Friday, March 29, 2013

Teachable Moments

While in Tennessee I also reflected if I wanted to keep blogging.  Usually I blog on the road.  I love writing down my feelings real time, as opposed to sorting through pictures of what we did and trying to recapture the excitement days later.  This trip however, I had no desire.  I could have left my computer at home and saved myself the little bit of cargo space.

I feel like my blog has become a photo album of our family, rather than an online journal, which is okay, it is just a change.  Recently I read through many of my old journals, some paper journals, others made on the computer but printed out and kept safe in three ring binders.  My writing is very honest.  It came from the heart of who I am.  It was not censored by the nagging realization that people will read it.  I just wrote for me.  I wrote so that my daughters would understand how hard it is to raise children and work.  Or how much I enjoyed those days of walks around my neighborhood pushing a stroller while holding a dog leash.  Or how devastating 9/11 was from my perspective, a young mother at home watching a city under attack.  A city where my mother and brother were trapped.  All these things and many many more are in the thousands of pages of my journals that sit in my closet.  Yesterday Grace asked if she could read them.  I am not sure she is ready to read them.  I told her I have to ponder that one.  I always envisioned them reading my words when they were about to enter the stage of life I was at when I wrote them.

I have considered removing comments like other bloggers have done which may allow me to write more for me, and help push the editing part of my brain to the side.  I have posts about gun control, my recent NRA class, and my commentary about some local news issues in my feed still labeled draft because I feel that if I publish them suddenly I am thrusting myself out into the area of public discourse and it is much safer to remain a homeschool/family blogger.  But there is a whole side of my writing and my life experience that is left unsaid.  

So I still struggle with what to write and the perception I have that the quality of my writing on this space has diminished over the years.  I would like to get back to the place I was at when I first started blogging, when emotions were raw and my accounts were uncensored because I did not give a care who was reading my blog.  I looked into journaling apps that would allow me to write on the laptop and still have the option of publishing my journal into a private book for my family.  I found many but none that I liked as much as blogger.  I considered just going back to a word processing format and a binder but I do love how my blog books look.  Basically I had not come to a conclusion about the future of this blog.

Over the weekend I opened up my blog gmail account and found the most beautiful email from a complete stranger who has recently made the decision to homeschool her two children.  She shared with me the fears and questions she has about withdrawing her children from public school and I was immediately taken back to that time in my life just a little over three years ago.  I have always maintained that families who withdraw their children from school (especially when they have been in school several years) have a dramatically different homeschooling experience than those families who have never sent their children to school.  There are more steps to overcome, more fears to face, more adjustments to allow for.  We all seem to have many of the same similarities in the stages we journey through.  

This email helped to put my blog in perspective.  This blog is not an account of my entire life.  I don’t want to share my entire life on the Internet.  I do want to share how this experience of homeschooling our children has transformed our lives in ways we never could have imagined.  There are families suffering through the same things we were with public education.  Our choice no longer seems radical, or strange or scary or even different.  There are as many children homeschooling now as there are enrolled in charter schools.  I keep forgetting that we are not the norm, we are still viewed as a fringe educational group.  I’ll take being on the fringe, in a sub set of the American demographic to live this lifestyle.  

Right now it is 8:15.  Lilah went to bed with a painful sore throat.  I do not have to wonder if she will stay home sick today.  I don’t have to wake her up to find out.  I don’t have to rush to catch a bus, or worry about a tardy slip.  I don’t have to worry about her going to the school nurse and being sent back to her classroom because she does not have a fever.  I don’t have to worry about her wanting to be home where her mom can make her warm soup and hold her when she feels bad.  I don’t have to worry about make up work and missed tests.  

Teachable Moments was conceived as a blog to share educational information with a public school audience.  I kept the name because it so fitted our transformation to a homeschooling family.  I keep the name because throughout my life there are little teachable moments that help me realize the path I am on it meant for me alone.  It may be similar to someone else’s but it can’t be exactly the same.  The same is said for this blog.  Love it or hate it, it is mine and I can share exactly what I want, when I want and while I hope it meets a receptive audience, it is not my guiding factor when I write.  Not every post I write will be published.  Many will live on in my word processing log, where I can print it out and share with my family if and when I choose.  

I never thought one week away could be so transformational.  The reflection and conversation I had with myself and my husband is not only necessary, it is enlightening.  Consciously deciding to make your life better is so powerful.  Our week was the epitome of a teachable moment.


Anonymous said...

I love this post, Jessica. After our fall and holiday season, between my uncle's death and other things, I really had no desire to go on blogging. There were times when I just thought it would phase away. I thought about emailing my sponsor and telling them I was done. Then, I would get a comment either from someone I knew or someone I didn't know and I would realize that what I wrote was helpful to someone else. I have no desire to tailor my blog to meet the needs of others, no desire to try to come up with posts about how to do something or meet someone else's needs or even necessarily offer encouragement. I am more interested in writing about my life, my experiences, my thoughts and if someone likes them, great; if not, my hope is that they would move on. I have gone through periods of thinking the same things you did about making it private, but I found that I don't write as often in the private blog I have. I think, for me, sharing it and seeing if someone else feels similarly is an incentive to write. And through blogging I have met many like-minded friends who I may never meet face to face, but who I still cherish on this journey and feel that God placed them right in my path because we needed to learn from each other or grow together. That is how I feel about you. you were the first commenter on my blog three years ago that was going through something similar to what I was going through. No one I knew in real life could understand what I was thinking and then you commented. It opened up a whole new world for me and encouraged me on a path that has been the best thing for my family. I am still grateful for that comment and that while our paths and our views may not always be the same, we can walk this road together.

Frogcreek said...

I know exactly how you feel. I often felt the, "why am I doing this, for who?" As you know I have my blog just sitting there on the back burner. I am at a good place with it. I post things, whatever I want, whenever I want. I don't know what will become of it, but that is the beauty. It's just there, easy, no agenda, no pressure.
I think when I lost the focus of just keeping my memories and pictures, and became more concerned with the people reading it, how they would feel, getting more comments, more subscribers... my blog lost it's magic.
Maybe one day, I will reconnect with it.
It is a weird transition, the slowing down or letting go. It was an ingrained habit, kind of like quitting smoking. I thought about it, checked on it, felt guilty about it, it was a whole process. I kept it going longer than I should have, and it became a drag.
It's doing what feels right for you, that's the tricky part, because there are so many excuses or things we feel we should do......

Jessica said...

We have so much spam now, that unless you are paying for a counter service, I think numbers mean nothing! The spam has actually been something that has been pushing me away from the blog. I hate it. I want to get back to why I began blogging. I really do enjoy it and I write almost daily anyway....I just want my writing to have more meaning than "look what my kids did today..."

Jessica said...

I think our blogs reflect the stages of our lives. Sometimes things just move along smoothly and so does the blog and then there are times of struggle when life is a bit challenging and it becomes a challenge to reflect what we want to express on the blog. I definitely have pulled back from expressing myself in this space and I know why I have, but there are times I am not sure how to move past it. I think redefining my focus helps.

I agree that God puts people and things in our path for certain reasons. I love that you and I travel this road together yet apart. I love the conversations we have had and the debate and the discussion. You have made me think about things the things I believe in and why I hold the opinions I do. Not many people I know do that! So thank you! I am blessed to call you my friend.

Frogcreek said...

I hear you! I never and still don't ( blog is not very active) have an issue with spam. I got just a few. I wonder why you are getting so much?

Jessica said...

I wish I knew! I have changed all my email passwords and I have even researched it but unless I switch off blogger comments, there is not much I can do. Maybe this will push me to my own domain. They are awful. Not just annoying but pornographic. I hate the fact that somehow they found me.

Frogcreek said...

Wow! That is crazy! I had a few spam from the same guy who hated American women, but that was the extent of it! Sorry you have to deal with that, truly stinky.

Susan Getty said...

I love this post, Jess. I have struggled from time to time with whether I want to continue blogging. At this point, I've decided that I will only blog about the things that are meaningful to me, and those things that I want to share. Blogging has to be enjoyable for me, not a stressor.

I have been getting a LOT of spam too!! I've considered turning off the comments, or making the commenting more strict, but I do like getting comments and I don't want to prevent a genuinely interested person or a friend from commenting.

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