Today, so far, has been bright with conversation.
On the way to pick up the milk this morning, I tuned into a conversation between the boys at this point:
W: No, duh-duh-duh. See how dog starts with that duh sound? That's a d. Dog starts with D.
F: Like our dogs at home? Brodie and Caddy?
W: No, all dogs. Not just our dogs at home.
F: And tigers.
W: No. Tiger is tuh-tuh-tuh. Tiger starts with T.
F: That's not right!
W: (frustated) Yes it is! It is right!
Me: Woody, you don't have to be angry about that. Fox is two. Two-year-olds see the world a little different.
W: But I'm telling him the right way!
Me: You saw things the wrong way when you were two, too. That's just what it's like to be two. You used to play board games the wrong way. You used to like to just collect all the pieces and then tell everyone you won. That was fun for you as a two year old. It's really OK.
W: Mom, we're not doing backstory here. We're doing right now.
Cheeky, right? I find that delightful. He lifted the phrase from Tangled. The disrespectful or rude stuff is not so delightful, but the holding-one's-own, I cheer. I'm sure there's something from my own childhood buried deep there, but I'm OK with that. I think it's much preferable for kids to be confident and to learn tact and respect than to be damaged and learn passive-aggression.
Another conversation was between him and the woman at the co-op customer service desk where they have a small terrarium of hermit crabs with painted shells. I only caught a bit of that one, as Fox prefers to walk rather than ride in the cart these days and I have to pay close attention to where he is and what he's doing. But I could tell that Woody was asking the woman about the crabs, and she opened up the terrarium to show him one, and she lifted a half-log to show him where another one was hiding. She asked if he wanted to hold one, and he smiled and declined. I can't be sure what he learned about crabs in that moment, but I saw that he was confident enough to walk up to the counter and ask a question, and that he got that question and others answered by someone who was willing to engage him.
And finally, I asked him to help me with a thank-you card to our across-the-street neighbor who works at our favorite bakery and who brought us a beautiful loaf of bread last night. I wrote on the inside, and he drew the picture. He delivered it to her with Daddy Honey, and told her all about "Spooky Fence for a Graveyard with Falling Bones." She was delighted.
Chatty days make it easy to feel great about homeschooling. You can pretty well check things off in your head while you're listening--learning letters, letter sounds, spelling, check. Learning about crustaceans--check. Learning about positive social interactions and a bit of social customs--check. It's good to remember this on doubtful days. Tuning in and just listening gives you a lot of information about what's going on in your kid's brain.
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.