A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Monday, January 12, 2015

If Everyone Else Was Just Like Me

It's 2015. Yup. 2014 is over. Is is just so over.

I'm not a terribly huge fan of resolutions, mostly because self-will has yet to fix or change or improve anything in my life. So this post is definitely not about setting your resolve to be a better mom, wife, homeschooler, Christian, whatever. It's just about opening your heart and allowing the Lord to look at what is, and what isn't, in there. And then giving Him full access to do whatever it is He might like to do.

So the question I am going to pose to you is this:

     If every other homeschooler lived their life the way I live my life and homeschooled the way I homeschool, what would the homeschool community look like? 

I did not say it was going to be an easy question. 

But it is an important question.

Ask it. Today. And let Him answer. Then give way to Him and let Him do what only He can do. (Which, by the way, is anything and everything.) 

2015 can be the most blessed year of homeschooling thus far - but it won't be because of your efforts at keeping a list of resolutions. It will be as good as you allow Him to make it.

Lord bless you today!

Day 326 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study 



 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Busy Start to Winter

So I have not put up a new post since October. Wow. That is a really long time.

Not that I actually think anyone is missing my posts, but if you were wondering why on earth I am not posting...there are a few reasons.

I have found that bloggers need to take breaks. There are seasons when we just don't have the heart to post and post and post. Instead our hearts are focused on our home lives, our children, homeschooling...stuff like that. And my fall/early winter has proved this to be true.

I also needed a break from blogging because I have been writing a book. So I have been writing, just not on my blogs.

I hope your days have been filled with the Lord's chosen will for you, whether it is encouraging others through weblogs and social media, participating in small groups, giving your time in service to others, or just being a mom to your children. And if you happen to have a blog and you happen to have guilt when you don't post all the time...then let this post give you permission to throw that guilt away. When anything, even blogging, becomes a chore and starts to rule over your life and your time, then you really must step back and take a breather. God will guide you gently when you have young children (yes, that is actually Biblical - I challenge you to search your Bible and find it!)

Here is a sample from my writing project:

     Acts 20:23 - "I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me."

     Do you expect to hear from the Holy Spirit personally? On a daily basis?

     If not, you need to adjust your expectations! Our Counselor, the Holy Spirit, is more willing to speak to us than we are to listen. What on earth might we hear from Him if only we would attune our ears?

     In Acts 20:23, Paul states that he knew what was ahead because the Holy Spirit had warned him. He was not told to turn back, nor did he become fearful. Rather, Paul was prepared for what lay ahead - simply because he expected to hear clearly from the Holy Spirit and was willing to accept what he was told, whether it be good or bad, without complaint.

     Do you accept difficult news with the right attitude? Do you joyfully take good from the hand of the Lord, and angrily shove away bad? This is a poor way to respond. Reset your thinking in accordance with God's word and willingly accept the Holy Spirit's wise counsel. Of course, that will not contradict the Bible. You should not simply assume that every thought running through your mind is the Holy Spirit speaking to you. But do listen expectantly, in prayer, and when He speaks to you, with a grateful and obedient heart, listen earnestly.

     Paul was willing to hear what the Spirit said to him. May it be our prayer to do the same.




There's a little sample of what I have been working on. Thanks for reading it!

May you be blessed this Christmas as you remember that He is truly the only gift that matters.

Day 325 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


As an aside, I would like to mention something new I have been doing via Twitter. I take copious sermon notes, and review them often. Last week I realized it would be great to share some of the exact quotes I write down as my pastor preaches each Sunday. Using the hashtag #KelleyLandenbergerSermon, I have been tweeting quotes. Check it out and be encouraged! My Twitter handle is @ATHomeschool.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Begin To Be Thankful While the Calendar Reads October

In my home, for a never-ending compendium of reasons, October is a busy month. It is typically so busy that it can deplete my patience, energy, bank account and time and leave my head spinning by the time I turn the wall calendar to November. I do not seem to be able to conquer this fall phenomenon which can be referred to as "Octo-Mania".

But I really do love fall, I do enjoy all that this first full month of autumn brings. I don't want to be so consumed with busy-ness that I fail to enjoy the blessings that come with Octo-Mania. So I have to make a daily choice to consciously be thankful. Making that decision at the dawn of each new day has enabled me to be a more content follower of Jesus this autumn. It's sort of like choosing to give thanks in October, rather than waiting for the arrival of November.

When I was a young mom, way back in my twenties, older and more wizened women would tell me to enjoy the stage of life I was in (diaper bags, midnight feedings, toddler talk, and so on). And I really did my best to take their advice, because I figured all those women weren't telling me the same thing for no reason, right? And now that my children are older (instead of diaper bags, I help pack bags for college & in lieu of toddler talk that I had to "decipher" I now help talk through internship opportunities) I am still heeding that advice.

Enjoy the season you are in right now, because this too shall pass. And when it is past, you will most certainly miss it. A part of you will ring a bit hollow, and your heart will answer that ring with a sad pang. The only way to lessen the ache of that pang is to enjoy the now, right now, today.

Now that I am one of those older women (albeit not a wizened woman despite being in my forties) I am sharing the same old, tried-and-true counsel. The seasons will change, there is no stopping the progression of time. Make the most of today, and choose to be thankful right smack dab in the midst of October.

Lord bless you today!

Day 324 :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Friday, October 17, 2014

If I Were to Make a Transition...

So I found myself wondering, "Hmmm, if I were to begin to blog about things that edify women in the church as a whole, as compared to only those who homeschool, would I lose readers? How much would I need to alter my weblog?"

And in the midst of wondering about that, along with finding that most of my ideas for posts are more about greater edification as of late, I have not written much. Which is a problem. Because a writer is only a writer to the extent that she writes, right?

But I have also found that my most-read posts are those that have encouraged my non-homeschooling friends as much as homeschoolers. Perhaps there isn't really a conflict-of-interest after all....

All that to say, my posts may be a little broader in scope, at least for the time being. I suspect that something written to edify women who love and serve Jesus will also edify women who love and serve Jesus and homeschool.

If you've followed my blog for very long, I am sure you know how often I quote A.W. Tozer, C.H. Spurgeon, Andrew Murray, and the like. When I read their wise words, it is as if I am being taught by the giants of the faith. I grow, it seems, simply by reading and internalizing their writings. And then I tend to come here to Encouraging Moms Who Homeschool and sort of "force feed" all of it to you.

Here are a few quotes that have been growth catalysts for me in recent weeks:

     "It is astounding how narrow is the circle taken in by the prayers of the average Christian. Let us give our prayers a wider sweep." ~ R.A. Torrey

     "It is possible to move men through God by prayer alone." ~ J. Oswald Sanders

     "So scale the heights of a life abandoned to God, and your perspective will change to the point that you will look down on the clouds beneath your feet." ~ D. Sargeant

     "As seamen in the life of faith, let us launch out into the deep and find that all things are possible to the Christian that believes." ~ A.B. Simpson

     " ...we have abundant reasons for thanksgiving." ~ G. Mueller

     "His faithfulness to trusting children in unwavering, and He is steadfast in holding to His purpose. ... The length of Joseph's prison stay gave him the strength and steadiness he needed as governor. ... It is always safe to trust Gods methods and live by His clock." ~ Samuel Dickey Gordon

     "Elijah knew that God was about to give rain; but that did not prevent him from praying for the promised rain." ~ A.W. Pink

    

There are a few quotes for you to "think on".  Filter these words through The Word, toss out anything that heaps on guilt or condemnation, and remember the Lord will grow you at the pace He has chosen. But no growth is never His chosen pace, so beware if you are moving backwards.

Keep doing what you are doing, love your children, enjoy this season in your homeschool (and if you don't homeschool, you still need to enjoy the season you are currently in). Love your Lord, love your family, set your heart apart each day as fully His, and stand amazed as He works in and through you.

And, I have something new to share with my readers ~ especially those who follow Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education. Be sure to visit BlueSkyDaisies to learn about a fabulous update to an old favorite - The Mother Tongue: Adapted for Modern Students by Amy Edwards & Christina Mugglin. Free page samples and links to purchase are available at the site, so be sure to check it out!


Lord bless you today!

Day 323 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Friday, August 22, 2014

My Pampered Chef Party

So, this isn't exactly my "typical" blog post...but I am hosting a Facebook/catalog Pampered Chef party. I seriously love Pampered Chef products - A LOT. And I use them - A LOT. So I am having a party to, of course, earn some free and discounted stuff (may as well be brutally honest - I mean, that's why we have these kinds of parties, right?!?!?). And I would really love, love, love it if you would make a purchase.

If you place an order of $60 or more, you can choose a free item (the link to my online party is http://new.pamperedchef.com/pws/kathyperry/guest-landing/8867277913243).  Either the Bar Board (item # RK98) or the set of 3 Small Flexible Cutting Mats (item # RK99). The Bar Board is just the right size for making one sandwich - so you can instruct your sandwich devouring children to make their snack on the Bar Board, and clean up will be easy. As for the Small Flexible Cutting Mats, I will tell you how we use those in our home...my daughter has a small business making custom polymer clay charms (and larger items, like the Marvel vs DC chess set). She uses these mats to work with her clay. It makes clean up easy for her, she has measurements right at her work station, she can use her tools for cutting and shaping without doing any damage to her desk or the kitchen island, and they are flexible so she takes them with her when we travel (she cannot go on our family vacations without her clay, and these mats allow her to craft in the car and in the hotel).  You can check out her Etsy shop here ~ www.etsy.com/shop.SavanasClayCreations.com

Some of the Pampered Chef items I use the most include the Bamboo Spatulas (item #2042), the Chef's Tongs (#2955), the Large Micro-Cooker (#2778), the Tomato Knife (#1037) & the Hold 'N Slice (#1101), the Classic Batter Bowl (#2431), the All-Purpose Spreaders (#1642), Classic Scrapers (#1655) and the Scoop & Spread (#1679), the Egg Separator (#1187), the Ice Cream Scoop (#2731),  the Twixit! Clips (#2651) and of course the Mix 'N Chop (#2583). I really do use all of these items all the time!! Oh, I almost forgot the Can Strainer (#2495). I can't imagine opening a can of fruit or tuna and not having that handy dandy little thing!

I am certainly not a salesman (or saleswoman) and I have no reason to exaggerate how great these products are. I promise you, as much as I love to bake and to cook, I would not waste my time on things that don't work or aren't worth the money. The things I listed above really do work, and really are worth the money. So if you need any Pampered Chef stuff, or have never tried it before, please consider ordering via my Facebook/Catalog party. I'd be super blessed by your order :)

Here's the link once more ~ http://new.pamperedchef.com/pws/kathyperry/guest-landing/8867277913243

Thanks for reading my abnormal post - and have a fabulous day!

Day 322 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Friday, August 15, 2014

Get Serious

Okay, is everyone ready for a blunt weblog post? If you're not, then just stop reading right now...

As August rolls ever closer to September, and another year of homeschooling dawns, let me ask you a serious question:  Why on earth do you homeschool, anyway?

Seriously!!  What is your reason for choosing this lifestyle of home education?  Peer pressure from within your church? Or from your spouse? All-consuming anxiety about what the world might do to your child? In order to maintain a firm hand of control over your family?

Those are all lousy reasons to homeschool.

First, peer pressure is not God's way of accomplishing His good and perfect and pleasing will. Open up your Bible and start reading those words in red, and very quickly you will see He intends freedom for His disciples. So if you homeschool because everyone in your peer group wants you to homeschool, you need to step back and spend some time in prayer about the entire situation. It's not my job to tell you whether or not you should homeschool, but it is also not the job of people you attend church with. Get with your spouse and your God and just talk to both of them about homeschooling. And you'll know what God's will is soon enough.

Second, if you homeschool because your spouse pushed you into it, then you must pray pray and pray a whole lot more. There is no easy answer for this, but God specializes in things that are difficult. Pray and pray and pray - and move toward a conversation when He leads you to. Keep praying even while you are having the conversation. Be willing to hear His direction for your life, and for your children....even if it is not what you want to hear.

Third, if you have anxiety about every terrible thing out there in the world that might harm your child, you will end up putting a strangle-hold on their life. The same God who is your personal Father desires to be their personal Father ~ He has no grandchildren. Anxiety has a way of keeping us moms from letting our children let go of our hand in order to grab hold of His hand. It's so very dangerous to live an anxious life. If this is the reason you homeschool, you truly must spend a concentrated amount of time in prayer seeking the Lord's freedom. And then you need to see if He has called you to home educate...because if He truly has called you to it, He does not want you to have anxiety about it.

Lastly, I have to address an issue that I see far too often within the homeschool community. Wives and mothers who claim to be submissive to their husbands and to their Lord are mired in a mess I simply call Reverse Feminism. It's a term I coined to describe the families and homes that are under the pretense of the husband/father's authority, but in actuality are under the complete and total control of a quietly domineering wife/mother. Mom decides what food every member of the family eats, even dad when he is at work, and no one has any say in the matter...except Mom. Every activity each member partakes in is chosen by Mom....and Mom alone. Where the money is spent is decided by Mom. Where the family lives and attends church (or doesn't attend church, in many cases) is a decision Mom makes. All homeschool curriculum choices are in the hands of Mom...and no one had better dare to question her decisions! Anything the Lord has for a family, whether a word of encouragement or a blessing or discipline, is all "deciphered" by Mom. Dad isn't leading this family - Mom is. And it is sin, ladies. Outright sin. It has to be addressed, so I am addressing it. As an 18-year veteran homeschooler, I have a little bit of a platform and a little credibility to speak out on this subject. If you are a wife, a mother, who is running your family and home under the guise of "submission", you need to repent. To your God, to your spouse, to your children. And then turn away from this grievous sin, give the reigns of control back to your husband.

So, this is my very serious blog post...and if you want to leave a comment, then you certainly can. I'm probably not going to get into any "arguments" to defend my stance, because I don't need to defend myself. I've seen Reverse Feminism so often in the homeschool world, I'm just not going to leave any room for excuses or denial. If you do this, stop doing it. You're out of God's will, and that is a very dangerous place to be. End of discussion.

Now, if you want to know how I have kept homeschooling through thick and thin for nearly two decades...I will tell you. I have a call from God to homeschool. That's it. Nothing more than that, no additional reasons why I do this all-encompassing thing called home education. Just a call from the Lord. He said to homeschool, I choose to obey.

Share this post with your homeschooling friends, talk about it frankly. Pray about it. And be encouraged to be serious about your family and your homeschool. Because I can promise you, God takes it seriously.

Day 321 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Enjoying August While Readying for September

August is busy month around here. My two oldest are preparing to head back to their respective colleges (Wheaton & Taylor, each about 12 hours away). The three girls still enrolled in our family homeschool are making decisions about fall activities and dual enrollment classes, while hoping to somehow delay the start of school. And I am busy, as always, with what seems to be a million different things.

But I want my kids to each take some time to reflect on this summer and enjoy it just a little longer. Be in the moment, not just thinking about what is coming next.

Moms, the same applies to us. We need to daily decide that we will live in the now and not bemoan the past or focus only on what comes next. Life can only be lived right now, it cannot be relived nor lived in advance. So wherever life finds you today, be fully there. I know it's old advice that you've heard many times before, but it is sage advice and is worth repeating.

And do take some time to get away with the Lord to pray about your homeschool's future. If He has called you to this task, it only makes sense that you need to spend time with Him, asking Him what His perfect will is and seeking His strength to complete the task. Homeschooling is not for chumps - it's hard work and requires much from us moms. But if it is His work for us, then there is no where else we should want to be.

Have a wonderful day enjoying August - September is coming soon but it's not here yet so enjoy this season before it changes.

Day 320 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study
& the upcoming ebook The Christians Guide to All Things Homeschool

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!!