Monday, May 12, 2014

Is it time to bring the Carnival of Homeschooling to an end?

Almost eight and a half years ago my wife and I kicked off the Carnival of Homeschooling.  We hosted the first edition in January of 2006.  With over fifty hosts helping out the carnival has been published every week since then.  There have been a few times of craziness and the carnival came out a bit late.  I'm pretty sure that it has never skipped a week.

Carnival of Homeschooling

At the start the carnival averaged around 40 to 45 entries each week.  We even had a few weeks of over 60 submissions.  I remember being up one night till two in the morning organizing 65 plus entries.  After the first year the average rate settled down into the 30 to 45 range.  This was fairly steady for four or five years.  Then last year we started seeing the submission rate drop.  We started getting 20 entries a week, then 15 entries a week and then early this year the entries fell again into the 10 or so a week range.

Carnival of Homeschooling

I have felt good about being the organizer for the carnival.  I often think of this quote:

"You say the little efforts that I make will do no good; that they never will prevail to tip the hovering scale where justice hangs in the balance. I don't think I ever thought they would. But I am prejudiced beyond debate in favor of my right to choose which side shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight."
- Bonaro Overstreet

I like to think my ounce has helped to contribute to the homeschooling movement.

Carnival of Homeschooling

For the last month we've been averaging more like 3 to 6 entries each week.

Now I think it may be time to let the Carnival of Homeschooling come to an end.  Over the years I've put a lot of effort into asking people to submit posts.  If I spend an hour I can often turn out one or two new bloggers who contribute, or reactive some bloggers who have stopped submitting.  But we've been losing a lot of regulars over the last year.

If you have any thoughts you would like to share, please send me an email or leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

I have never submitted an entry but we homeschool our three children. Thank you very much for your efforts.

I hope you continue but I certainly understand if you don't.

C T said...

I've really enjoyed the exposure to so many different homeschool approaches and families. It's nice that this HASN'T been a niche homeschool carnival.
Maybe you could try going to a monthly carnival?

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

I think about a ton of other places copied your idea with "blog hops" and so forth. It's dizzying how many things are out there now! You have been pioneers in this, really.


Susan Raber said...

I think the abundance of blog hops, linkies, and memes may have drained the reserves.

FWIW, I've seen a few CoH submissions from what looked like 'link farms', which impacts one's credibility on the net. A few of the CoH hosts looked like they threw together the carnival post at the last minute, with grammar and spelling errors galore. Those things are not your fault, obviously, but they impact how people perceive the CoH, and whether or not they want to submit, especially if it means limiting where else they can send a blog post.

Maybe the CoH can go to a bi-weekly schedule in a 'less is more' fashion?

I'd hate to see the CoH end, so I'm going to try to start submitting regularly again instead of just being sad about it ending. But when the effort to benefit ratio is too far into the red zone, it may be indication that it's time to move on.

Denise Gaskins said...

Twitter and Pinterest have taken a lot of the internet browsers who used to explore blog carnivals, too. My math-ed carnival has definitely felt the slow-down. We moved to once-a-month posting, which definitely helps.

I've followed the CoH almost from the beginning, and I'd love to see it continue. I actually got something submitted this week. My blog has been fairly inactive the past several months, while I focus my free time on my books. So I sent in an "oldy but goodie" from my archive. I hope that's okay?

I agree with Susan, some of your hosts haven't done a good job of filtering out the spam submissions. Here's a hint for future reference: if the submitting blog has the word "nanny" or "online" in its name, it's almost certainly spam. The blog carnival website produces a TON of spam. When I moved to using a Google form for submissions, it made a such a wonderful difference.

Annie Kate said...

I enjoy the Carnival and have found many good ideas here. I understand that it is difficult to get submissions and I enter most weeks to help support the Carnival.

However, when I submit a post it does not always get accepted...yet I am a homeschooler writing about homeschooling.

I know that the hosts are very busy people, but I am disappointed when it happens, as it did this week when my post about measuring the speed of light with chocolate did not make it into the carnival.

Henry Cate said...

Annie Kate, your post is in the carnival. It is the 89th entry.

jugglingpaynes said...

I'm not sure if I'm late to the party in responding to this, but I agree with what has been said about possibly changing to a bi-weekly or monthly format. I think one problem is that blogging in general has diminished from the overabundance of social media. People don't sit and read posts like they used to, and if a host doesn't put the effort into the carnival, there is little you can do.

Some of us who are veterans to the carnival have also felt the pressures of new challenges in our lives as our kids have grown. Once my oldest started college, I found myself with less time instead of more, and that only got worse, especially now that I needed to take a job.

I don't know how homeschoolers of younger children are connecting now. Are they still blogging? Are they using social networking? Maybe the carnival should collect quotes from those who use Twitter, Facebook or other social sites as well as blog posts in order to continue gleaning the collective wisdom of our homeschooling experiences. (I don't know if there is any way to link to things like Twitter since I don't use it myself)

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I hope you don't completely give up on the carnival. I think it still serves an important role in the online homeschooling community. We all need to know that there are others out there, going through similar experiences but not necessarily taking the same routes in educating at home. I like the carnival because there are usually several perspectives and styles featured, rather than everyone being alike. You've done a great job over the years bringing everyone together.