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 21, 2012


I had a post written this morning about money, how our household spending breaks down, what percentage of our income we spend on food compared to the average American household of four, traveling and doing things versus buying things, how we make room for "educational" expenses, etc.

But then!

Then we had an unschooling day too terrific not to share. (And it didn't cost a dime, 'less you count the Internet connection for $24.99 a month...)

First, the inspiration: Fox spent most of the morning dressed in the skeleton costume that was Woody's when he was three. At some point in the early afternoon, Fox asked to read our Dem Bones book. I couldn't find it, but looking on YouTube for the song, came across our very same book animated. Then when that video was over, we clicked on a YouTube-suggested video, Disney's Silly Symphony's "Dancing Skeletons" from 1929.

That led to a discussion of how long ago 1929 was, and animation in that time, all done by hand, and how people didn't have TV's but rather watched cartoons in the movie theaters. From there we clicked on another Silly Symphony cartoon, "Lullaby Land" from '33.

This video inspired a discussion of the artifacts of the 1930s: straight clothes pins, square folding diapers, long underwear, chamber pots, fountain pens and ink wells, straight razors, and straight can openers. Also, boogie men and the sand man make appearances, two folk figures we hadn't previously encountered.

Silly Symphony "Flowers and Trees" was next, with a brief commentary from me on the historic depiction of gender dynamics.

And finally, "Music Land," which Woody liked a lot because the instrument castles transformed into cannons in the Symphony Island vs. Jazz Island battle. He thought it was funny that the instruments communicated in music rather than speaking, and they wrote lines of musical notes instead of letters and words.

We watched a couple of others, too, but these four cartoons were the catalysts for an hour and a half worth of learning about the 1930's. It was fast learning, rapid-fire questions and answers short enough not to get in the way of the watching. I had to catch my breath when the boys finally moved on to something else.