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.

Monday, October 17, 2011

36




Yesterday the boys really began to notice the Halloween decorations around town, and Woody lamented the fact that we'd gotten rid of most of ours before we moved. (And now that I think about it, why did we? How much room would our package of polyester spiderweb and a couple of plastic pumpkins have taken up? I blame that decision on the stress of the moment.)

So, today began with the mission to "make our house look spooky." I had a few craft projects in mind, but Woody asked specifically for the spider web stuff, so we went to the dollar store looking for it. No dice. But! We did find packages of plastic severed fingers and four-packs of small plastic skeletons. The boys were excited. On the way home, we talked about the word sever, meaning to cut or separate from the whole, and about how fingers go about getting severed. (Big knives, axes, and saws were things he thought of.)

Back at home we opened everything up. Fox wanted to take his skeletons apart, so we talked about the pelvis as the legs came out of socket, and we talked about the abdominal cavity where most of the organs are, and of course, the rib cage and skull and spine. Back to the severed fingers, we talked about phalanges and metacarpals, bones of the fingers and hands.



And then! This was my favorite part. Then, the boys started just playing around with the bones of the skeletons. Woody made this fence out of a couple of legs and arms and skulls.



I suddenly remembered a woman whose story captured Daddy Honey's imagination while he was working on the Florida Memory Project: Aunt Aggie, an African American former slave who grew vegetables and made tinctures to sell in Lake City, Florida, and who made a boneyard garden that became a tourist attraction in the early part of the 20th century. So we looked through those pictures online and talked about art, and the impulse to create, and how some artists are trained, and others, such as Aunt Aggie, are not, and how nice it is that anybody, anywhere can make art with what they have available to them.