Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday to this blog!

On July 6th, exactly one year ago, I wrote the very first post on this blog. So, to tie in with Blogger's challenge to tell them how blogging has changed your life in one way or another, that's just what I'm going to do!

When I first started this blog, it was going to be a chronicle of my unschooling life, showing, daily, how I was learning as an unschooler. This was as much to prove to myself that I was actually learning as it was to show anyone else what unschooling looked like! No one, except for my mom, even read it. And it was started at a time in my life when I was really uncertain. That Winter and Spring before the beginning of this blog was really tough for me. I was frequently depressed, and in the Spring I lost a very close friendship that had meant a lot to me. Added onto that was the fact my father felt I wasn't learning anything at all (my mother was pretty sure I was learning, but was plagued nonetheless by doubts and worries, as is everyone at times), and I really wasn't so sure I was learning, either. I mean, unschooling is pretty "out there". Learning in freedom, learning what you want and need, when you want and need it, learning through life. For some reason, most people find the idea unthinkable. So I was very unsure, very insecure, but determined to prove to myself, and the world, that unschooling can, and does, work in practice, and that I really wasn't going to fail at life if I didn't go to school.

Of course, seeing as unschooling really is learning, and as I read the Teenage Liberation Handbook, mentioning that frequently in my early blog posts, I started to relax about unschooling a bit, and start realizing that by scrutinizing each day for whatever learning was gleaned from it, I was kind of missing the point. So the posts stopped coming every single day, and started focusing less on the details of each day, and more on my thoughts and feelings.

Also, in my earlier writings, I was just starting to research and learn about anarcho-primitivism. It was a fascinating journey for me, learning, thinking, discovering. I had always been semi-interested in, but disgusted by, politics, and no political party ever really felt right to me. But as I learned about anarcho-rimitivism, as I read a ton online, and a bit later read a ton by Derrick Jensen, it all just felt right to me. Scary, as it was the most radical philosophy I'd ever discovered, but right on a fundamental level. Like deep down, I'd already known and believed all of it, I'd just needed someone to point it out to me, to point me in the right direction. And the rest is history. As I thought, discussed, and wrote on this blog, my opinions moved from strong interest and curiosity, to tentative agreement, to absolute agreement. I had found my own worldview, the educational philosophy I knew was right, and even the vague direction I wanted to take in my life. Through it all, I blogged. I worked things out in writing, expressed my thoughts, my insecurities, my opinions, my beliefs. And gradually, I also developed a readership.

At the start of my blog, no one really read it. But as I continued writing, a few people started following this blog, and as soon as I knew there were actually people reading it, I had a real incentive to keep writing! So I did, and as my opinions solidified and my writing grew stronger, more people started following, until now, there are nearly 50 people officially following this blog, with more, although I have no clue how many more, reading regularly, or following through a program that doesn't show up in my little followers box! And really, the value of all you people who visit my little corner of the internet can not be overrated. If, as I tentatively started to write about ever more radical and unknown opinions people had reacted negatively, I'm not sure I would have continued. But having the support of people online who actually agreed with what I had to say was wonderful! Knowing that, even if everyone I talked to in person, aside from my mom and sister, thought I was insane, at least there were people in other places who felt the same way I did, saw things from the same angle, or at the very least supported my right to hold those opinions. That made, and makes, such a difference to me.
This past year has been one of great growth and change for me, and this blog has been there every step of the way, reflecting what's been going on in my head and in my life. It still seems slightly strange to me that people actually want to read what I write, and that many unschooling parents are more likely to say to my mom "Oh, you're Idzie's mom!" than for things to be the other way around! :-P

I'm still growing and changing, as humans constantly do, and still feeling insecurities and worries. Everyone lately seems to be either very impressed with me, or very unimpressed (seeing as I'm neither in school nor working, and to many people those both assign value to a person). I'm not sure which I struggle with more! I feel my life isn't very impressive. I want to be able to tell people that I'm a member of a permaculture co-op that teaches people how to grow their own food, or that I'm working with a center that helps teenagers liberate themselves from school, or something similarly impressive. My life is a continuous process, and I want things to change in certain ways, but am not quite sure how to do so, and even more then that, I'm afraid to do so! But as I continue to change, this blog will continue to reflect those changes. It's therapy for me, and support at times, simply writing things down and then letting my words loose in the World Wide Web for all to read...

So to sum up this very long post, I simply want to say Happy Birthday, I'm Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write.! And thank you so much to everyone who has read, does read, or will soon start reading my blog. I'm sorry if I sound soppy in this post, but I really do mean everything I say! I love you guys, and you make all the difference to me! :-)



  1. Hi Idzie, it's great that you get so much from your blog writing, that you can clarify what this blog means to you and get your ideas out there and find a form of connection and support for your ideas. It's a great contribution to the blogosphere and for me I enjoy reading your journey and find it inspirational even, as I have fears about emabarking on the process myself with my own children, even though I whole heartedly believe in it. So thanks!

  2. I follow your blog. And I don't follow many.

    I'm the son of a philosopher. I work with and train adults to think better. I've taught classes around the world. I taught at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I taught nuclear scientists, too. I've lectured at several universities.

    AND, listen, I find your blog fascinating and useful. What does that tell you? No kidding, you're impressive. Keep writing please. Your ideas, and the way you articulate them with grace and subtlety, will show inspire other kids, and also show more parents not to fear unschooling.

    I hope you write a book, soon.

    -- James

  3. I second the writing a book thing.

    I'm glad I stumbled onto your blog and found another young person who will be part of 'the revolution'. I've enjoyed every post on some level. I am looking forward to meeting you in person soon and being able to have a good conversation with you.

    Many happy returns. Keep writing.

  4. Idzie, you rock!!! We love you too! Your blog is awesome, and you have a brilliant writing style which I love. The book idea is a good one, and you should at least consider it. You don't have to do anything but be yourself to be impressive.

    HUGS, and happy bloggy birthday!!!!

  5. Oh, and I also wanted to say through your blog are so many more great connections to be found - thanks!
    And that I wish for my children to be as free-thinking, conscious, wise young adults when they reach that stage - embracing their unique self with confidence like you do.

  6. Congratulations, and yes, you can definitely write.

  7. A great year it has been, for us, your readers. Keep the ideas flowing, and follow your heart.

  8. We love you too Idzie!
    your blog is actually one of the first blogs I've ever come across and I fell in love with your writing style and how you were not afraid at all to express your ideas, your opinions and your concerns at once.
    A very Happy Birthday to your blog!


  9. Happy blog birthday! I can so see you as a part of that permaculture group, or helping teens (anyone!) liberate themselves from school and dysfunctional culture and the whole crazy lot of it. I look forward to every post.

  10. Woo! Happy Birthday awesome blog-ness!

  11. Happy Blogiversary! Well done, keep it coming.

  12. Thank you so much to everyone!! Your kind words truly do mean a lot to me.

    I've never thought about writing my own book before. I've vaguely entertained notions of publishing a short story or two, somewhere in the distant future, but I've never even considered writing something non-fiction. But since it was suggested, I've been thinking about it... And honestly, it sounds like a marvelously fulfilling project, even if I never got it published! Unschooling from a radical political perspective, my musings and rants, suitably polished, collected in one volume... I think I'll do that sometime.