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Shoe
04-08-2010, 12:24 PM
For those of you who use blogs and personal web sites relating to your home schooling, I am curious as to how you use it.

Are you blogging about experiences, using it as part of a portfolio to help meet state evaluation requirements, sharing course materials and lesson plans or in other ways?

Do your children participate in creating the blogs and/or web sites, or are you doing it alone?

What are some good (preferably free) sites for blogging/personal web sites, that look reasonable and are easy to use?

Thanks for any replies.

jab300
04-08-2010, 01:26 PM
I have a blog on blogger. It's called Fun In The Sun because we live in Florida lol. I started out blogging about 3 years ago for many of the reasons you listed. I like to share homeschool stuff we are doing (and find so much more stuff to do from other blogs!) I like to "meet" other homeschool families through memes and blog hops, and it's also a great way to document our homeschooling and our lives. One day I hope to make a book out of my posts (a place called blurb.com does it but it's kinda pricey.) My boys don't participate in my blogging because they aren't interested and because it's kinda personal to me...although I do mostly blog about homeschooling I also post about anything that strikes my fancy (my cats, what I have been reading, etc.) I hear wordpress is a good place to blog as well, and I think there is one called typepad as well. Good luck if you decide to give it a try, I have found it to be lots of fun.

Museling
04-08-2010, 01:29 PM
For those of you who use blogs and personal web sites relating to your home schooling, I am curious as to how you use it.

Are you blogging about experiences, using it as part of a portfolio to help meet state evaluation requirements, sharing course materials and lesson plans or in other ways? .

I am using www.blogspot.com (also known as www.blogger.com) which is a free service and has many different templates both available through them and other outside websites, that you can google, so that you can personalize it. What's nice too is that you can add or take away as many gadgets or widgets as you want to, I use google analytics to track how many people come on to the website, how long they stay and where they are from. You can also moderate who sees your blog and who and how people can comment on it. For a freebie, it's as user friendly as you want to make it -you can even write your own html code for the layout if you want to.

Right now, I'm using it to document the process of transitioning from public school to home school, since we're still in public school. I want to share the experiences I've had with the public school to help people become aware of the problems that have frustrated me and ultimately tipped my scales to giving homeschool a shot. My hope is to allow the blog to evolve where it gives me a place where I can document the process of once we get into homeschooling so that it lets me jounral about the ups and downs, ins and outs, cirriculum, and overall experiences and to use it as a tool to help keep me accountable to the process. It also gives me a chance to have a 'time out' and to look at what I am doing, why and how I hope to proceed. Right now I'm blogging every day but I'm sure that it'll taper off after all this excitement begins to wind down.


Do your children participate in creating the blogs and/or web sites, or are you doing it alone?


Not right now....lol, it'd be a garbled mess! But whenever we start learning about typing, I would like to let him set up a blog so that he can tell 'the world' about his experiences. It would be something that I would monitor very closely (I would use the tools to be a bit more restrictive on who gets to read it), but I would want to ultimately use it as a tool for him in his education so that it helps to keep the activity of journaling going.

I hope that answers all your questions. It is a lot of fun for me but some people just don't get into it but I do find it a useful tool and it can help connect you to people who you can help and who could help you, too. :)

Riceball_Mommy
04-08-2010, 02:40 PM
I have two blogs on Blogger, I really like their formatting and I tried WordPress but I just couldn't get used to it. For my mommy blog, I use it to just talk about my day a bit and vent every now and then. I've also done a few reviews of books that we have read. Mostly I just talk about what we are doing just to talk about it. I like seeing other people just talking about their homeschooling experiences. I also get some rather encouraging feedback as well.

paojava
04-08-2010, 02:50 PM
My blog is also posted on blogger/blogspot. It is free!!!

I have been struggling to find a focus on mine too--do I want it to be about ME? My house? Our homeschool? what?!?! Honestly, it is a jumble of a bunch of things. Frankly, so is my life. I know there are a lot of niche bloggers who only write about ONE thing, but I have a hard time getting to know some of those people. I love to cook--but that is not the only part of me. I am a homeschool mom, but that is also not my only identity. I like to review books and school products--but again--I am more than that. So, I do a bit of everything.

And no, my son doesn't help me with my blog--he is 7. He is just a character!

Shoe
04-08-2010, 04:35 PM
Thank you all for your replies. I appreciate it. I started a blog on blogspot (Doors in the Wall (http://isthisthewaytotar.blogspot.com/))today and posted my first entry with content I had previously posted on MySpace. It's NOT related to home schooling and it IS very sad (perhaps morbid and depressing would better describe it), but I thought I'd start a personal type of blog first and add a home schooling one later when I get a bit more comfortable with the set up and process.

paojava-I think I'll set up a few different blogs because I, too, am "a jumble of different things", and the different parts of my life don't always mesh well together (as an example, I suspect that the blog I just started above will be of little interest to people here, but when I start one about home schooling, it may have more relevance), so separating those might be the best option.

paojava
04-08-2010, 05:17 PM
Well good luck! I am too scattered to keep up with more than one blog! LOL

Riceball_Mommy
04-08-2010, 05:31 PM
I have three blogs total, so I can definitely understand the need to separate some things. Good luck with your writing : )

hjdong
04-08-2010, 06:53 PM
I agree with Lexi, I barely keep up with my one, much less more. I started mine to keep up with out of state family, but it leans more to homeschooling these days. My time for it ebbs and flows as well. I think it's good to know what you want from it and who your audience is. Since I don't really care about attracting an audience (beyond my family), I write about what I want to (not to discourage my 3 regular readers). At first, I wrote solely for my family, and even had a private blog (my mom could never remember the password, no joke, so I went public), now I like to see what works over time, growth, what was a disaster, where my mind is, as well as letting the family keep up.

Closeacademy
04-08-2010, 07:05 PM
I use blogger too. My blog is focused on homeschooling and I have 3 regular postings a week:

Monday Morning--all about our first day of school and how the week is starting
Weekly Report--what we did for the week, what's working, what's not working, basically the high and low lights of the week
What's in the box?--we use workboxes to organize our materials and this is like a preview of what we are doing the next week.

I also have irregular posts such as:

Wednesday Reviews--where I review a book or curriculum
Indoor Bunny Updates--updates on what our rabbit is doing and there is usually pictures
Organization tips
Time management tips
How we do _______--I usually post pictures and/or links for this one and it basically how we teach a subject
Schedules/Planning--basically what the plans are for a unit or subject or period of time for schoolwork.

I like having certain topics and a focus for my blog because it is easier for me to think of things to write about.

Shoe
04-08-2010, 07:27 PM
Christy,

I like your ideas...I may use some of them or something similar with mine. Thanks-that was very helpful.

hjdong,

I'm not too concerned about an audience, although I'm hoping whatever I blog about might be useful to other home schoolers. Probably though, if I come up with any really useful items, I would post them here anyway. I think it might also be a place to showcase some of the kids' work for their grandparents to see. I'm not completely clear on what I might want to get from it yet though...partly why I posted this thread.

Topsy
04-08-2010, 07:58 PM
Jumping in to toot my own horn for a minute, Shoe. I teach a BlogWritingCourse online (http://www.blogwritingcourse.com), and there is a free automated course there you might find interesting to sign up for and work through. I think it is a terrific intro for first-time bloggers. The eight-week course is much, much better because you are taught by moi, of course, ;) but it might be a while before I can teach it again, so I generally recommend the automated course in the meantime!! Even if you don't have time for the course, you might want to read through some of the blog posts on the site, because I touch on a lot of stuff in the blog that I teach in the course. You asked about children participating...my oldest (age 15) actually prefers to have his own blog (http://freeformschooler.wordpress.com) to explore his schooling adventures, but I tend to make my homeschool blog not just about homeschooling, but about simply raising two geeklings and all that entails. Blogging rocks!! :)

Topsy

Riceball_Mommy
04-08-2010, 08:06 PM
Christy, I also love your ideas, and might have to copy a few.
Topsy, I'm going to look into that course, because I've really been trying to get more readers on my art blog, and it might help me out with that. Also I suppose my mommy blog could use some improvement too. : )

Shoe
04-08-2010, 09:42 PM
Topsy, I bookmarked your link so I can look at it a bit later when I have some time. It sounds interesting. Thanks.

Firefly_Mom
04-08-2010, 10:39 PM
Well...I started the blog so that our far flung family could keep up with what we were doing.Fat lot of good that did as none of them have ever been on it :P I changed the tone, and made it more personal - more my own voice. Homeschooling is our way of life, and learning permeates everything, so my blog is basically about whatever we're doing. There's also a lot of field trip stuff (even had a field trip war with Topsy last year) and some sci-fi geekiness thrown in for good measure!

dbmamaz
04-09-2010, 05:13 PM
I have a blog on wordpress, and i like it. However, i've been really down this month and havent posted - in fact, i put up a draft post because i was starting to feel upbeat again, but then got more bad news. I mostly focus on home schooling, sometimes about parenting, and some posts of my gluten-free cooking.

dbmamaz
04-09-2010, 05:13 PM
Oh, and under resources is a list of all the blogs people have submitted to this site, so you can look around at them for some ideas too. MIne's there

Snoopy
04-09-2010, 11:42 PM
I had to check how many blogs I have and that number is 9. NINE?!?! Good grief. Don't get excited, they're all pretty inactive and most of them are private. I kept one from when I started formally homeschooling Noah in preK and K. It was mainly to share with DH and my MIL what we were doing but it's so much fun to read it all over again nowadays. It seems that we did so much more for preK than we do now in 2nd grade! I must have been a slave driver, poor little kid. Another one was in French for my family who is all back in France. I guess that's what people use Facebook for nowadays but I can't stand Facebook and I'm too busy to update the blog so I just use email these days. 2 or 3 were for trying to find my "voice" as a blogger. Did I want to blog from the perspective of a SAHM without mentioning the homeschooling at all? Did I want to blog openly as an atheist? I still don't know that I have anything different to offer than the myriad of blogs already out there anyway. Those were merely experiments and didn't last too long. 1 that I started to muster support for our local library that is in danger of being closed. 1 that I started hoping to blog about our brand new gardening efforts... hmmm, I had forgotten about that one, lol. 1 is actually Noah's blog where he blogs about his "adventures" once in a while, as part of his language arts assignments. 1 is my main blog which is about homeschooling Noah, what resources we use, links I have found, quizzes I have created, and things that irritate me... I use sitemeter to track who visits and I always laugh when I see URLs belonging to public schools visiting my posts :) No one ever comments and I don't flatter myself in thinking that I'm any good as a writer, so I don't usually share my blogs with anyone but my husband. They're more kind of an online diary for my own benefit than truly meant for other people's eyes.

CroppinMom
04-20-2010, 06:34 PM
This is a great subject for a thread! I just started up a blog this spring and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I knew right from the beginning that there was no way I could keep up with more than one blog so mine is definitely a mish-mash of family, homeschooling, personal, etc. I do it mainly for me and it is just a bonus that hopefully other people enjoy it and get some ideas from me.

Busygoddess
04-29-2010, 10:24 AM
I also use Blogger. Mine is not strictly homeschooling. It's kind of everything - my thoughts, homeschooling, my day, etc. I'm working on a 2nd one that will be just reviews - books, movies, homeschool curr., etc. My kids aren't involved in the blogs at all, but I might start one for them (or just let them add to mine) this year. At the very least, I'll let Dea get involved with the blog. Jay is only 6, so I'm not sure if I want him blogging yet.

Snoopy
04-30-2010, 12:33 AM
After using Wordpress for many years I switched to Blogspot and really do prefer it plus I like the networking factor it has with the "follow" feature. Mine isn't just homeschooling though, I blab on about whatever or nothing much. It's mainly to keep up with my family and friends in other states so I don't write about much that is very personal. I don't want separate blogs (been there, done that) so mine isn't all that interesting for other homeschoolers most of the time. Mine is at http://nightowlmom.blogspot.com

I just went over to your blog for a little bit and I'm a little freaked out because in your Honest Scrap post, out of the 12 things you shared (your numbering was a little off!), we share 9.

I've been thinking about blogging again (I stopped blogging regularly a few months back) but doing so would mean less posting here. I do love to re-read the posts I had written a few years ago since for me it's more an online diary than an attempt at social networking, so it's a toss up between wanting to take the time to blog just for myself (because I don't get any traffic and it's fine with me) or wanting to post here to get my daily dose of socialization. Not sure what I'll do yet.

Melyssa
04-30-2010, 02:10 AM
Whoops. LOL I fixed my numbering. That's what I get for blogging very late at night. I only update after midnight. I don't get a ton of traffic on my blog either, maybe about 20 total visitors with any regularity and only about half of those leave comments. I just do it because it's fun.

camaro
04-30-2010, 05:07 PM
I've done a little blogging at http://candlerboys.blogspot.com/. I haven't been so active lately, though. It's not just about homeschooling, just life in general. I just don't think people would be too interested in the day-to-day insanity around here. That being said, I welcome anyone to read it. Perhaps it will be spur me to post more often.

Melyssa
04-30-2010, 06:19 PM
David, I checked out your blog. I recognized where you are located right away as I remember hearing/seeing the weather stuff from up there on our local news as a kid. I grew up about 400 miles southeast of you in North Dakota. Brrr. LOL

camaro
04-30-2010, 07:03 PM
Ah, yes, weather report geography! I remember as a kid the TV weather report up here always gave the temps for Williston and Minot, too (along with Glasgow, Montana).