Note: This post was written in two parts, one in the early afternoon, and one a bit later. We sold one of our two vehicles over the weekend, and while we may have done this anyway for environmental reasons under other circumstances, the pressing reason was financial. And so, it was complicated. I am deeply, deeply grateful to good friends who write beautiful, honest, and kind emails in response to the midnight blatherings of bothered minds.
I do have to tell you I did not put as much effort into this post as I like to do. Today, I mostly tried to keep it together, and to not tinge my children's good moods with my anxiety and other difficult feelings. I take some comfort on days such as this in some (not all) of the ideas I found in Tom Hodgkinson's book The Idle Parent, namely that sometimes we can leave them to their own devices and they will be not only fine, but happy. In other words, getting right smack in the middle of whatever they're doing is not always preferable, maybe not even often preferable.
That is a great relief on days like today. Today I did brush and braid my hair, and I did fix almond butter and honey sandwiches and attach costumes at the neck and turn the TV on and off and to various channels, all as requested. But when I wasn't requested, I sat on the couch to sit and think and knit a little bit on my scarf and tell myself the kind and sensible things one sometimes tells one's self, such as, "It's OK to be sad. It's not forever. And the kids are fine, and happy."
And as it sometimes happens, things changed. About ten minutes after I composed the above, Woody came to me with this big, sharp hunk of broken green glass, which the dog had turned up in yet another attempt to turn our backyard into an excavation site, and which I posed here on the edge of Woody's turnip and radish bed.
"It appears to be the bottom of some kind of bottle, or maybe a cup, like dad's beer cups," he said.
"Yep. Looks like it might be kind of old. Or not. It's hard to tell with glass," I said.
"Like maybe somebody threw out their garbage back here? Or maybe they buried it."
"But it's not as old as the Indians."
"What makes you say that?"
"Because for the things we use glass for, they used things like, you know, for drinks and stuff, they used pottery."
"Hmm. Before the Europeans got here, I do believe you're right. Also, some gourds, maybe. But they probably used a mix of stuff after that. They liked to trade stuff, both the Europeans and the Indians."
"We should throw it away so nobody steps on it."
"You're probably right. We should."
And so ended our exchange. He went back to playing outside with his brother. There was a game of being the bomb squad, I think. My garden gloves were part of one uniform or another. A black strap that went to an old computer bag of Daddy Honey, too. And I stayed outside not to insert myself so much, and not even to participate (uninvited), either, but rather to be handy for the next treasure that the dog or conversation turned up.
My son Woody turned six in November of 2011. That would have been the kindergarten year for most kids, 180 days that mark the beginning of the school career. But Woody did his learning in the big, wide, beautiful world, without school being a part of it.
I'm Teresa Honey, and I kept this blog to document this time in my son's life, to share pictures and stories with far-away friends and relatives, and to add ours to the many stories of families living rich, engaging, loving lives with learning happening all the time and in many forms, totally inseparable from every other part of being human.
Here you'll find 180 or so learning moments recorded from August, 2011 to April, 2012 in the life of a 5-turned-6-year-old radically unschooled kid.