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 28, 2012

159



"Mama, I just brewed a beer. It's called Red Wagon. It's tart, but sweet."

Woody looked at me searchingly with his hand held out, offering me this imaginary homebrew. It was a test, this, a do-you-approve-of-this moment, a do-you-still-love-me scenario. You may think I'm exaggerating, but I am telling you, as this child's mother, than you can see the look in  his eyes and feel the high stakes in his heart.

He has been picking up on some mixed societal messages about alcohol, and I've been more frank about excessive alcohol's potential effect on people lately when it comes up in conversation. So even though this child was helping us cap homebrew when he was three, and has never seen his parents or anyone he loves drunk, he's testing out his understanding in light of some new and probably disturbing information.

But luckily, this is not an issue from which I carry personal baggage. So I happily accepted his drink, chatted with him about his brewing process and ingredients, and sipped as I sat on the porch. Then, intrigued by the brand name he chose, I asked him if he'd want to make a label that we could affix to a real can of beer for fun.

So, we did. As he drew, I told him about medieval European small beers (very lightly fermented beer contained a far smaller percentage of alcohol) being served to children because they were safer than water. We talked a little about how fermentation works and what it does to organisms and bacteria, and I used our kombucha and water kefir as examples of lightly fermented drinks which contain small amounts of alcohol.

We looked at the real labels on cans of PBR and Blue Sky Root Beer that we had in the recycling bin to see what other information we might include on the Red Wagon label. Woody wanted to add the ounces of liquid contained inside, but not the nutrition or serving size. He liked the way PBR's have the word beer written in all caps, so he copied that beneath his more decorative font.

And his idea is to fill it with water and trick Daddy Honey into trying a sip when he gets home. Let's hope Daddy Honey's in the mood for a tarty-sweet, adorably branded 11-oz. can of childhood magic and coming-to-be...