Monday, May 08, 2006

Beam Me Up, Beowulf

One of the things that I love most about unschooling is all the cool and wonderful connections that are made in the interactions of daily life, the way one thing leads to another until you've followed a path of interesting things to some new and exciting place.

This week, it was an episode of Star Trek that led us to Beowulf, which led us to the linguistic studies of J.R.R. Tolkien, which led to a discussion of how languages form, which led to looking up the story of the Tower of Babel, which led us to research whether or not the Tower of Babel actually existed someplace, which led to a discussion of ziggurats vs. pyramids, which will lead who knows where...

It all started with an episode of Star Trek Voyager in which some of the characters are trapped in the Holodeck in a reinactment of Beowulf in which Grendel actually turns out to be an incarnation of a life form made of photonic energy (someone with a good imagination or some really good drugs thinks up these plots.) In any case, we are now reading Beowulf as a bedtime story. We might not be taking the linear path: Little Red Riding Hood leads to Frog and Toad, which leads to Harry Potter, and sometime when you hit college you might get to Beowulf (unless you encounter it in a high school AP English class, at which point you may or may not be interested in what it has to offer). But the path we're taking is always engaging and fascinating, always relevant, and always feels like an exciting adventure through the accumulated knowledge of the universe. Who knows where we'll go tomorrow?

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