I just finished reading a great book for mothers who want to write about mothering. It is called Use Your Words by Kate Hopper. In the book Hopper advises that we should focus on writing of our mothering journey which centers on us not around our kids. She discusses the controversies and potential issues relating to stories of our children being on the Internet forever for anyone to see, such as future classmates who may tease a child about some story about what they did when they were little. I respect her opinion but when writing about homeschooling it's another can of worms.
Teachers who write memoirs about teaching kids would have an easier time complying with this. Even the teacher writing their story of their first year on the job will have multiple classroom's worth of students to pick from and to discuss. They are able to make new characters who may be a combination of several kids. Teachers who write of many year's worth of teaching have it even easier. The teachers often write of the struggle to meet the needs of the students while being within a system where so much is out of their control.
As a homeschooling mother writing about our experience, there is no way around discussing at least certain elements of our children. The thing about homeschooling is that it can be (if we choose to make it) highly customizable. People want to read my stories of why we do what we do the way we do it. They want to read about what curriculum worked or what didn't and why. Homeschooling parents need to know that the homeschooling lifestyle can be complicated. You can't just talk about things in a highly abstract manner, examples must be given.
Hopper also said the writing of the mother should not be about what her kids do and achieve. Well at least for me I respectfully disagree. When I the mother am the one who facilitated the learning that helped my son win that competition I think it is alright to share that tidbit. There is so much opposition to homeschooling and so many believe that school kids always excel more need to hear stories of successful homeschooling. Some people define success by winning awards and other achievements. So I usually (but not always) share that stuff on my blog. I am not a boastful person so I have not reported all the awards my kids have achieved and I often report them late, due to my discomfort with bragging.
Another way that homeschoolers are more enmeshed is that we often have to do work with organizations or deliver programs to groups of kids, not just our kid. Thus as a volunteer in the past with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts I felt I had a large stake in the activity. It was my story not just my kid's story. We are a Scout family, pure and simple. When I share that a son made his Star Rank, only an involved Scout parent would realize that a certain level of parental involvement was required, if only to get the kid to and from the meetings and to volunteer with the Troop to help "make it go" as Scouting says.
When I share stories of learning adventures we went on, it is not just me telling of a field trip my kids did, it is a family activity we did together.
Homeschooling parents also need information on various learning struggles, developmental stages, and other challenges. They need to know that others experience what they experience and they need ideas for how to cope with it and how to help resolve it. They don't want stiff advice from a person who shares no personal information because that person is not credible to them. They need to hear what happened in our real lives and what we tried and how we resolved it in the end. I feel that I need to intermingle real stories and sometimes personal details about my kids mixed with information and ideas.
It is true that there are some things I was dying to blog about but have held off due to privacy concerns. To name a few: the feeling when you find out a girl has a crush on your son, what it feels like to know your son has a crush on a girl, and raging hormones of the teen years and how hard it is to live with a moody teen.
Hopper's book is amazing, very readable, and I plan to review it soon so you can hear more of my thoughts about the book. The things I mention here are the only points in the entire book that I felt were not applicable to homeschooling mother stories. Our lives are enmeshed more than parents of schooled kids and when writing about homeschooling we can't keep the same boundaries as other mothers.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book from Amazon.com's Vine program. For my blog's full disclosure statement click the link near the top of my blog's sidebar.