the search engine post, volume 2

November 2, 2010

One of the best parts of blogging is, of course, the comments one receives. On days that I don’t receive comments, I have to satisfy myself with reading my blog stats. On WordPress, there’s a very handy, easy-to-read, single-page stat report. And one section of that report lists “search engine terms”–the phrases that people type into a search engine which lead them to my blog.

This is a highly entertaining list, I tell you. Fine recreation for comment-less days. I squirrel away the best phrases to share with you, dear readers, until I find myself with a nice collection–and nothing better to post here. Longtime readers may remember the original search engine post of over a year ago. Reading your comments to that post had me belly-laughing for days.

So without further ado, I present you with the most intriguing search engine terms that have led folks to the wonderfarm in the last year:

boy cleaning up art supplies. Oh dear. I have no idea how this led you to my blog. I do have a boy here, and there are cupboard-loads of art supplies. But I have never seen a boy cleaning up those art supplies. Not the resident boy, anyway. If you saw my kitchen table, you would believe me.

pictures of black haired 11 year olds. This seems a tad specific, don’t you think? Around here we don’t happen to have black-haired eleven-year-olds any more than we have boys cleaning up art supplies. Sorry to disappoint.

pokemon that looks like patricia. Really? There is one? I’m not sure if I should be flattered or disturbed.

stomach flu patricia throw up. Is this a command? Or some sort of hex? I have to say, I’m a bit offended. (And not feeling queasy at all, so there!)

bad homeschooling examples. And this led you to my blog? Gee, thanks. Hope you got the inspiration you were looking for.

homeschooling analogies negative. Okay, I’m starting to take this a wee bit personally…

spoiled little mama green chinese diaper. I really loved the randomness of this one. Until my curiosity got the best of me and I googled the phrase myself and found an actual product. What a letdown.

Backswimmers bite in Spain. What a useful bit of information! I’ll keep it in mind next time I’m in Spain. Thanks for sharing.

troll mothering. Do you mean how do trolls mother, or how can humans mother like trolls? And did you find the answers on my blog? (Do I really look like a Pokemon, mother like a troll and homeschool badly? These search engine terms can be so discouraging!)

Some of my favorite searches are the ones I call Google As All-Knowing Oracle searches. These are the ones in which someone types a question into the search engine as if the search engine will answer the question. Now I understand that if you type in a generic question–something like how do you divide fractions?–you are likely to find a web page where others have asked the same question, and received answers. But for most searches, as I pointed out in my original search engine post, you need to type in phrases which are likely to appear in the document you’re looking for. Typing a question is not likely to be helpful–especially if your question is, shall we say, obscure. To wit:

Do goblins attack fairy dishes? I really don’t know. You might be better off asking a goblin, rather than Google (or me).

Did you ever pretend to be a pokemon? That’s a little personal, don’t you think? (Okay, sometimes I play around as that Pokemon that looks like me. And it’s awfully fun to pretend you’re Jigglypuff.)

What does bon jovi own? Sheesh. I write one little post about my kid’s short-lived fascination with Bon Jovi and for over a year have had almost-daily hits from Bon Jovi fans. No, I do not know what Bon Jovi owns. I don’t have photos of his kids; I don’t know where he lives. And I don’t know if he’s ever pretended to be a Pokemon.

how do you wright in chinese? Um, I hate to be rude, but perhaps you should learn to write in English first.

And then, of course, there are those Google-As-Confessional searches:

I hold my pencil weird. There, there. I hope that typing that into a search engine made you feel better.

i want a waldorf play kitchen. And I sure hope you get one. But perhaps you should redirect your request to Santa Claus rather than to Google and me.

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Keep those blog searches coming, you random internet pilgrims! I probably don’t have what you’re looking for here on the farm, but it’s always a giggle to meet you.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy November 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Hilarious, I was laughing pretty hard by the time I got to pokemon.
Then I realized that I owe you a comment; that I have been carrying one around for you in my brain for awhile now.
I need to say thank you. When you started posting with diligence about dictation and children, I was initially flustered. Disappointed. Thinking that this would just never apply to me, that we are so far from a place where spoken language flows easily enough to tell stories. Benen is four now, has just started using four and five word sentences, has the vocabulary of someone half his age, maybe. He’ll get there, but it will be a long road.
And then I realized that what you were talking about, more than any particular language, was just to listen to them, and capture their ideas for them, and empower them. And all of a sudden, a gap closed for me: for awhile now I’d been annoyed, frustrated with all of our art sessions together ending in him wanting me to paint or draw and him telling me what to paint or draw. It got to the point where I stopped making art with him.

I realized, after some time reading your posts, that visual is his vernacular, and he was asking me to take dictation. He was begging me to tell his stories. So I started drawing for him, without hesitation, or refusal, or trying to get him to do the work. Just drew whatever he wanted: transformers, giant squirrels, robots, more robots, more transformers, a tent, a campfire, my shoes, squirrels eating my shoes.

And, rather quickly, once I relaxed, listened, and let him drive, something happened. He started drawing. He started TALKING. Telling stories. The words are jumbled, sign language and approximations and pantomime and so much amazing energy – but they are stories! His language – spoken and visual – is blossoming.
Thank you for giving me the nudge I needed to hear him!

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patricia November 3, 2010 at 8:07 am

Hi Amy! So good to hear from you!

Your comment made me cry.

I’m so honored that something I wrote helped you reconsider what was happening between you and Benen. I have to be honest–if I were in your shoes, I probably would have dragged my heels too, insisting that Benen draw on his own rather than having me do it. How wonderful that you were able to step aside and recognize that his requests for you to draw were requests for dictation. It’s really the same thing: we do the writing–or drawing–so the child doesn’t have to get hung up on the mechanics. He can focus on what he has to express. And eventually the child takes over.

I appreciate so much that you got this from what I’ve written: “And then I realized that what you were talking about, more than any particular language, was just to listen to them, and capture their ideas for them, and empower them.” Yes! Thank you for seeing that!

I really believe that if you find a way to engage a child at the level of his passions, wherever that level may be, that everything else will fall into place. If you start from the child’s source of motivation, the ball will begin to roll and you just need to be there to provide support.

It sounds like that’s what happened with Benen–in a big way! 🙂

I’ve transcribed very simple language from my kids when they were quite young, but never thought about “transcribing” pictures. But that makes so much sense, since pictures seem to be a big part of Benen’s vocabulary right now. Thank you for opening that possibility for me.

And congratulations on that baby girl of yours! I feel so out of touch. Time for a gathering of the tribe, don’t you think?

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By Word of Mouth November 3, 2010 at 1:35 pm

I Googled ‘down to earth filled with awe some ness Mom who homeschools’
and I got you … no, I’m kidding,
but bet I would if I did.
I have enjoyed reading your blog since I found your article in a mag at Whole Foods nearly three years ago … and I promise to comment more 🙂

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patricia November 4, 2010 at 7:57 am

Well, now if someone Googles “down to earth filled with awe some ness Mom who homeschools” they will find my blog–because of your comment.

Ha ha!

Thanks for dropping by!

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Darcie November 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm

What great amusement! Thanks for sharing for a good laugh.

Patricia, some time ago in your Ever-Changing List of Wonderous Links there was a website by a small group of women with Waldorfy activities including making a boat of twigs, turning a dress into a skirt, etc. I can’t remember the name of it for the life of me. If you know which one I am referring to will you please pass along the address? I would REALLY appreciate it!

Have a great day!

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patricia November 8, 2010 at 10:56 pm

I’m always happy to spread the goofiness around…

I think the link you mention must be Rhythm of the Home online magazine. http://rhythmofthehome.com/ I linked to the Summer Issue; the Autumn Issue is up now.

Is that what you were looking for?

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Barrie November 15, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Wow, I haven’t been keeping up with your posts for a while (my RSS reader is on my widgets page, and, well, I just havent’ been hitting F12 all that often lately I guess), and now I come back and there are so many great ones! I loved this one especially though, your responses to the search terms and, of course, the terms themselves had me in tears. But I was really moved by your friend Amy’s post as well–that’s quite inspiring! And I can second that in a tiny way myself, as I have a painting that Corbin did when he was two and a half, and right there on the page in the middle of all that random watercolor swiping are two cows that I did for him at his request. I look back at that now that he’s three and I’m amazed, for he draws all kinds of characters with squiggly pen lines and they really do look like the things he tells me they are. So it seems taking artistic dictation really can set any child free when they don’t quite feel ready to draw the things they see themselves yet. And now I’m galvanized to continue (or, rather, restart) taking verbal dictation for both my kids. Thank you!

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patricia November 16, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Hi Barrie, long time no read!

I’m glad this post made you cry. There is something about the randomness of those search engine terms that cracks me up (and makes me want to talk back to them), but I don’t think everyone has my same warped sense of humor. Seems you do! (Phew.)

Amy’s post sure was moving. It’s interesting to think beyond written words, to the notion that we can help our kids express themselves in many ways. We help find the right words when they’re learning to talk too. It’s all about giving them just the right amount of support to get them expressing themselves as they want to.

Hit that F12 button a little more often! I miss seeing you here!

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Debbie November 26, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Oh Patricia – I was laughing so hard I had tears rolling down my face and had to take several breaks to catch my breath. TOO funny. As a wordpress blogger, I know exactly what you mean. I get some crazy search results and wonder how they heck they found me through “hoemade (yes, hoe) pasta jamie oliver cup flour” or “i feel like i am disconnected from my soul.” Hmmmm…sorry to hear that. 🙂

Amy’s post really spoke to me too. My son is 4 and has spoken better than some adults I know…since he was 18 months old. Still, he doesn’t like to write. He rarely draws pictures, but is always asking me to draw a story and then tells me what he wants it to look like. Or, he asks me to write down a bunch or words or sentences for him. (He taught himself to read at 3.5 but isn’t interested in writing things down yet.) Many times I have accommodated his request but I’m sure there are times I’ve brushed him off too. I won’t do that again. Amy’s post, and your response helped me to realize that he is asking me to tell his stories for him – or to at least document them. So cool. Thanks for sharing your ideas on dictation. I must go back and read those posts. (I’ve missed too many.) You inspire me so much.

And while I haven’t been here lately, I’m missed reading you. I really need to pare down my Reader…because I only really read a handful of what I subsribe to…and this is one I want to be reading consistenly. xoxo

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patricia November 28, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Oh good, Debbie, yet another person with a warped sense of humor! Who types something like “i feel like i am disconnected from my soul” into a search engine? And I want to know how typing the word hoemade led someone to your blog! 🙂

I’m so glad that some of the posts here–and the comments!–have been helpful to you. It’s a fabulous thing if your little I. is asking you to write and draw for him. It means that written expression is important to him–and that’s a big step in his wanting to do it himself someday. Help him express himself in whatever way he requests, and have fun with it!

Thanks for the very kind feedback, Debbie.

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wanderingsue July 2, 2013 at 8:30 am

I used to regularly drive past a shop in a little town in the middle of nowhere, with a hand-lettered sign in the window for “Ho-made Pies.” And it always seemed such a wholesome town, that they had nothing better to do.

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patricia July 16, 2013 at 9:34 am

Giggle.

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