Pretty obviously, this is not my house.
But I want it, okay?
Because isn't that charming and inviting?!
Look at those steps and the flowers and the sunshine!
(I have no camera now. I don't know when I will, and until I do,
I will visit my photo files and use old stuff.)
Oh, hello, friends.
(Don't over-think the following, please. I wrote it in one quick go and don't have time to look it over and make it crisp and clear. Just read and interpret lightly and at face value!)
I need to apologize for leaving people hanging after posting my recent message that I will be shutting down shop here and moving along. I realize you’re not out there holding your breath, at the edge of your seat, waiting for an update from me. But I do know, thanks to emails from some of you, that there are people who have been checking the blog every day just in case I might put up my new link, then abruptly disappear, leaving some of you wondering where in the world I’ve gone.
I also realize now that I’ve created a somewhat mysterious scenario and that at least three or four of you are wondering what I’ve got up my sleeve. What am I going to reveal on my new blog? Haha. Nothing. I’ll just be moving to a new spot. I have no agenda or theme or idea for how I want to approach my new blog space.
I do not know what I’ll be writing (it may not feel different at all to you), but I need to leave the old spaces behind and close up shop. I’ve mentioned this before, but over the years, my kids have occasionally said that they have been conscious of being watched or held up as an example of learning, and indeed they have. In earlier years, more than one person said to various of my kids: “We’re watching you to see how this turns out.” Or, “My husband thinks your educational experiment can’t work and is watching to see what happens.” Or, “We’re just so glad you are leading the way for us so we can see how this is done.” Etc. Mostly, the thoughts were warm and kind, but not always.
It may seem easy to say about those negative watchers, “Who cares?!” Which is exactly what I did most of the time—shrugged it off—because, from my adult perspective, I don’t care what people think about how we live/d our lives. But my children were just that—children. I should have protected them from the pointed watching and measuring. Maybe they felt uncomfortable and sensed a subtle pressure, like they were living in a glass house or a fishbowl and being graded for how they fared longterm.
On the one hand, my kids really didn’t care what other people thought (they never have), but sometimes they got tired of being used as an example (by me). It’s never comfortable to think you are being observed like some kind of science experiment. And none of my kids really wanted (or wants now) to be used as an example of how our little learning life worked. They always gave me permission to tell stories about them, but I think now, in their honest hearts, some of them wished I hadn’t (we’ve talked about this some), and I remember that I occasionally had to talk them into it. I regret that I did. My kids wanted to please me, and I feel now that I, while well-intentioned, took advantage of that. All I wanted to do was to offer an alternative to tired homeschoolers, to say, “Hey, there are a lot of different ways to approach learning and education. It can be a wonderful experience.” And then to share how one family (mine) lives and learns together.
Those days and years truly were lovely and joyful, but I should have kept the kids' passions and interests more private. I shouldn’t have evaluated their learning so that I could present it to others as a sort of philosophy. In doing this, I only meant to encourage others. My kids understood this, so they were willing for me to share, but I wish I would have done so differently, for their sake--to give them more privacy and a chance to proceed in their learning without me getting inspired by it to write the next installment in the serial story of our learning lives.
My kids and I still talk about how much we enjoyed the atmosphere of our home: the freedom, the learning, the books, the creating, the making, the work, the celebrations, the study, the passion, the food, the conversations, and on and on and on. It was truly lovely and fun! I think we are all profoundly grateful for those years. My family has gone through some extremely difficult, challenging times, and the environment we had in our home gave us all a lot of strength. The challenges continue. They have been, and are, part of our education, as we have all had to press hard into the Lord and to trust Him, even now, day by day. I only hope that you don’t have to go through what we did, but I know that you have had, or will have, your own struggles and pain. God is certainly faithful, and some wonderful gifts become ours through our deep difficulties.
There were so many mistakes that I made with my kids, but they forgive me and give me a ton of grace, respect, and love. <3 <3 <3 <3 (That’s one heart for each of them!) Maybe that’s because they know without a doubt that I love them and always had their best interests in mind, even if I didn’t always use the best judgment.
I am not writing this or changing my blog because my kids have asked me to. Actually, I don’t think this crosses their mind at all unless I bring it up, but when I do, they speak openly with me about it, and I know they have been uncomfortable with all of the writing I’ve done about them. I really do respect that, and even though they would tell me to leave everything on my blog (for heaven’s sake !), I am going to remove it, for their sakes. The world is going to be just fine without my homeschooling stories archived on the internet! There are plenty of others out there who write about the same things.
I will still write about my family. I might even write about learning and home and other things as well, but I will just use more care not to give you the nitty gritty of my kids’ daily lives, work, creations, etc. I might post photos of what they make sometimes, but I won’t evaluate it and frame it in philosophical terms. (But can I just say that my kids are wonderful people who continue to learn and create and think and grow and amaze me? I love and admire them all so much!)
AndI just want to let my kids continue to learn and grow and work and create in privacy. The internet is a very public place. There are people whose every moment is being documented, photographed, and uploaded to the internet, sometimes hour by hour. What will it be like for a child to grow up that way? Watched? Will he regret it? Resent it? Does it/will it alter the way he interacts with the world or how he uses his free time? We don’t know, do we? But I’m a bit afraid that we’re losing touch with the real things, the natural things and rhythms of life, the slow, deliberate way.
Life is becoming a performance. I wonder about that even with my blogging sometimes. What am I doing, and why? Is this healthy? I just know that I love to type out my thoughts and stories and musings sometimes, and a blog is a good place to keep those sorts of things, and it's a nice place to connect with people who like to think about the same things. (Like you!)
But what does privacy even mean nowadays? Are we losing perspective on that? How can we protect our kids and allow them some (plenty of) unwatched, unphotographed, undocumented moments? Where should we set the limits and draw the lines?
I’m just asking questions and offering no answers. I don’t think I’ve cleared up in this post why I’m making changes, partly because I’m not entirely sure what those changes are going to be.
But, hey, I do know one thing. Whenever I finally think of a blog title, I will get that new one started and shut these old ones down! :-)
I will give lots of warning before I close the old blogs, so you don’t need to exhaust yourself running over here every day to see if I’ve gone away yet! (I forget that a lot of people don’t use readers, so they have no way of knowing what’s going on unless they click onto my blog.)
Okay. I need to get to studying now. (I have some reading to do about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is going to be an interesting class!)