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, March 7, 2012

145

Today was big and long, big because it was our last day in Tallahassee for many months, at least, and long because it's midnight and Fox has not yet fallen asleep. We leave in the morning--the early morning--and I'm not quite sure how that's going to go.

So, I am going to be wise with my energy and keep this post short, relying mostly on pictures to show you what learning has been happening. Below you'll see images of simultaneous gaming, an afternoon at our old neighborhood park, and waiting for dinner at a the Miccosukee Root Cellar. (I can heartily recommend the kale and sausage soup.) There are several new faces in these pictures. They are new to the blog, and some are new to this Earth, but most are not new to Woody. 

We spent time with no less than twenty-two friends throughout the day: Sam, Nathan, Hazel, Lydia, Jasper, Stew, Chelsea, Sebastian, Melinda, Charlotte, Josephine, James, Pat, Sebastian (a different Sebastian), Charlotte (a different Charlotte), Daphne, Sunshine, Ollie, Simon, Quinn, Sarah, and Quinn (a baby Quinn). Woody had so many interactions today that had nothing to do with me that I wanted to ask him before bed, how was your day?, because it felt as if were orbiting around each other, each of us happily engaged in social activities in the same area but barely overlapping. I reach over in these moments and pull him toward me so I can smell his sweaty boy head or kiss his sandy pink cheek, but then he's off again.

What was he learning in these moments? I can't really tell you. Not exactly. Not fully. And though I could tell you that Woody figured out how to use keyboard commands to enlarge and reduce the screen size, that he read a few choices of the menu at the restaurant, and that he told me he though the picture of the Aurora Borealis look like tornadoes touching snow, you would know from your own life that these bits of information are just pieces of the day's learning that are visible. The invisible might have included feeling brave at climbing a tree that hung partly out over the creek bank, or coming to understand that just because you knew someone when you were five doesn't mean you still know him when you're six, or seeing that there's a connection between mothers holding babies close and nursing them and those babies being calm and content. 

What I mean to say is that today had very few moments that looked much like school, and very few environments that were very schooly. And Woody and I spoke very little--mostly functionally to get immediate needs met: pants buttoned, granola poured, permission to explore granted, etc.--while his interactions with others were many. And yet, I know his day was full of wonderful people, wonderful places, and wonderful experiences. I had only a long-distance view of him for much of the day, but it was enough to see him happily engaged. 

What do we want for our children? What are we doing to offer it to them?

Today was a day that I asked myself these questions, and I was content to say, "This." I wanted this day for my children. These people. These opportunities. These mistakes. These experiences. So, I let them happen.