A vision for Simple Homeschool: What this site is (& what it isn’t)

A vision for Simple Homeschool
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

Four years ago, the lovely Tsh Oxenreider emailed to ask if I would consider a job as editor of a new site called Simple Homeschool. Thrilled, excited, and nervous, I answered “yes!” and came on board when this blog launched in February 2010.

Whenever we start a new role–take motherhood or homeschooling for example–we don’t really have a clue about what we’re doing or how to do it best. We feel out of our league, on the edge of our learning curve.

As this blog began, I took comfort in a quote I’d once heard: “Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first.”

Sometimes the only way to get better is just to jump in.

So I did–with an awesome team of contributors by my side. Looking back, I’d say it took a year to find our groove and even longer for this blog to discover its own unique personality.

Like a child who has emerged from infancy and toddlerhood, this space now stands proudly as a four-year-old, eager and confident. Which is why it makes sense to spell out a bit more about this blog–what it is, what it isn’t, who it’s for, and where I see it going as it journeys from a preschooler into a wide-eyed eager kindergartner over the next couple of years.

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What makes Simple Homeschool different

Tons of homeschooling blogs reside on the Internet, and when I say Simple Homeschool is different, I don’t at all mean different – better, only different – unique.

Many sites shine on Pinterest — with writers who invest hours to create practical worksheets and printables for you to use in your home. A few (out of so many good ones!) to check out: Confessions of a Homeschooler, 1+1+1=1, and Free Homeschool Deals.

But if you asked me to make worksheets for you guys I would poke my eyes out with forks and hate my life.

Life is just better, and we have more to offer, when we work within our strengths as much as possible, so I developed this blog based on what I feel I most need in my homeschooling journey.

Judging from the countless emails I’ve received from you guys, it’s what you need as well:

inspiration, confidence, and freedom

And that’s the mission of Simple Homeschool:

To deliver regular doses of homeschooling inspiration, confidence, and freedom to parents worldwide.

Come to this space for a quick pep talk and a few ideas to carry you through your day. At this blog you won’t find more to do, but less. You won’t find another activity to add to your list, but hopefully a few to remove.

I want you to leave here thinking “Maybe homeschooling isn’t as hard as I thought. Maybe I really can do this. Maybe I am the best teacher for my kids. Maybe I don’t need an expert to tell me what to do.”

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What does this mean moving forward?

1. On matters of community

You have stories, expertise, and interests to share with us. We need to hear what you have to say. So I’d like to feature your voices more regularly. If you’re a writer/blogger, head here for details.

I love writing, but I also love offering others a chance to write, share and inspire. I couldn’t run this blog without the contributors who offer their awesome words here regularly.

One place our community is currently growing by leaps and bounds is the Simple Homeschool Facebook page. As someone who has mixed feelings about social media and joined it kicking and screaming, I have to say that this space has become one of my favorite places to hang out and interact with you all during the day.

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2. On matters of advertising

One change that happened in the middle of this year is that I began selling my own ads for the blog. The biggest surprise of all is to find that I absolutely love doing so! I enjoy partnering with companies who have poured their energy and passion into developing products to help homeschoolers.

I love playing matchmaker and introducing you to resources that might make a difference in your home. I don’t see my job as selling you anything, but as a chance to connect you with others doing awesome work in the world.

3. On matters of faith

I am a Christian and my faith as a follower of Jesus Christ permeates my every decision and daily activities. It influences what I write, why, and how.

But Simple Homeschool is not a “Christian blog.” And sometimes I get emails/comments asking about this.

  • Sometimes other Christians want to know why I don’t write exclusively about matters of faith.
  • Sometimes those who don’t share my faith want to know why I mention faith at all.

I write about my faith in the same way I write about my kids, my husband, my work, my home, and our learning. Because it is a vital part of my life.

But whether you share my faith or not, you are welcome here! This blog isn’t exclusive; this blog is for you.

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4. On matters of philosophy

“Is Simple Homeschool an unschooling blog?”

Our family leans heavily toward the informal, interest-led learning side of the educational spectrum. Because that works for us, I write about it often.

But I’m also one of those who gets weirded out and boxed in by labels and categories. When I slip on a formal unschooling shirt looking for the perfect fit, the collar feels too tight around the neck and the label itches my back.

The reality is that our family has pulled from several philosophies over the years: unschooling, Waldorf, leadership education, and Charlotte Mason–to name a few.

This blog is about freedom, but not necessarily the freedom of unschooling.

It’s about the freedom to be you. To learn in unique ways that empower your family to more fully be who you were created to be. It’s about giving you a dose of confidence and faith in yourself that you can be your own expert.

  • If being a classical homeschooler brings freedom and joy to you and your kids, then do it. This blog is for you.
  • If you have a kid who loves workbooks, then crank out the worksheets, baby. This blog is for you.
  • If the idea of delaying academics resonates with you (like it did for me), then step up to the plate, take a deep breath, and own it. This blog is for you.
  • If you believe it’s right to send your kids to school, then send them and come here for learning inspiration after hours. This blog is for you.

So no, this blog is not an unschooling blog.

It’s a blog about learning for life, in ways that last long-term. It’s a blog about schooling with joy and peace, not fear or worry, as your constant companions.

Whoever and wherever you are, if you long to be intentional about your kids’ education, this blog is for you.

Thank you for making this place a space worth visiting online! I hope you’ll stick around for the next few years of the journey.

Ways to connect:

I’d love to hear from you today: Out of all the places you could spend time online, what brings you to Simple Homeschool? What do you enjoy here and what would you like to see more of?

About Jamie Martin

Jamie is a mama to three cute kids born on three different continents. She serves as editor of Simple Homeschool, and blogs about mindful parenting at Steady Mom. Jamie is also the author of two books: Steady Days and Mindset for Moms.

Comments

  1. Yes, yes, yes!! I agree with all of the above! I discovered SH a couple of years back, via what was until recently, Simple Mom. I was not even a mom yet, but for some reason I kept coming back for more! I think it’s because you make learning a lifestyle and this really appealed to me.

    I’m now a mom, with a 6 month old baby girl and I’m looking forward to officially starting homeschool in a couple of years when she hits pre-school age. Homeschooling isn’t as common in the UK where I live and I’m so thankful to SH, you have definitely inspired me and given me the confidence I have needed to pursue a lifestyle of learning with my family. So, thank you all!!
    Jessica’s latest post: My Family Treasure Hunt

  2. What you do in this space is beautiful. So proud to know you, friend!
    caroline starr rose’s latest post: A Final Collection of Quotes: From The Selected Journals of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Volume V

  3. This is one of 5 blogs I check on a daily basis. The others are Simple Mom (the Art of Simple), Soulemama, FIMBY and Posie gets Cozy, if you are interested :). From there I sometimes explore links or click onto a contributor’s blog. With coffee and an english muffin slathered in honey, It’s my favorite way to start the day.
    While I think our homeschool philosophies are very similar, I do believe that your words would inspire anyone on the homeschool spectrum. Keep up the good work! I also enjoy your contributors very much and have enjoyed clicking over to their blogs. I look forward to you adding more to the lineup, and continuing with your weekend links.
    Thanks for all you do!

  4. My favorite posts are the ones that are about the freedom from fear and worry that the kids aren’t going to turn out okay with more freedom, less academics. I love love love the booklists (for all ages, adults, too!) posts.
    What might be fun is to have contributors do ‘field trip’ posts, pictures and words about getting out around the town or the country-where-ever they live, so we can all know about local gems. It’s something I love to do with my kids and write about on my own blog, and I find that so many locals *don’t even know these places exist* or that they can be enjoyed by the whole family. :)
    Sarah M
    Sarah M’s latest post: Dignify

  5. I second that writing about field trips from all over the place. It’s a good way to discover different options if travelling, or even to spark ideas within your own community.
    annette @ A Net In Time’s latest post: Thankfulness…. and how it turns our hearts

  6. I absolutely love this post and this site! I subscribe via email and i love finding updates nestled inbetween all the random emails. I look forward to being empowered by your words as i prepare to go through the homeschooling journey with my daughter, she is three and eager to learn. I love the many resources you link to that allow me to explore ways to teach my daughter and to further confirm that although it sometimes feels like a daunting task; it is successful as long as my daughter is learning and enjoying schooling. Please keep blogging and inspiring all of us parents.

  7. I love this blog! Just the way it is! Maybe because the three years we’ve been homeschooling our philosophy is like yours tending towards unschooling. But I have my moments of doubt and that’s when the perfect post on SH seems to show up. I recommend this to everyone I know who is a new homeschooler. But I read it every day and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

    Good work and thanks, Jamie and all the contributors to Simple Homeschool.

  8. Love your blog. It and /Steady mom are my favourites. Sad when they are less frequent. Love hearing abt your family , practical homeschool life and the inspiration you give. Liked the day in life of series or series on various homeschooling curriculum. Keep it up. Just more please and those beautiful pics.

  9. I am SO grateful for this blog & all of its contributors. Thank you for sharing your words (& worlds)!

  10. Thank you Jamie! After three years of homeschooling my two kids, yours is the only homeschooling blog I read regularly and am subscribed to. I love what you say and how you say it.

    On my fridge is a post-it note that reads, “how we think is more important than what we know.” I believe those are your words.

    Thank you for creating a wonderful space where we can all come together. As many different ways there are to homeschool, I recommend this blog to any and all newbies I meet. There’s something here for everyone!

  11. Just as you said, I come here for inspiration, confidence, and freedom. Even if my weeks gets hectic, I take your advice and settle down with a cup of tea as I peruse the site via the weekend links! I am on the precipice of beginning my homeschooling journey, and this space is a comfort and affirmation of the choices I am making as a parent and home educator. Many thanks!

  12. As one who has followed your personal blog and Simple Homeschool since the beginning, I have to say that for all the reasons stated above it’s THE homeschooling blog that I come back to again and again (and that I recommend to anyone at the beginning of their homeschooling journey). I’m not looking for a how-to (although even those who are will find something here), but since I am super committed to homeschooling and I’ve been doing it for quite awhile, I’m looking for those things that give me a burst of renewed creativity and a shot of sunshine on the days when I’m feeling less than at my best. Thank you, thank you for providing that.

  13. I had been thinking and praying about homeschooling for quite awhile when I came across this blog (and here found links to lots of other amazing home-schooling blogs!) And it was here that I began to really feel like I just might be able to do this homeschool thing! ;) I have always felt very encouraged and challenged in the way I teach and relate to my children because of the powerful ordinary words written here. Thanks again, Jamie (and other contributors!)

  14. Lovely!
    I love book lists and book recommendations, and I love encouragement posts–like the one you wrote earlier this week on Steady Mom, about how they “don’t do that anymore.” I also love suggestions and ideas I might not have thought of on my own (for example, the suggestion to hire a mother’s helper a while back).

  15. Emily Woodall says:

    Jaime, I love this blog and I love your steady mom blog, as well. Keep up the great work! It means so much!

  16. This blog is the one that encouraged me to take the leap of faith(in myself) and to pull my son out of kindergarten to begin homeschooling. I have been homeschooling for a mere 9 months, but I thank everyday that I found you. While many days are rough and cause me to send my son back to public school, I know that tomorrow will be better. You have given me that confidence to know that I can do this, and you have shown me that being different from everything I know is okay for my family and my children. Yes, I go elsewhere for those printables, but that is not why I need to visit your blog several times a week.

  17. At the risk of sounding unappreciative, (which I am totally NOT) I would like to offer my honest opinion of Simple Homeschool. I’ve been a reader since the beginning and I love the words of inspiration and encouragement you give to homeschoolers. I know you have a personal blog, and school your own kiddos too, which is a full plate! But I feel like Simple Homeschool could be so much more. I’ve actually been teetering on unsubscribing for a while because I am such a practical person, and not an interest-led homeschooler, that while I do love the words of encouragement and inspiration, sometimes it doesn’t feel like quite enough to make it worth my time. I really need practical tips to use in my everyday: curriculum ideas that range through all homeschool styles, day in the life peeks, organization hacks, etc. I don’t need printables, just ideas to help me keep my homeschool fresh. I guess what I’m saying is more variety on the blog would be good. I think part of why I haven’t unsubscribed is because I am so loyal to Simple Mom/Art of Simple. I know there are many great homeschool blogs out there, so it won’t offend me if the blog doesn’t change at all, I just might be a Facebook only reader. But really, the work you do is wonderful and much better than what I could do editing a blog! Definitely keep the inspiration coming, and maybe add to it a little more. Thank you for everything you’ve made the blog so far!

    • Thanks for taking time to leave such a detailed comment, Denita! Part of the reason I wanted to define and clarify a bit about Simple Homeschool is that I don’t expect it’s the right fit for everyone. We all need different things in different seasons and that’s totally okay.

  18. You rock, Jamie!!! I love this blog!! Keep it coming.

  19. Thanks for providing this inspirational blog and I have been especially touched about what you’ve done in the Philippines….I am a Filipino-Canadian that is appreciative for your efforts with Love146 and have inspired my whole family to work on charitable projects to help the Philippines after the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan. I teeter between Waldorf and unschooling as my 5 children range from pre-schooler to teen. Thanks for all the articles that make it all ok to be and do what we feel is best for our children.

  20. I have never commented before but I want to say thank you. This blog has been such an encouragement to me in the past year. I am an unschooling/ Charlotte Mason-ish mama of three girls and suffered a head injury a year ago that is a slow recovery process. We were just living life and surviving for many months and not thinking about “school” at all. This blog and my homeschooling friends have been the encouragement to keep us on our path even through this tough season when it doesn’t seem like I was doing enough.

  21. I’m so grateful for this blog. My daughter is four and this year we took our first steps into “formal” homeschooling and the decision that we probably will not enroll her in kindergarten next year. The idea of homeschooling resonates so clearly in my heart but the realities are disheartening. This blog has been a help and resource to me. Yes, there are other homeschooling blogs, many of them are great. But this is one of the few where I was granted peace and hope about our family’s future in homeschooling. We don’t have it all figured out and we’re just taking it a day (and sometimes an hour) at a time. You make me feel like I can really do this and that I don’t have to justify myself to anyone. Thank you so much.
    Bethany V.’s latest post: I Have a Book Signing!

  22. Hi Jamie. I frequently stop by your blog for inspiration. As a relatively new homeschooler, I am plagued with insecurity and worry. Whenever I find myself at your blog, I feel more peaceful, committed and confident about our decision to homeschool. Thank you!!!You have gotten me through some dark homeschooling hours.

  23. Jamie,
    SH has been a source of freedom and confidence for me over the past 2 years as I began homeschooling. Thank you for such wonderful vision and hard work to make it happen! I would love to hear more about delayed academics, I really love the sound of this for my 2 boys but feel like I am the only one.
    Thanks so much
    Rachael

  24. Love this blog! So thankful to have it show up faithfully in my inbox. Such a treasure. My children are about the same age as yours & it’s very interesting how our journeys are similar.
    What I love:
    It’s encouraging.
    The book love & book lists.
    Many authors.
    It’s real.
    It’s not “homeschool only”.
    The weekend links!!!
    Reruns. It’s so interesting to read an article twice at 2 different times in my homeschooling career.
    And finally, no searching. I feel everything is brought to my virtual front door.

    Thanks for your time & effort.

  25. I love your philosophy! That comes from a much deeper place. Over the past few years, this blog has absolutely filled me with inspiration, confidence and freedom. The best worksheets out there can’t give me that. And… I absolutely leave feeling: “Maybe homeschooling isn’t as hard as I thought. Maybe I really can do this. Maybe I am the best teacher for my kids. Maybe I don’t need an expert to tell me what to do.” : ) Keep up the great work!!

  26. Over the course of my two-year homeschooling journey I’ve subscribed to so many homeschooling blogs and have since unsubscribed from all but yours. All of the reasons you listed for this blog have resonated with me since the beginning. Our family has made a change to the Classical homeschooling model this year and I’ve never felt that switch makes your blog irrelevant; on the contrary, I love reading different ideas to enhance our experience. I’ve recently deactivated my Facebook account due to all the “noise” it fills my head with in this season of life, so I look forward even more to hopping over to your space here a couple times a week. Thank you!
    Julie’s latest post: this week.

  27. I am not a homeschooler, both of mine go to our local school. But I do like both this blog and your personal one for inspiration on how to be a good mama for my littles. I do also take away tips on what to do after school or maybe for a weekend project, or simply just how to support my children’s learning at home. And I love the fact that this place is so inclusive!

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