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, November 14, 2011

51

We went to an Icelandic Sheep farm today. Woody was not enthusiastic about going, though he wasn't opposed to it, either. While he loves romping and playing in big, open places, animals aren't really his thing, and neither is fiber. But, I thought there would still be some fun to be had, and that he'd find some parts interesting. I packed a lunch I knew he'd like, and I had pistachios as car snacks, which went far toward establishing a good mood.


The trip was organized by a mama in the secular homeschooling group to which we belong. We don't do all of the group activities, but I am grateful for this laid-back group where people come together as suits them. This other mother lives on a farm, and one of her daughters wants to keep this kind of sheep. So, she was sharing the investigative experience by inviting others to attend the tour, too.

The cracks at the base of this outgoing fellow's horns are from sparring with the other yearling rams; it's mating season, and they get a little pushy with each other.

The sheep were lovely, compact, and beautifully fleeced. They were mostly very friendly, and the ones that weren't friendly just ran away when we came up. But Marilyn, the farmer, let us into their pens to pet and feed them. The kids got right down there with the sheep.





Except Woody. He did not much care for the close encounters. He collected rocks while the rest of us hung out with the yearling rams.


Fox was having a terrific time. He doesn't always like being outside, but he does love animals. He really, really loves animals.

About this time, when we went to the barn to visit with Dahlia the donkey and Blossom the Great Pyrenese, Woody started complaining about wanting to go home. I tried to help him see how much enjoyment Fox was getting out of the trip, and how we were doing a kindness to Fox by helping him get as much out of the experience as he could. He relaxed a little, though his grump persisted some, and we all went back to the farmhouse to see the products Marilyn gets from her sheep.


And it turns out, Fox loves soft fiber, too. This was one of several pelts she had. She had roving and yarns, too, as well as several garments and accessories knitted and woven from her sheep's beautiful wool.



There, to the left in the green chair, is the boy who is ready to leave.

As things were winding down, several of the kids asked to go see the chickens. Marilyn said it was OK, so the girls went hunting for eggs (they found two) and the boys played in the corn meal feeder. This was the perfect way for things to end.


Finally, taking an alternate route home, we stopped at a broke-down mill where some of the kids did some exploring. We borrowed the family expert, Daddy Honey, and this is what he found out:



“A prominent landmark in the Cane Hill area is the water-powered mill known variously as the Pyeatte-Moore Mill and the Moore-Buchanan Mill. Built during the 1830s, the mill was used to grind wheat for flour and corn for corn meal, to saw logs, and even to card wool. It appears to have been moved to its present location on Jordan Creek in 1902 and was used until the 1930s. The remains of the thirty-six-foot diameter draw wheel can still be seen, and the mill is in the process of being restored. “