Speaker Spotlight: Julie Bogart

Julie Bogart is known for her common sense approach to writing, parenting, critical thinking, and education. She’s the creator of the award-winning program called Brave Writer and in 2000, brought innovation to the education market by providing the first online writing classes in the homeschooling space. Julie is also the author of the books The Brave Learner and Raising Critical Thinkers which have sold over 110,000 copies. She’s coming to the VaHomeschoolers unConvention to share a bit of that wisdom and reassurance with you and help you become a Brave Learner.

 

VaHomeschoolers: How were you first introduced to the world of homeschooling? What were some of the factors that led you to decide to homeschool your family?

Julie: A friend of my soon to be fiancé introduced me to the idea of homeschooling in 1984. I had never heard of it, but this friend wanted to find out if I would homeschool my future children. He launched into a screed against public schools but ended with what intrigued me: the opportunity to give a tailor made education to my children! I was sold—even before I was married!

 

What is a challenge you have faced in your personal homeschooling journey and how did you approach that challenge?

The biggest challenge I faced was having five children nine years apart. Juggling different grade levels and personalities, all at once, felt big. But I loved the dynamics of having a lot of children. We had so much fun! The main way I approached the challenge was to do as much of our learning together without so much work split up into grade levels. We did read alouds, history and science always as a group. Those are some of my best memories!

 

What advice would you give to a family just starting out with homeschooling?

When you are first starting as a homeschooler, the key is to lean into the properties of “home” more than replicating school. Wear comfy clothes, get enough sleep, no need to schedule subjects, explore an interest without having to stop for the next thing. The joy of homeschooling is that it is a shared family learning story.

 

Homeschooling can look very different from family to family. What are some tools/metrics you would suggest homeschooling families use to determine if their approach is working for their family?

The best way to measure your children’s growth is to spend time with them, asking them what they are learning. They will show you. When you spend time in conversation with your specific child, you are far more likely to come away reassured that your children are growing and learning.

 

What is a significant challenge facing the homeschool community right now and how do you think we can address it?

My biggest concern about education in general is the threat to critical thinking. We are most limited when someone else decides which books can be in our libraries and which can’t. We’re at risk when we don’t challenge our children to learn about a wide variety of perspectives.

 

Who are some of your biggest homeschooling influences and why? 

My dear friend Dotty Christensen is one of the key influences in my life as a home educator, even today. I wrote about her in The Brave Learner. She taught me how to truly see the unbridled curiosity of a child, how to incorporate art and play into every aspect of learning, and how to make the home cozy and a wonderful place to be.

I’ve also been deeply shaped by Charlotte Mason’s pedagogy, Peter Elbow’s work in the field of writing, and John Holt’s approach to unschooling.

 

Is there anything you are working on right now that you would like to let our guests know about?

I have a podcast called Brave Writer. I also have a book coming out. It’s a workbook called Becoming a Critical Thinker, designed for kids 12-18, to support them in growing as thinkers! The companion book, Raising Critical Thinkers, is for parents! 

Want to hear more inspiration and resources Julie Bogart has to provide? Join us at the 2024 unConvention to hear her KeyNote talk and workshop!

 

This interview was conducted by Valerie Coker, written and edited by the Public Relations Committee. Valerie is a homeschooling mom of three, including two with special needs. Homesteading in southwest Virginia, she volunteers as a coordinator for Luke14 Ministries serving families with disabilities, and loves teaching at her local co-op. We’re glad to have her as a volunteer for The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers. 

Opinions expressed by individual writers in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of the Board of Directors of The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers, nor do they represent an official position of VaHomeschoolers. Writers’ views are their own, and readers are encouraged to research and explore homeschooling issues to their own satisfaction.

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