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, December 14, 2011


Once I had a conversation with another parent whose children are in school, and she was encouraged by the fact that we thought Woody would probably eventually take classes, since that is a very common way for people to learn things. Karate and SCUBA diving and rock climbing come to mind as things that people usually, though not always, learn in group settings. Pure science and higher-level math often happens in classrooms, too. This other mother thought it was important to be able to understand the classroom dynamic, what's expected in a student-teacher relationship, how to get along with a lot of other kids, etc.

Woody's six now, which means he's old enough to go to the homeschool P.E. day at the community center. We'd never tried it before, and I didn't know quite what to expect, so I wore my sports bra and barefoot running shoes so I could play with him. Happily, it was "parent participation day," so there were six of us taller folks playing along.

It was straight-up P.E., taught by an ex-college b-ball coach, with warm-up stretches and drills, relay runs, and dodge ball! It had been a long time since I rolled a hoop around my hips or shimmied through a fabric tunnel on the ground. And the somersaults! My gods! I lost my hair stick and I got so dizzy I had to recover for a moment before standing up! (When did that happen!?!) But I bounced back and forth between doing the activities with Woody and hanging with Fox, who was entertained climbing up and down and behind the bleachers on the sidelines.

I don't think classroom or team dynamics are that hard to pick up on. I think our social natures more or less kick in, and while all of us have circumstances under which we're more or less comfortable, it's not one of the trickier interactions. Woody understood and accepted the coach's authority. When he wanted to get a drink once and come over to talk to me about the rules of a game once, he did, without fear that he was violating some code of conduct. And the other stuff--shaking off disappointments during the games, dealing with the intense cheering and urging from the sidelines from his fellow teammates during relays, sharing balls during dodgeball, laughing with the other kids when he got beaned in the head--these things happened.

So I guess if we had a checklist of schooly-type things that we were aiming to expose Woody to, then today's checked boxes would be "class behavior" and "group dynamics." It would also be "fun" and "silly" and "active" and "new." I figured if we could all get through a game of dodge ball smiling and joking, then it was a pretty great first "class" experience.