Silliness: The Magic K-12 Ingredient

I recently had the opportunity to meet and play with two kids who are being home schooled in the Pacific Northwest woods. The boy is 12 and the girl is 6 going on 20. Both are wicked smart, very polite and delightful to goof around with.

I was given a new nickname, Ingrid of Mystery. I haven’t taught public school for a while now so jumped on the chance to do some educational play through the mail. With their parent’s permission, I sent them a Box of Mystery, that also contained a Letter of Mystery.  The box is designed to make learning “effortfully effortless” because it is not coercive and is done with silliness.  This is formal learning that feels like informal learning.

The letter is below. (My printer/scanner is quixotic, so I used my phone camera.)  There are writing prompts for cursive, as well as opportunities to learn about Geology, Ecology, Biology, History and maybe a little English Literature.  It contains vocabulary words that are also hints.  I created the box for both ages as well as both genders (although I am NOT NOT NOT a proponent of gendered education, the 12 year old is very gender conscious which is expected for his stage of development.)

They have the choice to complete whatever they want.  Hopefully, they do everything.

If the reaction to this prototype box is positive…well the next question is one of scale. 😉