I’ve been a member of The Old Schoolhouse’s homeschool review crew since it started in 2008. It was a brand new, amazing idea that came together and began with 100 reviewers. The original idea was to have homeschool families review homeschool products available out there and spread the word about the products as a form of viral marketing. At first, it wasn’t all just blogs. There were some who spread the word through homeschool groups, personal websites, and yahoo groups.
As the group changed and some stayed on year to year that became more experienced, we began to develop a Crew Handbook to help out the new bloggers who came onboard, and began to troubleshoot some of the problems that come with the territory like what to do about reviews that don’t get written, crewmates who quit, products that didn’t work or weren’t received, vendors who weren’t happy, late reviews, etc. etc.
The second year it became a Crew of bloggers, and throughout the cruises the number of bloggers has varied quite a bit. One year we even tried a team for younger products elementary and under and a team for older products Jr. High and High School ages. We’ve seen many changes, tried new things, and just continued to improve like a fine wine. 🙂 🙂 🙂
While the beauty of individuality still shines through the many creative bloggers and writers, the process has been refined to make sure our vendors’ products get uniform and thorough reviews.
For me, I feel totally blessed to be a part of something that makes such a difference in the homeschooling community. From the parents and other caretakers who feel the calling to make sure their children’s education is the best that it can be, to the kids who are blessed enough to be given such an amazing opportunity, to the vendors out there who have so graciously shared their gifts and talents for educating tomorrow’s leaders with the rest of us, there has never been a better time in history to be a homeschooler. As the fire burns in my soul to make sure my own children are educated to be the best that they can be for our Lord, I also feel the calling and the passion to help others who have a similar mission. Through the 5 years I’ve been on the crew, I’ve been introduced to some pretty amazing tools for teaching out there, and have had the extreme privilege to share them with others.
The Crew itinerary and schedule has changed a bit throughout the 5 years I’ve been aboard. This past cruise for 2012 actually ended in November, taking the month of December off. A few fellow crewmates left to sail other seas, and we picked up some new Mates.
So here we are at the beginning of a brand-spankin-new year, ready to set sail for 2013!!
The crew reviews have become so much a part of our homeschool here at Gunn Ranch Academy. Just as the Crew has grown and changed, so has it changed in our family and our homeschool. We’ve always seen it as a job, and an adventure. We take our roll as Crew reviewers very seriously, and keep an open communication about our “team’s” participation and clear guidelines on what our base studies are as my oldest has moved into high school.
So as we take off on another Schoolhouse Review Crew cruise in 2013, I hope you’ll join us for some fun adventures, and some wonderful reviews of the many fabulous products out there available to enrich our kids’ journeys!
Here we go!
Enjoy the journey,