Blogging can be an excellent way to encourage your kids to write. Consider starting a family blog. In addition to encouraging good writing, blogging can help your kids develop good habits and skills on the internet that will be invaluable when they enter adulthood and need to consider being googleable. Here are some things you might want to take into consideration if you choose to develop a family blog.
1. In order to blog openly and yet protect yourself and your kids, don’t post identifying photos. Consider not using your last name on the blog. And, you may not even want to use first names. You could use middle names or pseudonyms.
2. If you allow comments, choose the settings that require you to approve any comments before they are published.
3. Before you begin developing a family blog (or allowing your kids/teens to have a blog) please read this short article on blogging safely:
What to blog about?
1. Have your kids post book reviews. They can find an image of the book on a website and put the image next to their book review. They can include a link to where the book can be purchased, and perhaps a link to where the book can either be read online or previewed online (e.g. Google books).
2. Encourage your kids to post a story they have written or an interesting event.
3. They can write a favorite quote, favorite Bible verse, or post a photo they have taken of a favorite place.
When to blog?
Encourage your kids to at least post something once a week. If you and your kids pick one day each to post, then something new will be posted on your blog on a regular basis. This will keep friends, family, and interested others in coming back for more.
Things to include:
1. Include ClustrMaps. This will show in which countries people are located who are reading your blog. This can be a very educational way for your kids to learn about countries. You can click on the ClustrMap on The Education Cafe and it will tell you how to add ClustrMaps to your blog.
2. Look at others’ blogs to find a format you like. There are a variety of blogging hosts out there. I learned to blog using WordPress and really like the features it offers. Within WordPress there are a variety of themes and widgets to choose from. Looking at other people’s blogs can give you an idea of themes available, styles to choose from, etc. Check out my personal blog http://delanasworld.wordpress.com/ and compare and contrast it to the style of The Education Cafe.
3. Include categories so that people visiting your site can easily look at all items from certain category. Each thing you post can also be placed in more than one category. For example, you may have a category for each of your kids, and you may have a category called book reviews. When one of your kids writes a book review, you can select the category that matches their name/pseudonym AND the category called book reviews.
4. Make sure you choose appropriate tags for your posts as well.
If you as an adult develop a family blog, you will stay young and not fall behind the times! When I was in high school, we had computers at school, but almost no one had a home computer yet. There were some people who thought it would be strange to have a computer in the home. And now most of us cannot imagine NOT having a computer at home. The same thing could have been said about microwaves, televisions, and even automobiles. Start a blog today…and enjoy the ride!