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.

Friday, March 30, 2012


The boys have been content and busy today, filling our little house with the happy hum of self-directed learning. And the evidence of all that auto-education is currently ankle-deep in each room.

I made concerted efforts to tidy up unobtrusively behind them--quietly picking up toy cars while building the Lincoln Log jail, putting away clean dishes while listening to a play-by-play of a soccer video game victory, sweeping off the back steps as they used scissors to lower some of the weeds in the back yard. But truly, it was just one of those days that my levels of energy and diligence could not keep up with their levels of activity and inspiration.

At one point, when I was having an allergy attack just as Fox was dumping the stringing beads out onto the dog on the couch and Woody was fixing himself a glass of water but couldn't find a clean cup, I was on the verge of getting grumpy and vocal. 

But then, at that key moment, I remembered something: 

At every school I ever worked at--four total, three public and one private--there was some serious help with the tidying and cleaning. If you didn't have lunch duty, you'd have your whole 50 minutes to eat, sure, but also get your classroom back in order. When the kids were at P.E. or art or music, you might get a chance, too. And weekly, a cleaning crew came through to do the bigger jobs, the vacuuming and wiping down and dusting.

And this multi-person system is necessary because learning is messy. It takes up space and has a definite flow (sometimes a visible trail). When there's freedom for it to do so, learning can move lightning fast from one idea and attempt to another. It can be oblivious to inconveniences such as pausing to pick up.

So sure, hard to contain, but pretty terrific, these very active, very busy, very contented days of doing most of one's learning at the same place that one does most of one's living--at home.

No chatty janitor or neat co-teacher is going to come to my rescue today or tonight, but the children will fall asleep eventually. And even as I pick up the bits and pieces all around us, likely bone-tired myself, well after dark and in a retrospective mood, I will be thinking of them and their glad and satisfying work of being children. 

P.S. This was too good not to share. I just overheard this from the other room, where they are still playing Lincoln Logs. Fox is a woodsman with a hatchet and Woody is trying to start a little farm there with one cow and a pasture "just outside the window so I can keep an eye on the calves."

Woody: "Please allow me to announce to you my name; I am Jack." 

Fox: "Hi. I live in Tick Woods."