adventures in unschooling



I have been trying to get Cassius to play chess with me for years. By the death of his first pawn he would become frustrated and decide he wanted to make up the rules himself. So we never got very far.

The other day he said he wanted to play, so we sat down for a game. I prepared myself for a miserable time. I didn’t get what I was expecting. I couldn’t believe I was playing with the same person who a few months ago would stomp off in anger after five minutes. He beat me good. I didn’t even see it coming. We played three games in a row. (The really amazing thing was that Paris let us play.) I did win once, and to my surprise Cassius just said “Lets play again!”

When exactly did he learn how to play? It certainly wasn’t by practicing. Again, my feeling that a lot of learning happens when we can’t see it, has been confirmed.

I was afraid to give him any tips because I know he’s going to be better that me before I know it. It’s great to play with someone who keeps me on my toes! We’ve left the board on the table, and play a game when we get up,before we go to bed, and many times inbetween. It’s really fun.

Unwillingly, I must admit that I suspect that Cassius’ recent obsession with Gameboy is to thank for his sudden transformation of abilities. Chess and Zelda both take concentration, strategy, and a willingness to fail and try again. Perhaps he was practicing chess by playing on his Gameboy. It’s very possible, but I still hate the thing!

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