Sometimes the postscript is longer than the post.

June 20, 2012 @ 6:13 pm | Filed under: ,

The always wonderful Handmade Homeschool on the dearth of blogs focusing on the details of homeschooling through high school:

I would like to see older homeschoolers represented online with the same enthusiasm. Why? Well, because I’d like to have my reality reflected, too. I’d like to be inspired. I’d like to be reassured. And if it was a slightly more glamorous image than reality, my heart would welcome that, too. A little salesmanship of the day-to-day.  Calgon, take me away…

Lets do better.  I’m busy.  So are you.  It’s harder to find the anecdote, perhaps, or to remember to pass it along.  But we owe it to ourselves to memorialize this homeschooling stage as well as we did in the cuter years, and we owe it to each other.

(Read her whole post.)

I posted this link on my Facebook page and it sparked a thoughtful conversation, and I thought I’d share it here too. Our FB discussion centered on the difficulty of protecting and respecting the privacy of our older kids—their stories are their stories—while acknowledging that many of us do crave the experience-sharing and resource-sharing we enjoyed in our homeschooling blog circles and discussion boards when all our children were small. It’s a line I’ve walked cautiously here. I’ve often written about my decision to blog less about my older children as they’ve moved into their tween and teen years. (Metadiscussion junkie that I am.)

At the same time, I’ve missed it, the long education-philosophy chats* and the nitty-gritty resource-sharing. (Education philosophy and resource-sharing junkie that I am.) I don’t know how one threads that needle—respecting kids’ privacy while blogging freely about the thoughts and activities that occupy our days—and I always enjoy a peek into others’ homeschooling lives.

What do you think? Where’s the sweet spot on that fine line?

(UPDATE: My FB friend Angela chimed in with a link to a brand-new blog, hilariously titled Homeschooling Mother Clucker, that aims to find that sweet spot. I’m thrilled. I’ve missed Mother Crone.)

*While it’s true I’ve missed the ed-method threads that dominated the early years of this blog, around four years ago I deliberately dialed down my musings in that direction, in part because once I found my groove, my whole tidal homeschooling thing, I didn’t need to think out loud quite so intensely; and also because I ran out of energy and time for the occasions where the discussion turned to debate. We found what fits our family culture and I didn’t have any desire to proselytize nor defend it; it simply was what it was, is what it is, an ebbing and flowing rhythm of structure and freedom that suits us. We shift gears so often I can’t begin to tell someone else how to drive. 🙂 And lots of times, “thinking aloud” comes across as opining. I’m keenly aware that every family is different (even different from itself, season to season), and school works best for some, and unschooling works best for some, and rigorous classical ed works best for some, and a messy hodgepodge works best for others. One of my favorite comments I’ve ever received on this blog was from Bonny Glen reader Sashwee, who remarked (in my post about comics making you smart): “This confirms my impression of your approach to education, non-dogmatic, open to what’s good in whichever vessel it is borne.” I so appreciated that comment, because it gets at the heart of what drew me to home education in the first place: the freedom to custom-tailor education to suit each individual child within the context of a close-knit family life. For us, right now, in this season, that includes having Wonderboy happily enrolled in a special-day class at the public school around the corner, and sending Jane to spend the summer in Texas, soaking up another family’s culture and getting her first taste of the working world at an internship at a software developer, and allowing thirteen-year-old Rose long spans of hours for writing her Warriors fanfiction and other tales, and charting a high-tide of math, German, and history lessons for Rose and Beanie, and then chucking that plan out the window for a week of obsessive gaming when the big Glitch housing reset occurs. And now this postscript has turned into a full-fledged post, but I’m going to be lazy and leave it dangling here at the end of an entirely different topic, and maybe the combox discussion will wind up as comfortably jumbled as my family’s approach to life and learning. Jumble away, my friends.

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12 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Kimberlee says:

    Hi Lissa, I’ve graduated two from high school at home now. Yes, the privacy with older kids is certainly an issue with blogging about schooling. But I think you really nailed it with the line, “We found what fits our family culture and I didn’t have any desire to proselytize nor defend it; it simply was what it was, is what it is…” At this point, I have no desire for proselytizing or debate either, and we are very comfortable in our own homeschooling (and family) skin. And so much of our educating is not so much what we ‘do’ but what we ‘are’. The underlying family culture – the books, the music, the conversations, the relationships etc. built over so many years is like the infrastructure that supports the new learning that is happening on the surface. I don’t think those rich sublayers can really be explained to an outsider in a blog post. (how’s that for jumble?)

  2. Ellie says:

    Ya know, it’s interesting …. I,ve certainly been in my “groove” for a long time too in terms of homeschooling (what with edumacating the eldest all the way through and him being 23 now and all); and I understand the privacy issues of course and we’ve chatted about that before … The thing of it is, I too would really really like to read homeschooling teens/teenish posts and blogs, too!!

    I do think it’s possible to share methods and experiences without invading one’s child’s privacy. But maybe it’s easier to do that if you’ve always blogged psuedonymously? I mean, I guess I don’t think that homeschools methods and activities and experiences are private, exactly. Just chatting about the academic practicalities doesn’t invade anyone’s privacy I don’t think. I mean, there ways ways to share in an intersting and general sense, without revealing personal details …

    I am just rambling here, thinking out loud.

    I’ve been jotting lessony notes lately, and enjoying that (my kids are ungraded, though I guess Calli is 8th/9th and Joshua is 6th-9th, depending on the subject …) …. I would love to hear more homeschooly stuff from you, Lissa 🙂 if you are ever so moved.

  3. Katy says:

    We are just starting our homeschooling journey (with kids 6, 3, and 6 months), but I do miss the homeschooling posts here. I can totally see how you want to protect privacy and don’t want to debate (and I don’t have a blog, so I’m sure it’s more irritating than I even realize to be misunderstood and caught up in one).

    However, I admire the way you homeschool and it’s always been so encouraging to be able to read someone who homeschools the way that you would like to when you don’t know anyone in person who does. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dug in your archives for information or encouragement or ideas.

    So, I miss that fresh information, and the ideas and experience of older kids–so I can be looking forward and thinking that direction, even though it will be years before we get there.

    Not to say we try to follow your every move or anything, but when so many people around are so fretful about things, I enjoy reading a relaxed encouraging approach to have a sort of vision to have–knowing it will take on our own family personality and will meet our needs in a different way–if that makes sense.

    So, all that to say, I hope you can find a good place where you can feel comfortable sharing some more of your homeschooling journey because I am sure I’m not the only one who would love to read it!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I admit, I too miss some of the homeschooling conversation here. It was always so inspiring. I understand your reasons for refraining though. I stopped writing about it as much as well when we, as you say, found our way. Now we just do what we do and I don’t think about it as much. I do find debating philosophy refreshing but lack the time to do so, especially now. I’ve been trying to comment here all day long!

  5. Sandra says:

    I don’t blog. Not enough to say and not enough time to say it in! Also I live in a small country with a small homeschooling community. I always feared local people would be able to figure out who we were even if I tried to keep everyone anonymous and I didn’t want to expose the kids like that . I do love peeking into everyone else’s day though and definitely miss the fall off in posts as kids get older. While not as good at giving that personal feeling Pinterest can be a way of sharing the what and even partly the why, while not giving away much about the who. I’m currently revamping my homeschooling boards to make it easier for those homeschooling older kids to find what they might be looking for. Time for a littel public service instead of mere consumption!

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Argh, for some reason WordPress has quit sending me comment notifications so I missed all these lovely remarks!

    Ellie, YES, I agree that blogging under a pseudonym would solve the privacy problem. Er, a TRUE pseudonym that everyone didn’t know the real identity of. I let that particular cat out of the bag before I even began. 😉 Not that I regret it—this blog grew up organically, a bubbling-over of whatever has absorbed my thoughts on a given day, and most days that means my kids, my writing, my reading, my garden…my jumbled life.

    Katy—thanks for your kind words about my posts! The debates, when they’ve occurred over the years, were never *irritating*—I kind of enjoy a good debate—but after a while I felt like I was starting to repeat myself. Because I’m a champion of multiple points of view (philosophies which seem contradictory or mutually exclusive to some), I would find myself ardently defending Charlotte Mason one day and unschooling the next—I’ve benefited so much from both perspectives!—and then having to explain that no, no, I don’t follow any method by the letter, I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants. 🙂

    But the running-out-of-time-for-debate was only the secondary reason I drifted away from intensive homeschool blogging. The privacy thing was the primary. I didn’t want my girls to feel under a microscope, and I didn’t (don’t) know how to continue chronicling in vivid detail without creating that self-consciousness. So…I just started talking more and more about books and my garden. 🙂

  7. Jeanne says:

    I still blog about homeschooling although my oldest sons have reached college and beyond-with just one teen left at home! But I’m afraid that I don’t get into the nitty gritty as much. I also have him review all the posts that mention him. One of the results is something you’ve noted before — which is that the picture can be a bit one dimensional. I know some bloggers air dirty laundry and more, but that’s never seemed fair to me – and it’s just not even my style, y’know?

  8. Ellisa Barr says:

    I’ve understood and respected the reasons for not blogging specifics about older children, but over the years I’ve grown fond of your family through your stories and I admit I’ve missed the threads of their lives. I do enjoy when you include a snippet about them – kind of like reading a book set in the same world as a favorite character and being pleasantly surprised when the author gives that character a vignette.

    Thank you for sharing as much as you have. Your stories brighten my days.

  9. Sherry says:

    I think it’s difficult because it’s not just the “good stories” that are helpful and encouraging, but it’s also the hard parts and the questions discussed and acknowledged that make it useful and motivating to have these homeschooling discussions with other like-minded people on the internet or in person. And while I can complain that my toddler just won’t learn to go to the potty or even that my six year old is having trouble learning to read, it is an invasion of privacy and potentially hurtful to tell everyone in the world that my teen or young adult child is having trouble with algebra or with finding his or her life’s work, or whatever. So the personal and potentially invasive stuff gets censored, I don’t have a solution, but I do see that it would be helpful to have maybe some homeschool graduates who have blogs and also have their parents’ permission to share on the blog about what worked for them and what didn’t.