It was an experience I'm happy to have had and one I'm even happier to have completed!
I definitely learned a few things along the way. I learned that roughly 75 products spread over one year is more than one product to review per week. That is something I should have grasped before my journey began.
I learned that there are a whole lot of web-based math products out there- more than the world probably needs all at once.
I learned that some vendors out there pretend to be homeschool oriented and friendly, but they're really not.
I learned that there are a whole lot of products being marketed toward homeschoolers and a lot of it isn't spectacular.
I learned that large numbers of reviews is not the kind of blogging I enjoy.
I learned that sometimes my blogging audience is appreciative of reviews and let's me know when a product speaks to them- thank you.
I learned that if you are loyal to a particular brand of homeschooling (style) or curriculum, then using a whole bunch of other products is going to be a distraction to your schooling.
I learned that reviewing electronic memberships or products with one to four week access or even longer is no fun. That just feels like work.
I learned that being true to your homeschooling colors and blog audience greatly influences your opinion of a product.
I learned that being congruent with who I am as a homeschooler sometimes means voicing unpopular statements about a product.
I learned that sometimes vendors don't like that.
I learned that there are some really talented folks out there who share their labor of love with the homeschooling community and it was my distinct pleasure to have encountered it.
I learned that some vendors have outstanding personal customer service and some do not (see comment on pretender vendors).
I learned that the TOS Crew is a unique opportunity to see some products you might not otherwise encounter.
I learned that others on The Crew had a really different experience from mine and that's ok.
I learned that The Crew commitment was more than I should have bitten off to chew.
I learned about a few really great products I would have missed out on and for that I am thankful.
Overall, I'm glad I tried it. Most of the time. But I'm equally as happy that my voyage has come to an end.
And now for a fun look at my favorite Crew Reviews. Without a doubt, these were my very favorite products for which I am so thankful to have participated in this review year:
- Olde World Maps from Homeschool in the Woods
- Hands On Geography by Bright Ideas Press
- The Great Latin Adventure by Classical Legacy Press
- Math Mammoth
- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling
- Nature Friend Magazine
- Hank the Cowdog- of course!
- Maestro Classics
- All About Spelling
- Sarah's Wish
- A Journey through Learning
- Sense and Sensibility Patterns
As you sail on into your third voyage without me, may your mornings be gray (but not black) and your evenings red and calm.