After the kids went to bed last night, I took a look at the decoder and the coded message from our Wonderful Objects box as I was writing my blog post. Even substituting the paw prints for bird feet, I still couldn’t crack the code. I shoved it back in the box and joined Saïd to watch an episode of “House of Cards”.

This morning, Zahra got it back out again. As I washed the breakfast dishes, she scribbled on a piece of paper, turned the decoder a dozen different ways, muttered under her breath.

cracking the code“I got it!” she exclaimed. She rushed to the sink to show me, and sure enough, she had figured it out. It was all in the details. It took a clever eye and sharp attention to details. She had cracked the code. Zahra got to work writing down the message on her scrap paper. She then fixed the capitalization and punctuation and presented it to me like a treasure:

B.I.G. will soon learn secret of power of wing. Warn other guardians. Keep other powers safe.

Eeeeek! It’s so exciting. I suggested she write it out on a cleaner piece of paper to store in the box—but she already had.

It didn’t take us weeks to crack the code, but even spreading it over those two days, and the fact that it wasn’t obvious, was so rewarding. It reminded me of why I feel such a connection with the project-based homeschooling method: it’s about the long-term process, overcoming obstacles, taking a step back sometimes to rework a hypothesis or a model, seeing a problem through many lenses. It’s the opposite of “learn-this-now-you’re-done”. It’s challenging, and it’s about framing challenge in a positive manner.

lotion barsKimberley and her kids came over today. She brought the supplies to make lotion bars and sugar scrubs, and the finished products look—and smell—good enough to eat. In fact, Leila tried to eat them. The boys chased each other around the house, fiddled with Snap Circuits, played outside, and finally settled into a game of chess. The girls worked on their play, played ponies and then went outside to collect sticks and build a trap.

droneLater, while I made dinner, Saïd took the kids outside to test his drone. It’s still not flying, so Saïd is constantly making little tweaks and testing it again. I reminded him that we embrace the long-term process. I got a grunt in return.

Zahra continued to work outside, declining dinner because she was “in the zone”. Finally, she called me out there to show me the trap she had made. She did an excellent job! We moved it up on the deck for the night, and tomorrow she will make a trigger.


It was in the middle of dinner that we remembered we had our online secret meeting for Wonderful Objects. We hurriedly turned on the computer. It wasn’t exactly what we thought it would be. Apparently, even people who do not subscribe to the box can contribute to the forum, and there are dozens of pages of threads that we’re behind on. I found the whole thing to be overwhelming since members are taking their story ideas on tangents. I contacted the admin for help and was given a link to the posts that are “official”, so we will weed our way through those this weekend. I’m not sure how much we’ll use this part of the product, though.

As I finish this up, Leila is asleep and Zahra and Noah are working on writing a secret language. I’m hoping that means they’ll sleep in tomorrow morning!