This week I've been asked to share a little with you about how being a part of The Old Schoolhouse's Homeschool Review Crew has impacted me, and our family. There is so much I could say, and a lot I will say, but you also have a life... so I'll limit myself. :) Be sure to read to the end as I'll share about how you can find out more information if you are interested in applying to join the Crew for 2017.
I was first introduced to the Homeschool Review Crew (I'll just call it the Crew from now on,) back in early 2012 by my friend Sharra. I had only been blogging for a few months, but she suggested I apply to join the Crew for two reasons A- I like to share what we have done in our homeschool journey, and B- it would give us an opportunity to try out some new curriculum as we did the reviews.
Fast Forward to 2016Our oldest daughter Emily is getting ready to graduate High School this December, and our youngest has recently started her Junior year of High School. Why are we still on the Crew? Because we love it!!! Even though Emily has only helped with a couple select reviews this year, there are still so many wonderful opportunities for Arlene and I to explore new things with the Crew. Right now we are learning to play a new game, and studying Chemistry because of the Crew. Just in case you somehow missed it - Arlene LOVES the Audio Theater CD's we have reviewed from Heirloom Audio Productions!
What else have we reviewed this year? A wide variety of things! Arlene and I learned how to tap our maple trees and make Maple Syrup, we've both read really good books, we've found a Biology Curriculum that is working well for Arlene, we've watched movies, and we've both learned how to be better writers. (I'll bet you're glad for that last one!)
Maybe by now you've seen that we have the opportunity to review cool things. Not everything we review ends up making it into the regular lineup of courses the girls have completed for High School, but plenty of them have. But there is SO MUCH MORE to the Crew than just reviewing products!
What does the Crew mean to me?I would be remiss if I didn't tell you a little about what goes on behind the scenes of the Crew. We have a terrific Leadership Team that helps us become better bloggers. There is a Q&A section where we can go and ask for help with technical aspects of our blogs (like how to improve our graphics,) or ask for someone to mentor us in our writing and presentation style. Personally, my favorite part is getting to know the other Homeschooling Moms, and a Dad, who are on the Crew and the fellowship we have together. We encourage one another, we pray for one another, and when tragedy or life mishaps happen, we support each other.
If there is a homeschool convention or event going on near us, we try to meet up in person. There are Crew members all over the United States, plus several foreign countries. Our girls have decided that they want to be exchange students and visit my friends in Australia, England, and Canada. So if any of you want to fund their trips, just let me know. :)
How has the Crew Impacted me?Being on the Crew over the past 5 years has really challenged me to be a better writer, and a more organized Mom. I'll be the first to admit that we live a relaxed homeschooling life. It's a good thing our homeschool is relaxed, because the rest of our life is FULL. We have always followed Charlotte Mason's methods of gentle learning, with an emphasis on Living Books, Nature Study, and Narration. The Crew has offered us a chance to see how these methods can be effectively used all the way through High School. There are several curriculum companies out there that offer quality materials. I know as a Mom on a budget it was always difficult to decide if what was offered would fit our style and our budget. When we write our reviews, we try to be as honest as possible about how a curriculum A- is designed to work, B- if it works like that, and C- if it can easily be adapted to fit other teaching or learning styles.
Most of Arlene's High School coursework is done independently. As a working and homeschooling Mama, it is important that she is not always waiting on me to get home to teach her something. The Crew has offered several DVD based curriculums (like the Chemistry we are doing now,) and textbook based, yet still student-led curriculums (like the Biology we reviewed earlier this year.)
Interested in Joining the Crew?The Crew year runs January-December, with the last reviews posting in Mid-Novemebr so we always have plenty of time off for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I want to encourage you to learn more about joining the Crew for 2017. There are some basic requirements, but if you are regularly blogging and sharing your posts to Social Media of some kind you should be able to meet them all. Then, if you're interested, submit an application to join the Crew for 2017.
Even if being on the Crew isn't something you're interested in for 2017, know that we are planning to remain on the Crew as part of the High School reviewers. Stick around and read about all the fun we have, and learn something new about all the cool curriculum that is out there!
One last thing... the Crew has helped me be a more organized Mama. We have had several opportunities to review planners of various kinds, both print and digital, and I've even learned how to write my posts early and schedule them. While this may not seem like a big deal to you, it is to me! It has allowed me more time to do the Scripture Writing that I love, and share it with you all. We also have some awesome Road Trip posts to share with you soon thanks to learning how to be better organized! We've always been taking Field Trips, I just haven't always gotten around to telling you about them.
Have a wonderful week!
If you fill out an application, tell them I sent you. :)