Year in Review: Most Popular Posts of 2016

2016 has been a great year. So much has happened on the blog. Check out this countdown of the top five most popular posts!

As I look back over 2016, I can hardly believe all that has happened. Last January, in the midst of a low, hard season, I decided that we needed some big changes in our homeschool. I wanted to completely change up our math curriculum, but I needed help thinking things through. I started a little free blog over on Blogspot so that I could process my thoughts where a few family members could read them and share feedback.

One thing led to another and before I knew it, here I was at I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the support and encouragement I’ve experienced from so many quarters. I told a friend recently that I’m pretty sure that homeschool mom bloggers have it the best because of the amazing community and networking!

2016 has been a great year. So much has happened on the blog. Check out this countdown of the top five most popular posts!

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So, as a celebration of the fun of 2016, I thought I’d do a countdown of the five most popular posts of the year, including a little “behind the scenes” on each one!

#5: Why Your Family Needs Rabbits. With Swords.

One of the most wonderful priveledges of the role of blogger has been interacting with and supporting some amazing game designers, poets, authors and homeschool leaders! In particular, I was privileged to share with my readers about Sam (SD) Smith and the wonderful world of #rabbitswithswords also known as the Green Ember series.

Of course, Sam is ten times out of my league in terms of fandom and popularity. He didn’t really need my help at all. But I have never been so thanked and appreciated for a post about a product or program. What’s funny is that I was pretty much stumbling over myself with excitement over the whole thing while Sam exuded humble gratitude, as if I was doing him a major favor. That’s just how he is. If you haven’t already seen it, definitely check out my little write-up about his work!

Struggle. Loss. Growth. Hope. Find out why this series just might be your family's next favorite. Plus, there are rabbits. With swords!

#4: 5 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Schedule

Waaay back on the old blog, I wrote a post about a very simple homeschool schedule. It wasn’t really a fountain of wisdom. It was more like a sorrowing over how non-fancy and unimpressive our schedule was. I guess I wrote that post to convince myself that it was sufficient and that I was OK with it. Funny thing is that it got a lot of hit – more than any other post I transferred over from the old blog.

It occurred to me that maybe my readers would like to read an actual post about ways to keep a homeschool schedule simple. Turns out, that was true!

#3: The Psychology of Homeschooling with a Toddler

I know the quintessential advice for writers is “write what you know”. This really must be true, because this post was born out of my own angst and wrestlings and, frankly, motivational self-talk. As I said near the end …

I am definitely not writing this post from the top of Success Mountain.  Last night as hubby and I climbed into bed, I was in tears.  Perhaps over how much I was dreading the school year.  Maybe more so over the guilt I felt about the dread.  So this morning, I decided to process all of the raw emotion the way I process best: writing.  The above paragraphs?  Those were written for me.  (Yeah, ask my kids.  I talk to myself all.the.time.)

But apparently, other folks could relate to my conversation with myself, too. Pam Barnhill, host of several amazing podcasts, including The Homeschool Solutions Show, asked me if I’d make a recording of this post for her podcast. Um, would I?? I was thrilled!

In addition to getting to embed that nifty little podcast widget in my post (yes, you can listen to me read my post to you, if you want!) Pam also asked me to be a guest on the Your Morning Basket podcast talking about Our (Digital) Morning Time. You can look for that episode in February. And, Pam has also invited me to become a regular contributor on her blog, which, I have to say, is pretty amazing! All this, from crying myself to sleep over the cutest little ninja toddler ever. Sigh.

Homeschooling is hard work. Multiply that by the number of toddlers tagging along for the journey. How do you get your head in the game for this task?

#2: Poetry Teatime Starter Kit

If you’ve been a reader (or Instagram follower) for long, you’ll know that Poetry Tea Time has had a major impact on our family. It was one of those things that added some joy and “enchantment” in the low, dark days last winter. So when I launched this blog, I started with a giveaway of the Poetry Teatime Companion from Brave Writer.

Another huge boost of encouragement came from the iHomeschool Network when they invited me to become a iHN blogger this summer. One of the fun annual projects for the iHN is a Back to Homeschool Gift Basket Giveaway. I knew immediately what I wanted to do. I wanted to giveaway a start-up kit so that another family could enjoy poetry teatime like we have!

Even after the giveaway was over, the post has continued to be very popular as apparently families want ideas for implementing poetry teatime in their own homes. When iHN held its 100 Things roundup in November, I decided to write a post on 100 Poetry Books for Kids as a follow up to the Starter Kit.

Planning for back to school? Let's get one thing taken care of! Here's a go-to list of what you need to get rolling with your own Poetry Teatime!


And, finally, my top post of 2016 …

#1: Better Learning through Board Gaming

This October, we were scheduled to join our extended family on a beach vacation. But hurricane Matthew had other plans, and we ended up staying home for the first half of the week, waiting for the water to subside and electricity to be restored to the beach house.  The kids didn’t mind. The weather here in central Virgina was beautiful and they enjoyed the free time and extra time on electronics, too.

Mama got some extra screen time as well, and I threw myself into a massive post about board games. Several years ago, my husband got interested in board gaming family-style. Being the researcher that he is, he poured himself into learning all that he could about the industry. He can talk game designers, quality components, and YouTube game reviewer personalities with the best of them. The rest of us are simply the incredibly lucky beneficiaries of his habit.

Early on, he helped me to compose a post about what makes a truly excellent, “living” board game. I had written a post or two on the old blog about a few family favorite games and chatted about them on Periscope. But what I really wanted was a massive list of board games, organized by topic. Homeschool parents love the idea of playing board games. But they also really like the idea of comforting themselves that something important is being learned or practiced in the process.

The day this post when live on the blog, a blogging friend said that this post was amazing and it was going to be really popular. I appreciated the encouragement, but I don’t think I really saw what she saw. This post now has so many views, it’s been viewed almost twice as much as my homepage! It’s been the most shared on Facebook and the most repinned on Pinterest. Wow. Just wow.

Board gaming is worth its weight in gold just for the family time and fun it provides! But you'd be amazed what the family will be learning while they play!

So, those were the most popular posts according to the “numbers”. But I’d love to hear some personal feedback. What was your favorite post? Are there any posts that have been particularly helpful or encouraging? What would you like to read more about in 2016?

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