How Do You Know If You Are Ready To Let Go of Your Faith?

When do you cross the line from believer to non-believer? At what point can you put a label on your new feelings and identity? How do you know if you are ready to let go of your faith?

For me personally—as I suspect is the case for most—it was a long and challenging process. As your thoughts continue to evolve, you might hesitate to say too much for fear your ideas will be dismissed by well-meaning friends and family. So you end up doing a lot of exploration on your own, feeling no one truly understands how agonizing it can be to confront your doubts head on.

Woman with dark hair in a sleeveless long white dress stands at the edge of the shore looking out at the water. Text reads: How do you know if you are ready to let go of your faith?

In spite of what some might imagine, it’s usually not a dramatic, earth-shattering moment that leads someone out of their faith. Often it is just quiet reflection or mundane daily activities that gently guide you right out the door. Once you make it outside, you realize this is where you belong. 

You end up doing a lot of exploration on your own, feeling no one truly understands how agonizing it can be to confront your doubts head on. Click To Tweet

If I had to narrow it down, two primary factors sparked my journey into non-belief: finally being able to admit my own unhappiness with my worldview, and homeschooling curious children who expected real answers not platitudes. After a brief introduction, I will address both of these in detail. 

Why Do I Bother Talking About This?

I share my non-belief journey on this blog is to let others who struggle with questions know they are not alone

You may not be ready to let go of your faith—or maybe you are. I am not here to judge or to sway you one way or the other. I am just here to provide perspective and solidarity. If even one person can relate to and be comforted by something I have written, it is worth it.

Writing also allows me to process my own thoughts, which in turn helps me to parent my own children as they navigate the predominantly religious-leaning world they live in. So to some extent I write so I can better support them.

A Little Side Story

One summer at a family picnic, a relative my kids had never even met walked up to us and the first words out of his mouth—before he so much as knew any of their names—were to ask them if they knew Jesus. As in, he saw they were our kids, made the usual assumptions about our religious beliefs, and felt totally justified in evangelizing them right there next to the potato salad.

At the time I still identified as a Christian, so while I probably found it odd and rolled my eyes a little, I didn’t say anything. Would I react differently now? Honestly, I don’t know. 

However, I do not want my children to feel uneasy in these situations {like I always did} because they are afraid of ruffling feathers. I want them to know it’s okay to say no, thank you, I am not interested in hearing about that right now when it happens again. Because I can guarantee it will. 

I want to help them find their voice. That is why I speak up even when it is uncomfortable. Even when I know someone will read this and judge me {and them} for it. Someone always does. 

When Your Default No Longer Fits

Christianity dominated my mindset for most of my life. I grew up in an area where Christianity {specifically, Roman Catholicism} was widespread. My extended family and friends impressed upon me this was the correct way to understand the world, and I believed it because it was all I ever knew.

I must be a Christian. I had to be a Christian. I was baptized, confirmed, and took communion regularly for years. I went to Catholic church until college. As an adult, I attended various Christian congregations, organized Bible studies, and joined prayer circles. I said marriage vows in a church and later baptized three children in the same church. 

It was absolutely my default programming. I didn’t look for anything else. I had no reason to. I was Super Duper Jesus-y. Or so I thought. 

I credited God/Jesus for every little occurrence and told people to have a blessed day and said corny things like God’s timing is perfect. I read the Bible every day. {Even when I didn’t feel like it. Looking back now I’m just like, why? What did I think would happen if I didn’t?}

I nodded along to my Christian friends’ prayer requests and touching God-stories. I listened to Christian rock music for crying out loud.

The truth is, however, something about my dedication always seemed off. I laughed and cried at the correct times, and played the role felt I had been given, but I never belonged. Maybe some seed of uncertainty always lingered. Perhaps I should have recognized it sooner.

Some might be reading this and assert, aha! that means you were never a True Christian to begin with! And if that is the message you want to take from this, so be it. It wouldn’t be the first time an ex-believer had someone dismiss their experiences in this way.

Regardless, I realized this wasn’t me. It began to feel forced. I started to think of my “faith” in terms of what I had to do, not what I wanted to do. But I honestly had no idea how I could make things better. Leaving my faith altogether—the horror—was still not even on my radar. 

I blamed the ambivalent feelings I had over the years on a number of things: 

I’m too young, I’m too old, my Catholic upbringing, college rebellion, bad past relationships, not finding the right church, not finding the right Bible study, not finding the right friends, not having sufficient roots, being upset over my father’s death, not being grateful enough, not being strong enough, not wanting it badly enough.

It never occurred to me that maybe it is just wrong. Maybe this is just not who I am. 

I honestly had no idea how I could make things better. Leaving my faith altogether—the horror—was still not even on my radar.  Click To Tweet

When I finally admitted that I could still be me without Him, the burden of not being “good enough” dissipated. For the first time I began to believe my existence had meaning beyond belief. 

Lily pad and flower floating in the water, which has a purple hue. Text reads: Losing your faith, how do you know it's time to let go for good?

The Role Homeschooling Played

Unlike a lot of homeschoolers, we have always taken a secular approach. Even as a Christian, I never wanted our faith and our home education to overlap. We used only secular materials, and kept religion and church as completely separate entities.

Still, we wanted to investigate religious faiths as a homeschool subject, from an academic perspective. The school year we began this, it was very early in my own “evolution” so to speak. At the time I had only recently realized I no longer identified as a Christian. I had not yet admitted this to another soul. I was not very confident in my ability to “teach” anything about religion. But I decided I could learn alongside my kids.

I should clarify that even before my doubts surfaced, I knew I needed to give my children the opportunity to figure this all out for themselves. I did not want them to be exposed to one faith because I decided when they were infants that we should go to this place, read this book, and practice these rituals. I did not want them to simply follow along with me {not that I’d be a great tour guide}. 

I knew I could not simply push my version of God or religion on them at an age when they still believed everything I said. Because if I told them, hey from now on we’re going to go to only this type of church and pray only this way and read only these stories because they are right and nothing else is, they would say, okay. And that’s not what I wanted for them.

At this point, we had been on again/off again church goers for years. So they didn’t have a clear reference point as far as “religious studies” from a specific denomination or church family. It never occurred to me that the reason we had so much trouble finding a place that felt like “home” is that we were looking for something we didn’t need to find.

We first began studying world religions in our homeschool when my oldest two were nine and seven. We shied away from nothing {despite my initial reluctance} and discussed complex concepts from the start—the afterlife, how different people believe different things about the world, why we are here, and what happens when we die

I knew I could not simply push my version of God or religion on them at an age when they still believed everything I said. Click To Tweet

My kids were absolutely floored when they learned that many folks truly, honestly believe that their way—their religion, their view—is the only right one. That if you don’t follow the one, perfect, exclusive way you’re out of the club. 

Considering the number of people on the planet, and the number of diverse world views, it made no sense to them that anyone could claim to know the single, correct way to interpret God. 

In 4th and 2nd grade, they already figured out something many people never do: Thinking any one person or group knows the only true way—and everything else is a myth—is foolish at best. 

This was mind blowing for me, because it was truly the first time I really saw it in that exact light. Having to explain religious views to a couple of curious elementary students stopped me in my tracks. Saying it out loud and seeing their reactions enlightened me in a whole new way. Suddenly “this is the way we’ve always done it” seemed like a ridiculous reason. 

After a bit more chatting they somewhat timidly asked me what religion they were. I told them they’d have to decide for themselves. 

Then the asked me what religion I am. I had to tell them I didn’t know. Because at the time, I truly didn’t.

Of course, back then I still believed in capital-G God. Not in a magical, superhero, wish-granter God, but more of an omnipresent spiritual life force. I assumed the presence of a divine element “out there” whose understanding is likely beyond our limited humanness. 

It had not yet occurred to me that not believing was even an option. It seems absurd to say now—I mean, of course it is an option. But back then the idea completely escaped me. 

As time went on, and we researched more beliefs and read more stories {which they quickly discovered all vaguely sound the same} it became clear that we were all heading in the same direction. 

I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but one day we were finishing up a book or a story and one of them looked at me and asked, what is it called again when you don’t think any of it is true? I think I’m that. They were not sad about this. They were relieved to have a word to identify their feelings.

What About the Little One?

Interestingly, my youngest child—four, almost five, at the time the older two kids and I started pursuing religious education more intently—never had any doubts or confusion when it came to his own views. 

He had never been indoctrinated into a particular religious world view, so he had no reason to think any of them were more “right” than the others.

Unlike his sisters, he had no memory of “going to church” or hearing about God or Jesus or Christianity or any other religious dogma. He simply sat with us and listened to a wide variety of world mythologies with interest. When I asked him if he thought any of them were true, he looked at me like I had truly lost my mind. 

What is it called again when you don’t think any of it is true? I think I’m that. Click To Tweet

It was blatantly obvious to my pre-K student that these tales were fictitious. No one had ever tried to convince him of their realism, and so he took them at face value. He knew what sounded true and what sounded imaginary. These definitely sounded “like someone just made them up for fun.”

Of course as he got older and participated more in our discussions, we talked about how many of the people were likely real historical figures, but the mythology had been retold many, many times—like a long game of telephone. This made sense to him. 

What was more difficult to explain was why so many people still believe these stories to be absolutely true.

What Specifically “Flipped the Switch” For Me?

The truth is, nothing. And everything. Some combination of all of the above, I guess.

I have written previously about the exact church service during which I realized my relationship with Jesus was over, as well as a very memorable tearful incident I consider the beginning of the end

However, these moments were only two of many that I chose to write about; there were numerous other examples of uncertainty. Most are just vague recollections without great distinctions, just one part of a huge puzzle.

I honestly cannot pinpoint the exact moment my faith in any god—not just the Christian god—completely dissipated. The moment when you are ready to let go of your faith will be different for everyone. You might not even recognize it at the time. Or you might walk right up to the precipice and turn back around.

Wherever you may be in the process, remember you are not alone.


What Do I Call Myself Now?

The reason I use the descriptor “nice atheist” in my tagline is very intentional. People are typically surprised when they find out I do not follow any religion or believe in any gods. But you’re so nice! Cognitive dissonance definitely at play here. 

I admit I used to be incredibly uneasy about the term atheist. Of course, atheism literally just means without theism. Yet, you and I both know what kinds of connotations it carries. 

Consider this my tiny contribution to normalizing it. I hope that when folks come here and see these words under my blog title, they either react with a chuckle or with curiosity. 

And then I hope they continue reading, maybe questioning a few stereotypes in the process.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via e-mail here.

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How To Create a Realistic Routine for Homeschooling

Welcome to How To Homeschool—a series addressing all aspects of secular homeschooling. You can view all the posts in the series so far here.

Wondering how to create a realistic routine for homeschooling? Worrying your kids might not be doing enough academic work? Looking for reassurance that you will find your groove and it won’t always be this hard?

A previous post {Developing a Framework For Your Days} addressed overall plans such as determining a calendar for the year, daily work requirements, and the level of independence expected from your student{s}. 

This post will explore more specifically what you need to do day-to-day to create a realistic routine for homeschooling your children.

Open book with two pages wrapped into the shape of a heart. Text reads: How to homeschool, creating a realistic routine

Let Go of the School Day Mindset

Honestly, even with the best laid plans it will take you a while to feel comfortable with your approach to homeschooling. There is no “right way” to plan your days. Even when you feel like you have it all down, life happens and things go awry. We have been educating at home for nearly nine years now, and we still periodically change up the way we do things. 

However, I can assure you of this:
Homeschooling will take way less time than you think.

Seriously, do not worry that you need to account for 6-7 hours of academics each day. Structured learning might be 1-4 hours total depending on the ages of your kids. Maybe an hour or two a day for elementary, two or three hours for middle school, and perhaps a bit more if you have an older student doing significant independent work.

Remember, it will take much less time to finish everything once you lose the distractions of homeroom, lockers, dozens of other students, chatting, cafeteria drama, transitions between classes, etc. Teaching a few kids one-on-one is nothing at all like teaching a classroom full of students. 

I can assure you of this: Homeschooling will take way less time than you think. Click To Tweet

Your days will include a lot more free time, and this can be both a blessing and a curse. At first you may feel your students are “wasting” the day or “not doing enough”—especially if they are coming from a public school environment where most of their activities are planned out in detail.

If you feel that you must have a more specific schedule to function, consider dividing your day into blocks. Perhaps block out an hour for “every day” subjects like math and reading, then another block for rotating subjects like science and history. Have a certain time of day for independent reading or music practice or art. Put lunch and recess on the calendar as separate blocks as well. 

This is often a good compromise for first-time homeschoolers who feel they need to follow more of a set plan. In my experience, however, the longer one homeschools, the easier it is to let go of preconceived notions of scheduling and “shoulds.”

I am sure this is also why so many veteran homeschoolers recommend deschooling.

What Our Daily Routine Looks Like

Everyone’s ideal homeschooling day will look different. Keep in mind that being able to create a realistic routine for homeschooling will take some time and a bit of trial and error. If you struggle with what to do next, perhaps taking a look at our current routine will spark some ideas. 

Following is what we typically do on a weekday when we have no outside commitments. This is what our daily routine looks like right now with an 8th, 6th, and 3rd grader. Times are approximate, but very rarely change by more than 15 minutes either direction.

{On days we go out—whether that be to pick up library books, for appointments and errands, or simply meeting homeschool friends at the bookstore or park—we generally do so in the morning and follow an adjusted “afternoon school” schedule.}

Keep in mind that being able to create a realistic routine for homeschooling will take some time and a bit of trial and error. Click To Tweet

I should also note here that of course I am doing chores and blogging and cooking and keeping the household running throughout the day as well. But, for purposes of this post I am primarily focused on what the Agents do with their time.

{5:00+} Wake Up

On any given day I am likely downstairs making coffee and feeding the cat no later than 5:30. The Agents wake up whenever they are ready. All three are almost always awake by 8:00, often much earlier. We do not have a set wake time or use alarms.

Prior to our first meal of the day, everyone is pretty much doing their own thing {reading, phone/computer time, drawing, playing, etc.}.

{8:45} Breakfast and Getting Ready

After we eat, everyone brushes their teeth and gets dressed. Agent E often practice an instrument or works on a sewing project while the younger Agents play.

{10:15} Start School

We start our homeschool day with some brief stretching/yoga. Then we do “table work”—mostly math and language arts written work with some geography or science puzzles, experiments, or other workbooks thrown in. 

Everyone works together at the kitchen table and I am available to assist as needed. I don’t lecture or share “lessons” or “teach” them per se. I am just there to help guide as they work through most things themselves. 

{12:00} Lunch and Break 

Sometimes we start lunch a little later if morning school time runs over. Usually all three kids head upstairs and entertain themselves for a bit afterward. 

{1:15} Reading Together

We follow a loop schedule, which simply means we have a shelf of books we’re in the middle of and we rotate through them. We choose whatever is next in the rotation, read aloud, and discuss as needed. Then we move it to the end, and start the next one. We cover a variety of subjects, including but not limited to science, American and world history, mythology, world religions, health, and art.

{2:30} Free Time

We usually go outside {weather permitting} for at least an hour, often longer. If it is too cold or raining, the Agents might read, message friends, complete an art project, or some other indoor activity.

Pink highlighter checking off boxes on a blank checklist. Text reads: How to create a realistic routine for homeschooling.

{4:45} Dinner 

Yes, we eat dinner very early. We don’t snack during the day, so everyone is super hungry by late afternoon.

{5:30} Free Time

This could be more outside time {depending on time of year and weather permitting}. If not, the younger two Agents will read or color or play together while the oldest reads, listens to music, or works on more sewing.

{6:15} Showers

Everyone likes to be bathed and in their pajamas early. Contrary to what you may have heard about homeschoolers, unless someone is ill, we do get dressed in real clothes every day. 

{7:00} Watch TV

Evening is the only time the television is on. We don’t have cable {so we are not checking local news or weather during the day} and we don’t like background noise. We thoroughly enjoy this time planted on the couch together. 

Although sometimes our viewing is educational—we love a good David Attenborough documentary—lately we’ve been binge watching Clone Wars and We Bare Bears. Snacks are frequently involved.

{8:45} Bed

Everyone {kids, adults, and cat} goes upstairs to get ready for bed somewhere between 8:30 and 8:45. Very early by some standards, I know. But we all wake up early and prefer our quiet, alone time to be in the morning.


But . . . It Can’t Be That Simple. Can It?

Actually, it can and it is. We all learn new things every day. But, we also spend a great deal of our time on individual pursuits and simply relaxing and enjoying life. We don’t feel that we need to fill our days being busy for the sake of busy-ness. 

Hopefully seeing the example of our daily plan will assist you with how to create a realistic routine for homeschooling that works for your family. 

Are you new to homeschooling? I would love to hear how things are going for you, so leave a comment. I encourage you to check out the other posts in the How To Homeschool series as well. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via e-mail here.

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Studying Major World Religions in Your Secular Homeschool

Welcome to Favorite Homeschool Resources—a series sharing our best-loved secular books and workbooks. You can view all the posts in the series so far here.

Even if you are homeschooling from a secular perspective—perhaps especially if you are homeschooling from a secular perspective—your students will benefit from studying major world religions. 

Learning about other cultures and worldviews increases empathy. One does not need to believe the stories to be true to gain wisdom from them.

Of course, there are so many different doctrines it would be impossible include them all. For this post I will focus on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism. 

{You may also want to check out Why Everyone Should Study World Religions.}

Lit light blue candles arranged in a wooden box. Text reads: Studying major world religions in your secular homeschool.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I have personally used and enjoyed. For more information read my complete disclaimer here.

Overview and Common Questions

The Kids Book of World Religions 
Really Big Questions About God, Faith, and Religion 
What Do You Believe? 

If you need a more general introduction to belief systems and want to learn some basics about the major faiths currently practiced today, these books would be a good start. Most tend to emphasize the six world religions primarily addressed in this post, but they include information on others as well. 

Learning about other cultures and worldviews increases empathy. One does not need to believe the stories to be true to gain wisdom from them. Click To Tweet

Familiar Stories

Traditional Religious Tales: Buddhist Stories 
Traditional Religious Tales: Christian Stories 
Traditional Religious Tales: Hindu Stories
Traditional Religious Tales: Islamic Stories 
Traditional Religious Tales: Jewish Stories
Traditional Religious Tales: Sikh Stories 

This series from Anita Ganeri quickly became one of our favorites. I love that she presents the stories without giving more “weight” to a particular set of tales. I have found it to be quite common in many world religions books for kids—even ones that purport to be completely secular—that the Christian stories come across with more authority, intentionally or not. You will not find that here. These books perfectly introduce the various mythologies without bias.

Long bookshelf that seems to fade into the distance with hanging lights in front of it. Text reads: Talking about world religions with kids, suggested readings.

Through the Eyes of a Child 

This Is My Faith: Buddhism 
This Is My Faith: Christianity 
This Is My Faith: Hinduism 
This Is My Faith: Islam
This Is My Faith: Judaism 
This Is My Faith: Sikhism 

This series by Holly Wallace discusses the main rituals and practices of different religions as told by a young child {around ten years old} being brought up in that faith.

Key Religious Figures

Buddha 
Buddha Stories 
The Dalai Lama 
The Fantastic Adventures of Krishna 
Jesus 
Mary 
Muhammad 
St. Francis of Assisi 

This is a sample of works by the author Demi. The illustrations are amazing and the information provided is thorough. We have also enjoyed her books about historical figures and folktale retellings.

Festivals and Celebrations

Buddhist Festivals Throughout the Year 
Christian Festivals Throughout the Year 
Hindu Festivals Throughout the Year 
Jewish Festivals Throughout the Year 
Muslim Festivals Throughout the Year 
Sikh Festivals Throughout the Year 

Another series by Anita Ganeri we have enjoyed. These texts include information about holidays, rituals, prayers, songs, and more.


Who Was Books

Who Is the Dalai Lama? 
Who Is Pope Francis?
Who Was Jesus? 
Where Is the Taj Mahal? 
Where Is the Vatican? 
What Are the Ten Commandments? 

These books are always a hit around here. As with most of the series, the reading level is mid to late elementary school, but my middle schoolers still enjoy them. 

{Did you know they also offer lesson plans as well?}

I would love to know what other resources you have used when studying major world religions in your homeschool. Leave any suggestions you have in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the other posts in our favorite homeschool resources series.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via e-mail here.

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How To Spring Clean Your Blog

Do you spring clean at your house? Do you enjoy the feeling of having a neat, decluttered living space? It is time to do the same for your writing. Let’s talk about how to spring clean your blog.

I have organized this post into four main tasks: review posts, promote yourself, update your look, and read your own writing. You may want to approach these categories in a different order, but all are critical if you want to spring clean your blog.

{Note: While you are at it, you may also want to go ahead and organize your digital life in general.}

Green leafy section of a tree with some small green insects visible. Text reads: How to spring clean your blog.

Review Every Single Post

I can understand how this might not sound like a realistic goal if you have hundreds of posts. When I started this process, I had been blogging for about 10 months and had written about 70 posts. This took me nearly a month of working a little bit each day. If you have been blogging for years you may want to start with a smaller chunk, say the last six months. 

Do you spring clean at your house? Do you enjoy the feeling of having a neat, decluttered living space? It is time to do the same for your writing. Let’s talk about how to spring clean your blog. Click To Tweet

You can review oldest to newest, newest to oldest, by category, by tag, or some other method. If it helps, print out a list of all your posts so you have something to physically check off. I love a nice list so this was my preferred system.

{To do this in WordPress, simply go to your dashboard and click on posts, then all posts. You can even choose screen options {top right corner} and include specific columns so you can easily see, for instance, the tags, meta descriptions, and keyphrases already in place.} 

Honestly, a few posts from the very beginning I did not do much with. I consider them to be my “getting in my blogging groove” posts, and while I intend to keep them I know they aren’t going to bring in traffic. 

I also did not add in keywords for some of my secular homeschooling updates. They are time-sensitive and unlikely to rank, and were mostly for connection with my regular readers. Plus I didn’t want a dozen or more posts with “secular homeschooling update” or something similar as the keyphrase.

Here’s how I did it. I opened up every single post in edit view. I used the following checklist to review key points:

  • clear title with keywords {minimal changes here and kept URLs same}
  • concise, informative excerpt {often the first paragraph, but not always}
  • focus keyphrase set
  • meta description {appropriate length and containing keywords}
  • Pinterest-friendly photo {with alt description}
  • second Pinterest-friendly photo {unless a very short post}
  • internal link{s} to related posts
  • external link{s} if appropriate 
  • confirm affiliate disclosure added {if needed}
  • all affiliate links set to nofollow
  • click to tweet added {twice for longer posts}
  • easy way to follow social media shared {re-usable block with links}
  • e-mail subscription box added
  • post share buttons at the top and bottom {not floating; *shudder*}
  • review Yoast readability score {aim for green}
  • review Yoast SEO score {aim for green}

Promote Yourself Every Day 

I admit, self-promotion is the most difficult part of writing/blogging for me personally. I hate talking about myself, and I hate asking people for favors even more. However, I know that no one will ever read what I am writing if they can’t find it. 

Connections within your niche and relationships with fellow bloggers most definitely impact your own blog. Engaging with your own blog’s “fans” is super important as well. People naturally like to feel they “know” the bloggers they follow online.

When you spring clean your blog, consider how the changes made will positively influence your marketing strategy and engagement.

I realize some of this is addressed in step one, but it is so important it needs to be broken down further.

You need to regularly put yourself out there on social media. Create new pins for old posts. Tweet your own blog posts. Share your posts on Facebook. Add an Instagram photo of your latest post and include a link in your bio. 

When updating older posts, take a look at your photos. Does every post have at least one image in the recommended 2:3 ratio for pinning? If you have a rather long post, have you broken it up with an additional photo or two?

Can readers share your posts easily? As a regular reader {and sharer} of blogs, there is nothing more frustrating than reading a post and having to hunt down a way to share it on social media. Or clicking on what I think is a share button but being taken to the blogger’s main Pinterest or Twitter page or whatever.

For the love of all things, make it super simple for readers to share your work. You can even ask, nicely. “Like what you’re reading? Please share.”

Another option to encourage social shares is to include an easy way to directly tweet a brief snippet of your post. {I use the Click To Tweet plugin.}

Equally important is letting your readers get to know the person behind the words. When someone comments, reply. If someone shares, thank them. Ask questions of your readers on all platforms that get a conversation started.

White, yellow, and orange flowers at top and bottom. Text reads: Spring clean your blog with these four steps.

Update Your Website’s Look

You might decide to really go wild here and completely change your theme; I did not. There is still much you can do to freshen up the look of your page. Consider fonts, colors, spacing, and more. 

Add a few new photos. Update your tagline. Go through all your homepage links {contact form, social media icons, etc.} and verify everything works.

Do you have a simple introduction that shares what your blog is about? Include a separate about this blog page to let readers know right away why your website is worth their time. {As I am typing this I am mentally noting I am due to update my own.} 

How do you utilize your sidebar? There is so much potential for information here. In addition to a photo and brief introduction, I love to see a list of recent posts and/or blog topics, a way to follow on social media, and an e-mail signup form.

Consider whether including ads is a good investment. Is the revenue you generate worth the additional clutter? Or is it interfering with the reader experience? 

{For me personally, lots of random ads turns me off. I know why people use them. I get the desire to make passive income. Yet, when I click on what sounds like an interesting read and am bombarded with banners and Amazon pictures throughout for literally everything even remotely related to the post, I feel . . . manipulated? I don’t think that’s the right word, but I definitely have feels about it.}

Do you have a simple introduction that shares what your blog is about? Include a separate about this blog page to let readers know right away why your website is worth their time. Click To Tweet

Don’t forget to check all your plugins—make sure you absolutely need all of them and double-check the settings to ensure they are doing exactly what you want them to do. Right now I have 15 active plugins. I am truthfully not sure if that is a lot or a few, but I like the functionality of each and haven’t had any major issues.

Read Your Own Blog

This last tip is really simple but one many folks may not have thought of. You need to read {and re-read} your own writing if you want to improve it.


Be a dork and subscribe to your own blog. This is an easy way to keep an eye on any potential issues with your subscription service. You want to see exactly what your readers see.

Pull your blog up on your phone and scroll through your recent posts. You will find mistakes. You will find typos—sometimes on very old posts! This will horrify you at first, then you will be relieved that you can easily fix them.

Have you ever decided to spring clean your blog? How did it go? Any additional tips you wish to share?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via e-mail here.

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Favorite Homeschool Resources {Greek Mythology}

Welcome to Favorite Homeschool Resources—a series sharing our best-loved secular books and workbooks. You can view all the posts in the series so far here.

Do you study mythology in your homeschool? How about Greek mythology specifically? While we enjoy and appreciate tales from various cultures, we find that our Greek mythology resources tend to be our favorites. 

Years ago I had this idea to introduce mythology to the Agents as part of our homeschooling. I figured we would take maybe a semester—or two, tops—read some cool stories, discuss their similarities and differences, and move on. 

However, they found mythology way more interesting and entertaining than I ever imagined. Basically since then we have never stopped incorporating these tales into our studies. Mythology is now a regular subject on our agenda, like language arts or history. 

While we enjoy and appreciate tales from various cultures, we find that our Greek mythology resources tend to be our favorites. Click To Tweet

I am not exactly sure when {or why} Greek mythology resources became our preferred, but over the years we have read more ancient Greek stories than other mythologies we have introduced. We have loved the following titles in particular, and hope you will, too.

A row of colorful books on a bookshelf at the top and bottom. Text reads: Favorite homeschool resources, Greek mythology.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I have personally used and enjoyed. For more information read my complete disclaimer here.

First, a Few General Titles

Children’s Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Monsters 
M Is for Monster: A Fantastic Creatures Alphabet
Mythology {DK Eyewitness Book} 
Mythology: Oh My! Gods and Goddesses 

While each of these does include names and places specific to Greek mythology, they do not solely focus on it. These books introduce myriad characters, covering a wide variety of gods, goddesses, mythical creatures, and fantastical beings. A great place to start if you aren’t sure what direction you want to take or what types of mythologies might interest you and your students most.

Best Greek Mythology Overview

Treasury of Greek Mythology

This book by Donna Jo Napoli {she also authors Egyptian and Norse versions} is beautifully illustrated and uses flowing, poetic language to tell each story. It covers about two dozen “key characters” while also providing sidebars with additional information to help tie everything together. 

The collection of biographies and stories presented here makes an excellent starting point for diving into Greek mythology resources specifically. 

Other Good Starting Points

Greek Mythology {Junior Genius Guide} by Ken Jennings {Yes, the Jeopardy champion.}
Weird But True Know-It-All Greek Mythology
Z is for Zeus: A Greek Mythology Alphabet

These books present lots of great information in nontraditional ways. Great overviews for learning about the key people and events, and appropriate for all ages.

Individual Biographies of Gods and Goddesses 

Athena
Cyclopes 
Odysseus
Poseidon
Zeus

A few sample selections from Blake Hoena’s World Mythology series. Brief introductory texts appropriate for younger students as well.

Mythology Rocks! 

Gods and Goddesses in Greek Mythology Rock! 
Heroes in Greek Mythology Rock!

The Mythology Rocks! books offer re-tellings of various mythological tales with commentary from academics who study the specific mythology. We have only read the Greek mythology titles, but the series also includes African, Chinese, and Celtic, mythology. 

Ancient Greek Mythology

The Gods and Goddesses of Greek Mythology
The Heroes and Mortals of Greek Mythology
The Monsters and Creatures of Greek Mythology 

These books in the ancient greek mythology series were a hit with the Agents. They have more of a graphic novel style and feel. 

Stack of old bound books sitting on a wooden table with a bookshelf blurred in the background. Text reads: Greek mythology resources your students will love.

Homer’s Epic Poems

The Iliad and The Odyssey by Rosemary Sutcliff
The Iliad and The Odyssey by Gillian Cross

Of course no post about Greek mythology resources would be complete without mentioning these two stories. We love the re-tellings of the Trojan war {The Iliad} and the travels of Odysseus {The Odyssey} by both authors. Each book has short chapters, plenty of illustrations, and were a hit for both elementary and middle school. 

Note that The Odyssey by Rosemary Sutcliff linked above is the exact edition we read, although it no longer appears to be available at a reasonable cost. Both books by Sutcliff, however, are available as mass market paperbacks as well; find The Iliad here and The Odyssey here.

The Gillian Cross editions also come as a box set and the two together in one volume

Have you used any of these Greek mythology resources in your homeschooling? Click To Tweet

Fiction Selections We Love

Goddess Girls
Heroes in Training
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
The Heroes of Olympus
The Trials of Apollo 
The Epic Adventures of Odysseus 
Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece

A few fictional series the Agents have enjoyed. The first five stories place Greek gods and goddesses in modern environments with modern problems. The last two are choose your own adventure style books.


Books About Life in Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece and the Olympics {Magic Tree House Research Guide}
Art and Religion in Ancient Greece 
Things About Ancient Greece You Wouldn’t Want to Know 
You Wouldn’t Want To Be a Greek Athlete 
You Wouldn’t Want To Be a Slave in Ancient Greece

Additional books we have read about life in ancient Greece. {We highly recommend all of the books in the You Wouldn’t Want To Be series.}

Have you used any of these Greek mythology resources in your homeschooling? Leave your own recommendations in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the other posts in our favorite homeschool resources series.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via e-mail here.

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Why February Is the Worst

Oh, February. How do you manage to be the shortest month on the calendar and yet the longest month of my homeschooling year? I want to accomplish things, I really do. But February is the worst.

You know what I mean. February is the funkiest month {not in a good way}. The weather sucks, everyone around you gets sick, and the hopefulness of spring barely glimmers.

I have heard it’s the time homeschoolers are most likely to want to give up, and I believe it. You are deep enough in that you want so badly to commit to finishing, yet “finishing” still remains far off and unattainable.

Close up of calendar with numbers in squares but no day or month visible. Text reads: Why February is the worst.

Once the February blahs hit, I develop a strong desire to outline the following school year. A fine idea—I love a good plan—but it distracts me from what we’re supposed to be doing this year. 

Oh, February. How do you manage to be the shortest month on the calendar and yet the longest month of my homeschooling year? Click To Tweet

Then, of course, my potential agenda starts looking so much cooler than my current agenda. I start to feel resentful of the fact that I need to complete what seemed like a good idea last summer. I would rather move on to what will obviously be a much better curriculum with clearly superior educational choices.

In sum, February makes me question everything. Not necessarily a bad thing: reflection can be good and anticipation is usually exciting. But, it can be overwhelming. Taking things one step at a time {and writing myself notes so I do not forget anything} helps. 


Right now I am going through everything we have done {and are presently doing} in each subject and figuring out approximately where we will be by the end of the school year. Once I finish that, I will move on to evaluating the good and bad for the year overall.

This is not as painful as it sounds. I actually like seeing what works and what doesn’t. I find it liberating to let go of ideas that simply were not useful.  And knowing we got at least some things right makes me optimistic for the days ahead.

What kind of relationship do you have with February? Do you also feel February is the worst month for motivation?

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9 Simple Self-Care Ideas To Implement Right Now

I don’t know about you, but I am over “self-care” advice that tells me I need a bubble bath, a glass of wine, or to pray/meditate more. 

Also completely not into suggestions that involve tons of cash or lots of pre-planning, like a spa day or a weekend getaway. 

You will not find that here. Instead, this list includes super simple self-care ideas to implement right now for free with zero or minimal planning.

Close up of woman from neck down holding a pink flower in one hand. Text reads: Nine simple self-care ideas to implement right now.

Drink Enough Water

Oh, come on—you knew this would be at the top of the list, right?

Spoiler alert: This may not mean 8 glasses a day.

But, I promise you if you make a commitment to consuming more water each day, you will not regret. It is like magic, truly.

One easy way I have started doing this myself is any time I think “oh, I’m thirsty” instead of just getting a quick sip I drink a whole cup. It takes only seconds more, and if you do this a couple times a day you will increase your water consumption considerably. 

Get Some Sleep

As a general rule I aim to be in bed for one hour longer than the amount of sleep I feel I need. So, if I am at my best with at least seven hours, I block off eight hours for sleep. 

I know I am a very light sleeper {thanks, parenthood} and I also wake up at least twice a night on average, so I figure adding an extra hour balances things out. 

Check here for approximate sleep needs by age.

Super simple self-care ideas to implement right now for free with zero or minimal planning. Click To Tweet

Establish a Morning Routine

Even if you are not a morning person establishing goals to start your day will help you to feel more on track. 

Having a basic morning routine will make your days less stressful. Knowing what to expect when you roll out of bed each morning puts you on a kind of relaxed autopilot. You can physically and mentally ease into the day instead of worrying what to do next.

You don’t need to wake extra early {get up whenever works for you} or accomplish specific tasks. The routine does not need to be elaborate, but if making a checklist helps, by all means do so. The key is to have a plan that works for you.

Eat Only Until Satisfied

Stay with me on this one. I am not encouraging you to deprive yourself of whatever kinds of food you want to eat. That is your business and yours alone. 

What I am saying is that I have never regretted eating only to when I feel satisfied but not full. 

Make a conscious decision to eat until you are no longer hungry, no matter how tasty the meal is. If you have trouble figuring this out—I sometimes still do—aim to put what looks like a reasonable amount of food on your plate and eat only that {no seconds}. 

Especially if you eat dinner close to bedtime you will be amazed at how much better you feel when you go to sleep at night not feeling sluggish from a big meal.

Sunflowers, one centered and in focus with others slightly blurred in the background. Text reads: Nine self-care tips you can use today.

Do Some Gentle Stretches

I try to make this a habit every morning while I wait for my coffee to brew. I also add a quick session with the Agents each weekday before we begin homeschooling. 

Too often folks give up on the “fitness” aspect of self-care because they feel it has to be all or nothing. But you don’t need to run three miles, take a one-hour yoga class, or hit the gym to feel better right now. 

Even something as simple as improving your flexibility over time {and working out any soreness or stiffness} is a step toward taking better care of yourself and increasing your overall body confidence.

Wash Your Hands More Often

Seriously, this is one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself. Not just in the fall and winter months or during flu season, but year round.

The Agents and I have all gotten into the habit of washing our hands as soon as we come back into the house, regardless of where we have been. 

Of course you will still have times when germs get the best of you, but I have found that since we began doing this regularly we have minimized sick time at our house.

Develop a Mantra

One aspect of my former religious life I actually miss is the soothing repetition of saying a familiar prayer. Sometimes you just want to have a calming verse at the ready, like a verbal security blanket when stressed.

So what’s a heathen to do? Consider poetry, movie quotes, inspirational writing, mythology, and more.

I have personally found that any positive words will do, as long as you have them memorized and can use them to center your thoughts and relax your mind. The repetition of the words, the simple act of sitting quietly with your thoughts, is the critical factor.


Write It Down

Those of you who know how into organizing and homeschool planning and travel I am might be surprised to learn I do not use a planner. It is just not something I ever got into. 

Instead, I clear my thoughts by making simple to do lists. I have used both paper and online notes and I don’t really have a preference. 

Writing things down allows me to mentally dismiss tasks until I am prepared to deal with them. This results in me being more productive in the moment.

Put Your Phone To Bed Early

I leave my phone upstairs when I take a shower in the evening {usually around 6:30 p.m.} and do not use it again until the following morning {usually around 5:30 a.m.}. 

The only thing I check before I go to sleep is if I have any texts or missed calls from family. {A habit from years ago when my dad was first ill and that’s how I was kept updated.}

Related to this, I only have notifications set up for phone calls and texts, no social media. That way I never even see the little red button and never have to overcome the temptation to click on it.

Do you incorporate any of these ideas into your daily routine? Do you have other simple self-care ideas to implement right now? What works for you?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via e-mail here.

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Evolution Resources for Secular Homeschooling

Welcome to Favorite Homeschool Resources—a series sharing our best-loved secular books and workbooks. You can view all the posts in the series so far here.

What seems like a lifetime ago {actually autumn 2014} some much younger Agents and I visited the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. for the first time. The exhibits and displays in the Hall of Human Origins became a surprise hit, especially for {then} third-grade Agent E. 

Ever since we have spent at least part of each school year reading books focused specifically on evolution, including the big bang, early earth, Charles Darwin, and animal/human evolution.

Following are several evolution resources for secular homeschooling we have enjoyed throughout the years. We have used most of them as read-alouds, so in my opinion they would work for early elementary through middle school.

Even the ones in a more “picture book” style contain tons of great information and can provide excellent discussion starting points. Likewise, the more complex texts can be easily modified as well.

A row of colorful books on a bookshelf at the top and bottom. Text reads: Favorite homeschool resources, evolution.

This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission—at no extra cost to you—if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I have personally used and enjoyed. For more information read my complete disclaimer here.

Evolution Book Series We Love

Born With a Bang: The Universe Tells Our Cosmic Story 
From Lava to Life: The Universe Tells Our Earth Story 
Mammals Who Morph: The Universe Tells Our Evolution Story 

This series by Jennifer Morgan tells the story of the big bang, the formation of the earth, and mammal evolution from the perspective of the universe itself.

The first time we read these books I was not quite sold on the anthropomorphic characteristics angle. However, it is very well written and includes significant detail. {Not to mention the amazing pictures.}

The author also addresses her own faith {spoiler alert: she has a degree in theology} and the intentional decision to leave “god” terminology out of her work.

When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth
When Dinos Dawned, Mammals Got Munched, and Pterosaurs Took Flight 
When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm 
They also appear in a single volume:
When Fish Got Feet, When Bugs Were Big, and When Dinos Dawned

These “cartoon prehistory” books by Hannah Bonner {published by National Geographic} have been a hit with the Agents for years. 

Two young primates sitting on a tree branch. Text reads: Evolution resources your students will love.

More Evolution Books We Love

Evolution Revolution
Life As We Know It

Quality resources that we have come to expect from DK. Neatly organized and colorful with just the right amount of detail. 

Evolution: The Human Story

This book is a bit advanced; it is definitely not written with a late elementary/middle school audience in mind. However, we take it slow and enjoy the stunning drawings along the way. Works great as a coffee table book as well.

Lucy Long Ago: Uncovering the Mystery of Where We Came From

A book about Donald Johanson’s discovery of Lucy, arguably the most well-known early hominid.

Have you incorporated any of these books into your evolution studies? Any other evolution resources for secular homeschooling you recommend? Click To Tweet

On the Origin of Species: Young Readers Edition adapted by Rebecca Stefoff

This edition of Darwin’s most famous work is also beautifully illustrated. We will likely use it as one of our primary texts for the next homeschool year.

{Side note: You may recognize Stefoff’s name from her work on Howard Zinn’s A Young People’s History of the United States.}

Who Was Charles Darwin?
Where Are the Galapagos Islands? 

The Who Was? book on the infamous naturalist as well as a separate book devoted to the area of the world he spent significant time during his adventures.

{Full disclosure: We have not actually read the Galapagos one, but we have read so many others from the who was, what was, and where is series of books I feel comfortable recommending it.}

Darkened night sky with dots of stars and galaxies. Text reads: Evolution resources for your homeschool.

Even More Evolution Books We Love

Animals Charles Darwin Saw: An Around-the-World Adventure
Bang! How We Came To Be
Big Bang! The Tongue-Tickling Tale of Speck That Became Spectacular
Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure
Older Than the Stars
One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin
Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story {We especially love this one! Our favorite evolution book to re-read every Darwin day.}
The Story of Life: A First Book About Evolution
What Darwin Saw: The Journey That Changed the World
What Mr. Darwin Saw


These are mostly picture books and simple biographies, but include lots of great information and can easily be adapted for older students. Face it, evolution is a complex topic to tackle, and everyone needs to start somewhere.

They are the kind of books you could read to a second grader or a seventh grader and they would both get something out of them. Many include extensive appendixes and/or book lists for further reading. 

Have you incorporated any of these books into your evolution studies? Any other evolution resources for secular homeschooling you recommend? Let me know in the comments! And don’t forget to check out the other posts in our favorite homeschool resources series.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via e-mail here.

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Disney Cruise Tips for Experienced Cruisers

In a previous post I shared several tips for first time cruisers—also a good refresher if it has been a while between voyages. Today I would like to share some new ideas to try or things I thought I had figured out and yet somehow they still managed to surprise me. This post will emphasize Disney Cruise tips for experienced cruisers.

As a family we absolutely love All Things Disney, and Disney Cruise Line has been a favorite vacation option for years. We have been on five so far, with plans for a sixth in 2021. After spending a combined 36 nights on board three different ships, we still learn new things each time. 

View from cruise ship deck as it approaches port; city skyline buildings in the distance. Text reads: Disney Cruise tips for experienced cruisers.

Morning Views Are Amazing

As a committed morning person I can tell you activities are not designed with early risers in mind. Except for a few Disney Junior inspired events, most of the action does not get rolling until late morning. 

However, if getting up with the sun is your jam, you are in for a real treat. Go up to the top deck just before sunrise. {Grab a sweater; it will be chilly.} The views are amazing. Pick up a coffee or tea on your way and just stand at the railing and swoon. 

It is also a great time to wander the ship looking at artwork and/or taking photos with virtually no one out and about. 

{Side note: I personally have never run into Sleepwalking Goofy during this time, but I think that would be awesome!}

Trivia Contests Are Loads of Fun

I cannot believe it took us so long to finally attend one of these trivia sessions! They are hilarious and a nice activity to do with the whole family. 

We actually won our very first challenge {Pixar movie trivia}, so we were quite pleased with ourselves, ha. They offer several sessions throughout the cruise, usually in one of the lounges, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.

If getting up with the sun is your jam, you are in for a real treat. Go up to the top deck just before sunrise. The views are amazing. Pick up a coffee or tea on your way and just stand at the railing and swoon. Click To Tweet

You Can Request the Same Waitstaff

Did you know if you recently sailed on the same ship—and your servers from the main dining rooms are still on board—you can put in a request to be seated in their section again? We did this on our last cruise and it was great to reconnect. 

It helps, of course, if the server is a real people person who remembers names and faces. I mean, they see a lot of guest shuffling through. We took a photo we had taken with them on our previous cruise as a reminder. 

Also we discovered that our server on our very first cruise {different ship} eight years earlier was now a head server {managing several serving teams} on our current cruise. We pulled up a photo from our Facebook archives showing our much younger children with a much younger him. He was amused. 

You Might Still Get Seasick

This one completely shocked me. After five uneventful cruises {we went on one non-Disney cruise as well, a story for another day} I could not believe it when I started to feel woozy one night before dinner when the ship was moving a bit more than usual on our sixth sea venture. 

I simply passed on dinner went back to the room to rest, and by later that evening it had mostly dissipated. However, it was a good reminder to be prepared for all scenarios. And to make sure you are taking care of yourself and not overdoing—drink plenty of water, get enough rest, take breaks as needed {especially if you’re out in the sun a lot}. 

Blue ocean and nearly white sky. Text reads: Disney Cruise tips for experienced cruisers.

Vibe Is Super Cool To Visit

Our children have always loved the kids/tween clubs, but because they are not high school age we never thought to visit Vibe during open house. On a whim we decided to pop in and we all loved it!

They had old school arcade games set up, Guitar Hero, and tons of board game and art supplies. You can also get smoothies, although we did not. The space is bright and airy and exudes fun.

My oldest will be able to go to Vibe regularly on our next cruise {ages 14-17} but we will all be tagging along during at least a few open houses for sure.

Packing Doesn’t Get Easier

No matter how many travels I pack for, I always make mistakes and learn new things each time. I still follow a basic packing plan for all of our adventures, although cruising does present some new challenges.

{See Pack by Activity, Not by Day for more specific tips.}

What I have found, though, is that once I actually get there I care less about what clothes I packed. Honestly, on the last cruise I would have been happy just having 3-4 of the same dress in different colors to alternate. 


Ports Adventures Might Not Be a Bad Idea

On our very first cruise we had a planned port adventure for every stop. This was a ten-night cruise with six or seven port stops {I can’t even remember}. We had a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 8-month-old with us. I know what you are thinking and, yes, it was pretty much like that.

Our next few cruises we did not plan quite so much in the way of off-the-ship activities. Sometimes we would just head out on our own and it generally worked out fine. I know a lot of veteran cruisers who simply keep things open or plan their own excursions {and save money in the process}. However . . .

This last cruise we took I started to re-evaluate the benefits of going with an organized Disney group. 

We left the ship at one particular port and apparently I had totally blocked out what it is like to be constantly accosted by vendors and locals wanting you to buy their stuff, take their tour, try their wares. It totally took away from the experience and enjoyment of exploring a new place. 

So now I am re-thinking being a part of a group might not be such a bad idea. They typically either have separate transportation directly from the pier or—as far as I could tell—even if they are on foot they were generally seen as “off limits” to the pushy salespeople. To me this would make the extra cost of an official port adventure worth it.

Okay, cruising fans, what additional Disney cruise tips for experienced cruisers would you include? Leave any additional tips/comments below!

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5 Realistic Blogging Goals for 2020

Did you set writing goals for the new year? Are you already overwhelmed by them? Maybe you need to step back and look at the big picture. Let’s talk about realistic blogging goals for 2020.

Lined paper with a black pen sits next to an open laptop and a cappuccino in a white mug with saucer. Text reads: Five realistic blogging goals for 2020.

Reclaim Your Time

Figure out the time of day you work best, and maximize your efforts during this period. Don’t waste energy trying to force yourself into a routine that makes you grouchy and irritable. 

Have a plan whenever you pull out your laptop or phone in the middle of the day. Don’t ever assume, oh I will just peek at my to do list and maybe pin a few things

Know going in what your goals are with that time, and make them as specific as possible: I will re-tweet four posts from bloggers I follow. I will create one new pin for a recent post. I will share a new book I am reading with my followers and ask a relevant question to encourage engagement. 

Figure out the time of day you work best, and maximize your efforts during this period. Don’t waste energy trying to force yourself into a routine that makes you grouchy and irritable. Click To Tweet

Evaluate Your Social Media Habits

Cull your social media blogging memberships down to a reasonable number. Aim to be more active with fewer groups. {Make this part of a commitment to declutter your digital life.}

Recognize that you will see more engagement on some platforms than others. Focus your energy where you feel you can do the most good and provide the most value. This can be difficult when you realize your favorite platform is not where your readers/fans are. Learn to be okay with that.

Also remember it is okay to use social media just for fun and connection. Not every post needs to be blog-oriented. 

Commit To Quality Writing

Face it, no one is going to care how snazzy your pins look or how catchy your blog titles are if they click through and find a poorly written post. 

It sounds cliché but it is true: Quality over quantity. 

Take time to edit your posts carefully. Don’t think that once you hit publish you are done. Become a reader of your own blog; try to see it through the eyes of someone just stumbling upon it for the first time. Evaluate older posts. Always strive to improve your style and clarity.

Woman with long dark hair sitting on a bed in front of open laptop, holding a white mug. Text reads: Blogging resolutions you can easily keep.

Spread the Love

Share and support the work of others in your niche {and beyond}. A good rule of thumb is 20% self-promotion, 80% promoting quality posts from fellow writers. That means for every personal share from your own blog/writing/social media you are sharing four others.

This may seem like a lot at first, but trust me it will become second nature to spend this much marketing energy on writing that is not your own. When you post/share add a meaningful comment or question as an introduction {i.e., don’t just hit RT or FB share without context}. 


Do One Thing That Is a Little Scary

Find something that you have been thinking about doing and just go for it. It may not be pretty at first, but that is okay and that is how we learn. 

For me personally, my “scary” thing for 2020 is going to be starting a newsletter to send out to subscribers. It is something I have never done and I know it will involve a lot of trial and error.

{On that note, I would love more subscribers so follow this link to sign up!}

Fellow writers, are you setting realistic blogging goals for 2020? What have you learned so far?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. If you enjoyed this post, I would love to connect with you on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also sign up to receive new posts via e-mail here.

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