Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Schoolhouse Review Crew - Application Opening Soon!

We will soon be announcing the application process for the 2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew year!
Learn more about joining the 2015 Schoolhouse Review Crew
I wanted to take just a moment to give those bloggers who might be interested in joining us some ideas of what we'll be looking for:
  • First of all you must be a homeschool mom or dad. You don't have to homeschool all of your children, but you must homeschool at least one.
  • You must be willing to use the review products with your students for about six weeks in your homeschool, before writing your review. Review periods have deadlines and requirements for the reviews. You must be willing to follow our requirements. No, that doesn't mean you must write a positive review. And we don't tell you what to write. But there are minimum requirements for length and certain elements that must be included with every review.
  • You must have an active blog on which to publish your reviews, and a minimum number of followers. By active blog, I mean that you should be blogging regularly, at least weekly, about your family and homeschool. In fact, it will be required that you publish at least one non-promotional post per week while on the Crew. Your blog should have followers --  RSS feed or email subscribers and social media followers. I'm sorry, but we don't accept brand new bloggers who just set up their blogs for the purposes of applying to our team. We need established bloggers who like to write and enjoy the social media aspect of blogging.
  • Are you using social media to promote your blog? Activity on at least one social media platform is a requirement to serve on the Crew. Which one is up  to you -- Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest. You will need to commit to promoting your reviews in social media.
  • You must be willing to check into our Review Management forum. This is where we communicate with our team. We do everything possible to make things easy for you, outside of writing the actual review, but you need to be willing to participate by checking in nearly daily and completing required forms when reviews become available. You will also be required to post your reviews in prescribed windows of time, and link them up here on our blog.
  • Sample reviews are helpful. If you've never written a review on your blog, go ahead and write one for curriculum you are currently using in your homeschool. This will help us see how you approach writing reviews. You will be required to link to a review in the application. You may also be asked to write a review with instructions we will provide to you.

If you can meet these requirements and would like the opportunity to join the Schoolhouse Review Crew 2015, watch the blog next week. You can subscribe here so you don't miss the announcement. We will announce when we are accepting applications  here first!

Here's what a few of members have to say about being on the Crew:

When I first joined the Review Crew, my thoughts were honestly on helping our meager budget for homeschooling our four children.  Over the years, the Crew has definitely filled that initial motivation by providing some of the most high quality homeschool products and curriculum that have been used by each of my children spanning elementary school through high school.  What I did not bargain for was the professional creative outlet it provided for me personally in my writing for both reviews and non-review posts.  Many times when we homeschool, the person we were before being a mom and especially a homeschool mom seems to vanish.  Blogging and being a part of the Crew has changed that.  It has also really given me a much broader knowledge of what is out there allowing me to be a resource for so many other homeschool families in our community!  Got to run, our youngest is hollering to start his Chinese (another great Crew review product).
Dawn Oaks -- Double O Farms


I love being on the Crew because we all benefit in some way:
  • I get a chance to do something creative and useful, work with deadlines that keep me accountable to someone outside of my family, and apply my love of writing outside of homeschooling...I get to be a grownup!
  • my kids get to try out such a variety of products that it makes it so much easier to find out what works for each of them individually without risking my cash to do it
  • our blog readers get to read our honest opinions before they buy so they can make more informed decisions about how to invest their homeschooling dollars
  •  I get to be part of a wonderful team of reviewers that provide a great network of support
Kelly Burgess -- KGB That's Me


As a veteran homeschool mom, I have often looked at the Schoolhouse Crew reviews when trying to decide on new curriculum. I never imagined that I would one day be a part of the Crew. Being on the Crew has allowed me to work with so many amazing vendors, grow as a blogger and be blessed with a support system of fellow homeschool moms that is more helpful than I could have ever imagined. This experience has been about so much more than just receiving curriculum in exchange for an honest review (although that is GREAT)!
Adena Foster -- AdenaF

Monday, September 22, 2014

Under the Sky

You can probably tell from the name of my blog that I like the sky. (Smile.) I do! I love the clouds and the variations I find when I look up each day. I took this photo of our gorgeous sky last week while at a friend's home.

You'd have never known it when this photo was taken, but our state (and our area) is beset with fires up and down the length and breadth of it. One of them hits close to home personally. Though we are not in any physical danger, we have friends in the Sierra Foothills that, we hope, are finally out of the woods. The fire is only 18% contained as of today, but they look to be safe (at least we hope so!) There is so much loss already, but most of it is of forested land that most people do not see. It is hard to comprehend that it was arson that started it. We have been in a drought situation here so not only is it hot, it is also very very dry. What makes a person want to destroy the land around them?

I am very grateful that our friends are safe and I hope they stay that way. I hope the winds do not change up and bring the fire back towards the small towns up in the lovely area they are blessed to live in. I pray that all the fires in our crispy state will be doused with the rain that is supposed to be coming sometime soon. I am very grateful to know that God is in full control of all the crazy of the world, and I am sincerely glad to know that we are in His capable hands.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Medieval Golden Treasure

We are beginning Medieval history next week and one of my favorite things to study throughout the whole of this period are illuminated manuscripts. I will probably post about them more than once because their stories are often amazing and the artwork and craftsmanship that went into making them are bar none. Take for example, the Codex Aureus of St. Emmeram. This beautiful "Gospel Book" is said to have been completed by two monks for the grandson of Charlemagne, Charles the Bald in 870

Those are emeralds and sapphires on the cover there, surrounded in gold. From Wiki:

During the Carolingian era, King Charlemagne believed in the spiritual powers of gemstones and minerals, and their magical connection to heaven. He believed sapphires symbolized an image of heaven, heavenly virtues, and eternal life.[5] Charlemagne passed down his interest in the spiritual qualities of gemstones to his grandson, Charles the Bald, who ordered the Codex Aureus and Lindau Gospels to be written in 870. The artisans created the covers with emeralds, sapphires, rubies, garnets, agate, and pearls. The standard of the work is extremely refined, with each of the gems in a setting that rises up from the plane of the cover and is decorated with fine detail. The "claws" holding the gems in place are minutely formed as acanthus leaves; earlier jeweled metalwork usually used plain "claw"-type settings.

The cover of the book is, of course, Christ in His Majesty. He is seated on a globe and He is holding a book with these words: 

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me."

At the Wiki link above, there are other photos of some of the illuminated pages. The detailed artwork is beautiful. What strikes me is that the gospels were valued enough to have been treated in this way. The amount of money, gold, and gemstones it would have taken at this time to create this astonishing book is immeasurable. I wonder who was allowed to read it; probably not very many people!

It is so easy to ignore the gospels--all scripture really--to rush on with my day. It is so easy to put my busyness in front of what is really, a golden book. My Bible doesn't have the sapphires and the emeralds, and is not covered with gold, but it has a treasure much richer and deeper--and life changing--than the cover art. Jesus is our treasure. As Matthew 6:21 says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Let my life be rich in the treasure of Christ.