Blogging can be kind of a weird thing. Sometimes very personal. Sometimes too much so. I read Heather Armstrong’s blog at Dooce.com, which is often very funny and often extremely personal. As she has said, if you’re looking for a blog with no oversharing, you’ve gone to the wrong place. A friend of mine recently told me he saw a cartoon (probably in the New Yorker) where a mother is handing her daughter a Diary to write in and the girl looks at it and says, “But why would you want to write in a diary if nobody is going to read it?” We’ve become a world of too much information and oversharing (although I think comparing Wikileaks founder Assange to an Al Qaeda operative because of it is a bit much. But that’s another entry.)
I’ve also noticed that the blogs I enjoy are the ones that are funny, informative and self-deprecating. Ms. Armstrong’s blog is heavy on the humor and self-deprecation; not so much on the information – unless it’s information about her life. My worst nightmare would be to find myself becoming overbearing and self-righteous in my blogging – I have strong opinions but do try to temper them with humor and self-deprecation. I’m very aware that many, many people probably thing they way our family operates is a little out there.
Which brings me to my real topic of the night: process. I don’t know if parents of schooled children think about their process as much as we homeschoolers/unschoolers. I’ve never had the opportunity to ask. I believe that when you are face to face with your kids all day every day, their strengths and weaknesses in personality and how they learn become very apparent. Parents whose kids learn outside of school are extremely aware of the process going on in the family when it comes to living and learning. We try to facilitate opportunities for our kids to pursue the things in which they are interested without enforcing our own will and desires upon them. It can be tricky. Then of course each kid is different, so the more kids you have, the trickier it becomes. My kids are almost polar opposites in their learning styles, and it took us about a year to find a balance that worked. Unschooling has helped a lot with that, because it allows them more freedom to do things in their own way. And as they grow older and more autonomous, that freedom will expand even more.
Every family of life learning kids will tell you a different story of how their day works. There is no such thing as a standard way of unschooling, or homeschooling. That’s what is so great and challenging about it. (Ok, as a complete digression, someone outside our building is BLASTING R&B music, either from a car or from the terrace of MLK High School. It’s almost 11pm. Lovely) Everyone has a different focus, a different process, and different goals. In our family we spend a lot of time focusing on the things we like to do, and not much time at the moment thinking about whether they are ‘academic’. Ben announced this evening that he wants to go to a museum and sketch. So we will try to do that on Saturday. Maya’s been writing a short story for a contest sponsored by one of our homeschooling acquaintances. She wrote it by hand and is now typing it up on the computer. Tomorrow we go to the circus.
Maybe our process is kind of random – but it is chosen randomness, if that makes any sense. In “Beautiful Boy” John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I guess you could say we’re doing our best to be aware of life right now – instead of making plans and letting life ‘happen’ to us while we aren’t looking.
As for this blog – I’ll try to keep it interesting, sprinkled with humor and some self-deprecation, but probably won’t be going to the soul baring depths so hilariously achieved over at Dooce. (Hey, the music has stopped! Probably with a little help from our friendly neighborhood beat cops.)
Keep the comments coming – for good and bad. In the end, it’s all good.