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Testing Which Posts Work on Facebook – Boost your Blog BB#100

I’d like to share a thought before we get to the type of posts you might want to explore. Remember we are trying to get to know our audience. Our Facebook audience may not be the same (and probably isn’t) as your blog’s audience nor the other social media platforms. Each platform brings its own unique audience. Each can drive traffic to your website and encourage growth on that specific social media platform. But, again, each are unique animals. In order to know what works, you must start testing which posts work and which ones don’t and you must test them For Each Platform. Remember, I am only really focusing on Facebook, so my suggestions and ideas will not necessarily work for Google+ or Twitter. But the concept of testing will. Now, back to your regularly scheduled article about boosting your blog via Facebook….

Boost your Blog BB#100

I keep talking about “types of posts”, what do I mean? Well there are several different “flavors” of posts. ¬†A good variety of all of these posts would be smart, but some will resonate more with your audience than others. How do we know which ones will work better… yep, you guessed it… testing them! ūüôā¬†

Challenge: Test Which Posts Work best for YOUR Audience.

1. Easy to answer Questions.

These are designed to get your audience talking. I honestly HATE stupid questions, so I rarely ask the easy ones… but I do ask who their day is going, what’s for dinner (usually when I’m hungry), what they are doing at various times of the day, what field trips they are doing this week, etc.

2. Crowd-sourcing Questions.

For our Facebook page, we get a TON of questions from homeschoolers (and potential homeschoolers). Instead of answering them ourselves, we pose them to our audience. Homeschool moms love to help each other and all of us have opinions, so these questions usually get a ton of engagement. One thing I personally need to get better about is engaging among the answers. It is so easy to just post the question and move on… but honestly, we need to be involved. We need to know our page is not being used for inappropriate content, spam, and not the least of which…¬†unpaid advertisements. So, this is one of my goals this year: to stay more involved once the question is posed and our moms are answering it.

3. Links to your blog.

Again, it would be easy to just post the link and the title and move on. But what I’m finding is that this is not going to get much engagement usually. We try really hard to not have exotic titles on our posts… but we can certainly use them on Facebook to pique interest. We are testing everything right now, so test what gets the best audience participation. Don’t forget to drive traffic to your website by providing blog posts to answer some of these questions.

4. Pictures.

For our page, funny pictures by far are the most shared posts. Usually something that not only homeschool moms, but moms in general identify with. But the posts that get the most conversation going are personal pictures of our team when they are doing the social media that day. Real life homeschooling in action. Share some of who you are and what your page is about… genuine and real-life items are loved by our followers. See if that works for you.

5. Links to Other Articles.

Be a good steward of information. Yes, your audience likes you and what you are doing… but, as good as you are, there are others pages that have great information… why not share their articles too? I think we all need to stop being so competitive and start working together to help each other. I am the epitome of a Type A competitive personality so I understand how hard that is… but turn that competitiveness on yourself. ¬†Try to beat your numbers for last month, your numbers of page views, your newsletter subscribers, etc. It will benefit all of us in the long run if we develop cooperative relationships and help our audience be more successful.

6. Quotes by Leaders in Your Field.

These can be either pictures or just the quote typed in as a status. With our audience, these get shared. Especially ones that inspire them, encourage them, challenge them or they identify with. I have a few that I always search for first for education. Again, we are testing everything right now, so see who your audience likes, if they will share quotes from the status or if pictures do better. Being methodical!

7. Videos.

This is another area that I’m not doing a great job of posting. I am posting our Mentoring Moms’ Hangouts each week, but other than that…. not much. So, this is one area we all need to test. Do you use a lot of videos on your page? Share your experiences below!

8. Infographics.

This type of post is one that seems to still be extremely popular. ¬†If you create your own infographics, even better… Our audience loves to see research about how successful (as a whole) homeschooling is when stacked up against about any other form of education. They like to see the demographics in easy to understand grids. They like to see how others are homeschooling. Again, you need to know your own audience to determine if these work for you… but try them and see!

I’m sure there are others that I didn’t think to add. Do you have suggestions that I didn’t include? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

One final note… there is another big question that seems to be asked and answered a lot … How often to post?¬† I think you are getting my point by now… I can’t answer that for you (nor can anyone else that is not an admin on your site). Each audience is different… even within the same exact demographic and same niche! So, test post frequency to see if your audience engages more or less when you post more often / less often. Again, doing the hard work is the only way to get to the real answer for these questions.

Be sure to read the other posts in this series:

Be sure to visit the other co-hosts and do their challenges as well!

  • Lisa from Squishable Baby wrote a series on¬†Giveaways
  • Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love wrote a series on¬†Grammar
  • Thaleia from Something 2 Offer wrote a series on¬†Blog Photos¬†and one on¬†Commenting
  • Martiel from Amazing Success Academy wrote a series onSEO¬†and one on¬†Blog Titles and Topics
  • Honey from Honey‚Äôs Life wrote a series on¬†Twitter

Until next time…

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Methodically Test your Posts on Facebook – Boost your Blog BB#100

You already know I can be a bit OCD when it comes to tracking and numbers, so do this challenge at whatever level feels appropriate for you. You also know I am a bit miffed with Facebook right now. So, I have to tell you this because I am constantly telling myself this. Take your focus off Facebook’s changes and focus on your audience. It will do us no good to be angry with Facebook… they don’t care. They are a business and are treating us as such. We knew all along that “we” (the members) were the “product” on Facebook. So why are we surprised that they are charging us now? ¬†We need to focus on what is working… and we need to be very organized in how we approach it.

Boost your Blog BB#100

Challenge: Methodically Test your Posts on Facebook

The goal is to take the numbers we already have and put the data to the test. We want to try different types of updates. Be methodical. Treat this like a scientific study and really track what you are doing. Try a status update at different times of the day. A post with a picture added; a post with a link added; a post with both; a post with the link in the comments… you get the picture. But keep track of when you are doing what. What gets the most engagement and then look to see what gets the most reach. ¬†Does the reach continue to grow throughout the day on those posts? ¬†Be sure to try different types at different times of day.

If you really want to get even more out of this study, read¬†Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value. Not only do they track their posts (on many platforms) very methodically, they also assign a dollar value to the engagement that is received. Fascinating! I’ll admit, I haven’t gone here yet… but will (eventually)! ūüôā

So, are you getting anything out of these Facebook challenges? Are you feeling like they are worth your time? Please leave me comments below to let me know your thoughts about how I’m doing. Blogging can be a lonely business, you know? Of course you know, you are bloggers after all! ūüôā

Be sure to read the other posts in this series:

Be sure to visit the other co-hosts and do their challenges as well!

  • Lisa from Squishable Baby wrote a series on¬†Giveaways
  • Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love wrote a series on¬†Grammar
  • Thaleia from Something 2 Offer wrote a series on¬†Blog Photos¬†and one on¬†Commenting
  • Martiel from Amazing Success Academy wrote a series onSEO¬†and one on¬†Blog Titles and Topics
  • Honey from Honey‚Äôs Life wrote a series on¬†Twitter

Until next time….

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Turn Off the AutoFeeds on Facebook – Boost your Blog BB#100

Now that we have gotten to know our audience, our competition and what is feeding our blogs and websites… now it is time to put some of that into action!

Today’s Challenge

So here is your challenge for today and here it is at the top of the article! I recommend you turn off all the autofeeds to your Facebook page… at least for a little while. You need to really be in there with our readers and followers to see what works. So everything you post will be manual. I know this is a ten day challenge, but I highly recommend you try this for a month or so.

Boost your blog BB#100

Why, you ask…

3 Reasons to Turn off the AutoFeeds

1. Facebook is attempting to bring relevant content to members. ¬†There has been chatter that anything that doesn’t appear organic may not show up in your feed. With our posts being seen by fewer and fewer followers everyday, we certainly don’t need anything to prevent us from getting our posts seen. That is a big enough reason in and of itself.

2. Engagement is more timely. Getting engagement on your posts is critical to its ability to be seen. The more a person engages with your posts, pictures, etc, the more likely your posts will appear in their feed. So, go forth and engage! Seriously, chat with your followers. Have a meaningful conversation! Give them a reason to want to support you and your efforts.

3. You get to see what is working and what is not in real-time. You get to feel what time of day works best, what posts are working, what your followers want to see and hear about. I have found that at different times of day, our followers engage differently. You will figure that out too. And you will quickly realize that one size does not fit all.

I think that is one of the most important things I can tell you. There are a lot of folks out here making lots of money telling you how to do this or that… but I will say it again… one size does not fit all. Don’t waste your money on shortcuts. Do the hard work and it will pay off because you will know your audience. Well! ¬†Brands want to work with those of us that have this kind of pulse on our market.

Let me know what your thoughts are about turning all the autofeeds off!

Be sure to read the other posts in this series:

Be sure to visit the other co-hosts and do their challenges as well!

  • Lisa from Squishable Baby wrote a series on¬†Giveaways
  • Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love wrote a series on¬†Grammar
  • Thaleia from Something 2 Offer wrote a series on¬†Blog Photos¬†and one on¬†Commenting
  • Martiel from Amazing Success Academy wrote a series on¬†SEO¬†and one on¬†Blog Titles and Topics
  • Honey from Honey‚Äôs Life wrote a series on¬†Twitter

Until next time…

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The Goal of Social Media – Boost your Blog BB#100

How have the first two challenges gone? ¬†Do you feel like you are really getting a handle on good Facebook content for your audience? ¬†Now that we have spent time analyzing the numbers on Facebook, let’s get off Facebook and look at your blog’s numbers. ¬†We need to remember what exactly the goal of social media is and decide if we are using it effectively.

Boost your blog

The Goal of Social Media

So we have spent all this time analyzing metrics of how different posts performed on Facebook, but now we get to where the rubber meets the road. Did any of these Facebook posts lead them back to your blog? Because, ultimately, that is the goal, at least for bloggers, to drive traffic to our sites.

Is Social Media Doing its Job?

If you are a Word Press site and have the JetPack Plugin, you have the numbers to study where your traffic is coming from. ¬†If you haven’t implemented this plugin, Navin wrote a great article for Tech Info Blog about setting it up and how to use it.

Google Analytics tracks where your traffic comes from no matter what you are using for your blog.  Ian Cleary wrote a great article on how to use Google Analytics to analyze your engagement.  Pay attention to number 5.  For my articles (which focus on Facebook), that is the number we need to focus on.  If you need to know how to set it up, here is an article on Shout Me Loud on how to set it up.

If you are like me, I am visual, BIG TIME.  I like to see charts and graphs.  Similar Web is one of my favorite tools to help me see our website. Check it out! I think this tool will analyze your site and return your traffic metrics without the other two tools being implemented. Be sure to let me know if that is not accurate!

Challenge: Determine if  Your Current SM Strategy is Working

So what have you learned from this picture that traffic paints? ¬†Are you successfully using your social media to drive traffic to your blog? ¬†I know it is so easy to get caught up in the “numbers game” and just look at our social media as if IT is the goal. ¬†I get caught in that trap sometimes too. But ultimately, we don’t want our audience to be on a platform we have no control over. As we have seen with the changes Facebook is currently making, that is a risky proposition. So, we have to keep this goal in mind whenever we are analyzing our success with social media…. IS IT DRIVING TRAFFIC TO MY SITE? ¬†If not, you now have an actionable goal to focus on how to do that!

NOTE:¬†If you don’t already have diagnostic tools setup to determine where your traffic is coming from, get them now! ¬†THAT is your challenge for today!!

Share Your Thoughts, Tools and Insights

As you are working through my challenges, please share your thoughts and insights in a comment. ¬†If you are using different tools that are working, please include those as well. ¬†I am not the sage of Facebook social media… I just spend a lot of time analyzing and trying to help grow our Social Media success. ¬†So help me learn from you as well! ¬†I am just like you, I want to grow my blogs too, ya’ know ūüôā

Be sure to read the other posts in this series:

Be sure to visit the other co-hosts and do their challenges as well!

  • Lisa from Squishable Baby wrote a series on¬†Giveaways
  • Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love wrote a series on¬†Grammar
  • Thaleia from Something 2 Offer wrote a series on¬†Blog Photos¬†and one on¬†Commenting
  • Martiel from Amazing Success Academy wrote a series on¬†SEO¬†and one on¬†Blog Titles and Topics
  • Honey from Honey‚Äôs Life wrote a series on¬†Twitter

Until next time…

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Know Your Competition on Facebook – Boost your Blog BB#100

Did you learn a lot from studying your analytics about what types of posts your audience likes and interacts with? ¬†Now we will take that very information we found for you on Facebook to Know your Competition! Yes, we are going there. But, let’s call it benchmarking… because really that is what we are trying to do. Determine how successful we are compared to others in our niche. We can learn a lot from others who are bigger than we are. We will look to the pages that are really growing to see if we can gather some intelligence about YOUR audience. ¬†How do we know who they are? ¬†Keep reading…

Know your audience on Facebook

Graph Searches

If you haven’t started using this powerful search, you will fall in love once you try them. This is how can we study other pages that your audience likes. Simply use this search string in Facebook and replace “hip homeschool moms” with the name of your blog:

Favorite pages of people who like Hip Homeschool Moms

So what are we going to do with this information?

The Challenge: Study Your Most Successful Competitors

Now let’s spend some time understanding what is working for your largest competitors. Study the engagement, see which types of posts were the most successful. ¬†Document the following information:

  1. How often did the post?
  2. When?
  3. What type of posts (pictures, links, statuses, videos, contests, trivia, )?
  4. What were the most successful posts?
  5. How much did the page interact with their audience?
  6. Notice the apps and tabs they are using would these benefit your audience?
  7. Do they repost other brands content?
  8. Do they use hashtags often?
  9. Do they post sponsored content?

The key comparison to track is engagement rates by days, time of post, by content type and topic allows you to really start learning.

Resources to Help Analyze Your Competitors (and Yourself)

  • Likealyzer.¬†¬†LikeAlyzer helps you to measure and analyze the potential and effectiveness of your Facebook Page. It allows you to monitor, compare and explore all the possibilities of your Facebook Page by evaluating your activity to ensure your success on the most popular social network in the world – Facebook.
  • Fan Page Karma. ¬†¬†¬†is a paid tool that provides a free version that allows you to do¬†a pretty detailed analysis of your Facebook Page and a comparison with your competitors.
  • Conversation Score. ¬†CScore is a free tool that performs an analysis of your Facebook Page, categorizes and gives it a score based on the behavior of your Page.
  • AgoraPulse Barometer. This report provides¬†an analysis of your Facebook Page and compares it against other companies‚Äô Pages (that also used this tool) that have a similar number of fans. It¬†calculates the average percentage on several criteria based on your last 50 posts. The report shows the score for your Page received compared with the average score for other Pages that ran this assessment.

Share Your Thoughts, Tools and Insights

As you are working through my challenges, please share your thoughts and insights in a comment. ¬†If you are using different tools that are working, please include those as well. ¬†I am not the sage of Facebook social media… I just spend a lot of time analyzing and trying to help grow our Social Media success. ¬†So help me learn from you as well! ¬†I am just like you, I want to grow my blogs too, ya’ know ūüôā

I know these challenges are harder than most, but because Facebook is changing, we have to really understand our niche to be effective. ¬†I encourage you to take your time…. if it can’t be done overnight, come back after you have completed that day’s challenge before you start the next one. ¬†These challenges will build on each other!

Be sure to read the other posts in this series:

Be sure to visit the other co-hosts and do their challenges as well!

  • Lisa from Squishable Baby wrote a series on¬†Giveaways
  • Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love wrote a series on¬†Grammar
  • Thaleia from Something 2 Offer wrote a series on¬†Blog Photos¬†and one on¬†Commenting
  • Martiel from Amazing Success Academy wrote a series onSEO¬†and one on¬†Blog Titles and Topics
  • Honey from Honey‚Äôs Life wrote a series on¬†Twitter

Until next time…

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Know Your Audience on Facebook Boost Your Blog BB#100

Well, Facebook picked a fine time to change the way they treat Company Pages… right before I am about to write my portion of this challenge! And I’ll go ahead and confess, I am one unhappy lady with Facebook right now. Let me also mention while I’m at it, that I am one of the co-owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. ¬†So my perspective is being shared here on my personal blog (Live and Learn Farm), but my experience is from doing the Social Media for Hip Homeschool Moms. ¬†I also need to tell you I make everything a game! ¬†So, although I’m mad as fire at Facebook, I’m determined that we are going to figure out how to continue reaching our audience despite this dramatic reduction in organic reach to our audience that took the time to like our page! ¬†But before we go there, let’s get some basic items covered up front and get right to our first discussion… Know your audience on Facebook.

Boost your Blog Facebook Day 1

 

Facebook is a Business

I know… that is obvious. But it needs to be stated at the beginning of our discussion about this platform. Just like we are in business to make a living, so are they… and they now have shareholders to answer to. The days of getting a bunch of free advertising are pretty much over on Facebook. That does not mean we need to leave Facebook! Far from it! In my opinion, that would be very short-sighted to consider leaving Facebook. After all, it is still the most popular social media platform on the internet (right now). And, at least for our audience, they are primarily on Facebook. What it does mean is… ¬†we all need to get extremely smart with our approach! So what’s a blogger to do?

Know Your Audience

I cannot emphasize this point enough! We have to know our audience, know what makes them want to read our posts, know what they love about our sites (and don’t like so much), know why they share some posts and not others, I mean KNOW them. That is the most important piece of advice I can give you. Period. It doesn’t matter what platform we are talking about. ¬†If you don’t know your audience and how to connect with them, you are batting a zero already. Relationships. That is what social media is based on. If you are not developing a relationship with your audience, you are losing them to someone who is!

How do you get to know your Audience?

You spend time with the analytics and numbers from your site.  Take some time to study and compare all the analytics from all the platforms you use. Facebook insights are easy to navigate and a treasure trove of information. You  can learn so much via the insights that Facebook provides:

  • Where your audience is geographically
  • What time of day and days of the week your audience most uses Facebook
  • The demographics of your audience (age, location, gender)
  • The reach each of your posts receive
  • What posts garner the most engagement with your audience and what type those posts are (pictures, comments, links, etc.)
  • What technology your audience used to view your page
  • Details about audience numbers (how many you have gained and lost) and even if they hid a post, all your posts or reported your posts as spam!
  • If you pay to have any of your posts boosted, you will see the results compared to organic reach as well.

I am a numbers-aholic, so I track everything. I don’t necessarily recommend you spend more than an hour on this exercise, but I do encourage you to pay special attention to the type of posts, when, and notice what is special about it that helped engagement. ¬†Was it a fantastic photograph? A great tag line? A post that was time sensitive? Make note of these items.

Resources to Help you Analyze your Numbers

There are so many resources you can choose from to help you understand your Facebook Analytics and this list is not extensive nor all inclusive.  If you have other resources you love to use, please let me know in the comments below.

John Loomer wrote a great article about page insights for Social Media Examiner. I highly recommend you spend some time understanding your metrics

Another site you need to visit that will provide a detailed explanation of how to find the data, download it and understand it is by Web Marketing Today.

The Challenge…

Download and study your numbers for 2014. ¬†I know that might be a lot of data… but Facebook is changing! You have to know your data to see the trends! If you are not intimately aware of your numbers, you wont notice the numbers as they shift.

Share Your Thoughts, Tools and Insights

As you are working through my challenges, please share your thoughts and insights in a comment. ¬†If you are using different tools that are working, please include those as well. ¬†I am not the sage of Facebook social media… I just spend a lot of time analyzing and trying to help grow our Social Media success. ¬†So help me learn from you as well! ¬†I am just like you, I want to grow my blogs too, ya’ know ūüôā

Be sure to read the other posts in this series:

Be sure to visit the other co-hosts and do their challenges as well!

  • Lisa from Squishable Baby wrote a series on¬†Giveaways
  • Michelle from Simplify, Live, Love wrote a series on¬†Grammar
  • Thaleia from Something 2 Offer wrote a series on¬†Blog Photos¬†and one on¬†Commenting
  • Martiel from Amazing Success Academy wrote a series onSEO¬†and one on¬†Blog Titles and Topics
  • Honey from Honey‚Äôs Life wrote a series on¬†Twitter

Until next time…

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Boost Your Blog in 100 Days Challenge

Boost Your Blog in 100 Days Challenge

How exciting! ¬†I am taking part in a fantastic challenge for the next 100 days, ¬†if you are a blogger interested in growing your blog,¬†I hope you will join us! It is an opportunity to work together to learn how to grow your blog with social media channels like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. ¬†I’m sure you have heard as many times as I have, content is king¬†… and, to be honest, it is true. ¬†Content IS king! ¬†But we all know that getting the content in front of people who actually want to read it is just as important. So, meet the Queen of the Kingdom, Social Media. Once you are being just plain great with fantastic content, it’s time to start sharing ¬†it with the world. But for many of us, Social Media is not so easy to manage. ¬†It can become the highway to a-maz-ing growth, or it can be become the dam that literally prevents you from having time to write that fantastic content. ¬†So, like most queens, she has to be managed ūüôā ! ¬†Honey and her friends had the idea to help others grow their blogs and I just happened to jump in on the tail-end! But, seriously, I’m excited to be a part of this wonderful group of women and look forward to learning way more than I contribute ūüôā So, without further adieu, let’s get to Boost Your Blog in 100 Days (or #BB100 ) and meet the hostesses.
Boost Your Blog

The series will cover multiple 10-day series like such as:

  • Topics to blog about
  • Twitter
  • SEO/Keywords
  • Pinterest
  • Growing Facebook Followers¬†
  • Getting more traffic.

Be sure to sign up to receive the emails so you don‚Äôt miss anything! Join us and let’s learn to grow our blogs with the Boost Your Blog in 100 Days Challenge #BB100!

Remember, anyone can participate. ¬†You can do one or all 10 challenges at your own pace or follow along with us… whatever works best for you and your blogging needs.

Meet the Hostesses:

honey 400Honey Rowland, blogs at¬†Honey’s Life¬†about homeschooling, family life and green living. ¬†With a passion for self-sufficiency and natural, special needs parenting you‚Äôll learn about everything from natural, local foods to essential oils and homeopathy to gardening and farm life. Honey has also turned the constant ‚Äėtalks too much‚Äô report card comments into a home business. She runs social media while obtaining new sponsors and advertisers for herself and other bloggers. So whether you‚Äôre curious about chickens or children, ask‚Ķ‚Äôcause she‚Äôs dabbled and babbled in just about everything.

Michelle Simplify Live loveMichelle Marine blogs at Simplify, Live, Love where she shares down to earth tips for the thoughtful mama. Michelle. along with her husband, 4 kids and a bunch of animals, lives sustainably in barn on 5 acres in rural Eastern Iowa. Michelle is an avid gardener and from-scratch cook of real food; she cans produce, homeschools, and teaches community college classes in addition to blogging. Her husband is building their forever home to the German Passive House standards and they plan to live off grid yet still enjoy modern conveniences. Simplify, Live, Love chronicles their attempts to live sustainably and strives to remind people to live simply and frugally yet still enjoy life.

MartielMartiel Beatty from Amazing Success Academy specializes in helping artists build online businesses and blogs. She is a fiber artist, expert blogger, author of Blog Notes, and GIMP Wizard. She is also the founder of Sewmantra and started the Academy because she couldn’t find an affordable, knowledgeable and effective program that supported handmade, indie-artists. Find out how she can help you build your business today. 

lisa familyLisa Nelson¬†from¬†The Squishable Baby¬†focuses on creating positive learning experiences through everyday life. I believe that learning about ‚Äď and respecting diversity, different religions, other cultures, charity, and our environment ‚Äď through play, through crafts, through lessons, through giving ‚Äď will not only produce more empathetic children and adults ‚Äď but will put a child on a path to a love of lifelong learning.

Thaleia 300 lightThaleia Maher blogs at Something 2 Offer where she is generous in giving advice and helping others find free resources that meet their needs; be it for homeschool or life! She is a BIG researcher who wants to encourage families on their homeschool journey. Wife to high school sweetheart. Mother of four (including 2 little reds!), Sister, Daughter, Christ-Follower, Talkative, Creative. Hoping to figure this whole life, blogger, social media thing out! So be sure to keep tabs on her journey of life.

Trish CorlewAnd finally, me, I’m Trish Corlew and I blog at Live and Learn Farm and am one of the co-owners of Hip Homeschool Moms. I primarily run the marketing and advertising of Hip Homeschool Moms as well as our Social Media. Oh, and by the way, this picture is FOUR years old now. Maybe one of our team members should write about using current pictures so folks can recognize you if they bump into you at a conference or something ūüôā I have been married for 17 years and have three sons (14, 12 and 10 years old) and we live in West Tennessee on a 40+ acre farm. In my spare time, I love to help homeschooling moms figure out how to best homeschool their families! I love to work in our vegetable garden and can regularly be found trying to learn something new, modeling that learning is indeed a life-long endeavor!

So here is the current schedule:

Days 1-10: Leave 100 Comments with Thaleia begins Feb 15.

Days 11-20: Grammar Mistakes Bloggers Make with Michelle.

Days 21-30: Using Twitter with Honey.

Days 31-40: Topics for 100 Blog Posts with Martiel.

Days 41-50: Figuring out your Followers on Facebook with me, Trish.

Ready to boost your blog #BB100? Join the 100 day challenge and we will get this party started! 

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New Feature for 2014 – Montessori Made Affordable

We are a Montessori homeschooling family.  I have been homeschooling for five years and prior to that, I was the Chairman of the Board for a local Montessori School for three years.  We LOVE the Montessori pedagogy and believe it is one of the reasons our boys are so advanced in their education… Montessori created a strong foundation to build on.  However, Montessori materials are expensive which makes many of the items out of reach for homeschoolers. Because I really believe in the Montessori method, I want to help you by creating a new feature for 2014 – Montessori Made Affordable.

Montessori Made Affordable

As I find items that are either a less expensive version of a traditional Montessori work or material or a deal I’ve stumbled upon, I’ll post them here on our blog and on our Facebook page.  It may be an article on how to make the item, it may be a link to a sale, it may be a used item… but any and all will be opportunities to help you implement Montessori concepts in your homeschool more economically.

This blog is actually part of our upper level Montessori homeschool curriculum.  We teach creative writing via Institute for Excellence in Writing and part of my boys’ creative writing curriculum is to blog here at Live and Learn Farm. (Note:  We are starting a link up for tweens and teens in 2014 for other homeschoolers to have an outlet for their children to blog as part of their writing curriculum too!)

In addition to the blog being part of our boys’ creative writing curriculum, it is also part of their Montessori practical life studies. Maria Montessori suggested an Erdkinder environment for children in upper level grades.  We have created our version of an Erdkinder here at Live and Learn Farm… we call it farmschooling.  All of our boys have farm businesses, and they will also be blogging about their businesses.  In this plane of development, Montessori encouraged teaching our children a means to financial independence.

Maria Montessori Four Planes of Development

Along that line, and in the interest of full disclosure… we are an affiliate with some organizations (Amazon, for instance) and are paid a commission if you purchase due to our recommendation.  We will ALWAYS be honest in our recommendation and only recommend items we have used or would use in our homeschool. There is ZERO additional cost to you and it is a tiny (and I mean tiny) amount to us.  That is part of teaching the boys how to earn a living by doing something they LOVE to do (and me too) … writing.

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We hope by showing you how we are continuing to use the Montessori educational philosophy to teach our boys in the upper grades, sharing what is working, how we are implementing it and being genuine in our failures, that you will be blessed by our blog and that it will help you continue to Montessori homeschool into the upper grades.  If we succeed, we hope you will consider our efforts to share our experiences worthwhile and will help – by not only using our links when we introduce the items if they make sense for your homeschool – but also by sharing them with your friends.  We will learn together and help each other!

Thank you for being part of our community and we look forward to presenting Montessori Made Affordable in 2014!

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Kids on Location

Kids on Location

I’ve been brainstorming ideas for our homeschool on what we can do to keep the momentum going through the summer. ¬†And I’ve come up with some ideas my children were ecstatic about! ¬†I want to share these ideas with you and hope that not only will you like the ideas, but that you and your children will participate too!! ¬†So here goes… We have created a page on our blog called “Kids On Location”. ¬†We are going to create a Thursday linky party for posts about the children going on location, like a news broadcaster when they are reporting live on location. ¬†

Historical MarkersThe First Idea: ¬†Learning about our local history via Historical Markers. ¬†I don’t know about y’all, but I’m a transplant to this area and I don’t know much about our own local history. ¬†Every couple of weeks, the boys and I will identify our closest historical markers and we will spend an afternoon driving to these markers. You can find your neighborhood historical markers at this national database. ¬†Thank you Jimmie Lanley for posting this link on your Google plus Account, it really got me brainstorming, as you see ūüôā¬†¬† The boys will photograph the markers and the item the marker is describing (if applicable). ¬†They will note the location, the roads (and closest cross roads), the closest towns, the GPS coordinates, etc. ¬†Then each child will pick one historic marker to research and write a news report on for the week. Here is a¬†Historic Marker Form with Prompts¬† to help our budding reporters develop ideas on how to report on the markers. ¬†Your children might even decide they want to return to the location and give their news report about the Historic Marker via video! ¬†I know some children would love being in front of the camera and others would love to be behind the camera.¬†

Kids on LocationThe Second Idea: ¬†When we go on field trips, family outings and vacations this summer, have our children report about these destinations. Here is a Kids on Location¬†form that will provide some prompts to help get them started. ¬† And just like before, the children might enjoy doing a recording of them “on location”. ¬†I think this would certainly be considered public speaking training … don’t you? ¬†

 

Okay, so here is the most unusual aspect of this whole idea:

Teen BloggersLet’s give our children “guest blogger” status on our blogs for the summer and let them do the reporting on this project! ¬†They will upload their own reports to Kids on Location (via the Thursday linky). ¬†You will still have complete control over the publication because guest bloggers’ articles must be approved before they are published. ¬†I am already doing this with my eleven year old son. ¬†Gage has started blogging about his chicken business, Deluxe Clucks. ¬†I cannot even begin to tell you all the positives I’m seeing. ¬†He is WRITING!!! ¬†Hallelujah! ¬†Not only is he writing but he loves it and he loves blogging! ¬†Now, think about it… even if your child only creates one report a week, that is the equivalent of one research project … but without having to pull teeth, without any arguing AND it’s continues the momentum through the summer! ¬†There are so many other positive aspects I’m seeing that I could share but, just imagine for a second…. ¬†Your child excited and motivated about writing! ¬†My boys have been doing the IEW / Beautiful Feet Geography Curriculum and writing about Holling Clancy Holling’s books and they have been loving it. But this is really the next level. ¬†Our children imitate us and they certainly see us blogging… so this would give them some real world experience and isn’t that what our homeschools are to be… training for the “real world”? ¬†¬†I think this entire project could really inspire our children and they would have fun at the same time! ¬†If my children were any indication, I think your children will be excited to do this! ¬†

Finally, we will feature a few reports each week that you, the readers, choose.¬† The Linky will have a “like” button for each link and our readers get to decide who will be featured each week by who gets the most likes. ¬†We have created a button for both the linky and the featured reporter… what do you think of them?

Kids on Location Linky Button

 

 

Kids on Location Reporter Button

 

I am really anxious to hear your feedback! ¬†Please share with me your thoughts, concerns, and ideas! ¬†And then tell me you are in! ¬†I’m hoping we can start the linky party maybe the middle of May? ¬†Does that work for everyone? ¬†

 

Apologia Homeschool Blogs

Apologia Science Bloggers List

Apologia Science Bloggers List

 

I love to learn from other homeschoolers and get inspiration from ¬†their blog posts about experiments, projects, research, etc. ¬†We use Apologia Science for all of our boys (13, 12 and 9). ¬†We have taught every Apologia Elementary curriculum available to us (and are anxiously awaiting Jeannie’s newest book, Physics!). ¬†Our blog will document many of our experiments ¬†over the last 4 years, with a heavy focus on tactile hands-on learning. ¬†I also wanted to keep a running Apologia homeschool blogs list of other homeschooling families using the Apologia Science curriculum. ¬†If you are using any Apologia curriculum and blogging about it, please leave a comment below so I can add you to the list! ¬†There are many families out there that are using Apologia… but most are not blogging about it. ¬†So, I’m trying to keep this list focused on those families that are not just¬†using Apologia, but those writing posts about it too! ¬†Not taking anything away from the others… but just where I chose to focus this list ūüôā ¬† Thank you!!! ¬†

 

Elementary Blogs:

http://chickensbunniesandhomeschool.blogspot.com/search?q=apologia

http://thehomeschoolscientist.com/?s=apologia

http://traciebauguess.blogspot.com/

http://garnergoingson.wordpress.com/

http://ourjourneywestward.com/

http://homeschoolingjustnextdoor.blogspot.com/search/label/Science

http://mudpiesandmakeup.blogspot.com/

http://adventuresinmommydom.org/

http://fieldschoolathome.blogspot.com/search?q=apologia

http://www.journalofmommak.blogspot.com/

http://angelicscalliwags.wordpress.com/

http://proverbs2pursuit.blogspot.com/

http://www.mamaofmanyblessings.com/

http://weshallobtaindeliveringgrace.blogspot.com/

http://homemakingwithheart.com/

 

Middle School / High School Apologia Blogs:

http://mindfulramblings.com/apologia-biology/

http://homeschoolersresources.blogspot.com/

http://traciebauguess.blogspot.com/

http://www.thedaisyhead.com/

http://bankwhitt.wordpress.com/biology/

http://homeschoolblogger.com/amnbooks/apologia-biology/

http://appliejuice.wordpress.com/apologia-biology/

http://appliejuice.wordpress.com/physical-science/

http://martysahm.blogspot.com/p/apologia-biology.html

 

Blend of both (elementary and middle / high school):  

www.LiveAndLearnFarm.com

http://oursideofthemtn.blogspot.com/

http://homeschooljournal-bergblog.blogspot.com/p/science.html

http://our4kiddos.blogspot.com/

http://lilliputstation.blogspot.com/

http://charlottemasonway.blogspot.com/

http://anniekateshomeschoolreviews.com/?s=apologia

 

Until next time….¬†

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