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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

What I've Learned from 10 Years of Blogging about Homeschooling

Purse with a camera

This week marks the 10th anniversary of this little space on the interwebs. After blogging privately about our home and homeschool for around six years, I made the decision to start a public blog that focused on home education. I was homeschooling my oldest two kids, greatly pregnant with my fifth, and running on coffee fumes most days.

Writing online became my catharsis. It helped me find my way through the wilderness. The notion that anyone besides my mom wanted to read my words? Well, that was a fun bonus.

  

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Nine hundred-ish posts, a collection of magazine articles, dozens of speaking engagements, two books, a podcast, and thousands of online relationships later--I could not be more grateful for the unexpected legacy created from those first few clunky sentences.

I've mentioned in more than one blog article that I am a life-long learner. My curiosity forces me to admit that while I'm pretty good at some things, I'm an expert at none. There's always something else to learn. There's always the potential for growth. 

When I started this blog, I planted a lot of flags, proclaiming what I knew to be true about myself, homeschooling, and even humanity. Turns out, many of my firmly held beliefs from those early years have changed.

Here are 10 things I've learned from 10 years of blogging about homeschooling

What I've Learned from 10 Years of Blogging about Homeschooling

If you're gonna go public, pick a topic you can talk about until the end-of-days.

Not a day goes by that I don't get one email, text, call, or social media message with questions or comments about homeschooling. (And when I say "one," what I really mean is one thousand.) Fortunately for me, I am perfectly content talking about homeschooling all-the-live-long day. Looking back at when I first started blogging, I wonder if I'd have had the same amount of longevity had I chosen to write about other pet projects like organizing, cooking, deal-finding, or Oreo cookie eating. I doubt I would have enjoyed this gig nearly as well if I had not chosen a topic that sits at the intersection of my S.H.A.P.E. (Spiritual Gits, Heart/Passions, Abilities, Personality, Experiences.) as nicely as home and homeschooling.

The Unlikely Homeschool Blog on a laptop 

There's always something to say.

 
In the early days, I feared that I would run out of things to write. But the giant handwritten list of potential homeschooling topics I'd like to chat with you about that is stashed in my nightstand at this very moment proves that I was worried for nothing. It continues to grow by the day. So many words. So little time.

A blog is a great accountability partner. 

 
In order to have enough content to write a homeschooling blog, I've had to homeschool. I've had to try many new methods, curricula, and ideas on for size in order to give my honest opinion about them. Admittedly, I'm naturally the "sure, let's do that messy project" mom. But, on certain days when it would have been a lot easier to just skip the field trip or choose the worksheet over the fun math review game, the responsibility of producing "content" for my blog prodded me forward and forced me to choose good over good enough. And my kids have all reaped the benefits. 

sorting notecards to write a book

Bad work is the only path to good work.

 
Let's do a little truth-telling, shall we? If you've been reading my blog since the very beginning, you'd have to admit that my early posts were rather cringy. The photos were grainy. The writing was cliché. And the overall content was sub-par. But eventually, after writing dozens and dozens and dozens of really bad words, I started to write pretty good ones. And isn't that the way of life? You won't ever find excellence unless you slog through average. You have to be willing to let yourself be a beginner if you ever hope to be an expert. I'm far from excellent, mind you. But, I'm working on getting there each and every day.
 
Learning Well Journal and Brave Homeschool Planner

There's no one "right way" to homeschool. 

 
Fourteen years ago, I came to homeschooling with a lot of preconceived notions about education. In my defense, I had spent years in the classroom and was conditioned to believe that there was only one "right way" to learn. You, dear readers, have set me straight. In the last ten years, you've invited me into your lives, shared both your struggles and your success stories, and have shown me that the path to learning is never linear.
 

The internet has strong feelings. 

 
Whether I'm writing about my varied political views or sharing pictures of my puppy, I can guarantee that someone will have some choice words of rebuttal to share. In ten years, I've seen a very special brand of internet craziness and have experienced my fair share of keyboard bullying. But then again, I've also been on the receiving end of unsolicited encouragement and big hearted generosity. Y'all have big feelings and are not afraid to show them in big ways. 

Homeschool Bravely and Brave Homeschool Planner

Homeschool moms are a small but influential tribe.

When I wrote my first book, Homeschool Bravely, I was told by many publishers, "Homeschool books don't sell." To the suit wearers in the corner offices, homeschool moms were not a big enough audience to invest in. Moody Publishers was gracious enough to take a chance on all of us, though, and sent my book to shelves in 2019, a time when there were no other traditionally published homeschool encouragement books on the market. And you showed up, plunked down your real cash money, and proved to the industry insiders that homeschool moms are a small, but influential force. Since then, a half dozen other homeschooling-themed books have been published within the traditional (non curriculum publisher) market and rumor has it more are on the way! 

It's important to keep the main thing the main thing. 

 
In the last ten years, I've seen many homeschool bloggers get so distracted by talking about homeschooling, that they've left no time to actually do it. As their platforms have grown, their time spent homeschooling has shrunk. Several "famous" homeschool bloggers have farmed out all of their teaching responsibilities to others in order to have more time to produce homeschool content (products, membership sites, and the like) or have stopped homeschooling entirely. While that is not necessarily a bad thing--everyone's choices and lives will look differently from everyone else's--I never want to be so enamored by my online life that it takes away from the important work I'm doing in my real one. Making this choice has, no doubt, kept me in the slow lane. I don't have a team of people working for me. I'm not hitting 7 figures like some. But, I'm more than content being the amateur. So, should you email me and I don't get back to your right away, please know, I'm probably off somewhere teaching and training my kids.  

Homeschool books on a shelf 

Y'all like books...or more accurately, book recommendations!

 
Homeschool moms like to talk about books. We like to buy them. We like to collect them. And of course, we like to read them. Not surprisingly, my monthly What We're Reading posts and my sporadic Let's Chat About Books on Instastories continue to be your most favorites to read...and my most favorites to write!

Online friends can be great friends.

 
While I'm always an advocate for in-real-life relationships--the kind of face to face connections and accountability that come when someone knows where you keep the extra silverware or has seen you in a bathing suit--I've learned that online friends can be great too. I recorded over fifty episodes of the Mom to Mom Podcast with my co-hosts Kate Battistelli and September McCarthy before ever meeting them in person. I wrote my second book while on Zoom every weekday with my writing partner Kelly whom I've never seen off a screen. And I've had the most amazing conversations with so many women from all over the world, you included, as we've emailed and messaged about the daily trials and triumphs of the homeschooling life. 
 
Brave Homeschool Planner  

A final word

 
When the current median job tenure is 4.1 years, ten years is a long time to stick with the same work. But when you're doing something you love, a decade feels like a blink. Thank you so much for sticking with me and for continuing to show up to the conversation. As a homeschool mom, I strive to be a lifelong learner. Ten years of blogging has taught me more than I'll ever know! I'm incredibly honored to walk alongside you as we raise up the next generation. Let's keep pressing forward. Here's hoping the next ten years will be a great as the last!

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