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.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


And just like that, things turn around.

There was no post yesterday because by the end of day, when I sat down to write it, I couldn't really recall what we had done for the previous sixteen hours. I spent most of the day in a state of addled distraction. There had been a smoky uprising of emotion on my church's Facebook page, and I opened a tiny door in my heart, invited all that hurt in, swirled up some more in my own mind, and then sat simmering.

Alone on the couch at one o'clock in the morning with a dark house full of sleeping people, I stewed, mostly reviewing in my mind all the dissatisfying ways I had ever, in my whole entire life, acted or failed to act, spoken or failed to speak, thought or failed to consider.

But that kind of dreariness is short-lived in my mind. I can only give it sway for so long. My inner optimist is an impatient little thing who wears an expression of solid sunniness and walks around lifting up with preternaturally strong arms all my gloomies  after they've had a good cry and whine but before they make puddly messes on the floor.

And I'd be lying if I said that Emmylou Harris, Wendell Berry, Tom Petty, and Ken Burns didn't help. I went to bed. I woke up and called my mom for a chat. I made blueberry pancakes with sprouted lentils on the side. And we made a park play date for early this afternoon. We are on our fifth morning pass through "Where the Wild Things Are," which Woody and both have memorized down to the cadence of our typical reading. And we are later to make cookies for our dear neighbor Gabrielle's 42nd birthday.

I can feel her, my inner optimist, doing a little pirouette of satisfaction in my mind, happy to have done what could be done, admiring the soft sheen of the freshly mopped floors, looking forward to roast chicken lunch and the day's tasks.

*** 4 p.m. ***

Woody had the best time at the park. His little buddies Arlo and Kavi were there, but also Arlo's big brother, Sol (another serendipitously named friend, since Sol was going to be Woody's middle name if he had been a girl) and Sol's friend Grant (who I happened to meet last night for the first time at choir practice).  The littler boys and the bigger boys and some of the girls, too, played a whole-park, totally inclusive, physical, verbal, imaginative game of Zombie Zergs vs. Soldiers. Overhearing the discussions of body armor and weaponry was fantastic; seeing the happy faces of younger kids getting gently tackled by bigger kids was fantastic; knowing that no weird stigmas about ages or popularity or "violence" was at play, but rather smallish human beings enjoying playing with other smallish human beings was fantastic.

I had one of those moments when I couldn't imagine having been anywhere else this afternoon. I could not think of a single place or experience that would have been as enriching, as edifying, as enjoyable for my boy as this.

And then, to top it all off, when we came home we made peanut butter cookies together for Gabrielle, and visited with a neighbor cat who braved our dog-swarming yard. Woody will never know as a child the zany and serene pleasure of living with a cat, since Daddy Honey and I are both allergic, so it's nice when he gets a chance to interact.