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.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

178

Tonight there was a block party in our neighborhood.


Daddy Honey has gotten to know Daniel, one of the hosts of the party, and a chef. Daniel was making crepes for everyone on a cool crepe grill. The tool he used to spread the batter out super thin looked like a mini squeegee. Raspberry or chocolate filling with whipped cream on top. Woody had been having a hard time warming up to the party, but the crepes definitely helped.


But after a little while, I found that I was of the same opinion as Woody. The social vibe was a little off for us, especially with the other parents and kids, so after an hour, we went home. 


I like this part of homeschooling socialization, which is to say real-life socialization. If a social scene isn't enjoyable, you can leave. 

It's odd that that isn't a basic freedom, but of course it's not for most children. If a social scene isn't enjoyable at school,  you put up, shut up, or push back. You probably learn many permutations of these three to get through. But just walking away to do your learning elsewhere isn't really an option in the school system. You have to work in the group the teacher assigned. You have to sit in the assigned seat in front of whomever the teacher put behind you. You have to ride on the bus with whomever lives near enough to you to be on the same bus route. 

Some people would argue that the challenge inherent in being stuck in a wretched social situation is helpful in building character. Maybe that's true sometimes--being effectively assertive is one of the toughest things to pull off. Many adults struggle with it. But even if adversity does help people practice assertiveness--and I'm not convinced that it does, or that school is the best place for that practice-- there's too much other ugly stuff you learn along the way trying to cope with that much dysfunction. Also, the kind of behavior that's prevalent in schools isn't tolerated in other places in society. It's not a realistic model of the ways people tend to act or the options you have for dealing with them. People get thrown off the city buses for acting like they do on school buses. Security guards escort people out of stores for being rude to clerks. There is legal recourse for assault and harassment. 

Sometimes, it makes the most sense to just go home or somewhere else--the library, the museum, a friend's house, the park, the coffee shop, for a walk--where you have a little more space and power to be who you are.