Let’s take a look at student blogs! One of the great things about homeschooling your child through high school is watching him discover and pursue his true interests. (The fact that these interests might change every few months for the next four years is beside the point.) Your role has shifted to facilitator rather than teacher. The goal in high school is to help your child learn to learn on his own. Additionally, you want to teach your child the planning and organizational skills he’ll need in his adult life. For many high school teens, starting and maintaining a blog is a great way to keep track of their interests, accomplishments and plans over the next four years.
- Have your teen treat their blog as a digital portfolio. If you start in ninth grade, a regularly kept up blog can be an excellent way to demonstrate achievements, both visually and in writing, to colleges and/or future employers. Encourage your teen to avoid including extensive personal diatribes or content better-suited to social media like Facebook.
- It’s okay to specialize! If you teen is highly focused on one area of study or one extra curricular activity, let them use their blog as platform for demonstrating their knowledge and growth in that area over the four years of high school. It’s true that colleges want to see well-rounded applicants, however, there is value in being a young expert in something as well.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. Blogging gives your teen regular, independent time spent writing. Encourage them to use one or more of the online resources mentioned in this article. Writing everyday AND using these tools will improve your teen’s writing significantly. It will also boost the speed at which they write.
- Help your teen appreciate originality. Keeping a blog is work. Most bloggers put a lot of time and effort into their blog. If your teen is keeping a blog to use as a portfolio someday, he’ll be working extra hard to make sure it’s good. Talk about plagarism, copyrights, public domain and other ways people “cut corners” or “cheat” in 2015. Help him learn to research, write and find supporting pictures/charts/data in ethical ways that will not raise eyebrows.
- Save comments for Facebook. Whether your teen opts to start a blog using Word Press, Blogger (owned by Google) or one of the other free sites, encourage them to blog for their own satisfaction, not for the most comments. All blogging sites have an option to turn comments off completely or to be moderated by the author before showing online. If your teen is honestly seeking feedback, suggested he create an email attached to his blog where his readers can contact him privately.
Talk to your child about keeping a blog/portfolio of his high school journey. Student blogs can be a tremendous way to get him interested photography, coding, writing and, maybe, starting a small online business. A blog can change and grow as he does – while providing a long term record of this change and growth.