A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Monday, July 17, 2017

Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest (Revised & Updated) - by Barbara Rainey & Susan Yates



So, this particular book review carries a special kind of weight for me and hit me squarely between the eyes with it's subject matter. I am about to become an empty-nester and I have absolutely no idea how this can possibly be true. My times they are a-changing. And I don't know that I like the changing of the times, to be honest.

Barbara and Susan's Guide to the Empty Nest is easy to read, well thought out, informative and, if not exactly essential for a woman in my situation, then by all means a wise option as I wrap up my current season of life. After all, I have been a full-time homeschool mom for almost 25 years. I probably need to seek out some counsel as I prepare to transition to...well...to whatever is next for me.

The book has 12 chapters, divided into three sections, and includes an epilogue as well as four appendixes and a small group or book club study guide. Like I said, it's well thought out and informative. The chapters stay true to their intended topic, which is nice because when discussing something like the impending empty nest there is no room for filler, fluff or rabbit trailing. Women need a strong dose of encouragement that is smothered in reality, because THIS...IS...DIFFICULT. Please do not placate me, pat me on the head, and tell me it will all be fine if I just pick up a new hobby. I am thankful Barbara and Susan don't do that. They have lived it, and that makes this book very relateable.

The chapter I liked the most (notice I used the word "liked", not the word "enjoyed" - I don't enjoy much about any of this empty nest prep stuff) was Chapter 12, "Changing Your World". It truly gives Christian women something impactful to press on toward as they walk through this time of change. I am not nearly done living yet, and I want to do something that changes some aspect of my world for the better, for Jesus and His Kingdom. I think most of the moms I know want the same thing. This book is a great resource for any woman nearing the emptying of her nest.

Consider grabbing a copy as a gift for a woman you know, or maybe even do this as a short-term small group with women from your church. It's beneficial to walk through this time of transition with others who will pray for and with us along the way.

I am thankful these women wrote this book and shared from their hearts, because it has given me permission to grieve while it gives me permission to look forward with hope. Thanks for that, Barbara and Susan!

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 Bethany House Publishers. All opinions shared here are solely my own. 


Day 350 done :)

Jan L. Burt
The Homeschooling Mother's Bible Study
All Things Homeschool
available on Amazon

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Summer Planning

It is easy for the homeschooling mother to sort of "drift" through her summer days. "Drift" being a relative term - summer means VBS and vacation and family reunions and swim lessons and visits to grandma and library reading programs and the like. There are no lazy summer days for busy moms, but there are days when the school year is far removed from our thoughts.

Don't let your child's education fall into the deep, black chasm labeled "Out of Sight, Out of Mind". Summer poses an excellent opportunity to evaluate our home life, which of course includes our homeschool life, and make certain that the things which are most important are the things you are accomplishing.

So, the big question to ask yourself is this: What is most important to you?

Do not be too quick to answer this question. Take your time, think on it, pray about it, listen for the Lord to speak to your heart. What is truly most important to you, as a disciple of Jesus? As a steward of the children He has blessed you with?

Once you have an answer, then take a few moments and write down the things that take up most of your time during the school year. Be honest! The only way to get done whatever it is that is most important in your life is to honestly evaluate where your time is spent on a daily basis.

If your use of time reflects your highest priorities, you don't need to finish reading this post and I give you and "air five"! However, if your time is not being used on the most important aspects of your life, take a hard look at things and ask yourself, "What is out of whack here?"

Be brutal and brave and make the changes necessary to align your life with your main goals. You only live once. Don't waste your one life on things that don't truly matter. And remember, your time with your children is limited and you don't want to look back one day only to realize your time was misspent over the course of those one-chance-only years.

Make a few changes, tweek a few things, and enjoy the rest of your summer!

Lord bless you today!

Day 349 done :)

Jan L Burt
The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Five Hints for Homeschoolers


I would not refer to myself as an expert on any topic, a guru at anything, nor a master of a trade. But I can refer to myself as one who has *almost* completed her work as a homeschooler. I am nearing the end of this road; I have been running my race for over two decades and soon this will all be in the past tense... I'm not an expert, but I am seasoned in this lifestyle. Here are a few of the things I have learned over the years.


     # 1 ~ Small Children = Short Increments
             
               Homeschooling is both a coordinated dance and a balancing act - at the exact same time. If you have babies or toddlers, or a broad span of grades you are teaching, then you absolutely must plan out your time in short, manageable increments. This takes a lot of thoughtful planning and work on the front end of each week, but it pays off in spades (more on that in tip # 3). For example, plan on a 30-minute time span when your toddler can watch a DVD in the other room while you work on math with your 4th grader. Another example would be to organize your children's school work - as in, lay out and clearly assign what they work on at what time during the day. Then you can administer a spelling test while your other kiddos read their literature assignment or review multiplication flashcards. This tip only works if you plan out your day and each of your children's school days simultaneously, and then stick with the plan. If you adhere to this tip, it will pay big dividends. I promise.


     # 2 ~ Hard Work = Home Days

               This hint is pretty straight forward: on the days you have activities outside the house, you should plan lighter school work. The days you are home all day need to be the days you accomplish the most in the hardest subjects. It's really that simple, but if you are spontaneous and don't plan out the week's work, then the hard stuff probably gets away from you from time to time. Make this part of your planning each week, stick to it, and see the results.


     # 3 ~ Weekly Planning = Week's Ending

               Take the time each weekend (and I do mean each and every weekend!) to plan out the upcoming week's school work. Take into consideration every activity you and your children will be participating in, and don't forget to leave time for things like doctor's appointments, trips to the library, and picking up groceries. Plan each day out carefully for you and your children, and plan out each subject for each child as well. Do this with care and exercise wisdom - the end result of all your years of homeschooling lies right here! The end of each week piles up with the ending of every other week, and one day it's all piled up into a heap of years; then the kid you raised is the adult that the world, the church, and the Lord will get. Plan out the days, sometimes in 15-minute increments, so that the work that needs to get done actually gets done. Do the hard work of planning each week, mom....now, you didn't really think this whole homeschool thing was going to be easy, did you?!?


     # 4 ~ Start on Time = End on Time

               Get yourself up and moving (and spend time with the Lord first and foremost) and then get started on your homeschool day. Have a set starting time and adhere to it. Don't make excuses, either! Now of course there will be days when the stomach flu kept you and your brood up most of the night - and that would be a great time to take a sick day. But don't let "sick days'" or "down days" be the norm. Hold them at bay! They are the enemy! Start on time, and then end on time. Make that transition from teacher to mom and by the time you sit down to dinner, school should not be the primary focus of your thoughts. Be a mom during those evening hours, and be a teacher during those daytime hours.


     # 5 ~ Peace = Peace

               Ladies, please learn how to be at peace with yourself during these long years of homeschooling. It's a unique calling, and it's hard. But it's also so very, very good! Give yourself permission to receive the Lord's grace and decide that you will be at peace with yourself, with your children, with your home (roomy or cramped) and the state of your home (tidy or a complete wreck). We are not called to sprint with the Lord, but to walk with Him. Keep yourself under His light yoke, and live in His peace. If you make peace with yourself in this way, you will be a far better homeschooling mother. *AHEM* ... ask me how I know this to be true...


May God bless you as you raise your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. He is good! And He will most certainly finish the work He began in you when He called you to be a mother who homeschools.

Day 348 done :)

Jan L. Burt
             

             


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Re-Homing Homeschool Books...

After a whopping 22-ish years of homeschooling, I have acquired an enormous volume of books/curriculum/supplies. And as my youngest daughter is finishing up her junior year, I have got to get rid of all this stuff.

So, I am listing things in groups based on similarity - but they are all available individually. And here's the kicker. All of this is absolutely FREE - you just pay shipping. If  you see something you are interested in, just leave me a comment with your email (and if you don't want to leave your email then email me at janburtauthor@gmail.com). Some of these books are in nearly-new condition, some are well-used and written in. But they all have plenty of use left in them!


U.S. History: shipping for all books shown is $10



Middle Ages/Medieval History: shipping for all books shown $4


Misc. History: shipping for all books shown $3


Misc. History: shipping for all items shown $4


Games: shipping for both games $7


Misc. Language Arts: shipping for all $6


Misc. Fiction Books: shipping for all $7


Misc. Books About Homeschooling: shipping for all $7


Misc. Homeschooling Resources: shipping for all $8


Misc. Homeschooling/Parenting Resources: shipping for all $6


Mastering Angles Math Book: shipping $3


Misc. Language Arts Resources: shipping for all $8


Elementary Bible Resources: $4


Christian Character Books: shipping for both $3


Preschool/K Bible Resources: shipping for all $4


My First Report: shipping for both $4


Science Resources: shipping for all $4


Elementary Science Resources: shipping for all $8


Science: shipping for all $4


Spanish: shipping $4



Cooking Resources: shipping for both $4



History: shipping for all shown $5



Learning Seeds Activity Box (instruction booklet slightly torn): shipping $10 (higher shipping due to inability to ship media mail)

Email me at janburtauthor@gmail.com or leave me a comment with your email and let me know which item(s) you are interested in!

Lord bless!!

Jan

Thursday, January 19, 2017

NIV Bible for Girls - Journal Edition (Zondervan)

I write in my Bible. 

I know, I know...some of you are gasping, appalled at such behavior! But others of you have also found that taking notes, underlining passages, and placing dates and specific details near verses that speak to you or that you pray over a situation/for a person has great value. I know how valuable, how meaningful that is to me. In fact, when I so fill a Bible with writing that there is no more room, or when it is falling apart from use, I start with a new Bible. 

When I had the opportunity to review a journaling Bible for Zondervan, I jumped at the chance. And since I have read through the Bible in its entirety many times, I didn't "read" this book the way I typically would for a review. It's really more of a review of this Bible's unique features. I'll go through those quickly.

First, it is a hardcover Bible, which I really love. Softcover Bibles are fine, but I really prefer a hardcover. They can "fall" open when you put them in a tote bag, making them susceptible to a broken spine, but this Bible from Zondervan has a nice strap that wraps around the Bible and prevents that type of wear. (Ask me how I know this breaks the binding....)

It also has a bookmark, so you don't have to choose between marking your place with the strap or securing the cover of the Bible. And the cover design is aesthetically pleasing - not just for girls, but for adult women, too. It's not an overly cutesy pattern, nor an overly noisy one. (There are different covers available, so you aren't stuck with one option). 




But the feature I like best is the room for notes. The description "Journal Edition" is not an exaggeration; you have all the room you need to write your heart out! The print is not too tiny, and the size of the Bible is not overly large. In short, Zondervan did a top-notch job designing this Bible. 

It's a new year - if you need a new Bible or a great gift idea, I suggest the NIV Bible for Girls Journal Edition from Zondervan (click HERE to see it on Amazon)

And above all, keep getting in your Bible every single day!

Day 346 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Taking Nothing

I didn't bring a single solitary thing into this old world on the day of my birth, and I ain't gonna take anything with me when I draw my final breath. This is an undeniable, universal truth and no one can get around it. No material thing lasts beyond our life span...we will not care one lick about any of it. If we give it any thought at all, it will be to wonder why we cared so much for "things" and "money" and why we didn't give more...and more...and more.

   
     1Timothy 6:7-8  We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 


So there it is. Herein lies the proverbial rub. How do we do this? How are we western-cultured, red-blooded Americans, capitalists to our core, ever going to be able to live like this? HOW?

Well, as far as I know, the only way to live a life content with food and clothing (if that's all you've got, but that ain't all you've got) is to live in the moment. Take it one day at a time - and if need be, take it one hour, one minute at a time. Forcibly slow down the mental rat-race that constantly screams you must have more, be more, do more, achieve more, save more, take more, and more...more...more. Stop thinking! Just take a deep breath, and live in the now. That's how a Christian living in the good ole US of A in 2017 can live a truly contented life. By being thankful for what we have, and not letting tomorrow rob us of today.

Are you in debt up to your eyeballs? Trying to figure out how to pay for your kid's college education? Concerned about retirement? Owe a few too many medical bills? Afraid to start tithing? (re: tithing, just do it - do it afraid if you must, but do it!) Aware of some big expense coming in the near future, but unaware how to cover said expense?

Good.

It's a good place to be, when you have to trust the Lord and take him squarely at His Word. Make a decision to be content today with such things as you have, live a grateful and generous life before God and man, and see what He does to take care of you. Live in the now.

Day 345 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Friday, December 30, 2016

Alive in the Spirit - Experiencing the Presence and Power of God by A.W.Tozer (compiled and edited by James L. Snyder)

A.W. Tozer. Now there's a name that immediately brings to mind a spiritual giant. His words are quoted in more books, articles and devotionals than one could count. Mentored by A.B. Simpson, Tozer is nearly as well-known as Charles Haddon Spurgeon or Dwight L. Moody in Christian circles. So when I had the opportunity to read and review a book containing never before published material of his, I jumped at the chance.

The book is entitled Alive in the Spirit - Experiencing the Presence and Power of God. It was compiled and edited by James L. Snyder. This book isn't a lengthy read at just 188 pages, and the chapters are short enough to read and "digest" them one at a time in a single sitting. I'm a woman who writes in my books - and the more I like a book, the more underling, highlighting and margin notes will be found. My copy of Alive in the Spirit has a fair amount of writing in it.

Now that's not to say that I found this to be my favorite book by Tozer, nor did I find it to be as enlightening (for lack of a better word) regarding the role and work of the Holy Spirit in our life as I had hoped it would be. To be completely frank, I have found A.B. Simpson to be a great source for learning about the Holy Spirit and I suppose I imagined his prized pupil would have much more of value to share than I found in this book. I actually sort of felt like the Holy Spirit and His power were minimalized in this book....as unbelievable as that may sound. I'm not saying you shouldn't buy this book. I think it would serve people very well as it is a good book, and very well put together. I just expected more of a "KA-POW!" sort of experience than I got. And that is probably just my bad, my expectation being amiss and me being disappointed when said expectation was not met.






I do think this book is worth the read. Jump into it - study it - and feel free to come back here and leave me a comment to tell me what you think of it. I would love to have some additional thoughts about the book from others. Thanks for taking the time to read my review. Lord bless you as you seek to grow in your walk with the Lord1

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 344 done :)

Jan L. Burt
The Homeschooling Mother's Bible Study
All Things Homeschool
available on Amazon

Let's Look At ~ 1 Peter 1:9

I'm going to be doing something a little different in terms of my blog posts. Rather than my typical posts that are meant to put encourage women who homeschool, I will be blogging about the Bible. Today I would like to look at one verse in particular and share what I have learned from this verse, and maybe someone reading this will be encouraged by the Word. Better yet, maybe someone (or several someones) will decide to spend more time reading the Bible on a regular (read that daily) basis. That would be pretty fantastic. Let's get to it:


     1 Peter 1:9 - (New Living Translation) The reward from trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls. 


Okay, so you already know that trusting Jesus is the only way to have eternal salvation for your soul. (If you did not know that, let me suggest you read the book of John - right now, don't wait! - and pray and ask the Lord if He would like you to yield your life to Him and make Him your Savior and Lord over all your life. BTW, He will answer "Yes" because His greatest desire is to spend eternity with you). When you trust Him for your salvation, the reward will be eternal salvation, right?


The age old questions have always been, "What happens after we die? What on earth are we here for? What is the meaning of life?" The answer, of course, is always Jesus. Jesus died to rescue you from the power of sin and death and hell and the devil, and after you die you will either spend eternity with Him or separated from Him. There is no middle ground; those are the only two options. If you don't know what on earth you are here for, the answer to that will be made known to you once you yield your heart and your life to Jesus and allow Him to be Master and Commander of all things. He alone gives us purpose and meaning. He has that right and that authority, because He is the One who was and is and is to come, and through Him all things (including you and me) were created. The Creator knows exactly what He did the creating for, if you get my meaning. Those age old questions are all answered by Jesus. He is the only answer you will ever need.

Now, if this verse from the New Testament tells us that our eternal salvation is decided, and the question of what will happen after we die has been answered, then it seems to me that there ought to be absolutely no other worry, question, concern or feat that overwhelmingly haunts or plagues us. You see, with the most important and precious aspect of your life covered and protected and rescued, aren't all the other parts also covered and protected and rescued, as implied by this verse? What about your health? Well, pretty much it's all good in the sense that you are immortal until the day the Lord calls you home to heaven - and then you're truly immortal! Finances? Oh, He owns it all and He is very good at providing for the needs of His own. Work stress? He can and will be a part of your daily work life, so long as you open up to Him and invite Him to be a part of it. Don't shut Him out, and He will be right there with you! And any other daily need, big or small, is safe in His loving hands. He's got this. More importantly, He's got you. 

Is your soul alright? Then all the rest is alright, too. There is indeed a reward from trusting Him; eternal life in a perfect, pain-free world. There is also a huge amount of reward for trusting Him in this life. I pray you seek and find Him and all the blessings and rewards He has for you in this life and in eternity. Great is His reward for you, as great as His love can pour out.

Lord bless!

Day 343 done :)

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


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Growing Up

Women who home educate have chosen, in a very loud and clear manner, to take responsibility for the education of their children. Additionally, we have chosen to guide them into adulthood with the goal of them becoming, well, adults. Not only adult as defined by age, but actual adults who no longer behave like adolescents. 

Sure, there are times we struggle with letting them grow up. It's hard! For a zillion different reasons, it's hard. And sometimes we hold on too tightly. That may be due to fear on our part, or sadness that this all-defining aspect of our own lives is changing, or perhaps we don't even realize we are still holding on. It is possible to believe you have let go of something only to look down and see it still tightly grasped in your hand. But for the most part, I think homeschooling mothers are working to get their children into adulthood in the proper time frame (as in, they behave like adults when their birth certificate reveals they are legally adults). 

Sippy cups and diapers are quickly replaced by college applications and FAFSA forms. Life moves on. Kids grow up. And moms, we need to grow up, too.

Yup, I have more wrinkles and a whole head of graying hair. That part of growing up comes very naturally for me. My question for each one of us, myself included, is this: Am I allowing my children to grow toward adulthood without any guilt or manipulation on my part? Ouch, that smarts a little bit....

The thing is, it's really difficult to pour all of yourself into the homeschooling lifestyle and then one day just....stop. It is really, really hard to step back and let go as they become who God created them to be. It's the end of an era, and it can feel like the end of our identity. Because we're not just moms, we're homeschooling moms. When the kiddos grow up and leave, our job, so to speak, leaves with them. It's empty-nest syndrome on steroids! We're now unemployed and unable to "mother". Yikes!

Bear in mind it is very healthy and completely right to let go as God leads. Remember, we are training up the next generation. God has good plans for each one of our children. He also has good plans for us as we move from one phase of life to the next. 

Didn't Solomon say there is a time for everything? How right he was. If you are in a time of transition, of letting go, of hanging up your homeschool hat and preparing for your empty nest, cling to Jesus. He knows how hard this season is for you, and He will be faithful to help you navigate these new waters with His peace and love to be your guide and your comfort.

Seek His will for your life even as you continue seeking His will for your children's lives. He will help you to let go when you need to, and even in the letting go, He will never let go of you. 

For His glory alone we homeschool.

Day 342 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dutch Sheets ~ Intercessory Prayer (How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven & Earth)

Well, it's been quite a good long while since I have posted a book review. Yup - you guessed it...I'm back at it again. A bit more selectively, albeit, but back at it nonetheless.

I have been reading through a book written by Dutch Sheets entitled Intercessory Prayer. It is a book about exactly what you think it's about when you see the title; prayer, and specifically that of intercession. If you don't know what that is off the top of your head, no worries - you are certainly not alone. In a nutshell, intercessory prayer is any praying done on behalf of other people or situations that is intended to generate a specific and tangible change. An excellent example would be the time spend praying for your child in one certain way - concertedly, and until God moves and answers.


This book, published by Bethany House and available for purchase at Amazon and other retailers, is one of the few books I have read on prayer that actually talks about how to pray. Not vaguely dancing around the idea, quoting Bible verses and giving general thoughts on prayer - which is fine, but shouldn't a book about prayer be about actually praying? Well, Dutch talks a whole lot about how to pray, what to pray, when to pray, and gives loads of examples of how prayer impacted life on earth in the here and now. It's 316 pages all about prayer. Which is excellent, since prayer is the most important daily business a believer can be about.

I pray quite a lot. So I am all about books that encourage Christians to pray. So many overlook this aspect of a disciple of Christ's life. Our prayers make a difference while we are in the flesh on this planet living out our one short life. There will be no need to pray in the next life, as we'll be with our Lord and will see Him and speak with Him face-to-face. Let's make a difference in this life by spending time in intercessory prayer. You will never regret one moment spent in prayer - but you might well regret all the moments you failed to spend praying. (Go ahead - write that down on your to-do list or on your calendar or text it to yourself...it's actually a pretty important point and I really, really want you to get a grasp on it.) I love that this book is all about prayer. There's a whole lot that can be learned and/or gleaned from Intercessory Prayer.

And yet there are some things in this book that I found myself uncertain about. Was that because they were wrong, Biblically speaking? Not necessarily. Were those things traditions that I am unfamiliar with in my Christian experience?  Possibly. Were any of these ideas or methods right for someone else but very foreign to me? Absolutely. Have I been applying what I have learned to my own prayer life? Yes - yes, I have. So overall, I think this book is a "winner winner chicken dinner" when it comes to an in-depth, applicable study on intercession.

Prayer - just do it. That would make a pretty great slogan for Christians, wouldn't it? So if you're up for some challenging, inspiring, make-you-really-think reading to spur on your prayer life, go ahead and pick up a copy of this book.

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 4.5

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

 Day 341 done :)

Jan L. Burt
The Homeschooling Mother's Bible Study
All Things Homeschool
available on Amazon