Stitch Fix Giveaway ~ The Celebration Continues

I have a surprise! (Don’t you just love surprises?!) We aren’t done celebrating yet. Stitch Fix wanted to help celebrate my blog’s anniversary, too, so they donated a $50 gift certificate to be given away!!! If you’ve been wanting to try Stitch Fix then this is your big chance. If you are already a Stitch Fix customer, you’re eligible, too! Stitch Fix offers styles for Misses, Maternity, Petites, and Plus. They also style for men.

Just in case you missed my other post, I’m celebrating the first anniversary of my blog. You can read the first part here: Mid-Life Blogger’s First Anniversary

This post contains affiliate links. If you use one of my links to make a purchase, I earn a referral fee. If you are a Stitch Fix customer, then you can also earn referral credits by referring your friends.

How Stitch Fix Works

When you first set up your Stitch Fix account, you will set up your Style Profile. There is no charge to do this.  It will ask for information regarding your sizing, preferences, and budget. Your stylist will use this information to choose items for you. (This is also a fun thing to do with a friend.)

When you schedule a Fix, your account is charged a $20 styling fee. Your stylist chooses five items from among clothing and accessories especially for you and sends them on the date you choose. You then have three business days to try on the items and decide what to keep and what to return. Shipping is free – even on exchanges.

You check out online, and your account is charged for the items you keep. If you keep at least one item, the styling fee is applied towards the balance. If you keep all five items then you receive a 25% discount.

A pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope is provided, so when you’re ready, you just slip the returns into it, seal it, and drop it off at the post office. It’s very quick and easy!

There’s an App for That

Stitch Fix has an app that you can download. If you fill out your Style Profile using it, you can include a picture of yourself.

Get The Best Fix Possible

Communicating with your stylist is the key to getting the best Fix possible and Stitch Fix gives you many opportunities to do that.

  • The first opportunity is with your Style Profile. It asks for a variety of information such as your sizes, your budget, and your style preferences. Take your time in answering all of the questions because this is the information that the stylist will rely on most, especially in the beginning.
  • When you schedule your Fix, you have an opportunity to write your stylist a note. You can request certain pieces or tell her about a special event you have coming up. Are you interviewing for a job? Going on a cruise? Attending a wedding? Those are all things to tell her. In the Facebook Stitch Fix groups, I’ve also seen people ask for certain themes such as “all white,” “all dresses,” or a celebrity’s style, e.g. “A Joanna Gaines Fix.”
  • When you check out, you have the opportunity to give feedback on each item. Whether you love it or hate it, give specific reasons why. From this information your stylist can get to know you better with each Fix.
  • Another way of communicating is by setting up a Pinterest board and linking it to your Style Profile. You can pin pictures of clothing and accessories to it that you like. They don’t have to be brands that Stitch Fix carries. Your stylist will still be able to get a feel for the colors and patterns that you like by what you pin. I’ve put a link to my Pinterest board, as well as Stitch Fix’s, at the bottom of the post.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Keep an open mind and try on everything your stylist sends. That’s the whole point of Stitch Fix – having the experience of a personal stylist. Cindy sent me this maxi skirt and blouse. They’re more colorful than I normally wear, but I liked the watercolor floral, the length, and the buttery soft fabric.

Kendra Crochet Detail Blouse by Skies Are Blue, and Deanne Floral Maxi Skirt by Loveappella
Favorite Pieces

I’ve been getting Stitch Fixes for about a year and a half now. I’ve discovered that I love light pink and have kept several items in that color. They’ve all gotten a lot of wear. This light pink Winston Open Cardigan by Bobeau has served me well. It goes with a lot and is comfortable almost year ’round. I took it and this Curran Split-neck Blouse by Pixley with me on a trip with my mom and sister last fall. Many items that I’ve purchased from Stitch Fix have become favorites that I reach for most often.

Spontaneity

Before kids, my husband and I were spontaneous, and now that the nest is empty, that spontaneity is re-entering our lives. That means I may not have time to go shopping, so it’s nice to have appropriate clothes on hand. Just this weekend my husband and I decided on the spur of the moment to go to Branson, Missouri, to celebrate my birthday. I was glad that I had something to wear that was stylish and comfortable. This Edmond Henley Knit Top by Pixley got to ride to the top of Branson’s new Ferris wheel.

Fun

I’ve had a lot of fun trying the new things that Cindy, my stylist, has sent me. I enjoy shopping, but for some reason I don’t find the time to go very often, so it’s nice for the shopping to come to me. I also think it’s fun to write about, and it’s fun to goof off with my daughter when she’s taking pictures for me.

Stitch Fix Giveaway ~ The Celebration Continues
Goofing off with my daughter

You can read more about my Fixes by choosing the Stitch Fix category.

Giveaway

Thank you, again, to Stitch Fix for allowing me to raffle off a $50 gift certificate. Please enter the giveaway below. You will be required to complete a Style Profile as part of your entry. That step is required because the stylist can’t prepare a Fix for you without it. Good luck!

Helpful Links

Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix Seasoned and Stylish Facebook Group

Stitch Fix B/S/T and Discussion Facebook Group

Mid-Life Blogger’s Pinterest Board

Stitch Fix Pinterest Board

Coffee and Conversation Blog Hop

Mid-Life Blogger’s First Anniversary

It’s hard to believe, but I’m celebrating my first anniversary of Mid-Life Blogger already! When I think back over the past year, I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned and the new experiences I’ve had. To help me celebrate, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company generously donated a $30 gift certificate. You can learn more and enter by scrolling down to the bottom of this post. The giveaway ends on May 31st, the anniversary of my very first blog post. Please share with your friends so that they can get in on the fun with us. Good luck!

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, I may earn a small commission. It doesn’t affect the price you pay, but it helps to support my blog. 

A New Chapter

I started blogging for several reasons. I was going through a major life change since I was becoming an empty nester and I felt an emptiness that I wanted to fill. Also, I had spent fourteen years homeschooling my children and I wanted to share what I’d learned and encourage other homeschool moms. Empty Nest Writing has helped me transition, and made it more exciting by providing new opportunities and experiences. With the kids leaving the nest, my life literally looked like a blank page. Through blogging, I’ve happily written on it to chronicle this next chapter. (Read Empty Nest)

A New Hobby

Blogging knit my many interests together into a new one. Through it, gardening, homesteading, homeschooling, and writing, have all come together into a new hobby that encompasses all of them, as well as anything else that life brings. It allows me to look back at lessons learned and precious memories, while at the same time sharing as I adjust to new roles and embrace new opportunities.

Learning

There were things that I had been wanting to learn, but hadn’t really had time during the previous season. It just seemed like the time had come. To say that my mind has been stimulated would be an understatement. There is still so much to be learned and it’s never dull. What I appreciate is that I can do it at my own pace. When there are other things that need my attention, the blog can wait. And possibly later benefit as I’m able to share the things I learn and experience. (Read Learning How to Learn)

Revelations

Often, God reveals things to me. It may be an answered prayer, a new understanding, or how He orchestrated life events to bring about a particular end. Those things are fun to share, too. (See my Inspirational category)

Stitch Fix

I wrote about Stitch Fix in my first blog post. I had forgotten that I actually first thought about blogging specifically about it because I couldn’t find any mid-life Stitch Fix bloggers. Stitch Fix appeals to my city-girl side. Even though I live in the country, I still like to feel my best when I go to town. A side benefit has been that I’ve had some pictures of myself to use for my blog. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have many because I’m usually the one behind the camera. I still can’t say I’m totally comfortable in front of it, but writing about Stitch Fix has helped with my confidence a little bit. I used a photo from my most recent Stitch Fix post to make a featured image for this one.

New Friends

There was an unexpected benefit of blogging – I’ve made new blogging friends through it. We write about similar topics so we have a lot in common. We help each other learn and grow. Through blogging I meet new people every day.

New Experiences

I’ve had experiences that I wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for blogging. I’m really grateful for those, and look ahead with wonder at where blogging will take me next.

Most Popular Post

My most popular post so far, and by far, is Homeschool Graduates in College. When I first had the idea to write it, I had no idea of the impact it would have. I hoped to encourage homeschooling parents, and evidently I succeeded. It’s been viewed over 21,000 times at this writing.

Behind the Scenes

I wanted to take a moment to explain about affiliate links. If you read many blogs, you may notice affiliate link disclaimers like mine above. The FTC requires bloggers to post a disclaimer whenever a post contains them. I didn’t know it when I started, but there are actually a lot of expenses involved in blogging. You can get started free, but as the blog grows and improves, it starts to incur more expenses. When you make a purchase through a blogger’s affiliate links, they make a small commission. How much varies with the vendor and product, but its usually pretty small. The price you pay doesn’t change when you use them, but the commissions help bloggers pay their bills. If you enjoy my blog, then you can help support it and encourage me by using my affiliate links. You can access them quickly by visiting my Resources page, or by clicking on links and banners in my posts.

One of the biggest challenges bloggers face is just getting their posts seen. Social media sites are constantly changing their algorithms which determine what appears in your feed. Even if you follow someone’s page, you still might not see their posts. What helps our posts to be seen is your reaction to it, whether you comment, share, or just click an emoji. So another way you can support bloggers is by simply liking, sharing, and commenting. The only sure-fire way to make sure you see them is by subscribing.

Celebration Giveaway

One of my favorite things to write about is gardening. Many of my posts have been about seeds I’ve bought from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. I love trying new things, and their catalog is a mesmerizing source of endless possibilities. I’ve ordered from them for many years, long before I started my blog.

If you aren’t on their mailing list, you’re missing out. They have non-GMO seeds from all over the world for crops and varieties I didn’t know existed, and their  listings expand every year. This year I was excited to see more flowers being included. The catalog is seasoned with gardening-related quotes, too, so it makes for interesting reading. Expand your gardening horizons and try something new!5 Easy Ways to Brighten Winter Days

To help celebrate my first anniversary, Baker Creek generously donated a $30 gift certificate. Please enter the giveaway below and share with your friends. In the comments, tell me if you’ve purchased from Baker Creek before, and what seeds you’d order if you win. (Or even if you don’t.)

Thank You!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and allowing me to share with you. My readers are precious new friends. I truly appreciate your support and encouragement!

I know where I’ve been, but I don’t know exactly where I’m going. Even so, I’m not fearful, because I know God has a plan and a purpose for me. And my blog.

If you haven’t already subscribed, I would love it if you did.

Mid-Life Blogger's First Anniversary

Just the Two of Us

My husband and I are still adjusting to the changes brought on by our kids reaching adulthood but I think we’ve made good progress. We don’t seem to be as depressed and worried. Our evenings are usually pretty quiet, and since its just the two of us, every night seems like date night.

My husband and I recently went on a trip that was carefully planned to encompass several tasks, ending with picking up our daughter for her Spring Break. We have a business in south Texas, which we were going to check on. It’s a long trip of about fourteen hours that we’ve become accustomed to, but we were also towing a “fifth wheel” which meant we had to drive slower. We had also been advised to not plan to drive more that about 6-8 hours per day. My husband had spent a lot of time getting both his truck and the new-to-us trailer ready for the trip, so that it would go as smoothly as possible. I was mentally prepared to just relax and enjoy a slower pace.

When it was time to go and the truck was loaded, I found myself thinking, “Is it really this easy? Can we really just get in the car and go? Are we forgetting the kids? Do we need to check their schedules?” Although I miss the kids, I’m enjoying this time with my husband to reconnect and enjoy doing things we like to do.

Small World

The first night we pulled into an RV park and were setting up for the night. Another truck and trailer soon pulled up beside us and its occupants also started setting up. The gentleman looked a little familiar to us, but I guess we both passed it off as him just having “one of those faces.” But a little later when my husband and I were outside, he approached us and, having noted our license plate, asked us where in Missouri we were from. Well, it turned out that they were from a small town 30 minutes from ours and we knew each other, we just hadn’t seen each other in several years. We all had a good laugh. Just one of those “small world,” or “what are the chances” type things.

Leaf Springs Eternal

The next morning we headed out, thinking we might possibly even be able to finish our journey by that night. We stopped in a tiny Texas town for lunch. As we sat eating, my husband was looking out the window at the trailer and thought that something didn’t look quite right. When he finished he went out to take a closer look and discovered that a leaf spring had broken. I’m not real knowledgeable about trailer parts, but evidently that’s something rather important. Scott said that it’s what holds the axle on the trailer. We were in a little town on a Sunday afternoon so we worried about being able to get the trailer fixed. We thought we’d be stranded there at least another day. Thankfully we were able to find a mobile mechanic from another town that could come fix it, but had to wait a few hours while he went to a third city to get the part before he came. He arrived, still wearing spurs because he had been out riding his horse, but he was a friendly and hardworking guy and had it fixed in no time.

Divine Intervention

While they were working on the trailer, I had called ahead to an RV park about an hour down the road to make a reservation. But by the time the trailer was fixed it was nearing dusk. My husband was tired and didn’t want to set up in the dark. Rain was also forecasted that night and he didn’t want to risk packing the trailer back up the next morning in a storm. So we found a hotel in the next town. It was nicer than we expected, and the owners were very friendly and didn’t mind our truck and trailer taking up one whole end of the parking lot. That night, strong storms came through, waking us up to the windows rattling and being pelted by pea-sized hail. The next morning at breakfast, Scott was visiting with the hotel owner and learned that there had been tornado warnings, and that they had 100 mph winds in the town where we would have been had we gone on to the RV park where I’d made the reservation. The  news reported a train being blown off the tracks, so we were especially thankful to not have been sleeping in our camper.

My first “giveaway” was scheduled to go live early the next morning and I was nervous about everything working right. Due to the turn of events, I ended up being in a hotel, safe, and even having good internet to work out a last-minute kink. I had asked friends and family to pray for our safe journey, and I really felt that God had answered those prayers.

The afternoon of the third day, we finally reached our destination. The weather was beautiful and we were able to tend to our business as well as visit with family.

Bird Watching

One morning our cousins took us out in their boat, hoping to show us some Whooping Cranes. “Whoopers” are on the endangered species list and protected. That area of the Texas coast is one of the few places they can be seen, so bird watchers from all over the country come, hoping to get a glimpse, and maybe a picture, of them during the short time they’re in the area.

Just the Two of UsWe lived in Rockport for many years so I was familiar with the birds and the special events designed to capitalize on the tourism, but I don’t think I had ever seen one before. Our cousins knew where to find them so we were lucky to get to see them. You’re not supposed to get too close or disturb them, so we stayed at a respectful distance. I took the best photos I could, so I’m sharing the best one I had, which, after zooming and cropping, isn’t all that good. Yep, there they are!

When we returned to the boat ramp, there was a large group of pelicans waiting patiently at the fish-cleaning station, hoping to get an easy lunch when fishermen came in. They seemed to be disappointed that we were empty-handed.Just the Two of Us

Photography Goal

I took my Canon camera so I could practice taking pictures. One of my goals for this year was to learn more about photography. I don’t want to bore you too much but here are a few more photos.

Just the Two of Us

Just the Two of Us
Just the Two of Us
Smooth Sailing

The rest of our trip went well. We were able to visit with my parents and then pick up our daughter, all according to schedule. Scott and I are really wanting to have some freedom to go and do, so I’m learning to blog on the go.

Just the Two of Us

Looking Back, Looking Forward ~ 2016 in Review

The new year is a time when many people make “New Year’s Resolutions,” but I quit doing that a long time ago. For me, that term has become synonymous with “January goal,” because not many of them make it past the end of the month. They’ve become a bit of a joke, don’t you think? However, My husband and I are big believers in goal-setting. I actually take goals pretty seriously, so I make them carefully.

Looking Back

Looking Back, Looking Forward ~ 2016 in ReviewHomeschooling was a huge goal. I believed that God asked me to homeschool our kids and that helped me to be committed to the very end. When our daughter graduated high school and that huge goal was met, I found myself thinking, “Now what?” Homeschooling had been all-consuming for fourteen years, so suddenly it was like I had a blank slate in front of me and I wondered how I’d fill it.Affiliate Links - Mid-Life Blogger

When I started blogging back in May, I chose the name “Mid-Life Blogger” because it seemed to perfectly describe where I was, and what I thought I’d be writing about. I spend some time looking back, sharing my experiences and memories. I also look forward to what the future might hold. As this year comes to an end I’m thinking back over my first seven months of blogging. I’ve learned a lot of new things and had new experiences. I learned that there’s a lot more to blogging than I’d ever imagined. In fact, writing may be the least of it. I’ve learned terminology, the technical aspect of putting a blog together and publishing posts, a little coding, how frustrating “algorithms” can be, and made a bunch of new blogging friends.

Highlights from 2016

I’ve published about sixty posts so far. If you found my blog recently, then I invite you to explore my past posts by skimming the categories or archives. Here are some highlights from this past year:

Looking Forward

I’ve set a goal to improve my photography skills this next year, and my husband helped by giving me a camera for Christmas. I’m learning how to use it and hope I’ll be able to add better pictures to my posts. I found a free online course that looks like a fun way to learn. If you’re also interested, it’s at http://ayearwithmycamera.com/. The course is free, but there’s an optional workbook that you can order from Amazon that goes with it. Be sure to let me know if you join, too. We can learn together.

In general, I plan to continue to learn and improve my blog. I like exploring and look forward to seeing where Mid-Life Blogger takes me, and what new people I meet. I have some fun ideas for the coming year, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on anything.

I wish you health and happiness in 2017!

Happy New Year!

Looking Back, Looking Forward ~ 2016 in Review

This post was shared in The Homeschool Nook Link-Up Party.

 

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Welcome to Powell! I was excited about participating in Show Me Your Christmas Tree, a blog hop featuring Christmas trees from around Missouri, and made sure ours was decorated in time to share. I want to thank our hostess, Terri Steffes, of Our Good Life, for organizing this fun holiday event.

Our Christmas Tree
Our Christmas Tree

We have an artificial tree that is pre-wired with white lights. Once my husband assembles it, I decorate it in the traditional colors of red and green, silver and gold, and then add the special ornaments. We top it off with a bright shining star.

Decorating Hint

I have some plain old red, gold, and green glass ornaments. They have some wear such as scratches, so I put them near the center of the tree to reflect the lights, help hide the wires, and give depth.

Christmas tree skirt
Christmas tree skirt

We’ve had our Christmas tree skirt for about twenty years, or so. It’s hard to believe, but I ordered it and had it monogrammed soon after we were married.

Annual Tradition

When our kids were young I started an annual tradition of buying a Christmas ornament for each of them. I tried to find one that corresponded to something special about that year. Someday I will give them their ornaments so that they’ll have some memories to warm up their new home. I have also bought some for my husband and I so that when that time comes we’ll have some left for ourselves.

Memory Lane

Decorating the tree each year becomes a walk down memory lane. As I get out each ornament out and hang it on the tree, I can’t help but think back about what it memorializes. Here are a few of them:

Baby Shoes - A gift when our son was born.
Baby Shoes – A gift when our son was born.
Our daughter's 1st Christmas
Our daughter’s 1st Christmas
The year our daughter raised rabbits
The year our daughter raised rabbits
The year our son learned to play the guitar.
The year our son learned to play the guitar.
Rudolph made by our daughter, and a diploma for our son's graduation from high school.
Rudolph made by our daughter, and a diploma for our son’s graduation from high school.
Thomas the Tank Engine - a favorite of our son as a toddler.
Thomas the Tank Engine – a favorite of our son as a toddler.
The year we moved to our new homestead in Powell.
The year we moved to our new homestead in Powell.
Christmas Village

While you’re here, I thought I’d share my Christmas village, too. It was accumulated over a long period, and a few pieces were gifts. I especially like the animated skating pond. There is a counter across the back of our den where I’m able to set it out. There’s even a short video if you’d like to see it in action.

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Show Me Your Christmas Tree ~ Powell

Skating Pond Video

Homecoming

There have been years when we were planning to travel so we didn’t get as many decorations out, but this year my attitude towards decorating is a little different. Now that both of our kids are adults, I want to make our home a place that they look forward to coming back to. Thank you for hopping by to see our Christmas tree. You can continue the fun by clicking the link below. Merry Christmas from Mid-Life Blogger!

“Show Me” Your Christmas Tree! Link-up

"Show Me" Your Christmas Tree

Related Reading

Check out these gift suggestions! Eggstra Special Gift Ideas for Homesteaders

This post was shared on the Hearts for Home Blog HopMonday Social Link-UpAll Around the Home and Homestead Blog PartyOur Simple Homestead Blog Hop, and Home for Christmas Blog Party Link-up.

"Show Me" Your Christmas Tree

3 Mistakes I Made as a New Blogger

Before I started blogging I tried to research whether I should start with a WordPress.com (hosted) or a WordPress.org (self-hosted) platform. Being brand new and feeling overwhelmed by all the terminology, I decided to play it safe and start off with WordPress.com which is the free, hosted platform. Although my learning curve was steep I learned quickly, and I soon became frustrated with “free” because of its limitations. A few months ago I decided to take the leap and switch to self-hosting, but I made some mistakes in the process that other bloggers might learn from.

3 Mistakes

1) Timing – I got wound up and decided to switch to self-hosting the week before taking our daughter to college, thinking it was going to be easy. Well, it wasn’t. And having all the other things I needed to tend to hanging over my head added more stress. I think I made some snap (and poor) decisions as a result. img_1093If you’re going to switch to self-hosting, don’t start the process when you have something important looming on your calendar. Not only to avoid adding stress, but also to allow yourself time to work through any problems that might arise. I encountered some problems during the process, and when it was complete, I then had to go through all my old posts and fix some things.

2) Theme – Have it chosen ahead of time, and verify that it will be supported by your chosen web host. I thought I’d be able to use my same theme, and then after the switch commenced I was told it wasn’t supported, so I panicked and bought one that looked good, but ended up being way too complicated. Then a different tech found that my old theme could be supported and switched me back to it. So I had bought one unnecessarily. The author was kind enough to refund my money, but ThemeForest would only give me an account credit.

3) Domain name – When it came time to register my domain name, I decided to alter it slightly, not realizing that would cause some other problems. I was able to get traffic forwarded from the old domain name, but that added an expense. I also didn’t realize I would be starting over on my statistics.

Advice to New Bloggers

Now that I’ve gained some experience I would offer the following advice to new bloggers:

The idea of self-hosting to begin with was intimidating, but in hindsight I think it would’ve been a lot easier. I only have experience with WordPress, but the dashboard (and learning curve) is the same for both platforms. Choosing self-hosted from the beginning would save the headache of converting later, and give you more freedom with plugins, design, and advertising.

WordPress

I chose SiteGround as my web host and have not regretted it. I can attest that they have great customer service! During my self-induced stress period I tested it thoroughly via “Live Chat.” I think I chatted with everyone in the department and they were all helpful and patient. I wish all companies provided Live Chat!

Web Hosting

As a new blogger, it really helps to find your “tribe,” – bloggers in your niche that you can learn from, and look to for support. Jen Snyder compiled a guide called “Find Your Tribe Online” that lists Facebook groups, Pinterest boards, and more. She put in the time so that you don’t have to. Finding your people will help jumpstart your blog. It helped me find some new blogging friends and inspired me to start my own tribe.

I hope that by sharing the mistakes I made that you might be able to avoid them. If I had to do it over, these are the things I would do differently.

Helpful Links

SiteGround

Find Your Tribe Online

 

Three Mistakes I Made as a New Blogger

Learning How to Learn…And Loving It!

Learning How to Learn...And Loving It!
Learning How to Learn…And Loving It!

When I retired as Homeschool Teacher, I started blogging because I enjoyed writing and wanted to learn more about using the internet. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising, but that was right before the internet came to be, so my education didn’t include anything about it. I haven’t always enjoyed writing, either. I went to school before the days of word processing when writing anything, either by hand or typewriter, meant writing and re-writing, and using a bottle of Liquid Paper, to produce a paper worth turning in. All of that time, not to mention the tedious assignments, made me dislike it. In a seemingly short time, the world had changed a lot because of personal computers and the internet.

Inspired by My Students

I was inspired by my kids because they had learned how to learn. During their childhood, they had the benefit of the internet to look up anything they wanted, at pretty much any time. They didn’t wait to take a class, they figured it out theirselves. I’d been a little envious of that. When I was growing up, the only resource I had at home was a set of encyclopedias, and it wasn’t exactly up to date.

Learning How to Learn

Nurturing the Love of Learning

One of our homeschool goals was for our children to learn how to learn. More specifically, we wanted to nurture the love of learning that they’re naturally born with. It’s the same principle as the common proverb, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Every education is going to have gaps. We can’t know what the future holds for our children, or what they’ll need to know. Additionally, technology changes at such a rapid pace that by the time it’s in a textbook it’s out of date. But if our children learn how to learn, then they can learn anything. Knowing how to learn is more than a skill, it’s having confidence in one’s self to learn independently.

Fostering Independence

So how do we foster this independence? I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have some suggestions based on my personal experience.

There are a variety of approaches to homeschooling, and one of them, Unschooling, is child-led, and follows their interests. While many families follow that style of homeschooling, all families can implement its principles to some degree.

  1. In kids’ free time, during holidays, and school breaks, encourage them to pursue their interests.
  2. Make sure your children have free time. Don’t over-schedule them.
  3. Design a purposeful environment by providing your children with materials that are educational, wholesome, and are in keeping with your beliefs. Consider culling anything that doesn’t meet that criteria.
  4. As they mature, give them more responsibility in planning their classes and activities.
  5. If you see an aptitude, look for opportunities to nourish it through extra-curricular activities, online classes, clubs, or camps where they can learn more and meet others with the same interest. Look for a mentor or apprenticeship. Don’t be shy about asking fellow homeschoolers for ideas. You never know, another homeschool parent or grandparent may have just the expertise you’re looking for, or know where you can find it.
  6. Don’t get so caught up in following curriculum that it doesn’t allow kids to investigate other things. Learning is learning, and they learn better when it’s their idea. Like another famous proverb – “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” – you can force kids to do homework, but you can’t force true learning. Learning is more than memorizing facts, it’s an internalizing or synthesizing of the information, being able to dissect it and recombine it in new ways, and explain it.
  7. Don’t underestimate your child’s desire or ability to learn. They will all have their own pace and capability, but God created us to learn. They’re like little sponges. If they seem unable or unwilling to learn, it may be that the natural love of learning has been driven out of them because current subjects or methods aren’t meeting their needs. Re-examine your method and materials to see if some changes are needed.
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch

Carry On, Mr. BowditchYears ago we read a book called Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham. We’ve read a lot of good books through school, but this one was particularly inspiring. It’s a biography about Nathaniel Bowditch, who, despite adverse circumstances, found ways to learn the information he craved, such as borrowing books or finding apprenticeships. Primarily self-educated, he was a mathematical genius, and considered the Founder of Modern Maritime Navigation. Nathaniel Bowditch knew how to learn.

Learning Curves

A steep learning curve can be exciting, yet stressful. I’m more empathetic about that now. I already knew how to write, but all of the technology related to blogging was totally new. Since the beginning of my blog, I’ve learned a slew of new terms and skills, and there were a few times that I needed to learn so much so fast that I felt like my head was going to explode.

Learning How to LearnHomeschooling my kids helped to revive my own love of learning, and watching the variety of interests they’ve pursued has inspired me to pursue my own.

Learning should be a life-long pursuit. At least I hope it will be for me. It keeps life interesting and my mind stimulated. What new things are you learning?

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Related Reading

Boredom: Gateway to Creativity

Raising World-Changers…second-generation unschooling