In 2008, third grader Samantha Shank told her parents that she wasn't challenged enough in school and she wanted to try homeschooling. With a love of history and lots of motivation, Samantha began self-learning different subjects through high school. Throughout that time, Samantha amassed learning resources and wanted to share them. "When I was fourteen," she recalls, "I started my website, Learn in Color, as a creative outlet. I compiled my homeschooling resources and favorite historical stories to share with others who might be interested." Samantha shares. Over the years, she filled Learn in Color with all things homeschooling, from age-appropriate book lists to worksheets and resources for learning math, science, art, history, and other subjects. "My mission," she says, "is to create hands-on learning activities and to help students make connections with the world around them. I create resources to help students be in charge of their own learning."
Learn in Color
Samantha Shank, CEO and Founder
How Samantha got started
Why ad revenue?
How Samantha makes an impact
The site quickly attracted attention from other homeschoolers, their parents, and even teachers in public and private institutions who were searching for creative learning resources for their own students. "Writing about education in the way I see things and inspiring other teachers and other homeschoolers means so much," Samantha says. "And it allows me to have my creative juices always flowing and while giving back to others."
Samantha saw the potential business opportunity in Learn in Color early on, and her parents helped her set up an account to start earning ad revenue in 2015 and turned the site into a business. In 2018 she started working with Mediavine, a Google Certified Publishing Partner, to take her ad revenue to the next level. With the support of a trusted partner managing her site's ad business, Samantha was able to focus her attention on creating quality content and growing the business. "Ad revenue was the majority of my income from the site, and I've used that revenue to keep investing in the business and sell some of my own learning products on the site." Now, teachers and students from over 65 countries are using Samantha's resources to take their learning to the next level.
While Samantha regularly reaches an audience of two to three million learners, when the pandemic hit and students had to transition to online learning due to school closures, Learn in Color's traffic surged from parents seeking virtual resources. "I published an article in March 2020 and it went viral instantly," Samantha recalls "By the end of the week it had 12 million views and I hit my biggest page views at 88K in one day. And since then a lot of the traffic has stayed."
Now, Samantha is getting her Master's in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on gifted education at Purdue University. She plans to continue growing her website and supporting her audience of millions of students, parents and teachers.