Thursday, February 10, 2011

Would You Like a Chance to be on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew?

As you know, I have been serving on The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew this year, and it has been wonderful.

The Old Schoolhouse magazine is the largest Christian homeschool magazine on the market.

Tryouts for the 2011-2012 Crew year will be coming up soon, probably in March.

I wanted to give you a heads up as there are a few requirements that need to be met to be considered.

First and foremost, you must have a blog. If you do not have one as of yet, it would be a good idea to get one going. If you need help with this, just let me know.

You will need to post at least 4 time per month, and have Google Friend Connect, or some other way to track followers, visible on your blog. You will need a minimum of 25 followers.  Again, if you need any help, just let me know.

You need to have at least one school aged child to apply.

It is not recommended to apply if you are a first year homeschooler. It is so hard to get started homeschooling in the first place, that it would be too overwhelming to be on the Crew also. (But after you get in the swing of things, you may want to tryout next year!)

So, what can you expect as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew?

I'll tell you a little bit about how it works.

The TOS Crew is ran by our wonderful Crew Captain, Heidi Strawser. She is also the Special Projects Manager for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  She keeps everything running smoothly, and holds everything together.

TOS has a large number of vendors that would like their products to be reviewed. A wonderful lady named Brenda works with the vendors to choose who will review what products.
After they have it all worked out, she will send out a list with the names of those who will be reviewing that particular product.

Not everyone will get to review every product. Sometimes this makes people upset, so if you are chosen, please do not gripe or complain about not receiving a product. (THANKS)

When you are chosen to review a product, it will either be mailed to your home, or emailed to you.

We do receive our fair share of online products. Not everything will be a physical product.
This also has caused some to be upset, so just know going into this that not every item you receive will be a physical product. (I have loved some of the online products.)

You will need a reliable source of internet to be on the Crew. You will need to check the boards daily.

After you have received your product, you will generally have about 6 weeks to use, and review that product. After which you will need to submit your review on a specific due date.

You will most likely have multiple products to be reviewed at one time. I have had 5 or 6 products due in one month. I have had more than 10 products that I was working on at once. They will all have different due dates, but they can be very close together.

I am not trying to discourage anyone; it has been wonderful for me this year. I just want you to know ahead of time exactly how things will work, so that you can make the decision as to whether or not this is right for your family.

It is a MAJOR COMMITMENT. Reviews must be submitted on their review due date. Obviously life happens, and Heidi and Brenda do understand this. They are very sweet and understanding, but repeated missed due dates will not be allowed.

You are committing to review any product that you are assigned. You cannot excuse yourself from a product just because you do not like it.

This is to be take seriously, and not just as a way to get free curriculum.

OK, so now that I have scared you, lol, I want you to know that there ARE some really great things about being on the Crew!

First off, all of the women are fantastic! They are so helpful, and you will quickly become great friends.

Of course you get to keep the products that you review! This is a great benefit. I have tried products this year that I never would have heard of otherwise. 90 + percent of them I have loved.
You will be so blessed by these products.
Heidi and Brenda pray over these decisions, and I know that God really has a hand in the products that you receive, and even the ones you do not receive.

I have been so blessed. I can not express how much it has meant to me.

It has been fun! It is exciting to see if your name is on a list! I love getting things in the mail too!!! lol

It has been a wonderful experience. It IS a LOT of hard work. At times you may have to put your normal curriculum aside to be able to fully review these products.

There is a time commitment that needs to be given to writing your reviews. It is not too bad, but I think if I had more little ones, it would be a little tougher. I am sure I could find time though. ( I would make time. lol)

The year before this, I had heard about the Crew, and thought about applying, but I had so much curriculum that I wanted us to finish that year that I decided to wait.
I am so glad I made that decision. I would have been so frustrated that year trying to finish the things I wanted to, while trying to make time to review the Crew products.

This year we are more laid back, and we have a more relaxed atmosphere. We are loving to do unit studies, which has been wonderful for us.

But, honestly, just so you know, we have not gotten in much more than review items. Now, some of that is my fault, as I am not the most organized person around. If I managed my time right, I am sure I could get more in there. BUT, we have been so blessed to receive almost everything we have needed this year as well, so the review items have really been our main curriculum.

This doesn't always happen though. We have had to add in some subjects.

You can look on my blog sidebar to see what products I have reviewed so far this year, and what products are coming up.

You can also check out the Crew website for all of the products that have been reviewed this year, and in the years past.

So, now that you have a better understanding of how this whole thing works, the positives, and the negatives, if you think this would be a good fit for you and your family, go ahead and start on your blog, and work on meeting those requirements mentioned above. Pray about it. Seek the Lord's guidance on this matter. It is a big time commitment, but it has been worth it to me. It may also be worth it to you.

I will keep you updated as I learn more. I will let you know the tryout dates as soon as I know them myself.

Good Luck!

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