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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Photo by Joy Berry

Today was generous with autumn hours
spent in sparkling sunshine
through mostly bare trees,
on a tall wedge of gray
and lichen-covered rock,
splashing through a swift, cold
spillway creek,
laying still in the season's own
crisped oak and maple leaves, and
looking for the top of the farthest, tallest tree,
missed in the early fading light
of November.

We met Joy and her two young trekkers and followed them down a winding rural road that led us out to Lake Wilson Park, a seldom-used 320-acre patch of woods just north of the man-made lake that was the city of Fayetteville's first source of drinking water. The drive prompted conversations about compasses and other means by which people navigate, including using landmarks and the angle of the sun; varieties of bovine, including cows with horns; bullfighting; Spanish word construction (picador, meaning one who pierces, matador, meaning one who kills); how cattle are killed and butchered in slaughterhouses, on small family farms, and using Kosher methods;  how blood flows through the body; why and how blood coagulates; and why cars get stuck on muddy roads.

Back at home, Woody and I retraced our journey using Google maps. Bodies of water are especially fun to follow using the satellite view.

The overhead view of the park, lake, tributary, and river led him to remember our set of binoculars, which he wanted first to bird watch (a lone mockingbird in our backyard, luckily, was game for his observation), then to test the focal distances of the lenses. We estimated the nearest distance to be about twenty feet, but the farthest distance was trickier. He tried to identify a single treetop that we could point to and guess at--200 feet, maybe? 300?--but he missed it when 4:50's sunset cast the whole treeline in a gray-brown blur.

We'll try again tomorrow, after turkey.