A Day in the Life of Julie, Homeschool Veteran Mama of Five
Tomorrow’s day in the life feature hardly needs an introduction. THE Ms. Julie Bogart will be here tomorrow sharing her wisdom and her stories and what a day in the life looked like when her five kiddos were still at home.
Julie is a true veteran homeschool mama, she began before the help of the internet and was in the trenches digging a way for all of us.
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She’s had a huge month as her oldest got married and her long anticipated book, The Brave Learner was released. If you haven’t snagged your copy, please do! You will love it!
I hope you’ll hang out with us tomorrow for Julie’s Day in the Life.
Get the 6 Secrets to a Simpler Mom Life
It’s great to be a part of the Learning Well Community! I look forward to sharing with you a bit about my family story with you today.
I’m Julie Bogart (@juliebravewriter), creator & owner of Brave Writer, and the founder of The Homeschool Alliance (a coaching community for homeschoolers). My adventure in home education began in the stone ages (pre-Internet) with five kids and a deep passion for learning that I was compelled to share with my family. Today, all my kids are grown and leading awesome adult lives across the globe.
My love for homeschooling and writing became Brave Writer, my 19-year-old company (6th child), that’s founded on an innovating approach to teaching writing & language arts. My brand new book, The Brave Learner, just hit the bookshelves last week! It’s all about ways you can experience pleasure and progress in your homeschooling journey. Check it out at thebravelearner.com
Meet My Five Homeschool Alumni!
I wrote in the dedication of my book, “To Noah, Johannah, Jacob, Liam, and Caitrin, who taught me how to learn.” And boy did they! I owe them so much.
Meet my five homeschool alumni! From L to R:
Johannah, (29), is a globe trotter currently settled in Sayulita Mexico, where she surfs and is a life coach for creatives.
Noah is my oldest (31) and just got married on January 11th! He’s thriving as a computer programmer and plans to homeschool his future children (fingers crossed!). His new wife May is wonderful.
Caitrin (22) (in the cap & gown) graduated from University of Pittsburgh in 2018 and today lives in San Diego working for a tech start-up. She studied linguistics and learned four languages, including Hindi.
Liam (24) graduated from St. John’s College in 2018, too, where he studied all the Great Books. Today he lives in Miami working in fashion.
Jacob (26) graduated from Columbia Law School in 2018 too (yes, three graduations in a row!) and today works in Thailand with Fortify Rights. For fun, he taught himself how to DJ—Human Rights lawyer by day, DJ in a club by night!
The takeaway? Homeschooling led my kids all over the world and into their interests deeply. It’s the adventure of a lifetime and I wouldn’t have done it any other way!
(Photo= Caitrin’s graduation, University of Pittsburgh, 2018.)
Writing Projects with Brave Writer
Maybe you know my company Brave Writer. Brave Writer is founded on the belief that the parent is the best writing coach and ally to their children.
The writing projects I teach in Brave Writer are the same ones I enjoyed with my own kids. We all loved fairytales. By the time the younger two kids came along, I felt like I had already wrung the value from them with my older three. I realized I needed to re-invigorate the fairy-tale reading for myself, as much as for my children. It dawned on me that my kids might enjoy writing their own fairytale books.
We’d use their artwork and oral-turned-written narrations. Liam and Caitrin took to this task with alacrity!
Each month we read and/or watched a variety of renditions of a particular fairy tale (including Disney versions). Then I invited each one to create a visual representation as well as a verbal retelling. For instance, Rapunzel required long yellow hair and so we braided yarn and the kids drew a picture of her at the top of a tall black tower. We affixed the braid and voila! Rapunzel’s hair made a handy rope to the top floor for her suitor. When we enjoyed The Princess and the Pea, we cut up a Pottery Barn catalog into strips to make a stack of mattresses and glued them to the page. By year’s end, we had created books featuring ten different fairytales, all retold in my children’s voices.
In our Jot It Down! product, I share all the ways I engaged my earliest writers with the writing task, even before they could read!
Solar System Tea Party
My family learned early on that tea parties could teach all kinds of subject matter!
One night, after reading a book about the night sky, my kids hosted an impromptu Solar System Tea Party with our neighboring homeschool family (yeah, so lucky to have them 50 yards away!). Brooke, neighbor friend and Dotty’s oldest daughter (Dotty is famous now for her art tables I share in my book The Brave Learner), came dressed as Jupiter complete with a red spot over her eye. We cut up crescent shaped apple slices and star shaped slices of cheese. We hung a mobile of the planets above our heads. We turned sheets of black construction paper into telescope tubes and stood on the balcony to see the stars and moon. We read poetry. Our @poetryteatime about the stars and moon pre-figured what became our sacred practice!
It seemed any time I really wanted the kids to become enamored of a new idea or topic, if I found a way to pair a party with it, they were suddenly engaged, enthusiastic, and interested. Have you tried Poetry Teatime in your homeschool? Check out poetryteatime.com for a free quick start guide.
Follow Your Children’s Lead
Many parents ask me how to engage kids who seem to be bored by learning. I learned a principle from Jim Collins’ book Built to Last that I love to share: the B-HAG—Big Hairy Audacious Goals. These are big risky exciting goals your kids create for themselves (more detail in my book, The Brave Learner). We give our homeschools a turbo boost if we take our children’s aspirations seriously.
Caitrin (pictured), during her freshman year of high school, decided she wanted to create a fashion blog where she’d showcase 365 unique outfits in a year. Each day she would dress in her thrift store finds and pose multiple times until we got the “right” shot. Then she’d upload the photo to her blog and write about the outfit (where her clothes came from, what the fashion statement was, and so on). She developed quite a following!
Caitrin sold homemade cookies to pay for her thrift store fashion hauls. Her blog became a source of learning and pride. Does your child have a B-HAG? Leave a comment below—let’s get creative and find a way to make that dream a reality!
Passion for learning has everything to do with a child’s self-directed motivation.
It Goes so Fast – Make Charish Memories
It goes too fast. The days when I might’ve been dismayed by muddy feet & bodies traipsing through my house are long gone. I can leave a mug of tea on the counter and not worry that a toddler will topple it onto the floor.
When I see a photo like this one, I’m instantly warmed. I’m glad I chose to grab the camera when confronted with head-to-toe mud-covered bodies instead of worrying about the hassle of cleaning up.
All the skill-building for math, reading, and writing matter, but the rote studies are not usually what create memories. I’m glad we celebrated spontaneous, joyful experiences throughout our homeschool years so that now, when I sit alone in my big empty house, I’m warmed by these precious memories.
I want to leave you with some encouragement, especially for those of you who may be experiencing the mid-year slump. Just because you’re worn out or a little less optimistic than in September doesn’t mean you’re not doing a wonderful job of parenting, loving, and homeschooling.
When the education of your kids feels drab or colorless, pivot. Turn your heart, gaze, and actions to what energizes *you* the home educator. Give yourself permission to get interested in learning again, for your own sake. What draws your fascination or curiosity. Start there. It’s okay if you don’t know what that is yet. Allow yourself time to figure it out, to recover, to be inspired again.
My hope is that my new book, The Brave Learner, provides the spark you need to rekindle your zest for learning. It’s filled with ideas, practical activities, and inspiration. I’ve created a FREE Companion Guide (bullet journal style workbook) to go with it to make your learning journey memorable and powerful. Go to thebravelearner.com to download it now.
You get one life! Make sure homeschooling brings you pleasure, not merely weary responsibility. Keep going. I’m rooting for you!
Thank you so much to Julie for sharing your family’s day with us!
If you want to see more Day in the Life photos and videos, be sure to check out our Instagram profile.
How to Find Julie:
- Brave Writer Facebook Page
- BraveSchoolers Facebook Group
- The Homeschool Alliance
- Brave Writer Website