Photo taken in Lucca Italy 2005 (family trip)
Not too infrequently, a parent will virtually back me against a wall and say, “But why haven’t I heard of Brave Writer before? Where have you been all these years?”
It’s a fair question. Usually a company of our longevity would have had its coming out party by now. Instead, I crept along, slowly adding staff and products in the by-ways of the Internet, content to grow organically rather than through a big media campaign or annual trudge to all the state conventions or by advertising and spending a lot of money.
There’s a reason I didn’t make a big splash into the homeschool curriculum world over the last decade: I was homeschooling.
I thought about that today. I homeschooled my kids. I wrote writing books on the side. I answered emails after I sang lullabies at bedtime or before the toddler pounced on my chest first thing in the morning. I didn’t go to conventions lest I miss a soccer game or ballet performance. I didn’t ask for speaking opportunities. I let them come to me and many times, turned them down. I haven’t been available. I didn’t want to BE available.
I wanted to write materials and teach classes, but I wanted to be able to do it without interrupting my time with my kids. I certainly didn’t do it perfectly. There are days I remember where I got stuck at the computer all morning and other days where I had a deadline and would hole up in my office to meet it while everyone “unschooled” for a week. The kids have a joke that sometimes they needed to “double click” on mom to “wake me up” from my computer-stare.
But I am happy to say that on the whole, my work didn’t interfere with my kids having a genuine parent-led homeschool experience. I spent hours upon hours with them, being a part of their lives, struggling to teach reading, math, grammar, writing, and history, just like you. I had to figure out how to balance our lives, and incorporate art, music, and nature, too.
Even more, the projects we did together have formed the basis for the products and classes Brave Writer offers. In fact, Liam said to me once that it is odd to read Brave Writer materials; it’s like reading a journal of his childhood. My family loves it, for instance, when we see your families create fairytale and homonym books, because we still have ours and we get a kick out of seeing how you do them, too. I email them to my adult children or show them your projects when they come home for a visit.
It’s just what I wanted to do, is all.
Some of the most well known curriculum creators have never homeschooled their kids. For those who are homeschooling, it is often the husbands who build the companies and travel to conventions while their wives provide the children’s education. I met one writing company owner who told me he had been to 26 conventions in a year (that’s one convention-one city!-every other weekend). Another well-known curriculum writer hires a tutor to homeschool her children so she can be free to write books for her homeschooling business.
I do understand this.
My friend and I used to joke. She ran our homeschool co-op, and I ran Brave Writer. She would say, “Our work would be so much easier if we just didn’t homeschool.” True!
But I did homeschool. For 17 years.
I’m glad I did. It helps me be a better homeschooling business owner, even if our growth has been slower than it might have been. I hope you will always share your struggles and experiences with me. They help Brave Writer be more responsive to you.
I look forward to meeting a slew of you over the next several years (particularly this year at our first ever Brave Writer Retreat in June!) now that I have time to travel because my kids are grown.
I just thought you might like to know how I made my decisions and how Brave Writer evolved. But I’m here now, all dressed up and ready to come out and play with you!
Hope I see/meet/hug many of you soon!
Cross-posted on facebook.