When my blog disappeared into thin air one day, I was obviously a bit upset. I had posted almost daily for over a year, and I had a neat post all lined up and nowhere to put it. It wasn’t quite the end of the world, but I did wonder what had happened. Had my six-year old somehow accidentally clicked her way through several screens and buttons to delete my blog? It seemed a bit unlikely – she’s known how to operate BrainPop for ages. She screams whenever things go wrong. And it’s quite a lot of screens and buttons. Did I have a secret enemy? Kind of an exciting idea, eh! Some ruthless hacker who cares that much about how I educate aforementioned six-year-old! Or did Blogger mess something up? Possible, possible, … and they didn’t answer my emails begging for help. Hey! maybe I have a secret enemy at Blogger!
After 24 hours of withdrawal symptoms, I discovered one important reason why I have a homeschool blog. I started it to keep records of what we were doing. Actually, it had replaced a previous, private and monthly website, because it was simpler and easier to update. The day after my blog was deleted, I received our convocation for the yearly homeschool inspection. Note that I didn’t know when this would be because it could have been anytime between December and June.
Suddenly, I needed all those blog posts for real! Luckily, I had the photos on my hard drive, and Mike received all my posts as emails, and never deletes anything, so I can get them. It just isn’t as easy as clicking on the Maths label, and copying down everything we did. Now I’ve remembered just how important the record part of my site is to me. I am going to be much more proactive about keeping those records for now on.
When I first started my blog I used it as a place to think aloud. Like most homeschooling parents, I care a lot about what I’m doing, but I’m often in experimental mode. Not specifically experimenting on my child, but I’ll try out various ideas for size, and maybe implement 1% of them. I did that quite a bit in the early days. Then it turned out that a few people discovered my blog and stopped by fairly often. Ooops! I got a bit of stage fright! Did I really want to ramble on about some wild idea that I might not be committed to, and have people associate me with it? Errr… probably not. I really wanted to present the ideas I had fully explored and was committed to. If anyone criticised me, I would at least feel on firm ground. But in retrospect, the blog loses some of its value for me if I can’t try out ideas in it. I’m going to have to think of a way of doing that whilst letting people know whether I really mean things or whether they are thought experiments.
With a few people stopping by, with there being a few blogs I liked to read and sometimes comment on, I inadvertently started to develop a tiny public presence. I suppose I asked for it. Especially when I took over the Evolved Homeschoolers Webring, which had mysteriously disappeared, kind of like my blog. I fully admit that I’m not nearly as proactive as my predecessor. I’m really just a placeholder for something that I felt needed a place. We tend to take evolution for granted in Europe. Outdoors education is another matter. It’s something I can feel militant about, what with kids in France spending most of their lives locked up in institutions. But I didn’t really know I had a peer group. One day I stumbled across the Learning in the Great Outdoors blog carnival, and was surprised to discover I was a contributor! Some nice person must have submitted one of my posts on my behalf. I was pretty excited about the idea of writing posts on purpose for this! Actually, I was planning one on astronomy with younger kids when my original blog disappeared. Now there’s an idea that’s been fully explored in our family!
I suppose homeschool blogs vary. Some give out a clear direction, others are a bit vague and multi-purpose. Mine is probably going to be one of the latter even in its new, better protected incarnation.