It's hard for me to have people over for dinner. I have the merest bit of social anxiety when it comes to my own house; I have a hard time relaxing while others are here, I never think it's clean enough, and I always worry they're judging me (even though I'm only friends with lovely people who would never do that). Also, for hours and hours afterward, I replay every snippet of conversation, convinced that I said something hurtful or awkward or off-putting. It's exhausting, and not much fun.
But I have been pushing myself to the edge of that comfort level this past couple of years in order to forge and strengthen social connections that I really value, and to bring beloved and interesting people more fully into my kids' lives. Back in Tallahassee, I made it a more or less bimonthly thing, but I'm hoping to get to the point where I can do it monthly.
Tonight is our first dinner guest, our next-door neighbor Gabrielle. She is kind and clever and unassuming, which is a good way for me to start, and plus she is my neighbor. I have always wanted to be easy friends with my neighbors, though it didn't always work out that way.
But I have not a picture to show you. I couldn't pull it off: "Hey, uh, can I take a picture for my blog of you eating your lentils?"
So, I will tell you that Woody had wonderful fun with her. It's obvious she finds him terrifically amusing. She giggled profusely at his gruesome description of how he, as a zombie, would go about decapitating her. And for his part, he could hardly wait for her to finish a sentence before jumping in with something else to tell her or show her. There was more than one occasion for me to remind Woody that "excuse me" was considered by most to be more polite than "hey!" when trying to get someone's attention, and once, when he came in with a real, loaded Nerf gun and shot one foam bullet over our heads into the kitchen, I told him how unsettling that was, and he didn't do it again.
When she went home, still smiling, he said, "Well that was nice, wasn't it?" So I'll call it a success.
Here's to a new tradition, a monthly or more frequent invitation to new friends to share time and food with us.
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.