Every other Monday (er, Tuesday this time!), I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!
I think you mentioned a long time ago two of your children have blogs and you use that as a part of your homeschooling. I would like to know how do you incorporate it into their education. Are their posts like assignments or do they just do what they like? Also, I noticed Lisey seems to have her own website but Joshua is a subsection of yours. I’m asking because my daughter has mentioned that she would like to make a cooking blog as well but I’m not sure how to go about it. I would prefer not to pay for it, are there any free options? Also, what age do you think is appropriate for her to start?
Joshua’s 365 Blog
Well, I consider Joshua’s blog to be a part of his art education…he’s developing his photography skills, learning to see things in new ways, and learning to edit photos. And though his blog is mostly photos, he’s also getting to exercise some of his writing skills as he titles and writes descriptions of his photos.
I don’t give him assignments for his blog, though….he’s got creative freedom when it comes to his subject matter. I do proofread his posts before they’re published, though, so that I can help him correct things when necessary.
Baking with Lisey
Lisey’s blog is much more of a collaboration, since we do the baking together and we write the posts together as well. Putting together baking posts is a MUCH bigger job than writing 365 posts (uploading multiple pictures, making recipe PDFs, double-checking recipe ingredients and instructions), so Lisey wouldn’t be able to do this all on her own.
Mainly, Lisey’s learning how to bake, but she’s also gaining some writing experience.
I made Joshua’s blog a subdomain of mine because that’s how I had my 365 blog set up, and also because then we wouldn’t have to buy another domain. It seemed odd to have Lisey’s blog be a subdomain of mine, though, so I bought her one. Maybe eventually I’ll get Joshua his own domain, but for now, he’s happy where he is.
You can DEFINITELY blog for free, yes! I highly recommend going to wordpress.com and setting up a free blog. WordPress is the best blogging software out there in my opinion, and if your daughter ever wants to grow her blog and have more creative control and also run ads, you can upgrade your wordpress.com blog to a self-hosting one like mine.
You can give yourself admin privileges and give your daughter editing privileges (that’s how Joshua and Lisey’s blogs are set up) so that way you’ve got full control over the blog and your daughter won’t have access to settings that could mess up the blog. You can also exercise control over the commenting system, which I know was a concern of yours. And as long as you proof-read her posts before she publishes them, you can make sure she’s not sharing information you’d like to keep private.
I love reading your blog for many reasons, one of them being: your very organized approach to savings and budgeting. I have been considering opting into budget billing with my electric and gas bill. I really see no down side to having a steady power bill, but, I must admit, the months when the bill is very low give me a thrill even though I know it all evens out in the end with the high months. Do you use the budget billing option or do you, too, enjoy the thrill of a little extra cash in the budget during the spring and fall months?
Thus far, I haven’t used budget billing, opting instead to do my own version of that by budgeting a certain amount every month and then putting any extra from that amount into a savings account during the low bill months and withdrawing what we need when we have a high bill.
Most budget billing programs generously estimate your monthly bill so that they’re sure to have enough money to cover your usage. I’m know they give it back to you at the end of the year if there’s extra, but I’d kinda like to have that money in my own bank account all year, you know?
Some budget billing programs do have a system where they pay interest on any extra money you’ve paid into the system, but if your budget billing doesn’t have that, you might be happier sticking with your current method.
Readers, chime in with your thoughts!