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A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Encouragement

I recently did a Google search in an attempt to discover how the majority of homeschoolers would answer the following question:




          "What is a homeschooling mothers #1 need?"



I really wasn't confident as to what the answer might be. I mean, sure, I know what my main needs and frustrations are as a mom who has homeschooled all five of her children from pre-school through high school graduation. But I wanted to know other mom's thoughts on the matter. Because, as a blogger, I decided my 2018 goal would be to provide quality content that meets the most pressing needs in a very specific way.

A Google search seemed like the perfect place to pose my question. (Next week I am going to use Pinterest to further explore this question.)

Any guesses as to what Google revealed?

The absolutely, definitive answer to my question about the #1 need of homeschooling mothers was......ENCOURAGEMENT!

Over and over and over again, in different formats and forums, phrased one way and then stated another, I just kept getting the same exact answer. Homeschoolers need, above all else, to be encouraged.

My next thought was whether or not my blog ~ which bears the name "A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers ~ and even the Bible study I wrote some years ago (The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study: Encouragement for Homeschooling Mothers) were living up to their names. Am I any good at encouraging my fellow homeschool sojourners? Or do the ups and downs of my daily life come through via my blog posts more than anything else? And, it seemed very clear to me that I already knew what homeschoolers need well before I embarked upon my Google search.

We need encouragement. I need encouragement. Duh.

If you are so inclined, please leave me a comment on this post (or send me an email at janlburtauthor@gmail.com) and let me know of any specific things you would like help with, encouragement about, or a topic you would love to see a post about. If I can encourage even one mom today, man, I'm all about that. I well remember those doses of encouragement that sustained me through difficult days. I would very much like to give out as many doses of encouragement as possible.

Mom, you are doing a good job with your children. Your hard work will reap a harvest one day. On the good days and the not-so-good days, the Lord will be right there with you as your companion, counselor and constant source of strength. Mom, you are doing a very good job with your children. Thank you for all that you do, day in and day out. It means something. Actually, it means everything.

Lord bless you today!

Day 373 done :)

Jan L. Burt



Friday, December 29, 2017

Book Review ~ Courage for the Unknown Season (Navigating What's Next with Confidence and Hope) - by Jan Silvious




I agreed to review this book, in all honesty, simply because the title and subtitle grabbed my attention and did not let go. In light of the fact that I have been faced with two heart conditions that have been pushing me toward heart failure, a book about having courage for the unknown season and navigating whatever comes next with confidence and hope, this book practically demanded that I read it. And I am blessed that I did.

Jan Silvious is a gifted writer. Reading this book is much like listening to a caring friend share her thoughts on your circumstances. She offers wisdom, wit, and Biblical encouragement as she deals with the weighty issues of life. While the book is primarily aimed at those who are aging, it was ridiculously fitting for me in my current situation. Every - Single - Chapter spoke to me at some point of my need. Every - Single - Chapter.

If you are the child of an aging parent, this is a great read. If you are aging yourself, you must get a copy of this book and read it at least once. And if you are a bit younger (middle-aged, like me) but find yourself facing life circumstances that usually come later on in life, I strongly recommend reading this book and then implementing much of what it has to share. I know it has impacted me, not just in my thinking, and not just by means of encouraging me on the rough and tough days with my heart problems - but in how I function daily. It has real-life applications that are easy to implement and have a positive impact. Buy it for someone you know who is facing any of these circumstances. It may be just what they need at this time of their life!

This link will take you directly to Amazon if you'd like to learn more about Courage for the Unknown Season. Read a few more reviews, take a look inside the book, pray about it - and if you feel so led, purchase a copy.

Lord bless you in whatever you face during this current life season, known of unknown.

Day 372 done :)
Jan L. Burt

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 5.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from Tyndale Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own.

Book Review ~ Life-Changing Miracles (Real-Life Stories of Unforgettable Encounters with God) - compiled by James Stuart Bell



The book Life-Changing Miracles is a compilation of 37 short real-life stories that each displays an aspect of God's miraculous care in our modern day. Written by the people who experienced the miracles, these narratives move from the seemingly normal to the undeniably supernatural. (And by supernatural, I mean miraculous feats and acts performed solely by the Lord God Almighty)

Each story is short enough that you could sit down and read half the book in one sitting, or possibly include one each morning as part of your morning devotional time each day. Even reading one or two before bed at night would be a great way to work through this book.

As I have been facing serious issues with my heart (in a nutshell, heart failure) I found several of the things shared in this book encouraging and comforting. Whether a reminder to persist in prayer for healing or acknowledging that God often has plans very different than my own, Life-Changing Miracles was a pleasant book to read through. It isn't a theology text; it's simply a book of true stories of the Lord's intervention in people's lives.



On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 4.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own.


Day 371 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Tiny Tidbit of Encouraging Advice

Once upon a time there was a busy homeschooling mother who had to plan out her school days in 15-minute increments....

Now there is a far less busy homeschooling mother who no longer plans out school days beyond updating her calendar with her last child's dual enrollment college class schedule.

And it happened in the blink of an eye.

If you are just beginning to homeschool ~ perhaps even starting mid-year in January ~ then it is very important for you to know that the busy-ness you are facing will come to it's end far more quickly than you can imagine. And if you are nearing the end of your homeschooling journey, be sure to take time to remember what it was like during those hectic days early on because, who knows, some sweet mama may need a little bit of encouragement from one who has gone before her.

In this quiet pause between Christmas and the New Year, try to think of some way to encourage another mom, whether she homeschools or not. (And if you read my blog but are not a mom, maybe you have a friend, co-worker or casual acquaintance you can encourage.) We all need a shot in the arm every now and then, don't we? Let's be that for one another. Reach out - send a text message or schedule a coffee date. Be the friend that you needed most when you were in the trenches. And share some homeschool wisdom, too.

I know that the women who gave me some tips when I was pondering home education provided me with a huge boost of courage. They probably had no idea at the time that I was shaking in my boots and their advice and encouragement shored me up - but it did. And I am so very thankful, because having all those years with my kids has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I'd hate to have missed it...thank the Lord that I got to live it.

And here is my tiny tidbit of encouraging advice for any homeschooler reading this post: don't be afraid to scrap a curriculum and start over with something else if it isn't working for your child. (Sometimes it's okay to scrap it if it isn't working for the homeschooling mom!) And if something is sort-of working, you are free to tweak it to make it a better fit. You are not just a homeschooling mother, you are MOM, and you know your child/ren better than anyone else on this planet. You really do know if something just will not work....and you really do know how to make something workable for your kiddos. Don't be scared! Give yourself, and your child, plenty of grace. Take one day at a time, one subject at a time. And never  be nervous to ask a more seasoned homeschool mom for some advice. Hey, you can ask me anything at any time and I will always do my best to answer in a quick & clear manner.

You are more than enough for the role the Lord has called you to ~ because nothing is impossible with Him and He always gives us strength equal to our tasks and our days. Remember that!

Lord bless you & be sure to enjoy a little bit of quiet during this peaceful pause before 2018 rolls in. You've earned it!

Day 370 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Sacred Slow by Alicia Britt Chole ~ a book review ~







I received the book The Sacred Slow to review from Thomas Nelson Publishers, and I thought I had a pretty good idea what this book was about. I was completely wrong.

The book seems, at first glance, very similar to a personal devotional. There is a brief reading, Scripture references, and some thoughts to personalize and think about. But upon further study, I found that "personalizing & thinking about" each day's topic was just the tip of the iceberg. There is oh-so-much more going on beneath the surface.

Let me say two things about The Sacred Slow:

          #1 ~ The concept of slowing down & taking an actual Sabbath rest is missing almost entirely among Westernized Christians and this book deals with that lack directly and effectively. There is actual application contained herein.

          #2 ~ The was this author draws out of you what is deep inside your inner man - and deeply impacts the way you relate to God. This "drawing out" involves a series of hands-on activities done at a leisurely (read that: Sabbath restful) pace with intimate communication with the Lord.

Did you derive from the above points that undertaking this book is NOT for the faint of heart? Did you also derive that it will have PROFOUND repercussions in your life that are for your betterment.

I have not completed this book; it is simply so full of important spiritual work, I decided not to rush through it for the sake of the review. I am in the midst of some very intense health problems (heart failure, in a nutshell) which makes this book timely for me, but also difficult to complete in short order when I am in the midst of travel to/from my home in Wichita to the Cleveland Heart Clinic for treatment. But I do intend to keep this book nearby, and I may actually bring it with me to Cleveland for my "spiritual homework" during the lengthy post-op recovery time (if I end up having one particular procedure done).

Overall, I am pleased with this book ~ even with the parts that are hard to think through and process. The upside is that I am not processing on my own; the author continually reminds the reader to take this journey with Jesus. And that is always, always good news - even in the midst of bad news.

Lord bless you as you consider reading this book.

Day 369 done :)
Jan L. Burt

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave these books a 5.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from Handlebar. All opinions shared here are solely my own. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

First Halves Don't Win Football Games

Job 23:10 reads like this: "He knows the way that I take..."


Is this verse a reality for you right now, in whatever spot life may have landed you? Are you confident in the certainty that the Lord knows the way that you take? That He knows exactly where you are at this precise moment and that He knows exactly how you got here?

Can you trust the Living God to manage the path of your life and believe that He has His eye on you right now? Do you know that He knows the way that you take today?

Life does not play out the way most of us wanted it to. Rarely do we get what we planned to get out of our short number of days on this big, blue spinning ball called Earth. But, nevertheless, for those who know Jesus, the long walk of our short life is not walked alone. Not only does He know the way that we take, He walks that way alongside of us.

It's a wonderful thing to walk the path of life hand in hand with Jesus. Don't think you have to do this on your own; you don't. Grab hold of His righteous right hand and just hang on. Because He promises that when He has tried us, we will come forth as gold. That's the second half of Job 23:10 ~ and life, like football, does not consist of first halves. Second halves often determine the game.

This Thanksgiving weekend, take time to pause and thank God that He knows the way that you take and thank Him that one day, maybe late in the fourth quarter, you will come forth as gold.

If you think of it, keep me in prayer this coming week. On Wednesday I will catch an early morning flight from Wichita to Cleveland and on Thursday (November 30th) I will see a team of cardiologists and electrophysiologists at The Cleveland Heart Hospital to assess the state of my heart at present and to find out what my options are for a path forward. I am expecting them to push for a heart ablation (probably done while I am awake - YIKES!) but I am praying that there is another option (as ablations tend to work for about 5 years and then the heart creates a new pathway to receive the problematic electrical impulses that have caused my PVC's and subsequent walk toward heart failure). Pray for peace for my husband and our five kids, and for me as I listen to discern the voice of the Lord amidst the voices of many well-trained physicians.

Lord bless you this week as you homeschool for the Lord's glory!

Happy Thanksgiving - I pray it has been a blessed time for you and your family.

Day 368 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Frederick Buechner Books ~ A Double Review

So, prior to this book review I had not heard of the author Frederick Buechner - this despite the fact that I am a book-a-holic and the additional fact that Mr. Buechner has authored more than 30 books. No idea how I missed him entirely...

For this review, I received not one, but two works by this author. I chose to dive into A Crazy, Holy Grace (The Healing Power of Pain and Memory) first because the subtitle was intriguing. After all, who wants to heal by way of pain and memory? Or, worse yet, via the combo of painful memories? Yeah, no...most of us will take a hard pass on that option.



In many ways, this book tells the unique story of the writer's life and delves into some terribly difficult childhood experiences and his emotions - or more accurately, his lack thereof. I think many people would relate well to this scenario. Childhood trauma often deals us such a blow in such a formative time of life that we find ourselves ill-equipped to feel what we ought to be feeling. If you have had such an experience, the book A Crazy, Holy Grace could be a great read for you. Not to mention the obvious - God's grace is crazy and holy at the very same time!

The second book of Mr. Buechner's is entitled The Remarkable Ordinary (How to Stop, Look and Listen to Life).  I was, again, intrigued by the subtitle. Yet this book, I found, was not so much aimed at my life circumstances and did not resonate with me. Not because it isn't a good book - it is. Mainly because I am at my own unique phase of life and at times don't have the energy to exert my mind in order to grasp the depth of such a book.



I would like to share a quote from the book:


          "To love your neighbor is to see your neighbor."

Simple but profoundly true, right?

I also really loved the thought that playing it safe is to somehow have your life diminished. Oh yes, that is 1000% true.

Overall, I think these are great little books but don't think "little" means a speed read. There's plenty to think about and you certainly wouldn't want to read either of these titles without a plan to think about what you are reading!


On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave these books a 4.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from Handlebar. All opinions shared here are solely my own. 



Day 367 done :)
Jan L. Burt


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Battleground Goals

Warren Wiersbe has said that sooner or later, every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground. He is spot on.

And for the homeschooling mother, we have one very intense battlefield.

Our enemies are, of course, on the outside. From the checkout lady at the Piggly Wiggly to our distant third-cousin (twice removed on our father's side), we know people are going to question us in regard to homeschooling. (Why, just last night at a banquet where my husband presented five awards, a very kind woman at our table asked me the never-ending question about....socialization. It's like the Dorothy and Toto jokes for those of us who live in Kansas ~ I sometimes was to say, in a voice rich with sarcasm, "You know, I have never heard that one before....!!") Those battlefields, we know how to prep for those.

But what about our own internal battlefields? What about those nagging fears that every mother has, but the homeschooling mom has on steroids? What if we completely jack up our kids to such an extent that they can never, ever function properly in society and their entire lives are ruined   -   because   -   of   -    us?!?

Now, I can't resolve all your concerns or give you miraculous peace in the midst of them. But I can point straight at the One who can! Jesus is always the answer, mama. Jesus is the only answer. And He is oh so very good us-toward. 

I want to encourage you to take a look back at my post on #Goals.  And then I want to encourage you to write out a few goals of your own. Where do you want your kids to end up when they leave the nest and spread the wings of adulthood? Write that down! Work on this over a few days or weeks; refine and hone it, or scrap it entirely and start again. But don't ignore it. Get something down on paper, spend time bathing it in prayer, and trust Jesus to get your kids across the finish line. 

He's a good God. It's a real shame we don't do a better job of trusting Him more with our homeschools, our kids, and their outcome as a result of being homeschooled by us. He is bigger than all that. He is a good God. 






Women who love their children and love their Jesus, give yourselves some grace today and trust Jesus more. Get those goals laid out before Him and watch to see what He might do in you, in your children, and in your homeschool. Remember, the battleground is real; the playground is a farce. Get in the battle and fight for what Jesus desires to do for your family.

Lord bless you today!

Day 366 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study 
& All Things Homeschool
 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bible Promises to Live By for Women ~ Katherine J. Butler (book review)

 




THIS.

This is my ideal when it comes to book reviews. 

Pretty cover? Check.

Solidly Biblical content? Check.

Dealing with prayer? Check.

Oh yes, this is my absolute favorite type of book to review.

Bible Promises to Live By for Women (by Katherine J. Butler) is truly a work of art. Concise but powerfully written insights fall just before a couple of pages of applicable Bible verses, all sorted neatly by topic. Perfect for reading from start to finish, praying through one topic a day. Also perfect for grabbing in the face of an urgent need, flipping to the area of concern, and praying in the right now. This books is truly wonderful.

I believe it would be a blessing for any mom this Christmas - it would be a great stocking stuffer for your teen and older daughters - it would make an excellent "thank you" for any woman you know who serves in any area of ministry. 

I love - love - love this book. It has secured it's spot on my bookshelf alongside books on prayer I often grab and utilize. I will probably take it with me when I travel from Kansas to Cleveland Heart Clinic in a couple of weeks (heart failure is no joke, but neither is the Word of God combined with prayer!)

I hope many women pick up a copy of this wonderful little treasure. It will most assuredly bless every single reader! 

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 5.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from Tyndale Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own.
 


Day 365 done :)

Jan L. Burt



Friday, November 3, 2017

Homeschool Goals



#Goals

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of years, in the social media sense, then you have most likely seen hashtag/Goals floating around. Millennials seem to love throwing this term around. To be honest, it's not a bad concept. We all have goals, right? 


So I was thinking about this idea of goals, and how using the hashtag almost sort of puts those goals "out there" for the whole world to see. It's like a unique form of accountability, in a way. If everyone knows your #Goals, then it stands to reason that everyone can check in with you about how those goals are coming along.


Several years ago, when I was relatively new to this whole homeschool thing, I wrote out a list of goals for us. I typed it up in a fun font, cleaned it up and centered it, printed it out and taped it to the kitchen wall (also known as the homeschool classroom). There is was for several years, right at my eye level in the room where I spent the majority of my waking hours Monday thru Friday. A constant reminder of the end goal I was hoping to reach. 


It was one of the best ideas I ever had for our little homeschool.


I'm going to share that list with you in today's blog post - but let me give you this disclaimer first: I often set lofty goals for myself. This list is not the exception. So, read it with a grain of salt and if there is anything worthwhile you can glean from it, that's awesome. If not, drive on! This homeschool blog is an absolute no-guilt zone!


Here it is:



                                       Burt Family Homeschool Goals



  • Each child should intimately know the Lord and serve Him in his/her own capacity, fully equipped to perform ministry to others and to family members.
  • Each child should be prepared to enter college, full-time ministry, or the marketplace with confidence and capability, being fully equipped to succeed.
  • Each child should be functional in relationships at home, at work, and within the body of the church, free of emotional hindrances, and prepared for marriage, work, friendships, and church relationships.
  • Each child should be fully capable of living independently, handling life situations efficiently and effectively, maturing in the Lord and seeking Him for life guidance.
  • Primarily, each child should find fulfillment in life by discovering and enjoying the gifts given them by God, and the path He has designed for each of them.



 
Those are the #Goals I laid out for our family many, many years ago. And you know what? I think we have hit the bulls-eye dead-on in most of these areas with all of our children. What a blessing! 


If you feel like it, write out a few goals of your own and see if it doesn't help you aim for something big in the course of your day-to-day life as a homeschooler. When we randomly aim, we hit either nothing at all or some odd random target that we never meant to hit at all. But when we aim at a clearly defined target, we tend to hit it - simply because we are keeping our eye on the prize. 






Lord bless you, and Lord bless the long-term results of your homeschool!


Day 364 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study