likes LOVES Hip Homeschool Moms, the blog?
likes LOVES Hip Homeschool Moms FB community?
likes LOVES Hip Homeschool Moms, period?
Do you know who makes Hip Homeschool Moms so amazing, so much fun, and such an influential force in the homeschooling world? These ladies below: Leann, Wendy, and Trish. Yup, they are the masterminds behind this amazing blog.
I am so happy to not only be part of the team and to be in contact with these wonderful ladies pretty much on a daily basis, but to be able to interview them to learn a little bit more about them and how they do what they do.
But before I begin with the interview, I want to tell you a thing or two about each of them. Leann, where do I even begin? She and I connected almost instantly and have become very close friends. I enjoy our super long phone calls about anything and everything. I am privileged to call her a friend. Wendy! She is a woman after my own heart. She is an amazing mentor and teacher to all of us on the team. I really appreciate her editing knowledge and how she catches our little grammar and spelling errors! And Trish… sweet, thoughtful Trish. She is such a hard worker and has such a heart for homeschooling moms. Oh and I really love all of their accents!
Have you ever watched Mentoring Moms? It is on every Tuesday (times vary) where Trish and a couple of lovely ladies on our team answer readers’ questions and discuss relevant homeschooling and parenting topics. I highly recommend it. Bloggers, have you linked up to Hip Homeschool Moms’ Ultimate Blog Roll? It is amazing! You can link your blog under the homeschooling style that you use (eclectic, classical, Montessori, thematic units, etc). You can also link up with us weekly (each Tuesday) on the Hip Homeschool Hop!
So, without further ado, here are my interview questions. Leann, Wendy, and Trish have taken the time to give me their answers so everyone will have a chance to learn more about what Hip Homeschool Moms is all about and who drives it.
1. What is your blog’s name and what made you start it?
Trish: Why did I start blogging? As a journal for our homeschooling adventure. I was not expecting it to be viewed by anybody other than my family and friends. How it came to be “Live and Learn Farm?” We live in La Grange, TN, where they still maintain the quaint European tradition of naming their homes and farms. We chose the name “Live and Learn” for both our blog and our farm, and it is so appropriate for many reasons. First, we are homeschoolers, and therefore we are always in “learning” mode! We believe that learning is a lifelong endeavor, and it’s not always a nice straight line! It can be messy, chaotic, and hectic, and that describes our life regularly.
Also, “Live and Learn” is one of those idioms that we usually say or hear when a mistake has been made, and we’ve made many on our farm (and in life) and are still making them! But we embrace mistakes as portals of discovery, opportunities to learn something! Finally, Live and Learn Farm is appropriate because we do not have “formal” training for just about anything we are doing on the farm or in life; we are getting “on the job training” by just living it and learning it as we DO it!
Leann: Originally, my personal blog was called Montessori Tidbits, but I renamed it to The Hands-On Homeschooler last June. When my son was 3 and a half, he came to me and asked me to teach him. After researching things to do with preschoolers, I discovered the Montessori method and delved into it. I was sharing my Montessori-inspired ideas on message boards and with friends, and finally figured it would be easier to start a blog so others could do these same activities. I rarely write on it now, due to HHM taking up so much of my time, but when I do, I share hands-on ideas for math, science, and history for elementary-aged kids.
Wendy: When I began blogging, I had no idea it would ever lead to being co-owner of a “real” blog/website! I began doing reviews of homeschool-related products, and I occasionally wrote about my family, our homeschool, teaching a child with autism, and other similar topics. I blogged just for fun and to help spread the word about products and services that I used and wanted to recommend to other homeschoolers. My site, Homeschooling Blessings, was a fun hobby.
Around the end of 2012, I found out that HHM was for sale, and I began to consider and pray about the possibility of buying it. It was a little bit of a scary idea because, as I said, I had only been blogging for fun up until that point. I felt like God confirmed that I should buy HHM and run it as a ministry for other homeschooling moms, so I bought the site in January of 2013. I don’t blog very often any more at Homeschooling Blessings, but I do occasionally make the time to update. More often, you’ll find my posts right here on the HHM site.
2. How did HHM start?
Both Leann and Trish said this was a Wendy question, so here is Wendy‘s answer: Hip Homeschool Moms was originally created and named by Sue Gallaher and Meghan Tucker. They began the site as a fun place for homeschooling moms to link up each week (the Hip Homeschool Hop). The site soon grew so large that they no longer had time to manage it along with their own personal blogs and other endeavors. For that reason, they sold the site in January of 2013 to me (Wendy).
From the beginning, I knew I couldn’t run the site alone and do a good job of it. There are lots of wonderful team members/writers on the site, but I don’t have enough knowledge of the technical aspects of running a website, and I don’t have enough time to do everything that needs to be done. For that reason, in July of 2013, Leann Warren and Trish Corlew bought into the site with me as co-owners.
We work well together as co-owners because our strengths complement each other. (You can read more about our individual responsibilities later on in this article.)
3. What is your favorite thing about Hip Homeschool Moms?
Trish: That is hard to answer because there are so many aspects I love about HHM! We have an amazing team of homeschooling mom bloggers. The love and support they have for each other and our mom readers is hard to top. All of us are so committed to this ministry of helping moms with the (sometimes) crazy roller coaster ride of living the homeschool lifestyle!
Leann: I love watching people discover that they can homeschool. We get so many new-to-homeschooling moms who doubt themselves at first, but within a few weeks, they share their success stories of how well their kids are adjusting and all of the things they are learning together. It is so encouraging to me to know that I helped them to get on their feet and not give up! Of course, we all have “those days” when nothing goes as planned, and I love our community for times when even I have to ask how to deal with a particular situation. Our readers are so helpful, and I am very thankful that they take the time to assist the other moms who need answers.
Wendy: One of my favorite things has been getting to know the team members/writers! These are wonderful ladies who truly want to share their experiences and information with other homeschooling (or potential homeschooling) families. These are some special ladies who work hard to write articles that will provide information, fun activities, support, and ideas for everything from homeschooling to housekeeping. It’s also great fun to read the comments (on the blog and our Facebook and other social media platforms) from moms who have been helped and encouraged by what we do. It’s very encouraging to us, and it helps us keep on going when we know what we’re doing is helping others.
With Marcy Crabtree from Ben and Me Blog
4. What are your specific jobs at HHM?
Trish: Well… we all wear multiple hats and jump in to help each other when needed… but my primary functions are Marketing and Advertising, Social Media, the HHM Community and the Mentoring Moms Show.
Leann: I’m the tekkie of the group. I handle all of the back-end work, such as updating the plugins and code that make the site look the way it does. I’m also responsible for building any of the crazy ideas that Trish and Wendy come up with, like the new homeschool blogroll and the curriculum reviews sections of our website.
Wendy: I am the grammar nerd of the group. I edit and schedule posts each month, write articles, and help team members with questions or suggestions as they write for the site. I occasionally help out with social media, reviews/giveaways, and interviews. I’m a “people person,” so I love dealing with the team members/writers in particular!
5. What is the most challenging thing about running a blog of this magnitude?
Trish: Having the time, energy, and effort to do all the things we want to do for homeschooling moms, and manage the things we are already committed to doing while homeschooling and being the hub of an active, busy family. It’s a labor of love. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love helping moms…
Leann: The sheer amount of work that goes on behind the scenes! I’m typically balancing at least 3 projects, not including some that we are considering and thinking through. It can be a little overwhelming at times, but I love it!
Wendy: As Trish and Leann already mentioned, there’s always so much that needs to be done! Just like other moms, we struggle sometimes to work, homeschool, cook and clean, take care of our husbands and children, and do everything else that we all do on a regular basis. I’m a terrible procrastinator (even though I hate to admit that!), so it’s often difficult for me to keep up with editing and scheduling all of the posts each month without putting it off. And the older my children get, the more they participate in outside activities (like art, piano, ballet, church activities, and social events). And since they don’t yet drive, I’m the main one who drives them where they need to go. It can definitely be a challenge to get everything done!
6. What are two goals you personally have for HHM’s future?
Leann: I’m not really sure I have goals for HHM…. the site changes so quickly, I pray that God blesses the site through the craziness of growth and that we are doing and going in the direction He wants us to go. My vision and hope is that HHM will be known as one of the go-to reference sites for homeschoolers.
Wendy: The truth is that, when Trish, Leann, and I try to set goals for the site, we often find that God has other plans! For now, we just try to honor God with what we do, to help homeschooling moms and encourage them however we can, and to be real about our own daily struggles and victories.
7. What do you like to write about the most?
Trish: For me, I love to provide moms with real life examples and practical ways to homeschool. I love being a valuable resource for moms who are trying to navigate uncertain waters, especially moms of boys who really crave the more hands-on learning.
Leann: Because I work so much behind the scenes, I typically don’t write articles. However, my personal love is for activity posts, which explains an activity that supplements something you are studying in your homeschool.
Wendy: I love writing posts that encourage moms or that answer questions we’ve gotten from moms. I’ve been homeschooling for 18 years, so I’ve homeschooled preschoolers all the way through to high school graduation. I’ve also homeschooled a child with autism, one with Asperger’s, and another with ADHD, so I love to help moms who are homeschooling (or considering homeschooling) special needs kids.
8. How many ladies are on the HHM team and how do you meet them/ask them to join the team?
Leann: We currently have 28 ladies on the team. Only a few of them we’ve met at homeschool conferences or at the 2:1 conference for bloggers. We are always on the look-out for great bloggers, and we carefully pray over the ones that we feel will be a good match for the team.
Wendy: When I first joined HHM, there were just a few ladies on the team. It has been so much fun watching the site grow and adding more bloggers! We strive to keep the team small enough that we all know each other and are friends, yet large enough that we have plenty of ladies with various homeschool experiences and homeschooling styles. Some of the ladies on the team were, like Leann mentioned, people we met at homeschool or blogging conferences. Some were suggested to us by team members or other friends. Others came to us to ask about joining the team because they felt like they had information to offer to the team in an area that wasn’t yet being covered. This past spring at the 2:1 conference, 10 of us were able to be together, and it was so much fun! We hope one day that we can get the whole team together. (Sorry about the quality of the photo below. It was the only one we had of all 10 of us together, and we wanted to share it!)
So, here you have it! A wonderful, amazing, fun group of ladies who truly have a heart for homeschooling and for moms. I hope you enjoyed this interview and that this will help you notice and appreciate all the hard work that is done behind the scenes.
Leann, Trish, and Wendy, along with the entire Hip Homeschool Moms team, would like to wish each of you a blessed Thanksgiving this week! Thank you so much for supporting HHM and for being a part of our community and our site! We are thankful for each of you.