Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My journey with the TOS Crew

When I applied to be part of the TOS Crew, I had no idea what I was stepping into.  I just thought I'd be getting free stuff and getting to write about it.  Cool!

What I didn't realize was all the other ways the Crew would affect me, my family, and our homeschool.

I didn't expect:

  • to become friends with the other Crew members, looking forward to daily interaction with them

  • to learn about all the curriculum I haven't used or even heard of before ... even beyond the items we reviewed

  • to be tempted to change our own curriculum 

  • that I would need to redefine my own homeschool vision and goals

  • to be confronted with some of the weaknesses of our curriculum choices and have to make decisions regarding them

  • to begin to feel inadequate when I compared myself with other homeschoolers' styles and methods

  • to feel a push to focus on more academics and structure than we usually do

  • to face the weaknesses of our relaxed structure and style

  • to be tempted to spend too much time promoting my blog and my writing

  • to struggle to implement new curriculum so often

  • to need to set aside our own curriculum plans for the year

  • to have 14 reviews due in December

  • to find my children as eagerly involved in the review process

  • to grieve when my time on the Crew was ending

  • to find myself addicted to reviewing books and products

  • to be blessed by the people, the products, and the experience


In the end, though:

  • I was reaffirmed in most of the curriculum decisions we've made

  • I explored other curriculum options and returned to Tapestry Of Grace

  • I was inspired to use more unit studies with the younger children again

  • I was confronted with some areas of laziness in our homeschool that we need to improve

  • My children learned to be flexible and to work together as a family

  • My children missed our curriculum and were also reaffirmed in their enjoyment of our homeschool style

  • My children were exposed to new subjects and languages, and were able to explore art and music

  • I will be keeping in touch with many of the other Crew members, so we'll still remain friends

  • I am determined to keep the balance between my family, homeschooling them, blogging and writing

  • I have found other opportunities to continue to write reviews

  • I am so thankful for my time on the Crew, with all its ups and downs


I did struggle with feelings of inadequacy on this Crew.  I felt like a new homeschooler at times, adrift and uncertain which direction to head.  Thankfully, my husband wasn't facing similar feelings so he could act as a rudder to bring me back around as needed.  I was unprepared for this the most ... more than the deadlines and the hectic juggling of new curriculum. 

Thankfully, the experience helped reaffirm our choices in the end.  There are areas in our homeschool I still feel challenged to change and improve, but mostly I feel as if I went through a time of searching ... only to find that what we were already using really was the best for us.

Likewise, I found myself wandering away from my focus as a homeschool Mom and Christian wife for awhile ... seeking after more opportunities to write, to promote my blog, and to be noticed.  While I'm still thankful I learned so many things about how to promote my blog, and increase readership, I also am thankful I saw what I was doing and refocused.

Trusting in Him,
April

4 comments:

  1. That's really, really neat! You learned so much and it sounds like you grew in the process.

    Jenn

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  2. I have had many of those same feelings this year. I can so empathize. Thank you for putting your thoughts into this post. I also want to make sure you stay in touch with me in the future--either via email or commenting on my blog. I promise to do the same, my friend. Blessings to you and your family this summer and the new school year.

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  3. How sad, it is April, yet April will soon be leaving us. The month will be back again in a year, but the ultimate blogger and posting hero will not. It's time to say goodbye. :(


    I do hope to catch you here and there on MOMYS. It will be a void in my life not to see you posting on the forums like 20 times every day! LOL There's that woman again, as my son always says! I think he'll miss you as much as I do! LOL


    Have a wonderful rest of your life and be blessed!!!


    Crazy Mom


    BTW, I already ordered my talking map puzzle! :)

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  4. April, this is such a great post. My experience was much the same, but I haven't been able to put it in words. Blessings to you!


    Christy(MercyEveryMorning)

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