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, February 22, 2012

A small familiar mystery

I'm not going to count this in Woody's 180 days because I don't know if it was him. In fact, I rather suspect it was his brother. But somebody lined up on the bedclothes in the soft light of the scrub-oak shaded south-facing window four beeswax candles. On each candle was one of the four silver hoops that I most often wear in my ear lobes. They stood there, the candles, adorned, almost waiting to be noticed, though I'm certain that wasn't the intention.

I smiled when I saw the arrangement, and maybe laughed out loud. I had a stack of folded clothes ready to put into the armoire. It flashed through my mind that I ought to have been annoyed, that the candles could have been broken and my earrings lost in the creation of this scene. But I did not feel anger. I felt happiness. I saw this little art installation and was touched, filled with gratitude to share a space with two merry magic makers who run around adding fun and beauty to the house.

There is a simple explanation behind this column of decorated hunks of wax, one that weaves developmentally appropriate experiments with imaginative play and social structures with the practicalities of having access to typically out-of-reach items. And yet, this moment, to me, was sacred, soul-stirring. I was so moved, so in love with my children--with the world's children, with all of us as the children we were--that it very nearly pointed me straight to the divine unknowable who surely lives in the currents that run between us, pulling us together.

I thought about the Great Mystery and the more plebian ones, gods, goddesses, loves big and small, swirls of energy in the Universe and whirls of chaos and order in our hearts and homes.

I'll stop short of saying I experienced an epiphany (serendipitously here on Ash Wednesday) standing there holding the clean laundry, but I will tell you that I recognized something. It was a best something. A quick peek at the Oneness. A flutter of universal love, which is maybe all of that and then some. I hope I don't forget it. I hope my children someday know it well. I hope this is part of being human that we get to have more and more of, something that grows familiar over time, the way some folks can recognize the smell of coming rain in the air and hints of accents of hometowns in strangers they meet. I hope I know more of thees, these small familiar mysteries.