodes where available as free downloads from iTunes...
So now, we've had exposure to an old time radio drama!

The trail continues though. He was looking for a new book to read and chose this one...
Wright 3

Codes played a role in the first book of this series (Chasing Vermeer) so that piqued his interest to start this one. I have a feeling that this book will take us down a path that includes looking at books of Frank Lloyd Wright's work and perhaps a trip to the Robie House for the Wright 3 tour.

It's been a fabulous learning adventure... an adventure started by one random book but lead us down a path that benefited us in so many ways.... history, spelling, grammar, logic, math, etc. And it was all done with passion and excitement... not just skimming the surface... but diving down deep. I can't even imagine what the difference would have been had I assigned him a report on the topic of Morse Code instead.

Now this rabbit trail is leading me to add more books to my Amazon wish list.... sigh.

Here's my most recent addition...
The Cryptoclub: Using Mathematics to Make and Break Secret Codes

We aren't at the end of this trail yet... I can't wait to see where else we have to go! :-)

1 comment:

Lori said...

love this kind of learning. :^)