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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I'm trying to quiet my mind and breathe. I'm breathing, but it's fast and shallow, and when my mind plops down in the emotional mudpits of frustration, disappointment, impatience, irritation, and overwhelm, I think I might actually be holding my breath for short moments. So I'm reminding myself frequently to breathe.

Here's what I can tell you: three big activities in two days is a lot for me, maybe a touch more than my nerves can easily handle. Woody, too, started giving hints at activity number 2 that he was less than enthused. By activity number 3, he was asking to stay home.

And had I been able to plan these activities, I would not have put all three in a 28-hour period, but I was trying to take advantage of rare and really cool things going on here and now.

So, 1) the Icelandic sheep farm with the secular homeschool group yesterday.

2) The university Band Extravaganza last night.

And 3) a tour of full-size replicas of the Columbus ships Nina and Pinta this afternoon with a nearby secular homeschooling group.

I was trying to keep my expectations about the events and the boys' receptiveness to the events realistic, dare I say open. It was a lot for us. I knew it would be. We usually average two activities a week. By the end of last night, I was weathering the  vicissitudes of the experiences less well than I wanted to.

It was a full, interesting, fun, but hard two days for all of us. I felt small joys when, with stress coursing through me, I helped instead of chastised, whispered instead of hissed, and asked instead of demanded. (I didn't catch every one, but most.) I made mistakes. I recovered. We recovered.

I want to be less like the stick that gets stuck going round and round in the river's whirlpool and more like the water in the current moving smoothly and steadily up, over, and around obstacles.

Woody said to me on the way home today, "You know that feeling when you think you feel mad, but you're not mad about anything, but you still have that feeling inside you?" Yes, I do know that feeling. I don't know the name for it--pent-up frustration, maybe? tension? leftover anxiety?--but I know that it's the source of much suffering.

Recover. Recovering. Recovery.

That's what tomorrow will be. I showed Woody where I wrote on the calender for tomorrow, "Stay home day." He was glad. He's planning on "playing for 10 hours straight."