Sunday, July 12, 2009

Note to Any Readers I Might Still Have

I was washing the dishes tonight and plotting out another classical post and feeling sort of sorry for my readers, if any still remain. In many ways I am enjoying this new blog where I can combine all the things I used to compartmentalize into three or four blogs. After all, the philosophical ramblings, unschooly journaling, homeschool organization and health/household strategies are all ME. If I have reached 2 score and a half dozen years and still have trouble integrating it, maybe it's time to start working on that.

However, the challenge, of course, is that anyone who has followed me from one of my old blogs is probably getting whiplash ... one topic to another, most of them sort of demanding in different ways. I feel bad about that. It doesn't feel like altogether good hospitality.

I decided not to keep a statcounter on this blog because I like picturing to myself that SOME people read it but that it's a bit hidden too. That's my comfort zone. If I thought that hundreds read it I would get a strange creeped-out feeling about that. If I thought no one really read it, well, why even blog? So I'm picturing the middle zone and taking precautions to avoid disillusionment. A great way to live life, huh? ;-).

When I get immersed in a subject, particularly when I have extra leisure time as I do during the summer, it can become the filter through which I see the world. I know that recently I've been all about classical education on here. And I've been restraining myself!!! I worry it might just seem very alienating to more unschooly readers or my IRL friends and relatives who want to hear about what we're doing with ourselves, NOT find out about Quintilian or Ignatius.

A bit off the topic, but reading Tony Attwood's book on Asperger's just recently I was reminded a bit of myself and several people related to me (as I read, I kept coming across the descriptions of AS traits and thinking, "So what's supposed to be wrong with that?? sounds pretty normal to me! hey, I can relate! You know, if everyone was like that the world wouldn't be such a bad place!" I don't think I'm diagnosable but I do think there's probably an "outer edge of normal" as Steph once titled a blog and I'm probably spinning in a solar system somewhere in that territory. But there's good things about that margin -- you get a good view sometimes, for one thing).

So I was thinking that I would ask a question that Amy-who-may-be-switching-blogs-again asked once of her readers (in my case, all five of you, maybe?)

Is there anything you'd like me to blog about?

  • A specific thing?
  • A "type" of thing? that you miss seeing perhaps, or would like to see more of?
Now, I will let you off the hook by saying that you don't have to respond if you are just being nice and polite. I will take the intention for the deed. If I don't get any responses I won't even entertain the suspicion that no one reads here. I'll just figure people are busy with summer things.

I started calculating while I was rinsing pots, which is another geeky thing I do, and I realized that if you totalled it up like man-hours (ie, 4 people working 3 hours each = 12 man-hours), I have LOTS of individualized educational- experience-years. I have 17 school years of my own; 11 years homeschooling my oldest; 12 hsing my second; 12 years hsing my daughter; 9 years with my 4th; 7 years with my 5th; 5 years with my 6th; and 1 year with the youngest. Total: 74 educational-years if you don't count the early years through kindergarten. Wow. Do I feel old now!

Plus in a slightly passive way I've had LOTS of variety in my life -- grew up in Alaska, spent 3 years in Europe as a teen, went through complicated and rare medical crises with two kids, had 9 pregnancies and have 7 living children, constantly try to hit the happy medium between unschooling and classical homeschooling, converted to Catholicism, had an unusual set of parents who met in a hospital in Montreal and worked in Labrador after their marriage before going to Alaska, moved from reservation to reservation during my young years... and so on. I even almost got chewed up by sled dogs once, though I can't tell you much about that since I don't remember it!

Experience doesn't count for everything (Aristotle wrote to the effect that it partly depends on whether you actually LEARN from the experience) but it does seem like just by the law of averages I probably have gotten something out of all those years and all those different places.

So if you think of something that would make this blog more interesting or instructive to you, or something you like that you would like to continue to see, please feel free to leave a comment mentioning it. I'll try to incorporate it in for a change of pace, at least. And if you want to say something but don't like to leave comments or are having trouble with blogger like some have reported, you can email -- if you click through the profile on the sidebar you'll see a link to my email address, or just try (but replace the AT).


  1. I love your site, a combination of all the others you had - and I bet it is much less time consuming than before. Tony Attwood recently appeared on the Australian version of Sixty Minutes suggesting that children on the ASD are less intimidated by the fewer animal facial expressions than the numerous human facial expressions. Interesting guy.

  2. Well as one of your secret 5 (who wouldn't appear on a site meter generally as I read you on google reader;) I LOVE your new site. I mainly used to hang out on your learning blog before, but I'm enjoying the combo of the four.

    To answer your question, I'm really enjoying your philosophy posts and I'd enjoy hearing more on how that practically translates in your learning lives.

    Mmm I've never heard the story of your conversion and I just want to know, 'what reservations and why?'

    Then again I'd love to hear about your everyday lives. See I'm a happy reader, I love the mix.

  3. Another happy reader here :). I don't comment as often as I should, because I often skim read and don't have the time to ponder as fully as I would like, but your blog helps to keep my thinking about educational philosophy ticking over. Then again, I like the day to day stuff too.

  4. Blog on whatever you want, Willa! It's your blog, and I like it the way it is, because it's like I've stumbled on a homeschooling mom's private notebooks. It shows that you're a a woman of many interests!

    Obviously I can't respond too much on the posts about scheduling many children, as that sort of thing doesn't happen much here, but I read as much as I can keep up with, and sometimes print posts out to read again, particularly the posts that relate to something I'm thinking about educationally and philsophically.

    And I like the combination of classical ed and unschooling. That's my angle of interest, too, though I've never quite figured out a method for it. I'm just rather hoping my daughter catches it by osmosis or something. Maybe she misunderstood, because it seems she caught classical *music* and unschooling, not classical ed and unschooling.

    And I, too, would like to read your conversion story, if you don't mind writing it out.

    Oh, and I see you've got Bernd Heinrich's *Why We Run* on you sidebar. My husband read that. Can't read the other titles except Walden. I think I'll go click and look closer.

  5. *grin*

    Combining into one blog has made it easier for _me_ at any rate:-) I read all the others, but following one is more straightforward than many:-) I don't get whiplash now, but previously I'd catch myself being confused because 'a couple of bloggers' were blogging about the same people:-) I'm pretty happy with the mix of things I read here:-)

  6. Yes, the scenic view from the outer edge of normal is great. :-P I followed you here from ALL your old blogs, so this is perfect for me. I don't have time to read every post, but the ones I do read challenge me more than any other blogs I read. Keep up the good work. Though I would love to hear more about your life experiences.

  7. Ditto Laughing Stars - I read all your blogs so this one fits me fine. :) Because I'm sitting here while my toddler keeps getting in trouble, I can't seem to think of any questions to ask or things I want to hear about. Hmmmm...uh oh, think I need to come back later, a diaper change is calling... :-P

  8. I love reading your blog, Willa! I read every single post. I'd like to read more about your take on unschooly stuff, whenever you feel so inclined to write about it. I usually hash through one philosophy at a time, go whole-hog on my reading, and then move onto the next :). You are far more experienced than I- I love learning from you!

  9. I'm a new reader, so all I can say is, bring it on!

  10. I'd like to hear your thoughts on college. Specifically, your true impression of your son's TAC experience and what he did after he graduated. I have heard mixed reviews. Also, what are your real thoughts (not that you've been sharing unreal ones ;)) about girls staying at home after high school. I believe your daughter chose that path and my rising senior would like to do that also.

  11. I enjoy your educational philosophy posts, and it only makes sense that you focus on one philosophy at a time.

    I really like your other philosophical posts, too. I would love to hear more of your thoughts about beauty, kitsch, etc... Ever since reading those posts, I've been musing about that--especially since we are contemplating replacing a definitely kitschy print in our dining room. The choice has paralyzed me for over a year, and so, I sit here still with "The Singing Butler."

  12. I enjoy reading your posts, Willa. And I know exactly what you mean about the Tony Attwood book. When I read it,it described much of my childhood, and I too am probably spinning somewhere on the outer edge of normal. I do have other family members that along with me are probably on the edge of normal, and two or three others that would probably be easily diagnosed with Aspberger's.

    I am curious about what interested you in his book to begin with. I read it because I suspected that the label fit one of my children.

    Anyway, I read just about anything you write.


  13. Thanks so much for the comments! Most of your blogs I already knew about, and the couple I didn't, I've added to my roll. What a lot of you said, I do too -- I read your blogs regularly, but often from the reader, and I don't always comment.

    I'll be thinking about the questions that came up and if there are any more, please feel free to put them down here even if you come across this post later.

  14. It look to me like you have more than five readers. ;)

    I love when you share your experience. It is hard to find experienced homeschool moms to chat with, so I appreciate you sharing the inner-workings of your school and thought-life.

  15. I like Kim's suggestion to write about your daughter staying home after high school. I've known a few young women who waited to go to college until they were good and ready, and we're thinking along those lines, but I can tell already it's going to be yet another way in which we stand on the outer edge of normal (like the phrase!).

  16. I'm late....but I love the new all in one blog...and I like hearing about the passion of the moment - from rinsing pots to philosophy!!! Actually, I love hearing about rinsing pots, but I'm sorta goofy I think. I'm reading! :)

  17. Am I one of the 5?!!!..

    I say blog about what you have been- I like the mix! I followed all your other blogs so the condensing of them into one has been great.

    I also enjoy seeing how your philosophical thoughts work themselves out in your life. You seem to share so many of my thoughts on education/unschooling/classical etc. so I love to see how that works it's way out and also to learn more about the mix.




I would love to hear your thoughts on this!