Isn’t it awesome how we can find answers to almost any question our minds can dream up, just by typing a few words into google? I’m even more in awe that the answers mostly come from ordinary, unpaid people, who devote masses of spare time to creating beautiful, informative webpages.
I know some people blog as a business, but even if they make a few dollars from affiliate advertising, I suspect that most homeschool mum bloggers aren’t in it for the money.
Why then, I’ve often wondered, do they blog?
Some of my favourite bloggers have recently been answering that question. Claire kindly invited me to join in the fun. I’ve spent a long time processing my thoughts. I might never have got round to writing this at all had I not resolved to do so before reading anyone else’s responses – which I’m desperate to do!
Peeking into the blogosphere
When we made the leap of faith to homeschooling in 2010, I barely knew what a blog was. Ravenous for information about how children learn at home, I devoured every book I could find on the subject. I savoured every page of the wonderful Homeschooling-Ideas website. I even had Home Education Magazine shipped from the US.
But I didn’t know about the abundant source of inspiration, support and practical wisdom provided continuously by real life parents sharing their homeschooling experiences on their blogs.
Looking back, it was like I was content looking at the posters pinned to the outside of a door, without having any inkling that the door was the entrance to the best library/science lab/art studio/playroom I’d ever known. Until, one day, I happened to lean on the door – and glimpsed the treasures within.
One of the first blogs I discovered was Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.
Each Friday I would eagerly visit Kris’s Weekly-Wrap Up and add dozens of blogs to my online treasure trove (aka Google Reader).
I will always be grateful to those wise, kind bloggers who, without even knowing of my existence, lovingly held my hand through that first wobbly year after I took my children out of school. (I know they didn’t know I existed because back then I wouldn’t have dared leave a comment, even if I’d known how.)
Joining the great conversation
It wasn’t until I discovered that a real-life homeschooling friend blogged that it occurred to me that real people (even British people!) had blogs too. With the help of my lovely tecky husband I created Navigating By Joy (inspired by my friend’s Navigating by the Stars).
For two years I wrote solely for the pleasure of writing, with no thought that anyone might be reading my words. Here’s my very first (very short) post.
After a while, Google found my blog and for the first time I experienced the thrill of making a contribution to strangers. (Google thinks everyone who wants to build a model Celtic Roundhouse should visit this expert, which always makes me chuckle.)
Then in January 2013 I decided it was time to connect two of my favourite hobbies: reading homeschool blogs and writing my own.
I scanned Problogger for some tips about creating better posts. (The best thing I learned: focus on one idea per post.) I figured out how to join link ups (here’s the first post I linked up). And finally I worked up the courage to show my appreciation for my favourite bloggers by leaving comments.
Recently a couple of other creative pursuits have been competing with blogging for my time. I’m taking a grade 4 classical guitar exam, learning German and brushing up my Spanish. I also find that being an unschooling mentor to my kids uses more creative energy than teaching them a curriculum.
So I’ve been posting less often, but I’m not going away.
I love being part of this homeschool blogging community. There are few things I enjoy more than linking up to one of my favourite blog hops, and then spending a happy evening visiting all my online friends and seeing what they’ve been up to. (Can you tell I’m an introvert?)
And the only thing as good as discovering a great resource via a friend’s blog is sharing a find of my own and having someone stop by and tell me how much they’ve enjoyed it.
Towards an educational tipping point
On a loftier note, I like making my own small contribution to what developmental psychologist Peter Gray calls the educational tipping point.
The goal of the Educational Tipping Point project is to encourage a critical mass of people to opt out of coercive schooling. The ultimate aim is to bring about a peaceful educational revolution following which everyone is free to choose a path of educational self-determination.
Gray’s Free to Learn is the best book I’ve ever read about how children learn, and I wouldn’t have come across it had it not been for a comment I left at Learning with Boys. (Did I mention how much I love the blogging network?)
Before homeschooling, I worked as a cognitive hypnotherapist. One day I’d like to use my coaching and therapy skills to empower more people to home educate, and to help people deal with issues that arise along the journey.
In the meantime, I’ll carry on posting here about what we do, because when I experience wonderful things, sharing just feels like the natural thing to do.
I’m not tagging anyone specifically, but if you feel inspired, I’d love to know: why do you blog?