The proof of the pudding
Was once in the eating;
On modern-day footing,
It’s now in the tweeting.
Much has been written—on social media and elsewhere—about the prevalence of social media in our lives.
A common lament is that an overindulged obsession with online life tends to swallow up the reality of our actual life, leading to discontentment, unfair comparisons, wasted time, silly fads, and the like. On the other hand, failure to document our lives leaves no record of them, ensuring that our legacy will disappear into a forgotten void and possibly, through the cumulative loss of information, spawning another dark age.
I fall somewhere in between. When my first baby was young, I clung to blogging as a necessary means to keep in touch with faraway friends and family. The Internet was an oasis of grown-up consciousness in the midst of a sea of what often seemed like routine mindlessness. I documented rigorously, taking countless pictures of my new baby and dashing to the computer to capture every single profound thought before it melted away. Digital photos, of course, are practically limitless, and I actually saved and stored photos of my first-born by the week.
(In true birth order predictability, each successive child got a smaller and smaller allocation of picture space—not that they weren’t just as cute, only that I had less time to devote to grabbing the camera. A good plan would have been to let them take pictures of each other. If only I had been organized enough to get a cheap, handy little digital camera when the second baby came along.)
As time went on, the demands of home life simply crowded out virtual life, and blogging gradually fell by the wayside. By the time Facebook and Twitter really took hold in the popular consciousness, I had already moved on and formed habits around our daily routine in the home and didn’t really miss the “social” aspect of social media. Nowadays, I still enjoy reading up on articles and friends’ posts, but I don’t usually take the time to post or comment anymore. So my online time remains limited more by default than by deliberate choice.
Since I’m not posting pictures and updates online, one might assume that I’ve achieved a healthy balance between the virtual and physical realms and am happily maintaining journals, baby books, and scrapbooks in real life. Not so! I’m actually just behind all around. I haven’t printed off digital pictures since circa 2008, and the baby books tend to sport random updates such as “Another three teeth Fall 2011” or “Baby started walking sometime November 2014.” As far as documentation goes, let’s hope civilization isn’t counting on me to prevent another dark age.
Actually, in true Dark Age fashion, I’ve rediscovered an excellent way to preserve memories, at least for our immediate purpose: rely on oral traditions. The method is simple. We imprint memories on as many little minds as possible, and the myths and traditions grow from there.
The benefit of this outlook is that it means involving everyone in everything, which is pretty much what happens in homeschooling anyway. When you have a houseful of people all living their lives out together, all at once, the chaos can sometimes run a little high, but the memories of fun times are unforgettable. (Well, I can forget them. But my kids still talk about Pajama Day, some day in the misty past where I couldn’t get things together and finally declared around noon, “Forget your morning chores. Let’s just have a pajama day.” It’s been years, and they still ask me when we’re going to have another Pajama Day.)
So I usually have a crowd of people in the kitchen with me, some helpful, some not so much. We rarely make Pinterest-worthy creations. But we do manage to cook up decent food, lick the bowls clean, and practice measuring and fractions into the bargain.
Photo Credit: First photo taken by Ali Inay; second and third photos taken by Rose Focht, edited by Charity Klicka.