Saturday, December 29, 2012

The painful truth about homeschool blogs

I don't blog too often in part because I want to keep myself honest about homeschooling and our life. And you can't do that too well by blogging.
For one thing, blogging tempts us to glamorize, since we get to choose what we depict of our lives. The pretty magazine-spread of our carefully selected frames, insinuate that we are domestic goddesses...when 4 feet to the left of the frame is 5 feet of laundry pile and 15 square feet of what looks like flood debris on the floor. How can we? No one takes a picture of their worst days, and shares it. That kind of thing would be social suicide.

I'm not saying there aren't any homeschooling families out there who are managing to be June Cleaver in pearls and heels, entertaining regularly and keeping all t's crossed and i's dotted while homeschooling. There probably are. I just hope I don't ever accidentally have any of them over.

You can say blogging, and particularly Pinterest, are "aspirational" but I say, they are more like airbrushed magazines that leave us a bit unsatisfied with our own unedited,  un-Photoshopped lives. That is why I haven't blogged more: because the world doesn't need another self-aggrandizing blog by another perfect mother.

I made playdough in the microwave today as an act of desperation to keep the toddler happy and busy while I did the eldest's hair, told the middle kid to wait until I could listen (a dozen times) and then tried to get the dishwasher loaded while interceding on the toddler's attempts to throw playdough into the middle-child's hair and onto the floor. Suddenly they were hungry again. Then in the midst of cleaning up after cooking, it was afternoon and we still hadn't done the eldest's lesson, and now the toddler was finally ready for that nap he wouldn't take when it would have been most convenient for me. I made more tea. Then it was dinnertime, and time for the preparations for bedtime, which themselves take almost as long as the actual bedtime. Another day over, but dishes are just going to have to stay dirty til I get a cup of tea in me and get them done in the morning. I read "Real-Life Homeschooling" for inspiration and the sense that how our lives run is one of many flavors of ok. The eldest is making great progress at spelling and grammar, has nice cursive, and is doing fine even if we have days where nothing gets done, just like in school, where they also have those days. And life still marches on, unaware and unconcerned about prepositions. And if I do manage to get the kitchen floor actually cleaned (by actually mopping!) I'll have to take a photo and blog about it. So I can look back and recall that it actually happened.


  1. I've wondered about that too... whether blogging is just adding to the pressure on people, not because I'm any sort of perfect mom but because I tend to blog about the good things. I'm trying to go ahead and allow myself to public pictures that show our messed up walls in the background, and the kids messy hair, and the reality of life here. But then again, I don't want to make it sound too bad either... I don't know.

    The "Real Life Homeschooling" you mention... .is that a book or a blog?

    1. It's a book, kind of an old one, depicting a collection of families from all walks of life, homeschooling for various reasons and styles.

      I think a lot of us don't want to divulge just how imprecise our lives are, day-to-day, partly because it's embarrassing to admit I found making origami far more entrancing than getting laundry put away, and partly because we'd never hear the end of it from our closest critics, if we did expose ourselves instead of feeding the world the air-brushed version.

      Perhaps it's mostly because blogging is primarily an expression of a desire for approval. If it weren't, it would be private, an offline diary. We all want to be liked and admired, and like Facebook, blogging tends to offer an easier, alluring way to get some of the same feelings of real friendship, but in a fake, distanced way that can seduce us away from maintaining our real, day-to-day, living-and-breathing social ties, and that can be very bad. What are your thoughts on that?