One of the ways Jim stays involved in the kids' unschooling is to bring home brainteaser challenges for them every once in while. We've had a relatively typical, I guess, back and forth with regards to unschooling, Jim being the consummate skeptic and reluctant practitioner. With time, however, he's really been able to see lots of the learning that goes on naturally and come even to embrace the more relaxed pace our lives.
Periodically, however, he has that feeling of, "Okay, so unschooling works, but what if we aren't offering enough?" So, one of the ways I tried to find a way to honor that concern was to bring home a giant book of brainteasers I found at the local warehouse club.
If Jim wanted to be more proactive, then this seemed like a way to do that while still keeping things light and fun and voluntary for the kids. It's also been a great way for him to feel connected to our unschooling and to the kids while at work.
We'll, it's turned out to be a huge success with some tweaking along the way...like the kids requesting private time to work on the challenge rather than feeling the competition of working on it together, for instance, which took away from the fun of the individual challenge. This is the most recent challenge Jim brought home for the kids, "The Impossible Domino Challenge," and the one that's most lent itself to a blog post. The upper photo was Emily's first attempt, while the lower photo is Julia's solution. After a few tears but shear determination (Jules has the patience of Job, and always has!), Julia was the first to get it to work. Well, actually, this is Julia's second successful building, but the first to stay up long enough to take a photo, and in fact to stay up long enough for her father to get home from work and see it with his own eyes.