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.

Friday, October 7, 2011


As one might have expected, Woody woke up this morning and asked that we not leave the house today. Today is Friday, which is our homeschool playgroup day. He has a couple of new little buddies--Kavi and Arlo (Arlo, as in Arlo Guthrie, and Woody, as in Woody Guthrie--his mom and I find it ever so amusing that they found each other in the world!)--whose company he adores, but I think he knew he wasn't quite ready for the attention the new haircut would probably draw.

So it was a day at home. We--and I do mean we, as Woody can do this as well as I can--put up the tent in the backyard and played in, out, and around it well into the afternoon. The scenarios mostly featured zombies--zombies versus police officers, zombies running errands for the zombie queen, zombies sharing popcorn and watching favorite movies in the tent in 3-D.

I like this part of homeschooling, the part that's wide as the sky and adaptable to nurture many needs. Not quite feeling up for the world? Let's stay home. Better yet, let's put up our cozy backyard home! Feeling inspired by monsters? Go with it; give everybody a part to play. Don't want to stop for lunch? We'll grab some fruit now and make sandwiches later. Tired? Take a snooze on the sun-warmed couch.

I could have pressed the issue of going to homeschool playgroup. I could have tried to talk him into it, used his friends as leverage, and made the point that he's going to have to get used to the idea that people are going to notice his haircut, so might as well start right away.

But that felt off.

There are plenty of times in our lives that circumstances beyond our control push us toward actions that are uncomfortable for us. But I think we are happier when we get a say in it. Maybe "get back in the saddle" has its place, but it's probably a pretty narrow place. Most of the time, I think it's far better to give ourselves--or anybody else--the kindness of friendship and time to heal, to regroup, to find our feet again. I think the other side of the "get back in the saddle" coin might be "be gentle with yourself," and in my own life, I've liked the results of the latter much better.

In deference to his sensitivity, the two or so dozen times today that I wanted to rub his sweet little head and tell him how much I liked his haircut and how glad I was that he was my little boy, I refrained. (But I did let those mama feelings stir in my heart, and we did have a pretty terrific day.)