A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Praying About Next Year's Homeschool Plans

Christian families of course ought to be praying families, just as individual followers of Christ ought to of course be praying people. And homeschooling mothers ought to be praying women.

If you have not yet set apart some time this summer to pray over the upcoming academic year, let me encourage you to do so. If we feel led to homeschool due to our Christian faith, then it seems pretty silly to fail in praying over each homeschool year before it starts.

I could give you a list of things to pray for, and sharply reprimand you for failing to thoroughly cover prior years in prayer...but that really isn't what I am called to do via this blog. I am all about encouraging homeschooling mothers, so I sincerely hope you are only ever encouraged by reading my posts.

Pray any way that works for you. By that I mean pray for a few minutes in the morning, or set aside an hour one afternoon when the little ones are taking a nap. While waiting for the kids at swim lessons, you could devote that time to asking the Lord to lead, guide and bless the next school year. Pray with your husband, or pray with a fellow homeschooling mom. Talk to God about your children, seek His direction and will for all aspects of your homeschool, and then trust Him to reveal to you what needs to be revealed. It really can be that simple, and I really do believe our loving Father will answer those prayers.

Give Him your worries, thank Him for His sovereignty and faithfulness, and trust Him for the next school year. You will be blessed by spending time in prayer, and so will your children.

Lord bless you and your family this summer!!

Day 319 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

PS - I have started a new blog that I hope will be a source of encouragement to women in all walks of life ~ you can find me at www.OpeningUpAWholeNewCanO'Worms.com

PPS - If any homeschooling mother reading this is in need of some Biblical encouragement, leave me a comment that includes your email address and I will gift you a copy of my book, The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study (thru July 31st, 2014).

Monday, July 7, 2014

2014 Big Giveaway # 1

Okay, so that's a weird title for a blog post. But it's an accurate title, and it rightly conveys what needs to be conveyed...so I'm sticking with it. This post contains details about my first Big Giveaway this year. And while it is July, which is kind of late for my first giveaway of 2014, I'm still sticking with that title. (Now, this may not be the world's largest homeschool blog giveaway, but it is "big" for me, and I hope it's a blessing for one lucky homeschooling mother!)

Here is a list of what the winner will receive:

One copy of The Homeschool Mom's Bible (NIV). This is a hardcover Bible, which means it will hold up well for daily use, and I have to say the daily devotions are really, really good. My purpose with this blog is to encourage homeschooling mothers, and this Bible is a great source of encouragement.







One copy of the book Amos Fortune, Free Man (by Elizabeth Yates). This book is one of my absolute favorites! It's the true story of a remarkable man, and the impact he had on so many others despite his less-than ideal circumstances. I try to read this book once every year or so, as it always deeply impacts me. Really, I love this book and am so excited to give a copy to some lucky lady! (While it is technically a book for the pre-teen years, grown-ups would enjoy it too!)







One copy of the 2014 Print Book edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. This 288-page whopper of a magazine has loads of encouragement for homeschoolers! It's a resource you will reference over and over again. And I was blessed to write an article for this year's print book; it may sound like small potatoes but to me it was a very humbling opportunity.







One copy of the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Many know Ann for this book, but I remember using her geography resources years before she became so well-known. Every mom needs to be encouraged, and Ann's book leads us to a place of encouragement via giving thanks. This hardcover book will be a treasure for the giveaway winner.




One copy of Gordon Korman's Book # 1 from the Island series - Shipwreck. One of my daughter's devoured this series several years ago, and she has recommended them many, many times. So I thought it would be fun to add this book to my giveaway!




And the last book in this giveaway is my all-time, absolute favorite piece of fiction...a book I read at least once a year...my personal copy is so tattered and worn, and it has it's own permanent spot on my bedside book shelf...The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason. Now don't assume the book is like the movie, because it's not. The book is a treasure that continues to surprise me with it's unflinching, enormous story of redemption. It's a great, great book. You might not think so based on the first couple of paragraphs, but give it a chance, keep reading, and I think you'll find it is one book worth reading.






Those are the six items that comprise this 2014 Big Giveaway # 1 - enter below and find out who wins on July 14th!



a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thanks for entering my giveaway!

Day 318 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July

Today is July the first, 2014.

I can hardly believe it is now the seventh month of this year...it's as if I blink and another week flies right by.

Our family is in full-on summer mode, with projects and family time abounding. A short list of things we've done (or will do) this summer include:

finishing adding a 6th bedroom to our home
stripping & repainting a chifferobe
a youth group trip to Arkansas (in just a few weeks! yikes!)
my husband's transition to his new job
wrestling camp for my son (gotta practice in the off-season when it's college wrestling!)
my daughter is a photographer, so she has lots of shoots to do when she's home for the summer
selling curriculum/books I no longer need for our homeschool (I have close to 500 amazon listings...)
a fun jet-ski weekend @ the lake to celebrate my daughter's 16th birthday
our annual scavenger hunt to welcome new students into the youth group
and of course took a crazy-fun vacation to Florida...

Here are some pictures of our Florida craziness.













So what have you been up to this summer? Did you get absolutely soaked on a water ride? Or maybe got an enormous hug from Chewbacca? Get a picture with a giant Incredible Hulk make entirely out of Lego's? Or get your Hamm (from Toy Story) autographed by John Ratzenberger (the voice of Hamm)? Maybe someone sent a text to let you know that an Instagram featured pic was none other than three of your own children while waiting in line for a theme park to open!

Whatever you've been up to, and whatever you still have planned for summer, enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with truly enjoying the time we have together. It's a gift from the Lord, and it's good to be thankful for His gifts.

Have a fantastic summer!!

Day 317 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

PS - I am about to have the first of several GIVEAWAYS on my blog...sometime this week I should start the first one and trust me when I say I have some really, really good stuff to give away!!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

American History by James P. Stobaugh


The American History series by James P. Stobaugh - this curriculum can speak for itself, so it most certainly does not need me to speak for it. There has not been any other book or curriculum that I have been so excited to review. My fellow homeschooling mothers, if you are in need of a high school history curriculum that is college preparatory in nature, then this is what you've been searching for.

The physical description of American History is as such: the set of two books contains the Teacher Edition and the Student Book. The How-To-Use page is excellent, and the Preface clearly explains the author's attitude toward teaching history along with some personal background information that is insightful. It's pretty clear what this text requires of both parent and student, and while the work load may seem a bit overwhelming if you will give it a chance and be willing to invest a little good old-fashioned hard work then I promise you will see results!

Chapter 1 focuses on Native Americans. The chapter opens with "First Thoughts" and Learning Objectives (you'll find these for each new chapter). There are answers to each lesson's questions in the Teacher Edition, along with an Exam Key to guide you in grading the discussion questions. The textbook spans Native Americans through the War on Terrorism as well as contemporary issues. It touches upon many "taboo" topics that, quite frankly, are actually very appropriate to address with your high school student.  Slavery, women's rights, philosophers and their worldviews, immigration, social welfare, the Holocaust, racism, abortion, global warming, and even homeschooling are covered in American History. At some point in time, somebody is going to talk to your child about these issues...and it ought to be you doing the talking. This curriculum is a great way to address these sensitive subjects from a Christian point of view.

James Stobaugh is a proponent of citing primary source work. He expects the student to conduct extensive research in order to write essay-type answers for each lesson's questions. I've read some other reviews of American History that reveal many homeschooling mothers have been irked by this. Yet I honestly think it's what makes this curriculum stand apart from other homeschool history books. It makes for excellent preparation for college coursework and even for the essay portion of the SAT. Constant research and writing causes the student to grow their reasoning and thinking skills. As a mom with 3 kids in high school and 2 in college, I can tell you this is the type of history program to use if your child intends to pursue higher academia. I cannot speak highly enough of these resources. I am thankful Mr. Stobaugh has created them.

I hope this review has been helpful for those looking at high school history options, and I thank you for taking the time to read my review. As this is the last review I plan to write, I was very pleased that is was for one of James Stobaugh's books.

I received this curriculum at no charge from the publisher; my honest review and personal opinions are solely my own.

Day 316 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

P.S. - This product review is the final book review of any type that I will write. I have very much enjoyed reading, perusing, and writing reviews of books and curricula, and will miss the process very much, but I have decided it is time for me to re-focus my blog on encouraging homeschooling mothers and focus more of my time and energy on my last 4 years of homeschooling. It has been a blessing to have so many people read my reviews, and I am thankful for each person who has visited my blog.  



Monday, May 19, 2014

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus - A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity ~ by Nabeel Qureshi






 The book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi is an unbelievable insightful account of Islam from the perspective of one person who grew up in an Islamic home...and forsook all he knew when he found Jesus.

Nabeel grew up in an American Navy household; a household that was also devoutly Muslim. In some respects he lived a typical American military kid's life, but in many ways his adolescence was drastically different than his non-Muslim counterparts. When reading this book I was amazed at his ability to treat his parents with the utmost of respect even as he explained his experience within the Islamic community as one who has walked away from that community. It would be difficult to read this book and not feel some level of emotion for Nabeel and his plight. After all, he truly has forsaken father and mother and sister to follow Christ. That is much more than the average Christian in America will ever have to sacrifice for their faith. In that light, this is a book that should be read with a respectful attitude, rather than the all-too-common "I hate all things Muslim" that many American believers convey by their attitude, words, and (ah-hem) Facebook posts.

If you have a desire to know more about those who do not know Jesus because they were born into a Muslim family, you ought to read Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. And if you have some sort of bigotry against Muslims (perhaps you watch a little too much Fox News and don't read your Bible enough) then you really need to read this book. We will never bring Muslims out of the darkness and into Christ's saving light with our prejudices and our hatred. This book can open your heart and allow the Lord to move you toward ministering to them and praying for them.




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 BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.


Day 315 done :)


Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Friday, May 16, 2014

Out of the Depths - by Edward Harrell, USMC






The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is a well-known story to most every student of the second World War, and many who know little about those dark years have still heard of the Indy.  It's one of the great tragedies of America's war history, and reading about it is never easy. But the book Out of the Depths, written by USS Indianapolis survivor Edward Harrell (United States Marine Core) brings a distinctly Christian perspective to this heart-wrenching tale.

Out of the Depths is a very well-written book, and the author does a terrific job of recognizing God's hand in the events detailed throughout each chapter. The facts are laid out in combination with Mr. Harrell's own personal perspective, and the incident along with it's after-effects are described with enough detail to give the reader a clear understanding of what took place, but with no extra "gore" added for drama's sake. It's clear the author has opted to glorify the Lord through this book, and that is refreshing for a military/historical work.

Reading this book reminded me once again of the grave cost of war, which is actually a grave cost of sin. The way Mr. Harrell weaves his faith into his book is a wonderful reminder of the hope we have in Christ, even in the darkest hours of our lives. I really enjoyed reading Out of the Depths...although it does not "feel" correct to use the word enjoyed when sharing about a book detailing the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.

In fact, I have decided to make Out of the Depths a part of homeschool's high school history coursework. It's one small piece of American and world history, but it's an important piece. This book does the tragedy justice.

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

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

 Day 314 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Where the Wind Leads - a memoir by Vinh Chung (with Tim Downs)






Wow. Just...wow.

That is the first thought that comes to mind when pondering exactly how to write a review for the book Where the Wind Leads. To find a memoir that grabs such hold of the reader that you move seamlessly through it's pages and almost forget that the book will actually have an end is a rarity. I loved this book from the very first page. And while it is most certainly very Christian in nature, it is not primarily focused on the Christian faith of the Chung family. Where the Wind Leads is truly a memoir in the truest sense of the word; it is a historical account given from a personal perspective.

Each chapter is just a few pages in length, which makes it easy to grab the book and read when you have a few extra moments. And the writing is truly top-notch. To some degree, at least in my mind, one mark of a good book is the ability to read without the overt sense that you are reading...and Where the Wind Leads allowed me to sort of "fall" into the Chung family's story. And what a story it is.

While I really don't want to give any of the book away in my review, I do feel I should share some of their story. As a brief overview, I can tell you that the Chung family was Chinese in ethnicity and their family had resided in Vietnam for the last several generations. The book covers the rise of their enormously successful company, through the Vietnam war, their subsequent demise into abject poverty, and their bold attempt to escape their homeland, which was truly no longer a place they could call home. I don't want to give away any details about their escape attempt, but one glance at the book cover will tell you it involved a very small boat on a very large body of water. You'll have to read the book to find out more!

If you are looking for a good read to begin your summer, Where the Wind Leads is an excellent choice. I recommend it highly!

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 BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.

Day 313 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Encouraging Quote-A-Thon

I suppose I am probably one of the laziest bloggers on the planet...or I am a busy homeschooler...or I have been in a bit of a blog-funk...

Whatever the cause, I've been lagging in my blogging but I'm throwing up a post today.

It's a simple post, just sharing a variety of quotes that I've written down in recent months. I hope at least one of the quotes is a source of encouragement for you!


     "A jealous God will not be content with a divided heart; He must be loved first and best." ~ Spurgeon

     "To be little with God is to be little for God." ~ E.M. Bounds

     "The great fault of the children of God is that they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying, they do not persevere. If they desire anything for God's glory, they should pray until they get it." ~ George Mueller

     "I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God:  first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done." ~ Hudson Taylor

     "Staying power in prayer is a rare quality. There is no realm of the Christian life in which we weary so quickly as in prayer." ~ Arthur Wallis

     "He who prays without boldness cannot hope that his prayer will be answered." ~ Francis Fenelon

     "God does not expect us to work for Him, but to work with Him." ~ Oswald Chambers

     "God wills a great deal of blessing to His people which never comes to them. He wills it most earnestly, but they do not will it, and it cannot come." ~ Andre Murray

     "Dare to trust God for something small and ordinary and next week or next year you may be able to trust Him for answers bordering on miraculous." ~ A.W. Tozer


Keep homeschooling for His glory and be encouraged today!

Day 312 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study 
            

       
  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Unquenchable - by Carol Kent






Carol Kent is a well-known author within the Christian community. She has a frank, open style that many find refreshing, and in particular her honesty regarding her son's imprisonment for first-degree murder have been a soothing balm to many women coping with their own unimaginable loss and pain. Unquenchable is not a Bible study, nor is it a memoir. It's a compilation of tragedies woven together in a way that spurs the reader on to keep trusting in the Lord, even when life is overwhelming and the flames of faith seem to be dwindling.

To be honest, Unquenchable was very different than I expected it to be. I can't exactly clarify what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I found when I opened the cover and began to read. The book is real and raw and at times hard to read. But isn't life also, at times, raw and real and hard? If we're honest, we answer "Yes...indeed it is." This book can move you forward on the path of knowing God is truly enough, no matter what is taking place in your life, even as you face guilt over what appears to be a waning faith. Unquenchable is a reminder that there are times when we mistakenly believe our faith has died out completely and we don't trust the Lord, when in reality the embers of our faith can be burning hot and bright though we can't see them.

Don't read this book if you're looking for a few easy steps to solve your current faith crisis. It's not that type of book. Read it if you're willing to hear women's heart-wrenching stories, and you're able to admit that hard times may well fall on each of us for no apparent reason. Read it if you're wondering how a loving God can allow such deeply painful hurts in the lives of His children. Read it and see that the God you love can also be the God you trust through the darkest moments of life, and your faint embers may actually be the banking of a fire that cannot ever be put out.

Job well done, Carol Kent. You tackled a difficult, touchy subject that many avoid like the plague and explored it honestly, and to the glory of God.

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 BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.

Day 311 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Twirl by Patsy Clairmont






The new book Twirl by well-known author and speaker Patsy Clairmont is a fun little book to read. I think it's aim is to bring a breath of fresh air into the spiritual lives of Christian women living in westernized cultures, and it achieves that goal with ease.

Patsy's conversational writing style, combined with her anecdotal tales, make for a light-heated book. The short chapters can be read in any order, so readers are free to pick and choose topics that best suit their current needs. She's down-to-earth, no-nonsense. This is classic Patsy Clairmont.

I would say this book probably is better suited to women of the next generation, as I'm not at the stage of life wherein I could appreciate many of the experiences, hobbies, and problems shared in Twirl. But even with the age/interest differences, I was able to glean nuggets of truth from Patsy's book.

From facing your fears to trying new hobbies, aging gracefully and continuing to learn new things about your family, Twirl is full of ways to keep the winds of life blowing anew.  If you're looking for a fast, easy read, this just might be the next book you read.

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 BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.


Day 310 done :)


Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study