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, December 5, 2011

70

Woody called today "a five-gold-star adventure," and as a blog that focuses on his learning this year, I'll privilege that statement by putting it first. I would not have characterized it as such.

All six of us--me, Daddy Honey, Woody, Fox, Nana, and Aila--went to the brand-new and much acclaimed Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. My very favorite painting is there, Maxfield Parrish's The Lantern Bearers, but we didn't see it. We left after only an hour.

I won't belabor the points, but to avoid being coy, here is why we did not stay:

1. Despite conforming to the smaller-than-11"-by-15" bag policy, I was asked to check my diaper bag because "it seemed a little wide and might catch on the art." They offered me a 5" by 7" Crystal Brides shopping bag to carry anything I felt I really must have on me. Looking around at other bags, including my mom's (visible below), I wondered about the enforcement of this one.

2. Within moments of approaching a painting of interest, a guard was at our shoulders, seemingly waiting for the moment he or she could pounce on the children with a smile and a reminder of what the required 18" buffer looked like. This happened to us three times in thirty minutes. I didn't have a ruler on me, but I can tell you that nobody in our group was nearsighted and no small fingers came close to touching anything.

3. No outside food is allowed in the cafe, though, according the website, picnicking is encouraged. Of course, since the only picnic areas are outside, today we were encouraged to eat our picnic in 34-degree weather.



But Woody loved it. Really, truly loved it. He was excited about pieces, asked tons of questions, pointed out cool things to us, and was in a terrific mood. I wish I could have matched that, could have let the other stuff go in the interest of fostering his positive experience. But I got stuck in my anger and resentment, my frustration and indignation. I couldn't shake it, and it set Daddy Honey off balance, and then it was just time to go. All the kids fell asleep on the way home, but once we got back, they wanted to talk about the art. Both boys really liked Mary McCleary's The Falcon Cannot Hear the Falconer. And to tell the truth, this painting felt about spot-on for me today.