Since the last recession, our homeschool co-op has been too small to support a blogging class, and while most of the how-to information on this blog is still relevant, the internet keeps a-changing.
So I’ve decided to refresh everything by starting up a new Blogging 101 Series, using several of the wonderful WordPress.com tutorial videos and adding tips especially for student bloggers. I hope you find it useful!
Attention, Student Bloggers
If you are an elementary or middle-school student starting your first blog, I have three important assignments for you…
Assignment #1: Talk About Internet Safety
If you are new to the internet, read Kim Komando’s 10 Commandments for Kids Online. The most important thing to remember for blogging is that personally identifying information is NOT ALLOWED: no full names, no addresses, no phone numbers or email addresses, not even the name of your home town – and don’t share your friends’ information, either!
Once you know the basics of internet safety, then you and your parents have two decisions to make:
- Will you use your parents’ email or get a separate account?
Most of the information about your blog will be sent to you by email, so this needs to be an account that is checked frequently. For Kitten, I set up a separate account and then have my email program check it automatically whenever I check my own mail. If she has a message, I can let her know.
- Will you moderate comments?
All bloggers love to get comments, and normally you don’t want to do anything to discourage someone from commenting. I suggest that you DO NOT moderate comments, but just keep a watch on your email notifications. Nasty comments are very rare, but if any of them do come through, you can delete them right away. Some parents prefer to keep a tighter control on their students’ blogs, however, so the decision belongs to you and your parents.
[Note: Whatever you decide, it is easy to change your mind later, if you want to go the other way.]
Assignment #2: Look at Other Homeschoolers’ Blogs
Take some time to browse several student blogs. Click the links below to see what a couple of my homeschool co-op bloggers did:
Notice that the students post a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction, serious writing and humorous stories, family stories, book reports, favorite jokes, videos, pictures, and more. Some blogs (like mine) are topical or based on a certain theme, though the writer may wander off down an occasional rabbit trail. Other blogs are personal, following the author’s interests wherever they may drift.
Also pay attention to what the kids call themselves — how some use their first names, while others invent nicknames. Notice what they call their blogs, and what that tells you about them. That will lead you into the next step…
Assignment #3: Brainstorm Your Own Blog Name and Internet Alias
- What will you call yourself online?
- What will you call your blog?
To get ideas, think about your hobbies and interests. Try to think up 5-10 possibilities, and then choose your favorites. List your top three choices, in order of preference, in case someone else has already used the name you like best. You will need this list when you get ready to set up your blogging account.
Important: Show your list to your parents, so they can warn you if any of the names you chose have unsavory connotations or other meanings that you aren’t aware of.