Why It’s a Great Time to Start a Blog

start a money making blog

 

Have you ever had dreams of working from home? Today, we’ll show you why it’s a great time to start a money making blog and realize your dreams of working from your kitchen table in your pajamas! Here are a few things you need to know before you get started.

 

You Can Make Money Blogging

 

The blogging industry is growing, and has been over the last decade. I began blogging “for real” in 2009. By “for real” I mean, I started a blog with WordPress, hosted it with a super hosting company, and set it up to build my homeschooling consulting and evaluation business. As the years went by, my readership grew and the opportunities for affiliations with companies became more abundant. Today, the opportunities are bigger than ever before, and blogging has become a career and a great way to support yourself and your family.

 

Find a Niche

 

What will your blog for 2018 be about? Ask yourself these questions: What are you interested in? What are your strengths? Have you had any amazing and cool experiences that you want to share with others?

 

I have many interests and a few things that I am great at, and have lots of experience doing. My blog capitalizes on these things. You won’t find me doing makeup tutorials here, or discussing current style: these just aren’t my strengths, although you can sometimes find me binge-watching my favorite beauty bloggers on youtube. Find your strengths and interests and turn them into a business!

 

Use The Right Tools

 

This is very important and something I learned by experience. I began my blog by using WordPress, by hosting it with a terrific company, and by investing time and dedication to building it myself. As the years went by, and as my girls started to grow up and demand more of my time, I didn’t really keep up with WordPress. It is really like learning a new language, or at least it was for me. Don’t be intimidated though, because once you get the hang of it, it’s easy; but, like any language, if you don’t continue to use it you lose it.

 

Write Good, Quality Content

 

This might seem like a no-brainer, but to keep your visitors coming back to your brand new blog, you want to offer them something that is useful and relevant to their lives. Post often, and be sincere. I love reading and listening to personal stories. I think most people do. If you are relatable, and give your readers quality stuff, you will already be set up to grow and expand.

 

When I started my blog in 2009, I wrote good, quality content. As life’s demands and other priorities took over, I stopped doing this. Yes, I still shared good information, however, it was not my own information; mostly, I’d just link to something else. Which was still good for my readers, but not really giving them anything personal.

 

Keep Your Blog Updated

 

After a few years I realized that my blog was looking a bit outdated. The header was old, the theme wasn’t that exciting anymore and I wanted to refresh it. Knowing that I once was able to use Word Press to create a great-looking blog, I dusted off my password to the cpanel and decided to start updating. What I thought was going to be a relatively quick and easy thing to do, was more difficult than I thought. I needed a refresher. Many refreshers. And now, I was teaching online (full-time at this point), and continuing to homeschool my girls.

 

Hindsight has taught me that once you begin a blog with WordPress.com you should never, ever, move your blog to a different platform. Never! I was pressed for time, and wanted what I thought would be the “easy way out” so I moved my blog with all of its great content over to Weebly. Weebly has a drag and drop feature and the themes were easy to use and super modern-looking. Their customer service is fantastic, and I thought I had done the right thing.

 

Monetize Your Blog

 

You must monetize your blog, if you want to make money, and the best way to do that is to begin with WordPress. Using WordPress has many other perks, such as giving you great analytics and other things that I may write about in a future blog post but for now, just know that there are multiple ways to do this and I am still learning about all of them. The possibilities are incredible!

If you want to learn the details of how to monetize your blog, I encourage you to take the 30-Day Blogging Fast Track Course with blogging experts, Heather and Pete Reese. They even post their monthly income on their website so that you can see that it is not only possible, but very probable for you (and me!) to make that kind of income, too.

If you are not ready to sign up for the 30-day course, Pete and Heather also offer a totally free 5-Day Crash Course. I actually took this one first and was hooked, which prompted me to sign up for the 30-Day Fast Track Course. And did I mention it is totally FREE? Not only is it free, but it is jam-packed with amazing information. You won’t believe what Heather and Pete offer for zero cost. I promise you, it is just a snipped of the information contained in the 30-day course. And the best part is, after you sign up, you have access to everything for two years so you don’t have to worry about digesting it all at once (or taking notes!)

 

My Blog Evolved and Yours Will Too

 

After prettying up my blog with Weebly, I realized that I wanted to get back to regular posting, more writing and sharing of tutorials and things that I have experience with, so that I can help and reach more homeschoolers. Ultimately though, I found myself wanting to turn this business blog into a hybrid of sorts, and share some more personal things about our homeschooling lifestyle in Florida. This is why you see me blogging here at Our Happy Medium. almost ten years later!  You can read more about our vision for our new blog here. 

 

This time, I hired a web developer to help me get set up with WordPress again. If I had done that the first time, I would never have moved my site to Weebly, and things would have been a whole lot smoother for me. If you would like the contact information for Micah, the super-awesome, ultra-patient web developer who not only helped me, but actually taught me how to get going with WordPress again with a brand-new beautiful, and easy-to-use theme, I am happy to share his information. Just email me at Terri@homeschoolinflorida.com.

Create Your Own Product

You will notice that successful bloggers offer a product or a service. I have always offered my homeschool consulting and evaluation services on my blog, but once I got serious about blogging, I began to offer homeschool courses through Our Happy Medium Academy, and now have my new e-book, Take Courage! An Inspirational Quote Journal for Moms up on the blog, too. What are you great at? What can you offer to others? Can you create a course, sell crafts, write a book? Again, the possibilities are endless.

Work With Sponsors

In their blogging course, Heather and Pete will show you how to find opportunities for sponsored work. My first paid sponsored post came when a company reached out to me. You can read this post here. I had fun writing it because it was for a company that I already knew and loved. Are there any specific products that you use and love? If so, reach out to their marketing people and pitch a blog post!

Main Things I Learned by Taking the 30-Day Blogging Fast Track Course

 

  • Blogging is a HUGE business right now
  • The sky is the limit in terms of how much money you can make
  • Travel Blogging is even bigger
  • There are multiple ways to monetize your blog, all you have to do is choose the right ones that fit you and your blog style
  • Blogging helps you meet, and build relationships with, people from all over the world
  • There is no time like RIGHT NOW to begin
  • There are hundreds of support groups for bloggers, including several devoted solely to Word Press help
  • A large percentage of advertising budgets for major companies goes to bloggers like us! They know the power of social media.

 

Homeschooling in All 50 States

homeschooling in all 50 states

Homeschooling in All 50 States

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to homeschool in another state? Maybe you’ve moved from one state to another and have had to figure out the differences. If so, we’d love to hear from you! My friend Laurie from livingtheunexpectedlife.com has a wonderful resource which covers (almost) every state in the US. If you see an opening, and have knowledge about homeschooling in that particular state, let her know!

Homeschooling in the Sunshine State

Of course, I covered our Sunshine State. If you’re just learning how to homeschool in Florida, you’ll want to check this out. My post is here. I have many friends all over the country, and the differences in homeschooling laws is incredible! Would you rather live in a state that literally requires nothing, or a state that holds you accountable to the point of reviewing lesson plans?

What About Travel?

When I ran my umbrella school, I had a few families that traveled internationally. They made their home-base here in Florida, and continued to teach their kids abroad. I know a few families who travel within the US, some of them learning as the RV across the country. My friend Lisa is gearing up to do just that! You can follow her family here. 

Freedom

One thing is true: we are very fortunate to have options available to us as homeschoolers. I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Let us know your experience in the comments! Would you like to school in an RV? Have you moved from one US state to another? Where would you love to homeschool if you could?

Q & A With the Author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Kids Outside the Conventional Classroom

homeschool in Florida
If you’ve been homeschooling long enough, you’ve likely come across the term “unschooling.” Unschooling is one of those terms that often has the homeschooling community at odds with one another, as if there are only black and white approaches to educating our children. Many homeschooling families, chose to educate their kids at home so that they can educate kids outside the box: unschooling is just one way of (as the title reads), raising curious, well-educated kids outside the conventional classroom.

As a homeschool consultant and evaluator, I have had the pleasure of working with many unschooling families over the years. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a huge proponent of child-led learning. I have a deep respect for successful unschooling families.

When I came across the book, Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry McDonald, I knew I had to have it. (more…)

How to Choose the Perfect Math Curriculum


homeschoolinflorida.comThat title got you, didn’t it?

Math. We’ve used so many different programs for math for my youngest. It wasn’t my favorite subject in school, and it wasn’t my favorite subject to teach in elementary school, either. I’ve been searching for the perfect math curriculum for as long as I’ve been homeschooling and both of my girls are in high school now.

Here’s What I Do Know

Every kid is different. Yes, you know that, too. But truly, one math curriculum does not work for another. Take my own children for example. I tried almost everything to get my eldest daughter to NOT love Saxon. She did. And still does. And she’s thriving with it. She gets that from her dad, certainly.

My youngest is just like me. She doesn’t care about formulas, and the answer, “because that’s how you’re supposed to do it” just doesn’t fly with her. Me either. We want to know why. If we could study and analyze an algebraic formula as if it were a character in a great fiction novel, we’d do well and even love algebra. But we don’t.

Math Non-Math Lovers Like

(more…)

Five Most Important Things Every Homeschooler Should Know

five most important things every homeschooler should know

You Probably Won’t Stick to “The Plan”

 

We homeschoolers have so many inspired ideas when we first begin! Who doesn’t love a new adventure, with a shiny new schedule to go along with it?I promise you, you will go “off course”. You will “follow a different path”. You will get “redirected”. It’s all okay. It’s necessary, and it leads to new adventures and new opportunities.

 

Consider This Fictitious Day

 

* 8:30 You and your children begin the day with stretching, exercise and/or prayer time. Everyone is smiling and well-rested. The bigger kids help make smoothie bowls for breakfast at 8:30 am while their younger siblings clean up their toys. Breakfast is followed by journal writing and free reading. Your group history lesson begins at 10:00 followed by a snack (which the kids prepare themselves) and a short free-play or free-time session for everyone until exactly 10:45, which leaves just enough time to fit in some handwriting practice before it’s time to involve the kids in preparing a healthy lunch. (more…)

Your Questions About Dyslexia Answered by Author and Advocate Don Winn

Your Questions About Dyslexia Answered

 

One in Five Children in the US Has a Learning Difficulty

Did you know that one in five children in the United States has a learning difficulty such as dyslexia or ADHD. These challenges can make
children feel inadequate, misunderstood, and frustrated, yet – if harnessed correctly – they can also be viewed as beneficial and consequently empower the kids who live with them.

As an educator of over two decades and as a homeschool consultant for over a decade, I have worked with many students with learning difficulties. I am always looking for new information to learn new ways of helping my students and families, so when I had the opportunity to interview Don Winn, author, dyslexia advocate, and dyslexic himself, I jumped at the opportunity!

Dyslexia Advocacy

If you are not familiar with Don Winn, you are in for a treat. Winn is a multiple-award winning author of thirteen picture books and the Sir Kaye the Boy Knight series of novels for independent readers. As a dyslexic himself, he frequently addresses parents and educators on how to maximize the value of shared reading and how to help dyslexics and other struggling readers to learn to love to read.

In addition to his latest picture book, There’s a Monkey in My Backpack!, Winn’s first non-fiction book, Raising a Child With Dyslexia: What Every Parent Needs to Know is forthcoming this fall. Find out more on www.donwinn.com

Enter to Win Don Winn’s Newest Book

In the clever and truly helpful new book There’s a Monkey in My Backpack!Winn explores how learning difficulties affect kids in a unique way that helps children and those who care for them to better understand their challenges. Winn writes from his personal experience as a lifelong dyslexic reader and writer.

There’s a Monkey in My Backpack! follows Anna, a third-grade student who has an unusual companion – a monkey in her backpack! Not everyone can see him, but he causes a whole lot of trouble for Anna by mixing up her spelling letters, distracting her in class, and making it hard for her to keep up with her schoolwork. He causes so many problems for Anna that she wonders if she will ever make it to the end of third grade with the other children. But she learns that her troublesome monkey can also be a big help to her if she learns to understand, accept, and appreciate her unique situation.

Enter to win this book below!

Winn Answers Our Questions About Dyslexia in this Q&A

Q. What are the early signs of dyslexia and what should parents do if they suspect their child has dyslexia? Also, What type of testing is done to confirm that a child has dyslexia, and can this be done at home by me, the parent? (more…)

4 Essential Tips to Help When Your Partner Doesn’t Want You to Homeschool

what to do when your partner doesn't want you to homeschool

Your partner may not share your enthusiasm on homeschooling, and this could be a possible confrontation avenue. In most cases, the men are skeptical on whether the whole homeschooling concept will work. Before you go crazy on them, it would be important to note that they also have the best interests of your kids in their heart. As such, you have to try and understand their concerns and peacefully address these issues. The following tips will come in handy when your partner doesn’t want you to homeschool.

Stay calm and peaceful 

It does not help to get angry and frustrated because you think your partner is irrational about this subject. By staying calm, he will be able to understand that emotions are not blinding you and you are approaching the topic with a clear head. He will be forced to recognize and respect your reasons for homeschooling. Looping in the kids at this point would be essential. They will most likely have an opinion on this. Let them know how this would change their lives and evaluate if they are ready for the change.

Write down the concerns about homeschooling

Write down the concerns they have with homeschooling. Is it that they have no confidence in your ability to teach? Is it about money? Is it about time? Note down everything they come up with and understand completely why they are hesitant to come on board.

After you write down the concerns they have about homeschooling, it is your time to write down the concerns you have about having your kids schooled in an institution (public or private) somewhere. Let them understand why you decided that homeschooling would be better for your children compared to have them go to a school out there.

Homeschooling allows a deeper connection with the kids

After you have done this, make a rational analysis of these concerns and fears, and this will help you reach a solution quickly. To assist on that, you can let them know that by homeschooling, you will have the chance to experience a deeper connection with your children. This is very important, particularly in their formative years. See our blog series titled, “30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between” for the truth about homeschooling and what it might look like for your family. Discuss these things with your partner. Let him know that you’ve been doing your research.

Look at your finances and time you can spend on homeschooling

Homeschooling can have a toll on your finances if it is not done right. You need to plan and know how much time you have to do this and how much money you can afford to make this a success. You do not want to start and feel overwhelmed down the line. 

Do a lot of research to understand how much the material and curriculum will cost you and what you will need in the future. Connect with other families and learn from them. You will find a lot of support from different people and institutions who understand the concept of homeschooling well.

Talk to Everyone You Know Who Homeschools

Gather information. Ask everyone you know what homeschooling is like for them. Ask questions such as these:

  • how has it changed your lives
  • how have your kids benefited
  • what kind of time is involved
  • do they work AND homeschool
  • how much money do they spend on curriculum each year
  • what types of support groups are there in your area
  • what are the most important things they think you should know

Discuss all this with your partner.

Consider Working From Home

Perhaps your partner’s biggest concern is money. And perhaps you have already thought of this. There are plenty of ways to make money from home, you just have to be a little creative, a little flexible, and know where to look. Start a blog, search for WFH jobs using these tips, or come up with your own ideas. It CAN be done!

The decision you make should be for the benefit of the kids. It is important to have your partner’s help when doing this as it makes it all easier. If I can help with any of this, please contact me for a one-on-one coaching session. See my Testimonials Page to see how I’ve helped others make their homeschooling dreams come true.

What You Need to Know Before Your Homeschool Portfolio Evaluation

homeschool in florida

I will not ask your child to jump through hoops for me. A few years ago, in my local area, it was common to hear from homeschooling families that their portfolio evaluator “tested” their kids during a portfolio evaluation. My initial reaction: WHY?! During a portfolio evaluation with me, I will not ask your child to read aloud to me, do math computations for me, or recite the dates of the major battles in the Civil War. There are, however, certain things that all homeschool evaluators must look for according to their state laws, and a portfolio evaluation does not include any of those things listed above for the states of Florida and Virginia, where the bulk of my clients reside. Always check your state’s requirements. 

We are so fortunate as homeschoolers across the country to have several options to choose from when it comes to providing evidence that our students have made progress each year. The benefits of using the portfolio evaluation option are many. Just take a look at this article to read more. I feel so strongly that the portfolio gives you and me a much more comprehensive picture of your child’s progress than any standardized or nationally normed test, that I do portfolio reviews exclusively.  Testing has its place. I have my girls test every year in addition to reviewing their portfolio and I often recommend that my clients do both as well. 

Why Choose a Homeschool Portfolio Review

Portfolio assessments provide an authentic way of demonstrating progress, skills and accomplishments. If I ask your child to read aloud to me, in order to assess his/her fluency, what would I be basing that day’s progress on? I would not know how your child’s fluency was at the beginning of your homeschool year in order to compare. Similarly, if I ask your student to take a math test for me, or any other one-time summative assessment, I would need a standard or benchmark with which to compare.

Formative and Summative Assessments 

A portfolio should include any type of formative or summative assessments that you, (the teacher) have done throughout the year.  The difference between formative and summative assessments is that formative assessments are given by you (the teacher) and help you monitor progress and provide feedback as you go along. For example, you are reading a great work of literature with your student, and you pause at the end of every chapter in order to assess comprehension. You provide feedback and identify any areas of strength or weakness which will help your student improve their learning.

Summative assessments are assessments that come at the end of a unit or course, and will examine your student’s learning by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.  For example, you may make up your own grading rubric after doing a unit study on Shakespeare. You then ask your student to compare Romeo and Juliet to Julius Caesar by designing a multimedia project.  Your grading rubric shows your student details of what you expect out of their paper or project which you will later use to “grade” it.

What to Expect During Your Homeschool Portfolio Review

During a portfolio review, I like to see YOUR formative and summative assessments included in the child’s portfolio.  I am happy to listen to your child read so that I can assess fluency if you would like me to, however, I never include this as part of my portfolio evaluation process, nor does the law in my state ask me to.

I am concerned that if homeschool evaluators who conduct annual portfolio reviews continue to ask their students to do these types of activities as a general rule, that they will be setting a precedent for this, and eventually our homeschool-friendly state will be adding these requirements to the law so that all homeschool evaluators will then put your child to the test As a homeschooling parent myself, I rather enjoy my freedom to be able to decide whether or not I want another person to administer (any type of) test to my children.  I certainly wouldn’t want my children to have to be subjected to it during a portfolio review.

Go here to learn more about the benefits of distance evaluations. You can read more about my services here. 

Benefits of Florida Online Homeschool Evaluations

The Benefits of Homeschool Portfolio Evaluations – at a Distance!

Just this week I had several homeschooling moms ask me why I no longer portfolio evaluations in person.  I did write about this on the old blog, and I think it deserves a place here in our new(er) space as well.  Before I answer though, let me just say that I really would love to meet you, but I’d rather talk to you via Zoom or phone. 🙂 Let me explain why. 

Introvert, Extrovert, Ambivert? 

There has been a lot of talk on social media about personality types: introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts too. I have spent some time pondering this myself and I do find personality/learning style quizzes fun and interesting. I am most definitely an introvert. When I have too many places to have to be, too many people to talk to, and too many outside-the-home commitments, it can take me days to recover my energy. This is how introverts are: they recharge by being alone and quiet. 

Because I am a homeschooling mom, I don’t get much alone time, but I can go outside and work in my garden, or go hang out in the barn with my horses for a bit.  I need this. Fortunately, my family understands and lucky for me, my girls are also introverts so we “get” each other. Yet, despite not necessarily getting “energized” by our social activities, we trudge on and go to classes, meet with friends and live a joyful, full life.  I couldn’t imagine living in a household full of extroverts! 

I work from home as well, both as a homeschool consultant and evaluator, curriculum creator, and as a part-time teacher.  Both of these provide me with joy and satisfaction, but I can get drained of energy. Can you relate?

The Need for Change

I began doing homeschool evaluations and consulting in 2007.  My clients and I would meet in local coffee shops.  Since the bulk of my evaluation requests come in during the late spring and summer months, I found myself spending all of my Saturdays and three to four nights a week away from my family. They started to feel the effects of my absence.  My girls were littler then and I missed them!  That was when I decided to change the way I did things.  

Most of my consulting work was done long-distance anyway, and I had many clients from other parts of Florida and other states already doing distance-evaluations by emailing or snail-mailing me work samples, so I decided to ask my local clients to do their evaluations online too.  I knew that this would make it easier for me, but I never expected that most of my clients actually preferred doing their evaluations this way as well.  Maybe they are all fellow introverts! 😉 Seriously, though; the process is just so much more convenient and thorough for everyone involved. 

Do Your Homeschool Portfolio Evaluation From Anywhere!

 
Online or distance-evaluations are super easy. You can upload work samples whenever you want to, and email them to me ahead of time.  Of course, this is not the only way to show me the work that your students have done.  Over the years I have had families share their work in these ways:

* Create a blog (I love these and many of my unschooling families do this.)
* Create a private Facebook page (Love this too!)
* Create a Youtube channel (some of my families who do this are amazing and I love to see and hear the students I am evaluating)
* Scan and email samples of work
* Snail-mail work samples to me

Florida asks evaluators to have a conversation with the student as well, and the way we fulfill this requirement is via a short phone chat, or Skype session. After that, the time is YOURS for whatever you’d like to discuss. Read more about how I conduct evaluations here.

Evaluation and Consultation In One

A big perk of scheduling a portfolio evaluation with me is that you are able to ask me any questions you want to during our phone session.  Yes, the phone session is for the student; however, that time is for you as well.  One of the benefits of doing a distance-evaluation with me is that you can decide what you’d like to discuss with me before-hand and give me a heads up about it so that I can research and ponder before hand.  This is the best way to use our time together, and is the way that I have been doing consulting sessions since the beginning. Another benefit to you if you choose me as your evaluator, is that I will answer any questions you have via email all year long.  If you have more in-depth questions about a particular topic such as curriculum choices, learning styles, etc. then we can schedule a consult; however, many questions can be answered via email. 

Book Your Appointment!

Are you ready to book your appointment!  Just click here for my appointment scheduler, and choose the time that works best for you and your family.  I look forward to talking with you! Read my testimonials page to see a sampling of what some of my other families have said about working with me! 

 

How to Implement Music & Creative Writing in Your Homeschool

music & creativity in our homeschool in florida

How to Implement Music & Creative Writing in Your Homeschool

I’m guest posting over at lifeschoolingconference.com! Check it out In this blog post I talk about how we use creative writing and music in our homeschool (“lifeschool”) and how you can, too! Come on over and find out what the term “lifeschool” means. You’ll also read my top tips for implementing music and creative writing n your homeschool at any age.

What is Creativity?

Creativity does not have to be limited to the arts as we well know. Many scientists and computer programmers and engineers have amazingly creative minds. Music and poetry and sculpture are other means of expressing what God has given us: the will and ability to create.

Creativity is the purest expression of learning. Some believe it is the way to achieve the highest level of self-actualization.

Read more here. 

 

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