When we decided to homeschool, I did what I always do when confronted with some brave new phase of life: I went out and bought a ton of magazines and a tub of Java Chip ice cream. This method has usually served me well. In my 20s, in my first tiny New York City apartment, I learned to cook spaghetti alla carbonara and omelets from the spattered pages of food magazines. I dog-eared wedding magazines, fretting over flower arrangements and invitation suites, until my husband took them away from me and planned the whole thing himself. (He did a lovely job.) Then came pregnancy magazines, then parenting magazines—you get the idea. Something about flipping through those glossy pages made me feel not just prepared but eager to take on the challenges ahead. But when it came to homeschooling, my go-to method failed me. Not only were magazines about homeschooling hard to find back in 2010, but when I did manage to track them down, they were ... well, disappointing. Some of them were just dull. Others felt like they were in the middle of a conversation that didn't include me. At least one of them was, frankly, kind of judge-y. None of them was what I was looking for.
Well, we managed without my traditional magazine binge-fest. (I ate another tub of ice cream to compensate.) We pulled our daughter out of school in the middle of second grade, and we have been happily homeschooling ever since. Our days are happy and messy, full of books and cuddles, nature walks and endless conversations. It's good stuff. But I couldn't shake the idea that there should be a really good homeschool magazine—for people, like me, who wanted a little inspiration to get them started, and for people, also like me, who wanted a little inspiration along the way. I wanted a magazine that was fun to read, one that was pretty enough to keep on the coffee table, one that was smart and assumed that I was smart, too. I wanted a magazine that let me sneak a vicarious peek into the lives of other homeschoolers doing cool things (like the Tougas family hiking the Appalachian Trail—see page 47), helped me figure out things like whether I should homeschool through high school (some of the worries that plagued me get a pretty thorough busting on page 44), and gave me great ideas for things like celebrating National Poetry Month (page 15), buying new pencils (72), and which new books should end up on my endless reading list (page 24). After four and a half years of homeschooling, I had the confidence to do the thing that all of us homeschoolers do so often: I saw that the thing I wanted wasn't out there, and I made it.
I had a lot of help. My husband suggested story ideas ("What's up with all the references to homeschool moms, Amy? Dads homeschool, too, remember?"), pored over final edits, and brought me sandwiches when my "just five more minutes" stretched past dinnertime. My daughter helped check for spelling errors. My son said "please" before he asked me to look up some new Pokemon fact for him. I was blown away when Shelli Pabis (who I have always had a total blogger-crush on from her awesome Mama of Letters blog) said that she would love to be the magazine's senior editor. (You'll see her byline throughout the magazine, but be sure to spend some time with her storytelling feature on page 60.) And Amy Hood and Suzanne Rezelman jumped on board with columns about art at home (page 36) and the reading life (page 32) that are so fun to read I forget I am supposed to be editing them.
I guess it's no surprise that I love this magazine. I hope you do, too.