This post will be my very first 'review' of a homeschooling product, so please bear with me while I 'practice'!
There is a really neat resource that I have been looking at for quite a while now. I first heard of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine several years ago through some other homeschooling friends. Now, with the advent of electronics, it is easy to look at the magazine online from my computer, and refer back to the digital past issues, gaining a world of homeschool ideas, websites, and information with just a few clicks. For those with mobile electronic readers, there are apps that can download the magazine for those devices. Those are available at The Old Schoolhouse to Go.
It is possible to have a giant homeschool resource center without any clutter!
For this review, I received and read the The Old Schoolhouse Magazine's December 2012 Issue
I need to point out right away that the magazine is FREE! As I read through it, I was impressed by the quality of the publishing, graphics, and layout. One thing I really enjoyed is that articles are laid out in their entirety. If they don't fit on the page, they are continued right away on the next page. I always get so distracted when articles are 'continued' halfway through the magazine at some other point. I am the type of person who likes to read magazines from cover to cover in order, not skipping all around! The other thing I really appreciate is the magazine's strong Christian virtues and Conservative values, without apology. It is easy to tell where the worldview of this magazine is centered! I love that many of the writers incorporated Scriptures into their articles.
The magazine was 132 pages long, which took me awhile to get through. Not all the articles were applicable to our particular situation, but I was particularly blessed by this issue, as it had quite a bit of information, articles, and resources geared towards parenting and homeschooling teenagers, as well as the transition from homeschool senior to college. This hits home right now, as we are right in the middle of the graduation/college application process for our oldest. I found myself taking notes, looking up links and bookmarking websites, and even printing out an article for my senior that listed 3 helpful hints for college success.
I think the magazine has tremendous balance, as there were not only articles pertaining to every age group, but also an article for special needs homeschooling. I really like the articles that delved into specific subjects, and I appreciated that the advertising that went with that particular subject area could be found on the same or next page! This makes the magazine very well organized, so it is easy to go back and find advertisements or articles. There is also an index in the back that lists advertisers by alphabetical order to help in finding what you are looking for.
Another positive note that I appreciated was that the articles and reviews are written by real, authentic, "in-the-trenches" homeschooling families. There was a good balance of older veteran authors, both men and women, as well as articles by young people.
One article in particular, right in the beginning, "The Gift of Everyday Moments" really spoke to my heart. I felt like it was written "mom to mom" and it was a great reminder that I don't need to be a supermom always searching after those elusive super powers to make everything happen and run smoothly in my household. Instead, I need to focus on handling the daily little moments properly, and realize how precious they really are. This was a great reinforcement to my Sunday School lesson for this week, which is on "Mary and Martha." It was pretty clear to me that the Lord was speaking to my heart about this subject!
This magazine is very advertisement heavy. That's wonderful if you are looking for a virtual homeschool convention at your fingertips on a monthly basis, or are in search of a particular curriculum or source to fit a need in your homeschool or family. Personally I found the advertising a bit overwhelming, but I am also not in the cateogry of seeking out curriculum right now, so that is understandable. I tend to run off on rabbit trails chasing after good ideas when I see them, so I need to always keep a good balance. While I enjoy looking at "what's out there", I don't want to let it become a burden to me, where I will feel the need to "do everything" that I find just because it is a good idea.
Overall, I think The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is a tremendous resource, and I am so thankful to see such a great publication available to assist homeschoolers and Christian families that are trying to do their best and raise Godly families in this present day.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.