Reviews for Sale!

{This is another one of those posts where I tell you what other “good” homeschooling blogs do, then I go and do the opposite. You’ve been warned.}

Product reviews! In Kelly’s fantasy land, I get lots of great books and materials mailed to me for free by people who think other homeschoolers hang on my every word. These free products would do everything advertised and blend seamlessly into my current lesson plans. My children would love the books, learn easily from them; I’d be hard pressed to say anything negative about the free materials. I’d write a glowing review, net tons of sales for the sponsoring company and maybe, get some sort of pink Cadillac, like a great Mary Kay sales woman. (If it was a Catholic company, maybe a pink 15 passenger van.)

However, I live in Kelly’s reality world which is currently humid and full of dust. The only free curricula I received in today’s mail were the charity solicitations I let the kids use as scratch paper in art class. But to prepare myself for that day when the companies come calling, I’m going to write a sample review about a product I downloaded a while ago from a well-known homeschool curricula site. We’ll call this product “The Stab Yourself in the Eye with a Test Tube Chemistry Book”, or just ‘the chemistry book’ if you prefer.

This 50+ page book was a pdf download I purchased for about $20. It boasted a research guide, experiments, reproducibles and instructions on how to tie everything together into a cool looking folder/ lapbook type thing. Even though my last foray into lapbooking went horribly, horribly wrong, I thought this book might make the overwhelming science of chemistry fun. My first mistake was in assuming that “research guide” meant more than ten pages about chemistry. So I just tacked a few more library books onto the hold list. No real problem yet. And then we did the first experiment….and I couldn’t explain our hypothesis or why that stuff in the test tube did those things and not what the book said it was supposed to do. And not only was elementary chemistry beyond me, I was once again outwitted by a simple file folder. Sure the instructions said, cut here, fold there, tape down here and, viola, an atomic elements pop-out chart should arise directly from the middle of your double joined folder, but it looked about as good as that copy of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ the baby tore into. Within a couple of weeks, I ordered this and this combined it with a boring homemade ‘My Science Experiment’ handout and before long, it was all Mr. Wizard like up in here.

If you love lapbooks, like getting lots of science books from the library,  then this might work for you if you have upper elementary kids who love origami and have an interest in chemistry.  (See? I can offer positive reinforcement as well as constructive criticism.)

Obviously, if you want to send your materials to me for review I will include big colorful photos of me, or my children with the materials. Since I have no photos of the chemistry book, or me stabbing myself in the eye with a test tube,  here’s me with a great Melissa and Doug abacus! I love it!

If I have not won you over with my prose or modeling experience, please be assured that I do have my price. For an agreed upon amount, which can be paid in greenbacks,  Kohl’s Cash or gluten-free brownie mix, I will say whatever you want about your wonderful product and stay out of all photos. With daily page views in the teens, how can you afford to not have me favorably review your learning materials? Advertising space on my blog, or the side of my van, house, family set of t-shirts, is also available. Contact me before it’s too late!


  1. I LOVE this! I keep thinking I should do reviews on my blog – and I actually get solicited now and then (though my page views are usually in the teens, too!) – but I just can’t see how I could find a way to incorporate that stuff into our already too-busy days. In fact, I struggled with just the one extra product I finally agreed to include this winter. AND I really want people to come read my blog for personal connection, not product placement. Sure, I’ll never get rich from my blog, but so be it. :^)

  2. In a busy day I’ve decided to read ONE blogpost to chill out…I’m glad I picked this one!! So funny!! Don’t go down the route of product reviews and giveaways, I think it’s the death knoll for what were once good blogs. You can get all the product reviews you like on Amazon, I much prefer blogs that show what’s in someone’s head. I don’t mind giving a product a shout out if it’s something I’ve discovered myself and am genuinely impressed, the best payment-if someone has a look at MY blog and push up my stats by one!! I don’t homeschool but I agree you can’t beat Melissa & Doug. (Oh maybe they’ll pay me to endorse them lol!!)

  3. I agree ladies. I think if I want to make money off my blog, or my life, I’ll have to try the realty TV route.

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