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.

Friday, December 30, 2011


A curious J.D. China-dwelling goldfish that followed Woody's finger up, down, and around the tank's glass wall. Fox thought his eye looked like a piece of candy. Woody and I thought that was beautiful, and gross.

The Free Weekly did a center-page spread on a Chinese restaurant that has been in town for 27 years, so we went by today in the late afternoon. Woody's favorite restaurant in Tallahassee was the Bamboo House in large part for the buffet sushi and the friendly staff. J.D. China here in Fayetteville had both, so I had a feeling things were going to be good.

Please forgive the pink tones; the sun was low and shining brightly through crimson curtains onto our table.

A poster beneath the glass on the table prompted a conversation about tea plantations and labor. Also, how most Chinese restaurants make food from all over Asia, not just China, and also food that was inspired by Asian food but is actually American, such as Woody's beloved California rolls. I had read an article about a Chinese woman who just delivered octuplets, and so we talked very briefly about China's one-child policy.

Woody was So Excited to eat with chopsticks. We laughed a good deal at all the flip-flopped food and dropped attempts. Fox got his on the first try. He is that kid. He has never struggled at tasks that require physical adeptness or dexterity. Woody has never begrudged this ease, and I am so grateful for that.

Woody's first time eating Jello, and an alien.

There was a family of five at the booth behind us, and I heard the little boy, maybe four or five, ask to eat with chop sticks, but the dad said no. I wondered why; too weird? too messy? too silly? too busy to really hear the question? a standard response?

I wished for this little boy that he'd gotten the opportunity to try it out. It was great fun at our table. And I got to share with Woody the story of how Daddy Honey, as an idealistic and Very Serious teenager, went to Japan and came home wanting to eat out of one bowl and with one pair of chopsticks for the rest of his life, which he imagined he'd probably spend alone on some National Park mountain reading Thoreau, sketching, and finding fossils.

I don't know what Woody thought of that story, but I relished getting that kind of information about my parents when I was little. I was fascinated by the lives that led up to the one I shared with them. Actually, this is true of my friends and neighbors, too; it's a wonderful reminder that there is nothing static about who we are or what we do. I found out a week ago that my friend and choir director who is a trained opera singer and recently won the 2011 National Women's Music Festival with her band was once a computer repairwoman. In the same conversation, I found out her partner used to work as a cattle rancher in South Dakota. Life is so gosh-darn INTERESTING, and here we all are with our own wonderful stories of what was, what is, and what we hope can be.

I want our kids, all of our kids, to come to know this. Our paths are full of places that we might pull on our boots and head out to explore or grab our binoculars and zoom in for a closer inspection. We can help our kids to find that freedom in their hearts and minds to do the things that are brave and unusual, worthy, hard, rewarding and fun. We are great collectors of experiences, experiences that help us to crack open the big wide world and sink our heart-cords all the way down to the center, where everything comes from, where we all meet. They will have the most wonderful stories to tell the children in their lives. They will have the most precious and freely given gifts to share.

This is Daddy Honey's desk at work. That's him and baby Woody at St. George Island State Park in 2006, and the insert is year-old Fox in pink at his first birthday party. And that is the One Bowl.