When a Review is not a Review

Whenever I’m going to buy something, I like to look at the reviews of the product online first to see what people are saying about it. In general, I think word of mouth is pretty valuable because it’s usually someone’s actual opinion based on their experience, as opposed to hype or advertising from the company that made the item.

Traditionally, a product review is something the product’s creator never pays for (other than the cost of the review copy and shipping); in addition, it’s bad form to ask for a good review. The whole point is for the reviewer to give an unbiased opinion. Obviously, if the review copy were to arrive with a check payable to the reviewer, the review would be biased.

We started Cardamom Publishers, our homeschool publishing business, in 2003, and we’ve never paid for a review or asked for a good review. We just send out review copies and wait. We’ve been gratified to receive good reviews, and we want homeschooling parents to know that those reviews are unbiased.

There are many good homeschool websites and magazines that offer unbiased reviews. But apparently there are others who require creators to pay for something they call a product review, but which is actually an advertisement. I recently received an email from one such site, howtohomeschool.net. They’ve offered to review our products. Here are the details:

Removed at the request of the writer 7/11/17

There’s nothing wrong with advertising, but to claim that a paid ad is a product review is dishonest. Homeschooling parents love hearing the opinions of other parents about homeschool products; I valued that input when I homeschooled my four kids. But there’s a huge difference between an unbiased opinion and a paid ad, and I don’t think it’s fair to imply that there isn’t one, especially when your intended audience is made up of very busy homeschooling parents who have enough to do without trying to figure out when they’re being misled.

 

Toddlers and Tiaras….Ugh!

One of the best things about not having cable tv is that you miss out on appalling cultural trends like this one. I had no idea that people did this to their children, or that so many people would approve of it.

How can grown women not only sanction but encourage the sexualization of their little girls? This is warped. Creepy. Beyond the pale.

I feel so sorry for these little girls.

History, Homeschooling and the Internet

I’ve been addicted to reading since I was three years old. I can’t help it, it’s what I do. 

For many years, well into adulthood, I spent several hours each weekend reading the voluminous Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune. But it’s now a shadow of its former self, thanks to the Internet, which is where I do most of my reading these days.

I love having such a variety of interesting things to read. Once in a while, however, I hit on something really good, something someone has written that is so spot-on that I just have to share it with others. And have I got something good to share today.

Prolific writer and economic historian Gary North has written an awesome piece entitled “Public Education is Going Down” that clearly explains how the rise of the Internet is slowly killing public education. His theory is that, thanks to the growing availability of knowledge online at an increasingly lower cost, we parents are regaining the educational control that was lost centuries ago:

Home schooling is a throwback to the fifteenth century. It lets parents choose the content and structure of their children’s education. But it goes far beyond anything available then. One size does not fit all: all parents or all children. There is enormous diversity today, and it is getting even more diverse.

Read the entire article for yourself, and be sure to catch his last line. It made me smile  :)

A Thought-Provoking Project for Parents and Teens

Most of us don’t understand the extent of our government’s indebtedness, but we do know that we’re saddling our kids and grandchildren with a ton of debt. No one’s happy about that, but what can we do?

Here’s an interesting interactive graphic that will help you and your teen get a handle on exactly what can be done to pay it off. It’ll get you both talking about where cuts should be made and/or taxes should be increased. Each decision you make reduces the debt….but also has repercussions.

Try it and see what I mean. I actually got the whole thing paid off fairly quickly. But I have a feeling some of my decisions wouldn’t be very politically popular. Oh, well, I’m not running for office. But I’d vote for anyone who would make the same cuts I did  :)

P.S. The time your teen spends on this should count towards a civics or government unit.