Monday, October 17, 2016

What Being on the Crew Means To Me....

As you know, I've been a member of the Homeschool Review Crew  for the past two years and it has been a wonderful journey for me in so many ways.  I wanted to take a few moments to share with you what a wonderful blessing the crew has been for me and encourage you to consider applying yourself. 

If you're like me, you've probably read many of the reviews the Crew posts on various curriculum. There have been many times I'm googling a particular curriculum for information before putting my hard earned money down on it and I end up on a crew member's review. Prior to being on the crew, I never knew how people got the opportunity to do reviews on curriculum but I couldn't help but be a bit envious. I mean, come on, they get free curriculum to try, many times curriculum that I was either spending big bucks on or having to skip entirely because I just couldn't afford it. 

Two years ago, on an October day much like today, I just happened to come across a posting on one of the many Homeschool Facebook groups stating the Review Crew was accepting applications for bloggers. You've probably seen the one posted here to the left this year inviting you to submit an application.  I'm not even sure what possessed me to apply when I saw the same ad back then, other than maybe just the desperation of being a financially strapped military family and the idea of getting curriculum for free.  I had a blog that nobody read (I was lucky to get 5 hits a month and those were probably my own), no followers whatsoever, and I was honesty failing pretty miserably at my own homeschooling journey at that time.  I knew even filling out that application that never in a million years would I be selected for something like the crew - but I had always been taught that the only sure way to guarantee something is to not try in the first place.

But I did fill it out and a few weeks later I received an email from Kate Kessler from the Old Schoolhouse Magazine saying they were interested in my blog and me.

After a "practice review", I officially became a member of the 2015 Review Crew and it has been such a wonderful journey since then.  This year was my second year on the Crew and it's been an amazing blessing for my family and myself.  Before the crew, I was piecemealing a curriculum together the best I could, hoping to find something on my budget that my children would respond well to.  Through the Crew, I have now had the opportunity to review various curriculum that wasn't even a possibility being on an already stretched thin military budget, such as Apologia,  IEW, Horizons, and CTC Math.

A Very Small Sampling of Some of the Vendors We Reviewed in 2016 - These were some of our Favorites This Year
But we've also been introduced to some vendors that we were completely unfamiliar with that have turned out to become favorites in our household. Companies and products like Here to Help Learning, Foreign Language for Kids by Kids, and Science Shepherd who might not be as well known or are just starting out, but who offer top notch curriculum that our family has loved.

I cannot even begin to tell you what a blessing our review for the Forbrain bone conductive headset ( a review item) has been to our household with us living at a very remote military base with very little access to services such as speech therapy.  It has been a game changer in my son's speech and reading but is something that I never would have been able to afford on my own.

But There's So Much More!!

Yes, the curriculum is wonderful and of course is probably the biggest draw when considering joining the crew, but I want to tell you, there are so many more blessings to be had beyond just what comes to your mailbox throughout the year.

The Homeschool Review Crew is made up of over 200 homeschooling families, much like yourself.  These members come from all walks of life, with different backgrounds, beliefs, teaching styles, and family sizes.  (We even have a homeschooling father - so if you're of the male gender, don't let that stop you from considering applying- we would love to have you join us too!!).  We have families who have very large families (10 or more) and we have families who are teaching their own child.  There are families who have very small children and we have families who have already graduated a few of their children from High School and have seen them move off to college. We have families who know the difficulties of homeschooling a special needs child and we have families who know the struggles of being a mom working outside of the home while homeschooling each day.

Yet, regardless of the various differences, you will never find so much camaraderie as you will find among the members of the Review Crew.  We all come together as a family - a family who is extremely supportive of your homeschool ventures and who wants to help you succeed in all aspects of life:  from your family, your faith, your career, your relationships, your parenting challenges and your homeschooling. The crew is there to listen, give advice and help support you throughout your journey.

You have over 200 members who are there to offer you advice or support when you are struggling with issues at home, members who will pray for you when you need it, or who want to celebrate with you when your children accomplish learning their ABC's or Multiplication tables.

I mentioned at the beginning of this that when I actually applied for the crew two years ago, my homeschooling journey was a mess.  That's putting it nicely..  I was very frustrated and was second guessing my decision to keep my children home.  I was at my rope's end.    But through the blessing of the crew and it's members, I began to learn that there were other ways than just trying to replicate public schools at home..  Today, the kids are doing so well with their school, a complete 180* compared to where we were two years ago in October and I have the crew to thank for that.

For me, this has been one of the greatest benefits, especially as a SAHM on a pretty isolated military base with a Special Needs child. There are days I feel completely isolated, only having two ankle bitters at home and no real adult interaction. I might want to pull my hair out, lock myself in my bedroom, hide under the covers and have a good cry. Instead, I find myself connecting with my crew friends, sharing a laugh with them while I drink my coffee or reading how they used a curriculum that we are reviewing in a way that I didn't consider. I've gotten to know some very wonderful people and developed many friendships that will last a very long time.

And guess what?? There's room for you in our little family too!!

If you have a homeschooling blog, I urge you to take the chance of filling out the application and joining our Crew.  Come for the free curriculum - but I guarantee - you'll stay for the bonds you'll develop with your Crew Family.  For more information and to find out the requirements that are asked of crew members,  click the banner below or visit the information page here. .. And be sure to take a chance and fill out the application.  

What being on the Crew means ...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for being a part of our team 🙂 and for sharing our application on your blog. We love being able to be a blessing to your homeschool


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