A few days ago, I was browsing the blogosphere and came across a post written by a mother who’d decided she was no longer going to homeschool her children. She listed the various reasons: homeschooling was just too difficult with little ones in the family, she didn’t feel she was doing a good enough job, and maybe her children were better off at school away from an unhappy and struggling mother.
There were nearly 100 comments. Now I didn’t read them all, but it seemed to me that the majority were written by mothers who appreciated someone confessing their problems with homeschooling. They found it refreshing to hear someone being honest and open enough to admit that the homeschooling life isn’t as rosy as many people make out. They felt able to admit their own difficulties. They'd found a kindred spirit.
I have also come across many posts where mothers admit how inadequate they feel when they read other bloggers’ posts where homeschooling successes are shared:
“I hate reading about all the wonderful things other mothers are doing with their families. I always creep away feeling like I am failing as a homeschooling mother. I have to remember that I shouldn’t compare myself with anyone else. Every family is different. So I've decided not to read this sort of homeschooling post.”
It would be easy to come to the conclusion that posting about homeschooling successes is probably not helpful at all. It’s not what readers are looking for. So…
I had a really difficult day today. No one cooperated at all. I wonder why I bother. I just don’t enjoy homeschooling at all.
Except I didn't, and they did, and I do know, because I do! I had a great day with the girls. I could tell you all about it… except probably nobody wants to hear what we did. And I don't want to make anyone feel inadequate. That would be awful.
How do bloggers share homeschooling stories without making others feel they are failing? What are readers really looking for when they browse homeschooling blogs? I've been thinking about this and I really don't know.