Tag Archives: Blogging

Why do I blog?

Why do i blog

 Isn’t it incredible 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 their 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 bloggers aren’t in it for the money.


Why then, I’ve often wondered, do they blog?

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 Homeschooling-Ideas website. I even had Home Education Magazine, back when it existed in paper form, shipped from the USA.


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.


In retrospect, 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.


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’, LOL.)


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. 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 also finding 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.


Towards an educational tipping point

Free to learn 2

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 challenges 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.


Homeschool Inspiration

Inspiring Homeschool Blogs.JPG

Before Blogs

During the first year after my children left school I read books about home-schooling.  The year after that, I discovered Yahoo groups, forums and online curricula.  And then … I discovered homeschool blogs. A world of brilliant, generous women tirelessly sharing their experiences and ideas.

From Salt Dough to Vermeer

These women transformed my family’s experience of homeschooling. They introduced me to a wealth of homeschooling styles, from which I put together our own eclectic educational smorgasbord. They reminded me that one bad day didn’t mean I had to send my kids back to school. They made me laugh. They educated me – about everything from salt dough maps to Vermeer. They inspired me to try new things.  They gave me confidence.

And they continue to do so. Every day there’s another experiment to try, another art medium to dabble in, a new way to explain prime factors to my young artist, another reassuring story from someone whose homeschooled kids grew up just fine.

Thank You

These women inspired me to join the Great Homeschool Conversation myself – to make my own small contribution to the abundance of free resources anyone with an internet connection can access. So when Phyllis at All Things Beautiful left me a note that she’d given me a blogging award, and I saw my name nestled between my blogging heroines, I cannot describe how honoured I felt.  Thank you, Phyllis, and thank you to everyone who participates in this life-enhancing conversation – as bloggers, commenters and readers. Aren’t we blessed?

Very inspiring blogger award11

Passing It On

I’m a little shy about passing on the award – I don’t know much about the etiquette of such things.  But Phyllis suggested that the award be passed on, as an act of kindness, so I am nominating:

Stories of an Unschooling Family – Sue Elvis is a wonderful writer who shares stories about her large family’s unschooling lifestyle in a way that inspires me whenever I dip into her blog. Sue’s words are truly life-enhancing.

North Surrey Midwife – my friend Angela is an independent midwife (and homeschooling mum) who is passionate about empowering women to give birth the way they want and deserve. I had a wonderful home waterbirth with J(7)  thanks to independent midwifery, which is currently under threat here in the UK.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

What I Got From Nanowrimo

I’ve written approximately 1,700 words each day for the last thirty days.  I’ve written beside tennis courts, in Starbucks, on park benches, in sports halls, in the car, and in bed at 6:30 am every day.  The reason –  I’ve been taking part in Nanowrimo – National Novel Writing Month.

Most people who participate in Nanowrimo aim to write novels, but there is a growing minority of “Nano Rebels” who instead use November to write in their own chosen genre, be it short stories, a non-fiction book or even blog posts.  There’s even a dedicated section of the Nanowrimo website for rebels.  For this, my first, Nanowrimo I chose to write blog posts.

The rules are straightforward: write 50,000 words in your chosen genre in November. If you succeed, you get one of these:

And a lot more besides.

Why I Did Nanowrimo

1.      To practise writing

Would-be writers are usually inspired by other people’s great writing.  We’ve read enough to recognise good writing when we see it, and we also know bad writing when we see it.  Unfortunately this means we are only too aware of our own bad writing! This is the point when many quit.

What we need to remember is that most of those good writers we so admire had to do their own time writing badly while they honed their skill.  The more we write, the better we get, and gradually, over time, we begin to close the gap between our own writing and writing we admire.

2.      To find my voice

In the year since I started blogging I’ve often held myself back from writing about particular topics for fear of what other people might think.  This army of imaginary critics – friends, family and (highly imaginary) multitudes of anonymous readers had me in a creative straightjacket at times.

I relished the opportunity Nanowrimo gave me to write completely for my own pleasure, unfettered by any concerns about the army of critics looking over my shoulder.

3.      For the challenge

Because it was there. (And unlike climbing Everest, I could incorporate it into our homeschooling lifestyle.  Just about.)

What I got out of Nanowrimo

1.      The Satisfaction Of Achieving A Goal

Many people have goals but most – me included – rarely take the time to define a goal so clearly that it’s obvious when we have achieved it, or to allow ourselves to bask in the satisfaction we are owed.

Nanowrimo provides a perfect framework for doing that.  It was great doing something just for me.

Did I mention how much I love my winner’s badge? 🙂

2.      A Good Example

This may sound contradictory on the heels of the last paragraph, but  I liked knowing I was modelling some pretty good behaviours for the children:  goal-setting, commitment, and writing both for pleasure and to achieve an end.

3.      The “Squash And A Squeeze” Effect

In the children’s book A Squash And A Squeeze , a woman who complains that her house is too small is advised to take in one more of her animals each day.  Of course she soon finds herself more squashed than ever, and she begins to doubt the wisdom of the advice.  At this point she is told to turn out all the animals, whereupon – lo and behold – her house feels wonderfully spacious and the woman complains no more.  Finding the time to write 1,700 words a day has had a similar effect on my time management!

Writing took up a large proportion of the time we weren’t doing school and I wasn’t doing housework (or organising C’s birthday!). I began to make lists of things I would do when November was over, in the way I did at school when I was revising for exams!

It feels great to be beginning the busy month of December with a wonderful feeling of abundance of  time.

4.      Clarity about why I am blogging

I’ve always known that my primary inspiration for blogging is for me and my family to have a record of our homeschooling days.  But as an avid reader of other people’s blogs I knew I also wanted to offer something to others.  I just wasn’t quite sure who those others were.

Nanowrimo gave me the chance to find out what I’m inspired to write about when I’m doing it only to please myself.  I found that I love to write about our homeschooling and some of the day-to-day issues that accompany this lifestyle.   I also realised that I find it a great help to journal about personal concerns, and I’m going to keep this up outside of the blog.

Nanowrimo  begins again on 1 November 2012.  Why not give it a go?

Deliberate Creation

My blog byline (if that’s the correct word) describes me as a “home-educating deliberate creator”.  I use the words “deliberate creator” in the sense given by Abraham-Hicks in their body of work on the law of attraction.  I believe I am the creator of everything I experience, both positive and negative, which I attract by my thoughts and feelings. Since I came to understand this I have been playing a game of gradually training my focus towards what I want and away from what I don’t want.  I was born an optimist, which helps, but it’s amazing how much attention most of us (me included) give to unwanted conditions and situations.  As children we are brought up to tell “the truth” (tell it how it is), but while I can see the folly in sticking a happy face sticker over an empty petrol gauge, I’ve come to realise that giving my attention to unwanted things, for example by talking or writing about them, just keeps them in my life.

So this blog may seem a little Pollyanna-ish, and writing a post can take a bit longer than it might, on those days when I first need to focus my thoughts towards positive inspiration, but when I reflect on some of the incredible changes in my life since I started playing the deliberate creation game, there’s no question in my mind that it’s a price worth paying.


Reasons For Blogging (2)

(2) To create a record of our home educating life.

In 1980 I was given a plain blue “Page-a-Day” diary for Christmas.  I began filling the book with events from my days, filling any spaces with doodles and algebraic equations (I was a well-balanced eleven year old!).

So began a habit which continued, in lined notebooks of various sizes and colours, throughout my teens, twenties, thirties and now forties.  But while there is now more than ever I’d like to record about my life, my notebooks have evolved into what would more accurately be described as journals than diaries.  I use them as a tool to focus and improve my thoughts (and in turn my life experience) – to work through things I want to change and to set and prioritise intentions and goals. They’re more useful than ever, even interesting to look back on, but not much of a record of what we do on a daily basis!

This blog, then, is an opportunity to record some of the highlights of our family life during these precious years when our children are with us.  One day, I’m planning to have the time to look back on it!

So, here are some highlights from the last two days.

There was fencing:

Fencing…  chess …

Chess at Putney Group

… drama…

mask making at Putney group… and “boat”-building …Boat Building at The Lookout… and there were cuddles…

Cordie & Thomas

Reasons For Blogging (1)

I’m reaching the point in my blogging career (all three weeks of it, give or take the odd autumnal dabble) when my respect for those whose blogs have more than about thirty posts is growing fast.  So I thought it might be a good moment to remind myself of some of my reasons for doing it:

(1) I want to write, and by writing, get better at it.  It may take me a while to accrue Malcolm Gladwell‘s 10,000 hours to mastery (another 54 years, if I carry on as I am!) but I’m an awful lot more likely to get there – or even a tenth of the way there  – if I keep writing than if I stop now.


When I (along with several million other bloggers, no doubt) started posting again on 1 January, I resolved not to let perfectionism get in the way of writing regularly.  A book I very much enjoyed recently – “The Decisive Moment” by Jonah Lehrer – reminded me that making mistakes is one of the most effective ways of learning, so I shall post – and err – away.

In November 2007  my sister gave birth to a baby boy, S.  Three years on, that baby is a fully functioning person with a wide vocabulary, a big personality and all manner of physical skills and capabilities. In November 2010, my brother’s wife gave birth to a baby boy, T. In three years’ time T will be a fully functioning person with a wide vocabulary, a big personality, and all manner of skills and capabilities.  And what will I have to show for the passing of the next three years? Lots of things of  course, not least, God willing, a 10 year old daughter, an 8 year old son, and two lovely nephews.  But I’d also like, in celebration of scrumptious 6-week-old T and the miracle of life in all of us: (1) three years of daily writing experience, and (2) a record of some of my thoughts and the things we have done over our first three years as a fully home-educating family.

So should anyone ever be kind enough to accept my invitation to read this – please bear with me!

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