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, December 13, 2011


My mom likes to get Daddy Honey and I books for Christmas, and because she is a practical kind of gal she asks for lists ahead of time so she can get books we'll like. The Christmas that Woody was two, I asked for and got a few Waldorf books, as in, how to do Waldorf with your kid. I read them. The part where wool underwear was suggested as a health measure gave me great pause. I lived in Florida. 

A mama friend of mine, Candice, recently said something that I thought was so spot-on, that lots of us are attracted to Waldorf ideas because we wish that we could look back on our childhoods and see more peace, and gentleness, and beauty. And for a moment, I thought, yes! That's what I liked about Waldorf! That's what I wanted to get from the peachy-pink milk-painted walls and stories of acorn-capped friends and hours spent strolling among wildflowers making fairy houses and drinking chamomile tea sweetened with honey. Peace, gentleness, beauty.

But then I remembered something. My mom had the Hearth Song catalog back in the '80s. We did have little gnomes and pretty wooden instruments and sweet naturey books and tons of arts and crafts supplies around. I don't think my mom knew or cared a thing about Waldorf (we went to Catholic schools as kids), and it didn't matter. She picked and chose what she thought would be interesting and fun for us to learn about or do or play with.

Having had a lot of that already in my childhood, I don't think I was looking back longing for it. I think I was looking in longing for it. Gosh, who isn't? Who doesn't want inner peace, to be gentle in thought and deed, to see one's self and the world as beautiful? I think our kids want that, too, and not in retrospect, but right now.

And for Woody, inner peace sometimes comes cuddled next to his mom on the couch with a quilt watching Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas. Gentleness is giving his brother the toy he picked out of the treasure box at the dentist office because Fox lost his in the thrift store. Beautiful is running fast across the field at the park and the way his toes feel in a mud puddle.

And then, then in the thick soup that is life experience, moments such as these can arise spontaneously, equal to and enriched by all the others:

(Woody, sitting at the computer playing an aim-and-throw game, calls me into the room where the back door is open to let the dogs go in and out.) "Mom, do you hear the birds singing outside? Isn't it delightful?"