Interview: Shannon Stoltz, Blogger and Podcaster

Personal Hobby Time

Shannon Stoltz  is married, and homeschools their four children ages 9 – 15. She has worked at home for 13 years and shares her experiences on her blog and podcast Living Life at Home.

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 Here is the conversation we had over e-mail in the “fringe” hours of our days:

I’ve given a basic introduction, but I’m sure I’ve left some things out. Tell us a little bit more about yoand your family.

My programmer guy, Greg, and I have been married for 18 years and have four fun kids – Kgirl, nearly 16; J, 13; Z, 11; and Little E, who is a not-so-little 9. Our household is full of laughter and games, and lots and lots of conversations. We love to travel together, hang out together, and play together. The kids have always been homeschooled, and I’ve always worked – either full-time or part-time – while homeschooling.

Many readers may not know how bloggers make an income. Could you describe it in a nutshell?

Bloggers make in several different ways. As with anything to make money you have to have product or service to sell. Bloggers earn money from selling their marketing or social media services, or other services related to their specific expertise, or by offering ad space, information products, or even physical merchandise for sale. Bloggers also can make money as affiliate marketers (earning a small commission on products they love and refer readers to) or by being a brand ambassador. The ways to earn from a blog are really limited only by the goals and creativity of the blogger and their relationship with their audience and how they choose to serve them. A blog is much like a virtual magazine, and has all the same options and more for generating revenue – and for the amount of work that goes into running it.

You are in the middle of homeschooling high school. Any particular tips for those whose children are approaching the high school years?

Oh that’s a big question, but my top three tips are:
  1. Start doing your research early, so that you already have answered your how-to questions before you are in the midst of it.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, start really investing in building your relationships with your kids as individuals. Learn to say Yes more and build trust. Prepare to spend more time with your kids, not less, and on having a lot more conversations (not lectures, but real adult conversations).
  3. Look for opportunities for your kids to build relationships with older teens, young adults, and mature adults that will have a positive influence and connection with your kids. Your kid’s support system outside of you is just as important as their relationship with you.Dallas-DisneyParkslunchx

How would you describe your homeschooling style?

Our homeschooling style has changed over the years to fit my work needs and where our kids were at academically and emotionally. For many years, our style is best described as relaxed eclectic, with strong influences from John Holt, Marie Montessori, and Charlotte Mason. In our current season of homeschooling, we’re very much Christian Unschoolers, customizing each of our kids’ education to who they are, how they learn best, and their goals for the future.

What would you tell a mom that was interested in starting her own blog or work-at-home business?

Awesome! What are you looking to do? What are your goals, your purpose? Who’s your target audience? What are you going to offer?

LOL, really I’m excited for moms who are just starting out, the excitement, the nervousness, the questions. We’ve never had such amazing opportunities to work from home. It’s about connecting what you have to offer with what your customers or readers are looking for. The options are only limited by your willingness to serve.

You have probably heard the “how do you do it all?” question more times than you can count. While we all realize that no one mom can “do it all” nor always perform perfectly, what are some things that help you juggle your responsibilities?

Priorities, Schedules, and Lists – and being willing to be flexible to fit the priority of the day or moment. I’ve made mistakes, and have learned that I need to look at the whole picture of my life in order to juggle all the roles and responsibilities that I have. I’ve learned to draft my goals and prioritize according to what’s needed for the whole picture – work, family, and my marriage. If I don’t, my world is not very pleasant. And I’ve gotten really good at saying “no” and protecting my down time – ‘cuz I can’t serve anyone well when I’m tired, sick, or mentally fried.

What do you struggle with most as a mom, teacher and business owner?

Accepting that I can’t do it all every time, all the time. and that I can’t give my all to multiple things at once. My kiddos are my biggest investment right now, and they take top priority, but there’s been times when work had to be my biggest priority and my health, family, and marriage suffered. In an ideal world, I’d be able to do it all, juggle it all. But it’s not possible. Right now is the season to invest in my kiddos and stay focused on my current projects, there will be time for other stuff later. But I have to keep reminding my self, ”cuz there are so many great projects to pursue.

 

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