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Domestic Church Faith Formation Homeschool Parenting Vocations

Crisis Schooling

Crisis Schooling Tips and Tricks from fellow parents in the trenches

I have to tell you, friends, when we made the decision to stop homeschooling our kiddos and instead send them to a wonderfully small, academically rich classical academy charter school, I wasn’t fully prepared for the screeching halt that has become our life when they came home that last day before Spring Break in March.

You see, I braced myself. I had signed them up for this school with tears in my eyes. Not because I hated homeschooling, but because we had been doing it for 10 years and I wanted to test the waters of a new schooling choice. As Divine Providence would have it, the kiddos were seated one by one in the order that gave this momma heart enough time to adjust to the baby birds leaving the home academic nest. By the time the school year began, I had worked through those emotions and was truly truly happy for them to start this new adventure.

When the world stopped in March, bringing the kids back home, with oodles of books, and school loaned chrome books, I immediately felt like this was not homeschooling.

And it isn’t.

The phrase we are all looking for is crisis schooling. Homeschooling carries with it the idea of choice, even if you make the decision to school because you don’t like your local schools, it is still a choice we make, and one we ultimately own.

Crisis schooling on the other hand has been one that’s been thrown down in our lap. And it’s one that even us former and current homeschooling families are staring at with wide-eyed horror. It. Is. A. Lot. Too Much.

I have to be honest with you – by the time March rolls around, I am already waving off the year with a flick of my wrist, drooling over the new curriculum books and programs for the next year, and generally we are winding down by this point. We hit the books heavy in August and skate in on fumes by the time March and April roll around. We rarely, if ever, take a school year all the way into May. Truth be told, I am mentally done with the school year by the time Thanksgiving hits, but that is a whole OTHER post, friends.

Some of you may be wondering how the heck your homeschool friends manage homeschooling by your experience of juggling exactly 1000 balls of working and managing Zoom calls left and right. I’m here to tell you that your homeschool friends are wondering how you’re doing it, too.

This. Is. Not. What. Homeschooling. Looks. Like. On the daily.

Sincerely. What you’re doing is called crisis schooling and what YOU are doing is quite heroic. Percentage wise, most homeschooling families have one parent who schools and does not work while schooling is going on.

Is it hard? YEP. But is it at all the same level of stress that you’re undergoing? Not even a little bit. We can choose to do schoolwork at our leisure – start when we want – end when we want. Many of us choose to homeschool in large part due to the freedom.

So, if you were to ask me if what I’m doing now is homeschooling with my kiddos, I would say a hard no. What I am in this role is basically a home appointed teacher’s aid. And each teacher has their own method of instruction. Between managing the domestic front, I now have to guide them through their work, messages, emails, working with Jupiter Pods (which LOVE to kick back completed assignments as blank and have them redo it allllll over again – oh the wailing and the gnashing of the teeth!), and making sure things are submitted on time. All while balancing those needs with the needs of a 3yo who has recently decided emphatically that NOW is the time to potty train and a 3 month old infant whose needs are…well…predictable if not overwhelming.

I polled some friends who homeschooled in the past from families who have one parent home and not working and from those who both parents are working. I have my own perspective that I share below, but thought y’all would love to hear from a variety of folks who can offer different points of view.

Remember – we ARE all in this together; HOWEVER, we are all different, and our stress levels are different, and what works for one, may not work for another. We are unique and beloved, but we can definitely rally around each other and embrace our different paths through these incredibly trying times. God love y’all.

TIPS

Schooling with one stay at home parent

My best advice in schooling with one parent at home and you have little littles is to advocate for what works for your family. Schools seem to give decent leeway given the extenuating circumstances, so if you’ve yet to find that rhythm, try different things until you find what works. For us, when we homeschooled is that we have an order we stick to rather than a timeline. Rather than starting school right at 8:00 a.m. (ha, yeah right with an infant!), we shoot for the order of things that need to get done before school starts. That means, wake up, chores, change into (clean) play clothes, have breakfast, and then they start on schoolwork. I used to time the bulk of schoolwork when we homeschooled to coincide with naps, but that’s not practical in this situation, so we altered it to meet the needs of this situation. ~ Martina

I have a HS that’s public, two middle schoolers in private and one homeschooled. I find that your kid’s personality defines your experience. My HS and my 8th grader are laid back, follow instructions and are people pleasers. They want to do well even in distance learning. My 5th grader is a self pleaser, independent, strong willed, good leadership type qualities, but if something better is happening she’ll skip a zoom class or an assignment and just take the consequences with ill-grace. She’s the hardest one, so keeping on a regimen that’s written down is easiest for her and doing it exactly the same every day. 10:30 reading, 1:00 math, 2:00 Tuesday and Thursday math tutoring as an example.  
My third grader we use CHC since kindergarten, he is also a people pleaser, wants to get done and moving on to riding his bike or visiting his new niece across the street.  

I’ve homeschooled all of them in the past most of my frustrations were either my expectations were too large for myself or for them. When talking to other homeschool moms or teachers the tendency is to overachieve when achieving could be enough.
~ anonymous

I used to homeschool and now our kids have lessons from the classical school they attend.  Don’t feel bad about skipping the optional subjects. Do some things orally if possible. They need to read a set amount of time per day? Pop in an audio book.  Don’t be afraid to tell the school if assignments seem unreasonable. ~ Rachel U.

Take time for yourself everyday.  
That will look different for everyone, but it’s something I’ve been a firm believer in from the get-go, and find myself needing *more* self-care than before, because I am giving more of myself than before.

Don’t feel bad if you are doing the bare minimum for school, or are not even getting that most days. This is a short time in our children’s educational career.

One of the things that I love as a homeschooler that may or may not be possible with crisis schooling families is to combine things – my children are all studying the same history period, the same science concepts. We read books aloud altogether.
~ anonymous

I recommend picking a “main” place to do school work. We are using our dining room. Our kids leave the dining room to find a quiet spot to take a test or read but all their books, laptops, school supplies etc must come back to the dining room to be put away at the end of the school day. This keeps all the things in one spot and allows me to check over work plus keeps the house from getting overrun by school items. ~ Marion W.

Schooling with both parents working at home

Keeping some sort of schedule. Including schoolwork, and lunch times. We also ALWAYS have at least 1 recess everyday. They need the mental and physical break and so do I! We also have designated spaces where we keep all school and work supplies. Sometimes we move around to different spots to do the work but we always start and end in that spot so we don’t loose anything! ~ Katrina K.

I bought a Kindle for the 4yo to also do “school” while the big kids do school. I work primarily during nap time. ~ Sarah S.

 I only work part time, but the gamechanger for me is that I spend 15 to 30 minutes each day listing all of the work, by family member on a checklist and where everything is located online. I also keep both a monthly calendar of all phone and video meetings and a daily checklist. On that checklist, I note all of the meeting id codes and passwords so I don’t have to look them up. I also have a list of everyone’s school ids, passwords, etc for quick reference and I plan who will be on which device, where and when. 

Just having a refernce sheet and checklist for everyone in one place greatly reduces the scramble and the stress during the grind of the day. I also am okay with my house looking like a wreck during the week. We do what we can and the clean over the weekend.
~ C.W.

The key is to have very low expectations. Don’t compare yourself to others. We do the bare minimum. And we don’t do that well, lol! A few things that have worked-our schedule is based on my work schedule. I work weird hours and I sleep for a time in the afternoon. So all our school work is done around that schedule. I try to manage the process, but my older kids are pretty much on their own. I try to isolate my most disruptive child. I let my kids start their work at staggered times-this works for me. If the older kids sleep late, it helps me get my work done. We did invest in additional computers and that was a sanity saver. During the week we lock up tablets and phones to preserve the Wifi and keep the kids focused. This also makes it easier to force them to help with chores. As far as the online meetups-I just don’t do them unless they are crucial. I have had to let our teachers know that I can’t do them and they understand. Most of our teachers have kids at home with them, they understand they just need to know your situation. I also have invested some money in special craft and art supplies for the kids to help keep them busy and out of my hair. If your school is still giving you assignments 5 days a week advocate strongly for a 4 day week with Friday for makeup work. This is so helpful to families especially those working and juggling computer access at home with multiple kids. ~ Amy N.

My husband is working full-time, sometimes at home and sometimes at the hospital. My hours have increased, and I’m now gone 3 days a week. We invested in a chromebook for our youngest, which the older kids who had chromebooks issued by school can use when cameras decide to be finicky. We also replaced our router to improve our wifi coverage. (That might have happened regardless.) 
What helped us was starting to write everything down – who has what call and when. From there, we figured out which older kid could help a younger and who could make sure they ate lunch, who would assign chores and make sure they got done, etc. We take about an hour after Mass on Sunday, which seems to be a good time to prep with prayer. 
It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s better. Three weeks time go for us!
~ Amy M.

For me, it is to be prepared for how my schedule is for the day and how much can my kiddos get done while I am in meetings. Mornings we do chores, breakfast, etc. Then I have coloring activities, I look for interactive virtual tours of museums, I did invest in some learning apps (ABCYA) which you can limit what they can do if you want them to focus on a particular area. I found some sites that have various worksheet. My goal is to keep them working/busy. Then we started distance learning, that became more challenging from a tech perspective (long story). I try to schedule my meetings where I can have a little time to check in on them. My 4th grader does ok and he helps my Kinder kid. We have lunch together and we take a walk. I will let them play after lunch and then come back and do some reading and call it a day where they can watch TV. Some days are good. Some days are NOT. ~ Renee F.

My biggest problem is not knowing when I will work. I am an interpreter for deaf children for our school system. The teenager i interpret for has a very tumultuous home life. Sometimes she’s with mom, sometimes dad, sometimes grandma. All different times to work. I try to schedule her for 2pm so I can work with my kids first. I have one adhd child that we are adjusting meds for (her meds last too long for this type of schooling and she’s underweight, so we want her to be able to eat if she can) and the smaller one is a ball of wires. He needs the structure of a classroom, too many distractions at home. He outright refuses to do work sometimes, no matter the consequences. He literally stayed in his room for the week except for mealtimes (there’s nothing in there but a bed and books). I’m at a loss. ~ Lucinda M.

If your company qualifies for the paycheck protection program and you can afford to, take the emergency FMLA time at 2/3 thirds pay. I’m working 10 hours a week at my regular rate and then 30 hours are billed under covid-19 childcare issues and paid 2/3 of what I normally earn and I keep my benefits. This is funded by a federal grant. If I hadn’t done this we would all be in the mental hospital by now. Or I would have had to quit which would be causing enormous financial strain. ~ Ada

Have any tips you’d like to add? Share in the comments, friends.

Categories
Bible Curriculum Domestic Church Faith Formation Homeschool Homeschool Ink Slingers Martina Products Reviews Reviews

REVIEW: The Story of Civilization – Volume I – The Ancient World

 

REVIEW: The Story of Civilization - The Ancient World

PRODUCT

The Story of Civilization – Volume I – The Ancient World

COMPANY

TAN HOMESCHOOL

FACEBOOK & TWITTER

OVERVIEW

TAN Homeschool has done it again. If you liked The Story of the Bible, you will instantly recognize the same great format with The Story of Civilization. Slated to be released in four volumes, one each year, with the first being released June 1, 2016, this series is going to be a must-have in your family’s homeschool teaching arsenal. Similar to The Story of the Bible, you will receive a wide range of materials, covering first grade all the way up through eighth grade. 

Look, you know your kids best – and TAN Homeschool recognizes that many families need not just affordability, but versatility and the ability to customize the material for each child, making the experience not just unique, but suited for your child’s specific needs. As a homeschooling mom of six, five of whom are still schooling – 9th, 5th, 2nd, kindergarten and preschool, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have this set for my kiddos. What I loved most about the style of writing is the storybook format. The reader is completely engaged by being placed in the midst of the story. The language used is wonderfully descriptive and pulls students in.

You’ll receive the textbook, test book* and a card with a digital code to access the video lectures online. Take note that the this series will not include DVDs shipped to your house, but instead you will be granted access to the lectures online, making it easy to locate. These three items are targeted for middle schoolers. 

Similar to The Story of the Bible, the activity book and teacher’s manual** are geared toward elementary students – grades 1-4. Note: the activity book contains oral exercises that are not found in the teacher’s manual. At the time of this review, TAN Homeschool is in pre-order mode ONLY. All products will be available at the beginning of June and available for shipment then. 

BONUS: when you order the entire set, you will receive a FREE copy of the Timeline Map. That’s a savings of $14.95!

*textbook and test book are companion pieces

**activity book and teacher’s manual are companion pieces

PRE-ORDER PRICE AT THE TIME OF REVIEW

$12.95-$39.95 for individual items

$154.70** for the complete set*

*When you purchase a complete set, you will receive a free copy of the Timeline Map {$14.95 value}

FEATURES

  • suggested age range is 1st-8th grade, or schoolhouse model
  • textbook & test book
  • test pages are perforated for easy removal, answers are at the back of the test book
  • activity book & teacher’s manual
  • dramatized audio series {CDs}
  • streaming video lecture series
  • timeline map

PROMOTIONAL PRODUCT PHOTOS

 

REASON FOR PRODUCT

TAN Homeschool wanted to create this history series because they saw there was a need for Catholic homeschooling families. So many of them were either using outdated and archaic manuscripts written for children in the 1930’s, or they were using Protestant manuscripts that painted the Catholic Church in a negative light, or at least ignored the Church’s contribution to history.  TAN Homeschool set out to make a fun and exciting book that would be faithful to the Church because they knew there were so many families hoping for such a book.

Pulled from the product description page

Children should not just read about history, they should live it. In The Story of Civilization, the ancient stories that have shaped humanity come alive like never before. Author Phillip Campbell uses his historical expertise and story-telling ability together in tandem to present the content in a fresh and thrilling way.  

The Story of Civilization reflects a new emphasis in presenting the history of the world as a thrilling and compelling narrative. Within each chapter, children will encounter short stories that place them directly in the shoes of historical figures, both famous and ordinary, as they live through legendary battles and invasions, philosophical debates, the construction of architectural wonders, the discovery of new inventions and sciences, and the exploration of the world. 

Volume I, The Ancient World, begins the journey, covering the time periods from the dawn of history and the early nomads, to the conversion of Emperor Constantine.  Children will learn what life was like in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Persia, Greece, Rome, and more, as well as learn the Old Testament stories of the Israelites and the coming of Christ. 

The strength of the content lies not only in the storybook delivery of it, but also in the way it presents history through the faithful prism of the Church. Have you always wanted your children to learn about world history from a Catholic perspective? Here, you’ll have the trusted resource you’ve always wanted.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pulled from the product description page:

Phillip Campbell holds a BA in European history from Ave Maria University and a license in secondary education from Madonna University. He teaches middle school history and Sacred Scripture for the St. Augustine Homeschool Enrichment Program as well as high school history for Homeschool Connections. Mr. Campbell is the editor of The Complete Works of St. Cyprian of Carthage (Arx Publishing) and has self-published several books through his website, Cruachan Hill Press.His writings have also appeared in such publications as the St. Austin Review and The Distributist Review.

Mr. Campbell served as the mayor of his hometown of Howell, Michigan, from 2011 to 2015 (the youngest to ever hold the office). Mr. Campbell and his wife reside in southeast Michigan, where they homeschool their five children. He is a regular speaker at homeschool conferences around the United States.

DECLARATIONS

  • none reported; however, it was reviewed by a PhD. from Christendom, Dr. Brendan McGuire, who verified the historical accuracies for TAN Homeschool.

THE GOOD

  • follows schoolhouse model
  • super interactive with various methods to reach students where they are {CDs, streaming video lectures, textbooks, textbook, activity book}
  • budget friendly

THE BAD

  • none reported

TESTIMONIALS

  • yours could be FIRST
  • share your experience in the comments

DETAILS AT A GLANCE

Intended for: families, anyone using schoolhouse model
Good for grades: elementary and middle school
Parent/teacher involvement level: moderate to high, depending on needs of student
Prep time: medium when used on your own
Teacher’s manual: available for purchase and used with the activity book
Educational philosophy: schoolhouse model
Catholic: yes

OVERALL RATING

::partial rating based on the text and test book only::

 

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MadonnaoftheLiliesSOA

DISCLOSURE AND ACCURACY OF REVIEW

Catholic Sistas was not paid to do this review – the publisher offered free materials in exchange for an honest review of this product. All reviews are current as of the publish date. If you notice that a review contains information that is no longer accurate, please email us at Homeschool@CatholicSistas.com and we will be happy to amend this review.


THE GIVEAWAY

To enter,

1) share this contest on any social media outlet, email to friends or family, or your local homeschool groups and tell us where in the comments

AND

2) answer the following question in the comments below:

“Why do you want to win the complete set of The Story of Civilization, Volume 1 – The Ancient World?”

OPTIONAL additional question:

For those who have purchased the audio drama CDs in the previous series – The Story of the Bible – what was the primary its purpose? i.e. Did you use it in the car for long road trips? Do you have a child with a learning disability? or a child who just hates or struggles with reading?

THE LOOT

ONE lucky winner will win an ENTIRE set of The Story of Civilization – Volume I – The Ancient World, which includes the textbook, test book, activity book, teacher’s manual, audio drama {CDs}, and the streaming video lecture series, and the  timeline map, making this a value of $154!

THE RULES

 

CONTEST IS CLOSED AND OUR WINNER IS

Jeanie Deters

Congratulations, Jeanie! 

Categories
Domestic Church Giveaways Homeschool Homeschool Ink Slingers Martina Products Reviews Reviews

Homeschool Review: Story of the Bible, Volume I

Story of the Bible, Volume IPRODUCT

The Story of the Bible, Volume I

COMPANY

TAN Homeschool

Facebook & Twitter

OVERVIEW

If you’re like many in the homeschool world, you instantly recognize the name TAN Books; but, did you know they have recently launched their own homeschool line of products? When TAN Books sent me the textbook, test book, activity book, teacher’s manualaudio drama, and DVD lecture seriesI have to be honest, friends – I. was. excited! The Story of the Bible product line follows the Schoolhouse Model, which caters to children of all ages, making this product’s use incredibly versatile and cost effective for families with children in multiple grades. The textbook, test book* and DVD lecture series are targeted to middle schoolers. Your middle schooler will have the option to read Chapter 1, watch chapter 1, and then take the test on Chapter 1. The DVDs help reinforce what is read in the chapter and allow mom the opportunity to take a more hands off approach, if she chooses. The activity book and teacher’s manual** are perfect for elementary kiddos. The audio drama is targeted for both elementary and middle school kiddos, with its engaging sound effects, music and voice acting. At the time of this review, three of the six product pieces are available for shipment. The final three products will be ready for shipment at the end of July 2015.

*textbook and test book are companion pieces

**activity book and teacher’s manual are companion pieces

PRICE AT THE TIME OF REVIEW

$14.99-$39.95* for individual items

$99.95** for the complete set

*From now until the end of August 2015, use the coupon code HS2015 to get $20 toward your purchase!

**This introductory price is only valid until July 31, 2015

FEATURES

  • covers elementary and middle school
  • textbook & test book
  • test pages are perforated for easy removal, answers are at the back of the test book
  • activity book & teacher’s manual
  • audio drama {CDs}
  • DVD lecture series

PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS

 

REASON FOR PRODUCT

TAN Homeschool saw the need for versatile products that would allow moms to decide how best to school their children. Because of its schoolhouse model, families can decide which method works best with each child, from any combination of textbook and test book, to textbook plus video or activity book. Mom has full control over what works best. She can work with little Timmy while he works on his art project that reinforces concepts she taught earlier in the day, or allow Jonathan to work independently while she throws in a load of laundry or puts a little one down for a nap. Versatility is truly key in this product.

DECLARATIONS

  • Story of the Bible is adapted from TAN’S Bible History, which was printed in the 1930’s and received an Imprimatur.

THE GOOD

  • follows schoolhouse model
  • super interactive with various methods to reach students where they are {CDs, DVD lectures, textbooks, activity book}
  • budget friendly

THE BAD

  • none reported

TESTIMONIALS

  • yours could be FIRST
  • share your experience in the comments

DETAILS AT A GLANCE

Intended for: families, anyone using schoolhouse model
Good for grades: elementary and middle school
Parent/teacher involvement level: moderate to high, depending on needs of student
Prep time: medium when used on your own
Teacher’s manual: available for purchase and used with the activity book
Educational philosophy: schoolhouse model
Catholic: yes

OVERALL RATING

11641899_1509285556028580_1361818327_o

 

 

MadonnaoftheLiliesSOA

 

DISCLOSURE AND ACCURACY OF REVIEW

Catholic Sistas was not paid to do this review – the publisher offered free materials in exchange for an honest review of this product. All reviews are current as of the publish date. If you notice that a review contains information that is no longer accurate, please email us at Homeschool@CatholicSistas.com and we will be happy to amend this review.


THE GIVEAWAY

IS CLOSED

AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN SELECTED – LAURA RANKIN!

To enter, simply answer the following question in the comments below:

“Why do you want to win The Story of the Bible?” 

THE LOOT

ONE lucky winner will win an ENTIRE set of The Story of the Bible, Volume I {the Old Testament}, which includes the textbook, test book, activity book, teacher’s manual, audio drama {CDs}, and the DVD lecture series, a value of $154!

THE RULES

One entry per person, please.

Giveaway will end at 10 p.m. CST on Monday, June 29 {comments will be closed upon deadline}

Categories
CS in the media Curriculum Domestic Church Homeschool Homeschool Ink Slingers Martina Products Reviews Reviews

Madonna of the Lilies Catholic Homeschool Seal of Approval

MadonnaoftheLiliesSOA

 

We at Catholic Sistas are excited to unveil the launch of the Madonna of the Lilies Catholic Homeschool Seal of Approval!

Over the years, I have participated in many online discussions of schooling options, watched many moms share their perspective of curriculum and how it worked {or didn’t} for her kiddos and family. One thing I loved was the personal feedback these moms gave, sharing product pros and cons and how the family adapted to these products.

As we currently ease into our sixth year of homeschooling, I am pleased to announce that Catholic Sistas has created an internal system for approving products and curriculum we feel would be a welcome addition in your home. I have assembled a team of nine evaluators who bring in a combined total of OVER 80 years of homeschool experience. Because Catholic Sistas already writes reviews of Catholic books and movies, Catholic homeschool products and curricula seemed to be a natural progression.

WHAT IS THE SEAL DESIGNED TO DO?

The new seal of approval system is set up within the body of a review. Catholic companies will contact our homeschool team of reviewers via email {Homeschool@CatholicSistas.com} and let us know if they’d like a straight review or if they’d like us to evaluate the product for the seal of approval. With the template we’ve created, home educators will be able to scan the review with relative ease and find the information they need, such as pros and cons, price point, usability, features, and rating. This takes a good chunk out of the guesswork prior to making a purchase, which families will appreciate.

Products with the seal of approval – the seal can be found at the bottom of the review – simply means that a homeschool reviewer has taken all of the product’s information into account (content, price point, features, pros and cons), verified the content adheres to the Magisterium of the Church, and presented it to our entire team, who then collectively approved the product as worthy of our seal. The varied homeschool backgrounds of our team members will ensure that both company and consumer can be assured that our approval system is thorough and fair.

WHAT SPECIFIC PRODUCTS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE SEAL OF APPROVAL?

Because there is already a system in place for Catholic books through the Catholic Writer’s Guild, Catholic Sistas’ Madonna of the Lilies Catholic Homeschool Seal of Approval will focus specifically on two things: Catholic products and Catholic curriculum.

WHAT IF A PRODUCT DOESN’T RECEIVE THE SEAL?

Occasionally there will be times when a product or curriculum is reviewed and does not receive the seal. In those cases, we simply won’t offer a review of the company’s products on our site. Our goal isn’t to publicly skewer Catholic companies, many of which are run by faithful families like our own; we’re sensitive to the fact that this is often these families’ livelihood. Our goal is to showcase products that DO meet our high criteria, so that families can confidently purchase from those companies.

If we have sufficient concerns about a product to withhold our seal, we’ll be contacting the company to 1) share our concerns, and 2) offer reviewer feedback on improvement, including an external panel of Catholic homeschool moms/educators to help the company create the best possible product for the Catholic market. Companies will always have the opportunity to resubmit their product after making changes.

We want to maintain positive relationships with Catholic companies, but our priority is to showcase excellence in Catholic homeschool products and curricula. Catholic Sistas will NEVER publicly share that a company’s product failed to receive the seal.


COMPANIES: if you are seeking to submit your product or curriculum for review, please visit our Review My Product page to start the process.

HOME EDUCATORS: What products are you interested in seeing reviewed? Please leave a comment below to help us cater to your current buying needs.