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5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials: The Homeschool Blogger

5 Days of Homeschooling Essentials

Sometimes, I think about my life before blogging and long for more simple homeschooling days. And I often evaluate what I would do differently in my homeschool, if I didn't blog. I would still take pictures and document what I do, I know that.  I just wouldn't be documenting it all for the world to see.

But would my homeschool be the same?

I don't believe so.

Blogging has helped me be more intentional in my homeschooling. I am a better homeschooler because I blog.

Joshua Becker @ Becoming Minimalist waxed eloquent on the subject of why you should blog and I highly recommend reading 15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog

So today, I would like to share my Top Ten Essentials for a Homeschooling Blogger.

Keep in mind, I am a hobby blogger, not a professional. ;-)

(Affiliate links are used in this post.)

1. A Laptop Computer 

Hands down, I love my MacBook Pro. I am on my 2nd one since I started blogging. The old one is now used by my husband and the kids. I have more memory and storage now :D and I'm a believer in an Apple Care Protection Plan.

I enjoy being able to take it outside on the porch in sunny weather, the backyard to watch the kids play, to the library when I need some quiet time, or to bed when I want to work late.  I also take it when we travel.

2. Digital SLR Camera

I get asked a lot so I'll let you know that I have a Canon Rebel T1i. They have a T3 out now, but I'm happy with the version I have. I often use a 55-250mm zoom lens, and I like using it for getting up close and personal - without getting up close and personal.  I keep a wireless remote timer tucked in my camera bag, but I don't use it as often as I should (namely to include myself in the photos). A few things on my wish list include: a Collapsible Photography Disc Reflector,  a Bounce Flash Device, and Camera Sling. {And maybe some time to learn how to use it better.}

While I personally love using my "big" camera, more and more I am seeing bloggers use their iPhone cameras to blog. I have an iPhone 5 and love it, but I don't like using it if I have my big camera around. I mostly use it when I don't, which is usually when I am out and about. But, I take my big camera with me if I can! It's really a habit from college - I was a writer and photographer for the student newspaper and a photography student, so I was taught to carry it with me wherever I went. Years later, I still keep it very close to me!

3. Good Lighting

I personally am drawn to photos with lots of natural light. The best way to do this is to use natural light from a window, and make sure your subject is facing the light. But avoid direct sunlight.

4. Clean and Organized School Space

Not only does it look pretty in a picture, but it helps you move from one activity to another and capture it all. I have to act fast and can't let my photography get in the way of our lessons. Our lessons are the main priority, so I try to have everything laid out and ready to go before we start. Not only does this help with the flow of our school day, but it helps me photograph it!

5. Respect 

My goal is to photograph without being intrusive, so I always I ask permission. If my child is feeling shy or does not want to be photographed, I put the camera down.

6. Conversation

I often am complimented on how happy my children look in photos. This is because they are generally happy children, but also because I am engaging them in conversation while I photograph them. It's amazing the transformation you see through the camera lens when you do.

7. Documentation

I document everything I consider noteworthy, whether it be for the blog or my personal Project Life album. Bonus if I open a blog post and write down what we did at the end of the day. Often, I will plan right in a blog post so that when I go to add photos, the post is already half written for me!

8. A Blog

Whether it be a free blogging platform like Blogger or Wordpress.com, or a self-hosted Wordpress.org blog, you need some type of platform to blog on.

9. Time

Blogging takes time! When I first started blogging, I gave up television.  As my blog grew, I had to give up other things. But, I also had to learn ways to blog more efficiently.  I am most productive when I upload and edit photos daily and not fret over making everything so perfect.

10. Quality Content 

You need something to blog about!

Build your blog on quality content that defines you and your homeschool.

My passion is delightful learning. :D  I want my children to love learning and to love "school."  And I want to love it, too!

And while my blog is about my homeschool, seeing our life and family outside of homeschooling can help with perspective, so I look forward to sharing more behind the scenes with my Let's Click and Project Life posts.

Note: Having a niche helps define you and your blog, but I am having to work myself out of a tight little niche, albeit a popular one - Five in a Row blogging. Our rows are STILL the most visited posts on my blog on any given day.

11. A Support Network

The online homeschooling community is amazing! Blogging friends are the heart of what keeps me coming back. I'm talking about organic friendships that are grown through reading other blogs and commenting on them, replying back when someone leaves you a comment, and/or visiting back. But, also being there for email support and friendship.

Social Media is a way to connect with your readers, but it is also as a tool to promote and grow your blog. I don't feel as connected to my readers through social media sites, but I'm also a little shy about it. When you see me on these sites, I have to MAKE myself do it! It is getting easier, but still not as easy as blogging.

Well, that's 10 (+ a bonus).

I thought about adding things like a blog reader, feed managers, analytics or statistic tools, etc... but I was already over 10. :)

Are you a homeschool blogger? What are your essentials? 

P.S. While blogging is important to me, it was not the near and dear essential I had planned for today. I didn't get my post finished in time, so I bumped this one up. Tomorrow, I will share that essential and wrap up this series!

We have 89 blogs participating in the blog hop this week!  You can read all of the blogs at the TOS Crew blog. I invite you to visit these lovely ladies this week:
Erica @ Be the One, Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story, Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessing, Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews,  Sharon @ Life with the Tribe, Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio, Melanie @ FinchNWren, Brittney @ Mom’s Heart & Heather @ Principled Academy