Three years, and I still don’t know what I’m doing, only passionate about what I do.
Three years ago, something I noticed disturbed me. The number of homeschoolers in my circle were dwindling. During this time, I had one kid in middle school, and one getting ready to begin high school. While I was excited for this next chapter, others definitely were not – obviously. Some of these homeschool dropouts were friends, some were just acquaintances I had seen over the years at group field trips and co-ops. Nevertheless, it broke my heart to learn these families were no longer homeschooling. I pondered what could be the reasons these families were no longer homeschooling.
Was it because things were “getting real” at this point in their homeschool journey? Did they no longer feel adequate to teach things like algebra or biology? Was it sports that they wanted their kids to pursue? Were they just tired of the homeschooling gig? Lack of socialization? What happened?
The birth of the blog
I’ve read several blogs over the years about homeschooling. Curriculum choices, organizational helps, and book suggestions are some of my favorite topics. I soon began to notice something else. The older my kids got, the less blogs I could find pertaining to middle school age kids and up. Geez, did they get busy, or just quit too? So, I saw a need. A need to reach out to moms of middles and beyond. Then the light bulb went off, I’ll start a blog! I began a blogging basics course in the summer of 2018, in a wrecked house that was undergoing a kitchen remodel. At night, after all the hammering and noise was done for the day, I watched tutorial videos. I took lots of notes. I drank lots of coffee. There was a lot to building a website! Plug-ins, menus, buttons, themes – it was all foreign to me. Truth be told, much of it still is!
What’s in a name?
Ahhhh, the most difficult part for most is choosing a name. Not me. I thought about it for about half a day, and Homeschool Fanatic is what came to mind and never left. I remember my husband not being quite as thrilled as I was, because of course, these days the word “fanatic” has a slightly negative connotation. So, I consulted the dictionary. My very first blog post explains what I found. In a nutshell, a fanatic is a person that is extremely enthusiastic about and devoted to some interest or activity. That’s me alright when it comes to homeschooling. Except on Monday mornings, or any early morning – unless I’m going on vacation or something. I decided to keep my idea for a name, and signed up with a host for my new website. Then, I just started writing.
What I’ve learned in three years of blogging
I’d love to say I’ve learned SEO, social media platforms inside and out, and how to make money doing something I love, but I haven’t. Here are five things I have learned:
- Blogging takes a lot of time! Each post requires an idea, research, photographs, photo editing, writing, revisions, proofreading, more revisions, posting, sharing, and hoping someone reads the darn thing! Maybe I’m slow, but even a simple, informative product review takes 6-10 (or more) hours. It is ever changing, and keeping up with it all can be overwhelming – especially for non-techie people like myself.
- Blogging can be lonely. Often, it seems your words are falling on deaf ears. I’ve had more support and encouragement from total strangers then friends and family – especially my homeschool family. I’ve also come to understand that just because they don’t “like” something on social media, doesn’t mean they don’t like you. They just don’t understand the power of an emoji or comment.
- Blogging is your voice. Use it wisely. Be helpful, be considerate, be bold. I have to work on the last one. I’ve only had one troll in three years, and nothing go viral, so I must not be speaking loud enough!
- Blogging is a creative outlet for me. Using my creativity has been tremendously good for the mind and soul.
- Blogging is rewarding. The one person who drops you a comment, gives you a thumbs up, or emails you a question confirms that there really are people out there reading your stuff. The dots on the Google analytics map shows me that all over the earth, someone wants to read what I have to say. Those things give me purpose, but the reward comes from helping, inspiring, or encouraging just one person. One person can do many things.
What’s ahead for the Fanatic?
My interest at this time remains with the older homeschooling crowd, because I feel like there is still a need, only now it is growing at a faster pace than before. Reviews, printables, and being a cheerleader for the mamas and students is what I enjoy doing. I would also like to get into eBook writing – I have so many ideas! Unfortunately, I struggle with time management. I would also like to dip my toe in more controversial topics. I enjoy topics that make myself as well as others really think. I’d also like to become proficient at the art of meme making, because really, that’s what social media is all about. Memes. I performed a little social media experiment recently, and there is no contest – the memes always win!
There you have it. Where Homeschool Fanatic comes from, and what drives my posts. I truly am zealous about homeschooling. Personally, I don’t know why anyone with kids would’t want to. You can check out our homeschooling story here. If you have been reading to this point, this is the part where I need to hear from you! YOU are the ones I want to blog for, and you are the ones who encourage me that what I do is worth it to someone other than myself. Blogging is my small way of giving back the useful knowledge I have, just like so many did (and still do) for me while homeschooling.
So, what do you want to see more of? Product reviews and recommendations, printables, hot topics, activity ideas, recipes? You know I’d love to know! Let me continue to help you find your fanatic.