I Didn’t Do It, Did You Do It? If You Didn’t Do It, Then Whodunit?

Mysteries are good fodder for figuring, for being observant, for paying attention to the tiny details.  Some kids have the eagle eye, wherein they don’t miss anything.  Others bounce blissfully unaware through events, leaving not a trace that they saw anything.  Which one is your child?  Somewhere in the middle?  Max has an eagle eye.  In fact, that’s his nickname.  He misses NOTHING.  I miss most everything because I live in my head.  Ask me what color the car was that just went by and I’ll stare at you blankly.  What car?  I didn’t see a car.  Who cares about the color of the car that just went by?  Guess it’s a matter of principle, that question.  What engages your brain and what can you let slide?  Maybe noticing a car is a bad example here – we should pay attention to cars as much as possible when we are on or near the road!

Well, how about a good mystery to encourage engagement in your surroundings?  If you look at mysteries that way, they can make for a worthwhile component of schooling!  Not to mention that it’s probably really gratifying to solve a mystery – learning to think critically and examine problems from many perspectives will serve our children well.  This sort of process is buried deep within a good mystery!

Here are some items that fit the bill well.  Click on the pictures to link to more information:

Mindware carries these.  Some 245 short mysteries and puzzles to get you thinking and solving.

Similar idea – this is a deck of 52 mysteries and below you can see deck #2.

Historical mysteries – what a great combination!  There are many books in this series and they look good.  Product review states:  “designed to both entertain and teach valuable lessons from United States history, this book follows two young detectives as they solve mysteries from the nation’s past. Ninth in a popular series, this book features more maps, photos, and puzzles to be examined as Meg and Peter race across the country—from Plymouth, Massachusetts to San Francisco, California—to figure out the historical mysteries. Children are encouraged to participate in solving the mystery by answering questions, figuring out codes, and searching pictures for clues while learning important lessons about history, geography, and diversity.”

This series of books I blogged about awhile ago in a post about art history games.  Here’s what I wrote:

This isn’t a ‘game’ per say, but you’ll need a notebook and pen to ferret out the clues to help solve an art mystery.  You as the reader must help the curator determine which paintings are fake and which are real by working through various clues so that a show can be saved.  There are two other books in this series.  Highly recommended by readers as engrossing.

So, you can learn about famous works of art along with working out the solution to ‘whodunit?’

The Mysterious Benedict Society. 210 ratings and comes in at 4 1/2 stars.  Well, let’s say 4 3/4 stars, it’s probably that good!  Touted as a totally captivating read.  The author, Trenton Lee Stewart sprinkles his story with all kinds of knotty situations and problems to puzzle out – the reader might find himself stopping often to take a minute and just think.  That’s good practice!  This is the first book in a series of three books, the latest which was published in October of 2009.  Without a doubt, these are now on my ‘to read aloud yet this year’ list.

This is a board game.  From a reviewer on Amazon:  “My 8-year-old and I love this game. We play cooperatively which makes for a very pleasant, quick game, filled with natural learning for both of us! It is often silly, for example it will give a “sounds like” clue, rather than real mystery solving, but we rate it very highly and play a lot.”

I like interesting tangents that can be reframed and utilized in homeschooling.  This is one of those tangents that certainly could be fun to play with together.  I’m placing this post in the math category because it probably fits best there regarding the type of problem-solving that is required to solve a good mystery!

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